Barack Obama, insurance salesman

Barack Obama, insurance salesman

Like all retailers, the president is rolling out a big post-Thanksgiving sale. With the healthcare.gov website up and running on Cyber Monday, he’s launched a three-week campaign to save Obamacare. On Tuesday he began by trying to remarket the product, touting the Affordable Care Act’s broad benefits and reminding people why he went to all this trouble in the first place. “For too long, few things left working families more vulnerable to the anxieties and insecurities of today’s economy than a broken health care system,” Obama said. On Wednesday the president explained how the health care law fit into his effort to resuscitate the American dream for the middle class, a project he’s been grinding away with mixed success since his 2007 campaign. Then, at a second Wednesday event, the president attended a White House Youth Summit to make an extended and detailed pitch for how they could help push up health care enrollments. This is part of the nitty-gritty of convincing enough young, healthy Americans to participate in the federal exchanges so that the insurance pools aren’t glutted with older, sicker Americans, driving up premiums. No soaring rhetorical heights here; this is the earthbound task of trying to make the law work. On Thursday evening, the president sits down with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at American University to pitch to that younger audience again.

These are the highs and lows of what it means to be President Obama right now. One minute he is speaking about the sweep of history, and the next he resembles a late-night television pitchman. In advance of Obama’s Wednesday Big Theme speech, the president’s aides were advertising it as an echo of the self-consciously grand one the president gave two years agoin Osawatomie, Kan., which itself was an echo of Teddy Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism” speech delivered in the same spot 100 years ago.

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