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More, Less … Whatever

8:43 AM, Nov 18, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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The big topic of discussion on the Sunday shows was, of course, Obamacare.  And the big challenge for supporters of the president, and his signature program, was to parse the language of “If you like your plan …” so as to make it mean something other than what millions reasonably assumed it meant.

That way, the president wouldn’t have been willfully saying something that was untrue for the sake of political advantage.  Heaven forfend.

One of the more adroit jobs of twisting the language was brought off by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who appeared on ABC’s This Week and said, essentially, that she, like everyone else on the inside, knew what the president’s assertion actually meant was that millions of people would not be able to keep their plans and their doctors. 

... we all knew. The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy. How many women, the minute they get pregnant, might have risked their coverage, how many women paid more because of their gender because they might get pregnant? Those are the reforms that we have to fix,” she added.

Evidently it never occurred to the senator that there might be people out there – some of her constituents among them – who would take the president’s words to mean … well, that they could actually keep their plans and their doctors. 

The president should, Senator Gillibrand said, “have just been more specific.”

Actually, it might have been better if he had been less specific.  The president’s words, spoken over and over, were pretty much unequivocal.  And for those who were still uncertain, he would often append the word “period.” 

In the same way that Senator Gillibrand inserts the word “just” into her statement, implying that the whole thing was a minor slip up.  A detail.  After all, “we” understood what the president meant.  

So that seems to be their story and one suspects that they’ll be sticking to it.

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