Critical Condition

Interesting Moments from the President’s Speech

There is much to be said — and much has already been said — about the president’s health-care speech to the joint-session of Congress.

It was interesting that he began by reminding people of the economic downturn that his “stimulus” was supposed to reverse. His claim that things have already improved likely didn’t ring true to those who actually live in this economy and don’t merely have to rely on the president’s rhetorical accounting. And it likely didn’t inspire confidence to trust other elements of his big-government, “trust-me” agenda. So, it was a curious choice of beginnings.

Also interesting was President Obama’s claim that he wouldn’t support any bill that would raise our deficits by “one dime.” (Six trillion dimes is apparently another matter, just not “one.” To be fair, he didn’t say “even.”) Also, as a supporter of the House health bill, which the Congressional Budget Office says would put us on pace for additional deficit-spending in the amount of $608 billion over the ten-year period from 2015–24, President Obama simply relied on fuzzy math.

Also notable, and perhaps somewhat symbolic of the health-care debate writ large, was how the event was a bit raucous and that the president didn’t seem to have particularly good control over his surroundings.

But perhaps the single most interesting moment came toward the very end of his speech. There, the president actually admitted, if only implicitly, that the trade-off in embracing his big-government proposals is a loss of liberty. Here is the president in his own words:

[O]ur predecessors understood that government could not, and should not, solve every problem.  They understood that there are instances when the gains in security from government action are not worth the added constraints on our freedom.

Of course, he quickly added the “But” — it was his next word. However, he still said it. He still said that the gains in security (he could have said “equality”) from government action, from having government attempt to solve every human problem, come at the cost of freedom. And that was a refreshingly rare moment of candor — from an administration that is anything but candid.