A couple of days ago, I offered the fantasy speech below as an example of what President Obama ought to say about the charge of “socialism.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed Social Security. Republicans opposed what they called “socialist security.”
Lyndon Johnson proposed Medicare. Republicans opposed what they called “socialized medicine.”
Now we’re trying to make sure every American can afford health insurance that can’t be taken away if you get sick. And – sound familiar? Some right-wing extremists say it’s socialism.
Don’t believe them!
Well, it’s not entirely a fantasy anymore. From today’s weekly address:
We’ve seen it before. When President Roosevelt was working to create Social Security, opponents warned it would open the door to ‘federal snooping’ and force Americans to wear dog tags. When President Kennedy and President Johnson were working to create Medicare, opponents warned of ‘socialized medicine.’ Sound familiar? Not only were those fears never realized, but more importantly, those programs have saved the lives of tens of millions of seniors, the disabled, and the disadvantaged.
(And no, I don’t think there was any causal link between the post and the speech. It was the obviously right thing to say, and this is not a White House that misses obvious tricks.)
The whole talk is worth listening to, or reading. Obama does a great job on the “death panels,” and makes the key point that everything that the opponents of reform are warning about are happening right now under the current system. He also offered the one-liner the reform cause has lacked: “No one in America should go broke because they get sick.”