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  Mitch McConnell Smiled? -- The President is CPR for the GOP.
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Last EditedScott³  Sep 16, 2009 12:48pm
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AuthorGeorge F. Will
MediaMagazine - Newsweek
News DateSaturday, September 12, 2009 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
Description"Mitch McConnell, the taciturn Kentuckian who leads Senate Republicans, usually resembles Samuel Beckett's character Watt, who "had never smiled, but thought he knew how it was done." Last week, however, careful observers detected a trace of a hint of a shadow of a smile. Congressional Democrats were still at daggers drawn with one another, and the president's rhetoric was becoming CPR for the Republican Party.

On the 233rd day of his presidency, Barack Obama grabbed the country's lapels for the 263rd time—that was, as of last Wednesday, the count of his speeches, press conferences, town halls, interviews, and other public remarks. His speech to Congress was the 122nd time he had publicly discussed health care. Just 14 hours would pass before the 123rd, on Thursday morning. His incessant talking cannot combat what it has caused: An increasing number of Americans do not believe that he believes what he says.

He says America's health-care system is going to wrack and ruin and requires root-and-branch reform—but that if you like your health care (as a large majority of Americans do), nothing will change for you. His slippery new formulation is that nothing in his plan will "require" anyone to change coverage. He used to say, "If you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan, period." He had to stop saying that because various disinterested analysts agree that his plan will give many employers incentives to stop providing coverage for employees.

He deplores "scare tactics" but says that unless he gets his way, people will die. He praises temperate discourse but says many of his opponents are liars. He says Medicare is an exemplary program that validates government's prowess at running health systems. But he also says Medicare is unsustainable and going broke, and that he will pay for much of his reforms by eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste and fraud in this paragon of a program, and in Medicaid."
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