Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times has been covering President Obama for a long time. Like most members of the chattering class, she has been—ur—supportive of the president.
So Ms. Sweet’s column on the president’s apology for the heartbreak of ObamaCare—“is that the best he’s got”—is very much worth noting:
A remarkable feature of Todd’s interview with Obama — whose hair is noticeably grayer — is the president’s inability to sincerely express empathy. I know he tried, but is that the best he’s got? Given that people are freaking out when they get a notice their policies are being dropped — a horrible, frustrating life experience.
Having somebody such as Ms. Sweet be less than sweet to the president must be a horrible, frustrating life experience. It is also a new experience. But this was a story that the mainstream media had to cover—too many people are being harmed by ObamaCare. In this case, not covering the story wasn’t going to make it go away. This isn’t something that happened in Bengazi—it is something in the mailbox of millions of Americans.
Ms. Sweet is concerned with the lack of empathy. It seems to me that we should be concerned with something else: the lack of veracity.
Why on earth did President Obama think he could get by with such a blatant untruth? Was it because the Lynn Sweets of the world have been covering for him instead of covering him? It should be noted that the president’s apology was in lawyerly language and couched in the passive voice. He still hasn’t quite admitted to telling a porkie pie, asThomas Lifson notes:
Apologizing that people find themselves in a situation is not the same thing as apologizing for lying.
Lifson points out that the law itself, not the president’s un-candid assertions, is the problem. In this, he is quite different from Ms. Sweet, who writes:
The transition to a better health insurance system was never going to be easy. Health insurance is confusing. People in this new era have to take on more responsibility.
As Obama noted — in the million words it takes him to make a point — folks whose policies have been canceled may find a better deal after they shop around in the new health marketplaces. That is, once Healthcare.gov gets fixed.
Sweet may be concerned about empathy, but she doesn’t get it about ObamaCare: people will not have to take more responsibility for themselves under ObamaCare—au contraire!—but many will have to pay more.
Nor will people whose policies were cancelled necessarily find a better deal in the new health “marketplaces.” Many will find higher premiums, higher deductibles and be forced to pay to cover services they will never need (e.g., the sixty-year-old woman who will now be required to buy a policy that includes maternity services!).
This is the essence of ObamaCare: forcing some people to assume the enormous financial burden of paying for ObamaCare by buying policies they don’t need. This, not lack of empathy, is the core problem. Of course, an empathetic president would have hesitated to wreak cruel havoc on the lives of millions of citizens.