Tonight Pres. Obama delivered his make-or-break speech on health care reform to a Joint Session of Congress.
While it was a good speech, concluding with a previously undisclosed letter he’d received from Sen. Ted Kennedy, I doubt it changed any minds in Washington. And, after witnessing the idiocy of some American adults in regard to the President’s recent speech to school children, I doubt it changed many minds across the country.
Frankly, I thought the audience was more interesting than the President. Smiles, tears, glee, despair, anger, disgust, boredom, excitement, skepticism. All were apparent as the cameras cut from the President to the audience and back. Supporters must have exhausted themselves jumping up to applaud every few sentences. Some looked around to see who else was cheering and nodding agreement. Opponents sat, or slouched, stoically or grim-faced. Some shook their heads in disbelief. Nancy Pelosi, sitting behind the President, did her best imitation of a cheerleader jack-in-the-box.
Amazingly, even there in chambers, opponents refused to maintain the proper decorum. Someone* yelled “Lie!” in response to Obama’s assertion that his plan does not cover illegal immigrants. I was appalled that anyone would do that during a Joint Session, and Pelosi shot the man a look that should have melted his face — except people like that have no shame. Other people waved some unidentified printed page. One man had a hand-lettered sign in his lap, but the cameras never showed him holding it up.
Then there was the Republican response, delivered by a Louisiana (again?) heart surgeon, Charles Boustany, who is also a member of Congress. Qualified to comment because he’s a physician? You’d think so, although Keith Olbermann felt obliged to mention the man has been sued three times for malpractice. Apparently Olbermann doesn’t know how common this is with physicians in very high risk, high cost specialties (they’re the docs with the deepest pockets). Or maybe the doctor really is a nut job. After all, he’s in politics now. And he’s also a Birther.
Aside from that, the GOP response sounded so reasonable I kept wondering why they haven’t written it up in a bill of their own. Off hand, I thought much of it sounded like some of Obama’s proposals. I guess talking on TV and signing a bill are two very different things. And you know what they say: talk is cheap.
So now we’ve heard the speeches from both sides. Big whoop. Tomorrow I expect everything will be back to business as usual.
*Reported by some sources to have been Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)