Tuesday, April 1, 2014
April 1, 2014
ObamaCare Law as an Asterisk*
The figure of an star(*) used in writing or printing as a reference mark to indicate omissions, doubts, or some other qualification.
Monday is the ObamaCare Deadline, *Sort of
Chicago Tribune headline, March 31, 2014
This blog post, dated April 1, April Fool’s Day, is the first entry into my third ObamaCare Triology of books:
· One, Understanding ObamaCare
· Two, ObamaCare Revealed
· Three, ObamaCare: Dead or Alive?
Over the next 7 months, ending with the November midterm elections, ObamaCare will be a central news issue. It will be the lead story in one media story or another. It may determine the outcome of the midterm elections.
Each story should be accompanied by an *. An * reflects doubt on what is being said. An * isn’t exactly a punctuation mark.
Punctuation marks are an integral part of the text. Punctuation marks are road signs (stop, go, yield, slow, detour) that guide the reader. The period is a red light, the comma is a yellow light, the semicolon is a flashing red, the colon is a traffic cop, the question mark is a mark of surprise, the exclamation point is like the horn of your car(use it only when you have to). See Woe is I: The Grammarphone’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, Riverhead Books, 1996, for a full explanation.
The Asterisk* Is Different
But the asterisk *, that ‘s different. The asterisk * hovers above the sentence. The asterisk * is a hedge, a dodge, a tweak, a twitter, a delay, a rule change, a change of meaning.
President Obama and the Asterisk*
President Obama has mastered the asterisk *. According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama has used the asterisk* 38 times to change the law. The latest example is extending the enrollment deadline for 2 weeks, when just 3 weeks ago, March 12, Kathleen said the deadline would never be changed.* (on Obamaspeak, never means until change is politically useful).
The Chicago Tribune is cynical about the asterisk*,
“Many Americans, heads spinning form the ObamaCare changes so far, may suspect that there’s another reprieve – from penalties or deadlines – in store. Who knows? Thirty-eight ObamaCare asterisks are a lot of asterisks. We’d bet there are more on the way.”
The Tribune is not alone in its cynicism. Today’s Wall Street Journal goes so far as to ask; “Is ObamaCare a Law?” The WSJ questions whether Obama has the Constitutional right to rewrite laws.
I am not cynical. President Obama knows his punctuation marks. When he said, “If you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you want to keep your health plan, you can keep your health plan. Period.” I am sure he meant what he said, and he said what he meant. *Period.
But times change. Political circumstances change. Perhaps President Obama forgot what he said. Besides, he can always unfurl an asterisk* to explain why he has changed his mind.
Tweet: The Obama administration has changed ObamaCare 38 times, and it often uses an asterisk * to explain its change in position.