Hope and change has been replaced by presto change-o. While Obamacare creaks toward commercial viability, its patron saint is busy with fast patter and some appealing parlor tricks. President Obama is talking about many things besides health care and flying around on Air Force One this week — a tried and true method to distract the public during difficult moments.
Mr. Obama travels to Dallas on Wednesday to showcase the feel-good side of the health care law, poised to thank volunteers and local “navigators” who are helping the confused public enroll in the program. But wait. There’s a pair of private fundraisers for Senate Democrats following such earnest fare, bearing price tags of $16,000 and $15,000 a person.
Mr. Obama then journeys to New Orleans on Friday to talk up job creation, increasing U.S. exports and shoring up the economy, though there likely will be squawks from worried local businesses about rate hikes in the National Flood Insurance Program. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, meanwhile, also appears peeved.
“I invited the president to Louisiana recently to meet with parents and visit a scholarship school. He never responded. I am renewing the invitation and hope the president accepts,” Mr. Jindal says.
Then it’s on to more cheerful things. Mr. Obama jets out of New Orleans to arrive in Miami for, yes, a fancy fundraiser for more Democratic lawmakers. And to round out the treasure-filled month, the president will also attend fundraisers in Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco — totaling 10 by Thanksgiving Day.
A TELLING WINNER
The Global Language Monitor has declared that “404” is its official “Word of the Year.” The Austin-based research group determined the winner based on frequency of actual usage, using computer-aided tracking of some 275,000 print, electronic and social media sources.
Yes, well. The numbers-only designation appeared a lot recently at the Obamacare website, but we already know all that.
“404 is the near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet, augmenting its original use as ‘page not found’, ” explains chief analyst Paul JJ Payack. The recent Obamacare launch debacle in the U.S. is only a representative example of a much wider system fail.”
Interestingly enough, “toxic politics” was the phrase of the year, while Pope Francis was the name of the year.
WAKE ME WHEN IT’S OVER
The young and healthy will be footing much of the bill for expanded national health care, at least according to multiple analyses by policy wonks. But are youthful Americans even paying attention to news about Obamacare?
Apparently not. New Pew Research Center findings reveal that only 15 percent of those younger than 30 are closely following coverage about the health care law, compared to 42 percent of those 50 and older.
WHAT’S COMING NEXT
This limerick courtesy of F.R. Duplantier, editor of the Weekly Politickle and a longtime friend of Inside the Beltway. He titles it Passive Regressive: