Joe Biden cuts to the chase
President Barack Obama is known for his extraordinary speeches and the words he delivered at yesterday’s health care reform bill-signing ceremony were certainly eloquent.
But sometimes the impact of a moment is best-delivered by a guy with language more typical of, well, an average Joe.
In his prepared remarks, Vice President Joe Biden called the day “historic” and, quoting Virgil, reminded us that the “best wealth is health.”
But whether you are supportive of the legislation or not, it’s hard to disagree with the extemporaneous words Biden whispered into the president’s ear that were caught by a live microphone and broadcast to the world.
Yes, Mr. Vice President, this is indeed a “big, f*cking deal!”
It was Obama who movingly dedicated the day to people, including his mother, who suffered because of obstacles to adequate health insurance. It was Obama who referred to the generations of leaders from Teddy Roosevelt to Teddy Kennedy who struggled to make this day a reality. And it was Obama who suggested that this bill represents the best of what our nation is about.
“We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities,” Obama said. “We are a nation that does what is hard. What is necessary. What is right. Here, in this country, we shape our own destiny. That is what we do. That is who we are. That is what makes us the United States of America.”
There are certain historic moments that unify the country and even the world, when it seems that everyone shares a similar reaction to a life-changing event. Think of 9/11, for example, or the day a man walked on the moon.
This, however, was not one of those. We live in a politically polarized nation and it’s fair to say that millions of people had very different reactions to yesterday’s signing of health care reform legislation by President Obama.
Millions of people are convinced that this expansion of government is insidious and vile. They assert that the cost of the legislation will lead to greater federal debt with ruinous consequences. They pledge to work on behalf of Congressional candidates who support repeal of this bill.
So the fight will continue. President Obama and supporters of health care reform must continue to take their case to the people and articulate their assertion that this bill will have real and significant consequences in the lives of average Americans. And elections will be held to determine whether or not these changes will be sustained or overturned.
But for at least one day advocates for health care reform could savor their victory.
Biden’s expletive is already being heralded as a gaffe for the ages. Characteristically, later in the day he also mistakenly referred to Virgil as a Greek poet when he was actually a Roman.
So be it.
I, for one, feel that no apology is necessary.
Yes, Joe, this is a big, f*cking deal!