Mark Gisleson has been insisting for some time that Obama is cagy and that a lot of his apparently pro-corporate moves are designed to, as he wrote just this morning, "get something of value back each time they cut the Bushies some slack." I've been just as consistently saying I didn't see it because I didn't.
After meeting with six major health care organizations, Mr. Obama hailed their cost-cutting promise as historic.
“These groups are voluntarily coming together to make an unprecedented commitment,” Mr. Obama said. “Over the next 10 years, from 2010 to 2019, they are pledging to cut the rate of growth of national health care spending by 1.5 percentage points each year — an amount that’s equal to over $2 trillion.”
Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.
“There’s been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members,” said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association. “I’ve spent the better part of the last three days trying to deal with it.”
Oooh, poor baby. Even the suggestion of the most minor and illusory financial "sacrifice" put the members into a tizzy and they reamed the boy out for as little as that. Huh.
So was Obama actually trying to publicly tie them up and lock them into place by deliberately interpreting their worthless offer as if it was real and then hanging numbers onto it, making it hard for them to back down without looking like wusses? Maybe. If he did, it was a clever move that made the bimbos of the insurance industry look like a bunch of topless Miss Californias after boob jobs that went horribly wrong.
Or did the industry members panic for nothing? Simply misread a PR moment as if it was real? Even then, though it proves nothing about Obama it certainly clarifies the industry's preferred position as one of the "we don't sacifice nuttin, pally" contingent of the we-intend-to-increase-our-profits-even-if-it-destroys-the-world crowd. Either way, they came out looking like warmed-over doo-doo.
Either Obama planned it that way or he just plain got lucky. I don't know which yet but I could soon be owing Mark a climb-down. If there's two or three more of these, he may have been right all along.
I hate that.