Thursday, September 10, 2009

Liars On The March

I know I was battling conventional wisdom when I argued that Obama was correct to wait to give his healthcare speech. I was responding to what I saw as a lot of Chicken Little-type handwringing that the sky was falling because Obama hadn't clearly stated a message and taken control of the debate - as if that were even possible. Now he has given a speech which many are calling one of his best speeches ever, where he clearly outlined his healthcare proposals and responded to the distortions from the other side, and....
U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to Congress on healthcare reform has galvanized activists opposed to his proposals who plan a mass march on Washington on Saturday as the next step in their campaign.

Groups that reject Obama's reform and seek limited government and lower taxes said that nothing they heard in Wednesday night's speech to a joint Congress session would deter them.
I recognize that timing is tricky, and mistakes can be deadly. Kerry waited too long to respond to the ridiculous lies made against him by the Swift Boat group, and he never recovered. And yes, in a sense it's "deja vu, all over again" with right-wing millionaire-funded the same type of propaganda campaigns through the same PR firm that advanced the Swift Boat lies.

Sometimes speaking early serves principally to give your opponent more time to dishonestly attack your agenda, while twisting and misrepresenting your words. (For goodness sake, we even had a Member of Congress breaking protocol to shriek "liar" at the President, who had just made a factual statement about his proposal). Sometimes, patience prevails. As for timing, Obama's speech coincides with Kathleen Parker's recognition that her party needs to reign in the crazies - so arguably his speech was remarkably well timed.

Obama's definitely about patience and discipline. I probably wouldn't have been able to bite my tongue this long. It seems fair to ask those who are still criticizing the President for "waiting too long to speak," how much more of his healthcare agenda do you imagine that he would be able to get through Congress, had he spoken sooner? If the answer isn't, in some fashion, "more of it" (a claim of which I would be skeptical), at best they're arguing style over substance.

1 comment:

  1. Parker's willing to call out the nutjobs purely because they were mean to her once. She's like a former high-school in-crowd girl who's still happy to make fun of the fat kids, but wants everyone to know that there is no place for the kind of mean, petty drama that got her booted out of the Popular Club.