The Daily Show: Stealth care reform

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

And you know what that means, open government fans - this is the moment we've been promised!

"When we are negotiating for that plan, we are going to have C-SPAN on and you will see who's compromising the American people's interests," said Barack Obama while campaigning in January 2008.

Oh yeah, we're going to do it on C-SPAN! I've got my 3-D glasses, I've got my snacks, let's turn on C-SPAN and watch some health care negotiations!

Alright, it's not on C-SPAN, let's try C-SPAN 2. It's not on C-SPAN 2. Maybe it's on C-SPAN Classic. Nope, that's just the 1938 vote on Fair Labor Standards Act. Let's try C-SPAN Espanol. Nothing there, either.

Well, I checked all the C-SPANs, even the ones I made up, and there's nothing about the health care negotiations. What gives?

"C-SPAN is not allowed in these negotiations as they are going on," reported Fox News' Bret Baier. "In fact, C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb is asking the president and party leaders to open up and make good on the promises heard from candidate Obama."

You know who's really going to make a meal out of this - Fox & Friends. After a couple of years of relentlessly manufacturing Obama scandals, from Obama's alleged push to Socialist tyranny to what it really means that he got a Portuguese water dog, now they've got him actually busted on tape.

"Maybe he didn't know that deals are brokered behind closed doors," offered Gretchen Carlson. "I'm not saying it's right, but maybe he didn't understand."

That's it? That's kind of mild. It reminds me of the time my dog actually caught the squirrel. After all those years of trying, it kind of threw him and he just let it go. He looked sad, like he'd ruined something for himself.

This looks pretty bad for Obama. Not because he's being held accountable for promises he made, but because he made promises he could be held accountable for.

It's fine to pledge transparency and openness - subjective concepts - but for God's sake don't start telling people what channel they can go watch it on. You're just setting yourself up. Politicians can promise emphatically, but never specifically.

This all gets back to the kind of campaign Obama chose to run. There was pressure on him to give specifics on what he was proposing. Like the novice he was, he took the substance bait and made foolishly concrete pledges, like promising to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell and to get our combat troops out within 16 months.

Let me spell it out for you - here's a one-term president: "Read my lips, no new taxes," said George Bush in 1988.

Here's a two-term president: "Give me the opportunity to lead this nation and I will lead," said George W. Bush in 2000.

Ah, he never said which direction! Could've been up or down.

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