By JAMES TARANTO, Wall Street Journal
They say it's the sincerest form of flattery. At a press conference Thursday President Obama asserted that when it comes to ObamaCare, the Republican Party "is going through the stages of grief--anger and denial and all that stuff--and we're not at acceptance yet." We used the same gag in October, though ObamaCare supporters were the butt of our joke. And we were recycling our own material: We also invoked the Elisabeth Kübler Ross "stages of grief" way back in November 2000 in reference to Al Gore's refusal to concede his loss to George W. Bush.
Blogress Ann Althouse astutely observes that Obama skipped "bargaining," perhaps "because he doesn't want his party to have to bargain with the other side." She is put off by the analogy:
Tell someone who's angry and unaccepting of a political situation that they [sic] should go away until they've accepted what is being done to them sounds to me like taunting and bullying. There's absolutely no reason why they should back down because some of their emotions correspond to Kübler-Ross's (bogus) stages. You're saying if someone doesn't believe that a political cause is dying or feels angry at the idea that it's dying, all you need to do is wait out the process, because bargaining and depression need to occur and then you win because finally there will be acceptance. Infuriating nonsense! It only intensifies and justifies the anger. Your opponents aren't just going through a "stage," and you sound inert and supercilious talking about them that way.
Another adjective that comes to mind is "unpresidential." Obama, after all, isn't president of only Democrats, nor are only Republicans opposed to ObamaCare or worried about its consequences. To those who see an inconsistency in this column's criticizing Obama for using a gag we've employed in the past, let us clarify things with a Shermanesque answer to a question nobody is asking: We promise that we will never run for, or serve as, president.
In his opening statement, Obama asserted that "the repeal debate is and should be over. The Affordable Care Act is working." He said the same thing on April Fool's Day, though the repetition is beginning to feel like "Groundhog Day." The assertion, and especially the reassertion, that the debate is over is self-refuting, for it is simply a statement of Obama's position in the debate.
An editorial in the Washington Post tries to cheer on Obama but ends up illustrating our point: "Obamacare's critics have had a bad week," the editors assert. "On Thursday, President Obama announced that 8 million people have enrolled in new health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces, and a significant portion of them are young Americans."