I’m not bettin’ on Obama’s big speech

I’ll probably have to watch the president’s speech tonight on tape delay. This is a mid-week night in the middle of September and the Frederick family, like all good Las Vegas families, gathers the young ones close for a meal and an evening of reflection as we attempt to discern winners and losers for the upcoming debut of the National Football League.

We never bet much, usually no more than $5 a game. And, if we choose wisely and avoid betting on every single game we usually wind up the season up or down no more than $50. But the joy of bringing a family together around the mysteries of point spreads is priceless. Besides, how else does a Clark County resident teach their children math skills?

But, I digress.

Here are 10 things I think the president must do tonight if he hopes to get the health care debate back on track.

1. Don’t deliver another rhetoric-heavy, substance-light speech. At this point, we don’t need to be inspired as much as we need to be informed. Don’t talk down to us. Don’t take snotty potshots at the American people who have legitimate questions about your plan. Get specific. More substance we can understand and less rhetoric, please.

2. If you push for a public option component, then put your family, Congress and all federal workers on it. In other words: You first.

3. When you deliver your standard line about how we "can’t afford" not to do health care reform, explain specifically what you mean. Exactly how is the nation’s recovery from this recession dependent upon your health care plan?

4. Stop saying you are open to all ideas, even ideas from Republicans, when you don’t embrace even the easiest of GOP ideas. Tort reform, Mr. President?

5. Explain specifically the safeguards you envision to make sure your universal health plan will only be extended to American citizens and not just anybody who walks into an American hospital.

6. When you once again explain how two-thirds of the cost of your plan will be paid for by cleaning up graft and inefficiencies in the existing Medicare and Medicaid plans, be honest about what you mean. Use the words "rationing" and "cuts." At this point, sugar-coating is not helpful.

7. Try hard to deliver one major speech without attempting to excuse your failures, or accentuate your task, on the previous administration. Frankly, we don’t care how hard you think the job now is. You wanted this job. You promised you could do this job. Do the job. Stop whining.

8. Do not call your plan a "moral imperative." That holier-than-thou argument wears pretty thin. WWJD? I don’t know what he’d do with health care. Do you? If you say "yes," then you scare me more than ever. Just remember this: You motives and your plans are no more closer to God’s than anyone else seriously trying to grapple with making the system better. Focus on effectiveness, efficiency and cost. Drop the church sermons.

9. Don’t hold up other countries, like Canada or Britain, as role models for us. If you do, then explain why people with privileges in Canada and Britain choose to come to America for health care and not the other way around.

10. And finally, make reforms to our system the old fashioned American way — through competition and choice. Stop demonizing private insurance and enterprise and embrace their strengths to improve the system.

I’d like to think the president would take heart with at least half of my ideas tonight.

I’m also considering bettin’ on Kansas City to win their division.

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