For my birthday in 2008, my wife bought me an unassuming little paperback book with our current President (then Presidential Candidate) Barack Obama on the cover.
My wife, bless her, probably thought she was picking up "Dreams From My Father". I had mentioned at one point that I would love to read, "You know... that Barack Obama book."
Clearly I wasn't specific enough.
So, yay, I thought to myself. A book full of his campaign speeches and policy positions. Positions which, at the time, with scant few months left in the campaign, I was already quite familiar with.
No matter. A quick peck on the cheek, followed by an enthusiastic, "Thank you, hon!" and marital bliss was saved.
The book took a spot on my nightstand, next to the industrial-sized bottle of Tums. It gathered dust. And then, well after the man became our 44th President, it went into the inescapable void of my nightstand drawer, where spare change and hastily scribbled notes on scrap paper go to die.
Fast forward to this week. My wife and I, now in the process of selling our house, are scrambling to pack up all of our worldly posessions, before the December 31st closing.
"Your drawer.", she intoned, "It must be cleaned out."
Immediately, every single piece of important-at-the-time detrius that I ever shoved into that nightstand, flashed before my eyes. I whimpered. I pleaded. But there was no escaping it.
I found a copy of the student magazine that I picked up, when I visited my alma mater a few years back. There were a couple of Star Wars action figures, which were shuttled to my office a few days later, so that my co-workers could all relive the splendor of Darth Maul versus Qui Gon Jinn. And there, in the back, was my copy of "Change We Can Believe In".
Given the choice between revisiting the glory days of Campaign '08, and scraping the coroded remains of old AA batteries off the bottom of the Nightmare Drawer, I decided to thumb through my copy of the Obama campaign's mass-market policy showcase.
The week's events clearly influenced which section I would turn to: Health Care Reform for $200, Alex. And there, RIGHT THERE, on page 46, was the little bit of policy that the President would try to distance himself from today:
For those who do not have health insurance or who do not like their health insurance, they will have a range of private insurance options - accessible through a new National Health Insurance Exchange that is similar to what members of Congress have - as well as a public plan. The public plan will cover all essential medical services - including preventive, maternity, disease management, and mental health care. Costs will be low, but Americans who cannot afford it and do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP will receive a tax subsidy to pay for coverage.
Honestly, folks. We're supposed to be a reality-based community. Right now, there's a diary on the rec list, claiming that, because none of Obama's speeches ever referenced a "public plan" or a "public option" (at least, none of the speeches that the diarist could find) then it means that he never campaigned on it.
This paperback that I hold in my hands was published by Obama for America. It has a forward, written by Obama himself. And it was meant to encapsulate all of his campaign policy positions in one, easy-to-digest book, accessible to any voter who might want to pick it up at the corner Barnes & Noble.
Like it or not, this WAS the policy he campaigned on. The man did himself no favors by denying it. And you do yourself no favors, by denying it either.