The Blog

Kristol: Obama's Imaginary Correspondent?

11:06 AM, Jul 29, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Here's President Obama yesterday: "And I got a letter the other day from a woman. She said, 'I don't want government-run health care, I don't want socialized medicine, and don't touch my Medicare.' (Laughter.) And I wanted to say, well, I mean, that's what Medicare is, it's a government-run health care plan that people are very happy with."

Perhaps the president was joking, or using hyperbole. But, for what it's worth, I don't believe the president got such a letter "the other day from a woman." (I'll withdraw my disbelief if the letter is produced.)

The president is recycling an old anecdote, perhaps from the 1993-1994 health care debate, perhaps from before, about someone standing up at town hall and saying something like, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare." This may once have really happened, but it's been recycled endlessly in recent years as a liberal talking point about the ignorance of the American people and their silliness in resisting new big government health care schemes. The president is entitled to recycle the story once again, and to make the point about Medicare--but he probably shouldn't pretend he got a letter I'm doubtful he actually received.