We are, we confess, big fans of the British TV show Top Gear. One segment they often have on the program is a discussion of the latest automotive news. Inevitably, this will lead to speculation on how, for example, the problem of traffic congestion on the M5 can be solved by making campers, motorcycles, speed limits, speed cameras, and traffic cops illegal, and summarily executing anyone who drives on the highway at less than 80 mph. At the end of each discussion, Jeremy Clarkson will then smugly say, “Now that we’ve got that problem sorted out, let’s turn to other news,” as though by merely discussing a solution, the problem has been solved.
But of course, talking about a solution to a problem is not the same as solving a problem.
We have been watching Obama for some time now, and we have become convinced that he does not understand this distinction. Perhaps it is all his years as a community organizer and a law professor, but he appears to believe that problems are solved by making speeches. Indeed, his usually pattern is to make a speech, and then try to move on to other things as though the speech was the only thing required. Then, when called on this, he goes into a pique: “I made a speech, and so the problem’s now solved! What more do you want from me?”
In large part, this explains why Obama makes so many speeches, and why he feels free to spend so much time on the golf course. He thinks all that is required of him is to make speeches. Why bother with the tedium of reading and understanding his own signature law, much less attending briefings on current policy initiatives, jobs, or national security issues, when making speeches is all that is needed?
Until now, it appears that we have been the only ones who have noticed this phenomenon. However, a recent post in the Corner by Veronique de Rugy shows that others are now catching on:
I’ve been trying to understand the legality of the president’s administrative “fix.” One thing that’s clear: While President Obama gave a speech saying that his administration will permit insurers to renew plans that don’t comply with Obamacare’s requirements, it was just a speech. It didn’t change the law. That means that insurance companies who sell plans that are still illegal under the law could be sued in courts and won’t get any legal protection.
The post goes on to explain in detail why this is true. In short, only Congress can legislate, and so to offer these plans would still be illegal, and there is no administrative fix that the Obama administration can offer that will change this fact. In the light of this, it would be the height of foolishness for any insurance company to offer a renewal of an old plan, merely because the Obama administration promised to look the other way.
This is one of many reasons why the House just passed the Upton Bill, which pretty much promises to do just what Obama claimed to have done with his speech, but with ever so slightly more substance. Yet, Obama has promised to veto the Upton Bill if it crosses his desk.
There are two reasons for this veto threat. First, Obama was not completely honest in his speech to begin with, and so a bill designed to hold hold him to his lies is basically obnoxious to him. Second, he made a speech, so the problem is now solved. We now need to move on to other, more important issues, such as immigration reform.