I can imagine President Obama feeling a little frustrated under the current circumstances. Congressional Republicans might shut down the federal government next week, and next month, they might deliberately trash the full faith and credit of the United States. He's having success in foreign policy, but Congress is broken and the public is frustrated.
But today, in Largo, Md., the president spoke at length about the Affordable Care Act, and he generally seemed to be having the time of his life. For those who can't watch clips online, Obama spent some time talking about how the rhetoric surrounding the law has gotten more hysterical lately.
"One congressman said that Obamacare is 'the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed' -- ever, in the history of America. This is the most dangerous piece of legislation. Providing, creating a marketplace so people can buy group insurance plan, the most dangerous ever."You had a state representative somewhere say that it's 'as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act.' Think about that. Affordable health care is worse than a law that lets slave owners get their runaway slaves back. I mean, these are quotes. I'm not making this stuff up.""And here's one more that I've heard. I like this one. 'We have to' -- and I'm quoting here -- 'we have to repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.' Now, I have to say, that one was from six months ago. I just want to point out we still have women, we still have children, we still have senior citizens. All this would be funny if it wasn't so crazy."
The president can't force right-wing lawmakers to be responsible. He can't force them to meet their responsibilities. He can't even push them into acting like grown-ups. But Obama can certainly ridicule their ridiculousness -- and have quite a bit of fun at the same time.
Of course, this wasn't just about entertainment. The larger point was to reinforce a simple truth: many of the people screaming bloody murder about Americans gaining access to affordable health care have lost all credibility, so many the public shouldn't take their nonsense too seriously.
As for which lawmakers actually used the lines the president was quoting, I have a hunch you're curious as to who said what.
I was all set to track down the originals, but Jennifer Bendery beat me to it. Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) was the one who said earlier this month that the Affordable Care Act is "the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed"; state Rep. Bill O'Brien (R-N.H.) made the Fugitive Slave Act remark; and none other than Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) raised the specter of Obamacare literally killing women, children, and seniors.
The above video is only an excerpt, but there was one other thing the president said this morning that's worth keeping in mind: "[Once the Affordable Care Act is] working well, I guarantee you they will not call it 'Obamacare.'"
Truer words were never spoken.