Health care protesters (aka angry mobs trying to shut off debate) have been spotted carrying signs sporting the P.J. O'Rourke quote, "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free."
Equally popular is some form of the famous observation by columnist Carol Platt Liebau that, "A government bureaucracy controlling your medical care is likely to combine the efficiency of the post office with the compassion of the IRS," (which has been misattributed to Ronald Reagan among many others) has been repeated and adapted ad infinitum.
Now comes, Barack Obama, the smartest President in generations, the greatest orator since Camelot, who once told Harry Reid he had a "gift" for moving an audience. Apparently, he has somehow engaged in the health care debate without ever realizing how the Post Office example resonates with people.
Thinking he was disproving the notion that the so-called "public option" would crowd out private insurance by making it impossible for them to compete, Obama added a new, if considerably less clever, addition to the above conservative standbys.
"They do it all the time,"Obama argued, "If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It's the Post Office that's always having problems."
Exactly, Mr. President!
No mention of this blunder that I could find on MSNBC, and only a fleeting one on CNN, where the quote is reported, but not that this gaffe made the opposite—though true—point than was intended. I seem to remember George W. Bush getting prominent coverage for much less…
Somebody better fix that teleprompter soon.