Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jot and tittle

Oh, boy. This is a bad minute and a half soundbite. I understand that there may be more to this and that this may be an off-the-cuff answer to a question that isn’t on the video but still.

Today, John Boehner, in a press conference with other Republicans, said this:

You know, we had another jobs report yesterday.  Another, frankly, disappointing jobs report.  This economy’s not creating the jobs that the American people are looking for.  Their wages are stagnant, and part of the problem is that we’ve got the whole threat of ObamaCare continuing to hang over our economy like a wet blanket.

Employers scared to death in terms of what they have to do and what they don’t have to do, afraid to add new employees.  And, you know, when you look at the problems with ObamaCare all the focus here lately has been on the website.  Clearly there’s problems with the website, but I would argue that the problems go much further than that. 

How about the report over the last couple of days of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are finding out that they’re going to lose their coverage because the plans they have today don’t qualify under ObamaCare.  And when you begin to look at these hundreds of thousands of people I think what you’re going to see at the end of October are more Americans are going to lose their health insurance than are going to sign up at these exchanges.  This is a very serious problem.  It’s affecting our economy.  And it’s affecting the ability of the American people to find the job that will help them take care of themselves and their families.

First of all, there’s no focus here. He starts off talking about the bad job report and ObamaCare being part of the reason for that. Then he skips to the website and then to people who have insurance but whose policies are being cancelled because they don’t meet ObamaCare standards. And then it’s back to the economy and jobs. Both the ObamaCare damper on job creation and the currently insured being dis-insured are problems and I’m glad Boehner is talking about both of them. But jumbling them together undercuts the impact of each. Talk about jobs; then talk about dis-insuring.

Second, where are the props? Obama wheeled out a handful of people for his “NBD on the URL” talk the other day. Where are Boehner’s business owners who are not hiring? Where are the (legions of) currently insured who are being dis-insured? I know all this touchy-feely stuff is the realm of the Left but trust me - having a few thousand of those of us whose insurance was cancelled stacked up behind Boehner would have been more effective than some vague numbers.

Third, Boehner appears to think that the currently insured being dis-insured because of ObamaCare is “affecting the ability of the American people to find the job that will help them take care of themselves and their families.” I hate ObamaCare with a passion and would happily blame it for everything from crabgrass to moldy tile grout, but I just can’t figure out the connection between having my individual health insurance policy cancelled and not being able to find a job. Now, maybe this was a verbal eliding and he was really moving from Topic C (dis-insurement) back to Topic A (bad jobs report) and didn’t intend to imply a causal connection. If so, he should have at least taken a very long breath between “very serious problem” and “[i]t’s affecting”.

Fourth, I have this sinking feeling that Boehner doesn’t actually understand what he’s saying, that he’s just repeating talking points he’s been handed and is sort of saying them because he knows he’s supposed to be ticking off points. I don’t think this is unique to Boehner. I think most of the people in Washington spouting off about ObamaCare are pretty clueless. I also believe that the whole ObamaCare issue is now strictly about political posturing and not at all about good policy. But it doesn’t give me a lot of hope that the Republicans are going to mount an effective campaign to take advantage of the ObamaCare rollout fiasco.

I like John Boehner, in that visceral sort of way that one likes or dislikes public figures. But I’m not holding out much hope that he and his Party are going to rescue us from one jot or tittle of ObamaCare.

(Great. I looked up “jot” and “tittle” to make sure I was spelling and using them correctly and found the use of them to mean “the smallest bit” comes from a Bible verse:

For verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. (King James Version, Matthew 5:18)

Looks like we’re stuck with ObamaCare till the end of time.)

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