President Barack Obama talked a lot at his health care summit 119 minutes, as compared to 114 minutes for the 20 other Democrats in attendance combined, and 110 minutes for the 17 Republicans combined.
When you talk so much, there's a chance you'll say something stupid.
Mr. Obama told an anecdote he said helped shape his view that the government must tell health insurance companies what benefits they must provide.
"When I was young, had just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance," the president said. "I had a beat up old car. And I won't name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company, let's call it Acme Insurance, in in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended, and I called up Acme and said, 'You know, I'd like to see if I can get my car repaired.' And they laughed at me over the phone.
"Because, really, this was set up not actually to provide insurance, what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn't serious insurance.
"Now it's one thing if you've got a beat up old car that you can't get fixed. It's another thing if your kid is sick or you've got breast cancer."
It seems apparent from this anecdote Mr. Obama's insurance "was set up to meet the legal requirements" is that the insurance Mr. Obama had on his beat up old car was liability insurance, which is all that is required by law in Illinois and most other states.
The purpose of liability insurance as virtually every driver except Mr. Obama knows is to protect other drivers from injuries or damage you may cause, not to protect you. If you want to protect yourself, you need to buy collision insurance, too. So if the only insurance Mr. Obama had on his beat up old car was liability insurance, it's no wonder his insurance company "laughed at me over the phone" when he asked them to pay for repairs to his car. If you only pay for liability insurance, you only get liability insurance. If Mr. Obama had gone into a restaurant and ordered a hamburger, he shouldn't be indignant because he wasn't served a steak.
The anecdote suggests Mr. Obama didn't know what kind of insurance he had, which reflects more poorly on him than it does on his insurance company.
The health care summit was supposed to jump start a final push for Obamacare. It didn't work out that way, because the conception was flawed.
The major Democratic talking point has been that Republicans are abominable "no" men obstructionists with no reform ideas of their own.
This line of attack was working, despite the fact that Republicans have plenty of ideas, because the news media didn't report them. The health care summit provided Republicans with a much larger audience for their ideas than they'd ever had before.
"We had a chance on Thursday actually to display some of our brightest, most knowledgeable Republicans," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN Sunday. "It was actually very good for us because it certainly refuted the notion that Republicans are not interested in this subject and not knowledgeable about it and don't have alternatives."
With the health care summit a fizzle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went on the talk shows Sunday to rally the troops. This turned out to be as poor an idea as the health care summit, because she said some amazing things.
On CNN's "State of the Union" program, the Speaker said Obamacare is "bipartisan" even if no Republican votes for it.
Obamacare is so important that if a few pawns must be sacrificed in order to get it enacted, so be it, Ms. Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" program.
"We're not here just to self perpetuate our service in Congress," Ms. Pelosi said after reporter Elizabeth Vargas had noted Obamacare's unpopularity.
The pawns may not share her enthusiasm.
"It's unclear whether Pelosi's remarks will embolden or chill dozens of moderate House Democrats who face withering criticism of the health care proposal in visits with constituents and in national polls," said the Associated Press.
"Blue dogs want health care to come up again," a long time veteran of the House told Clark Judge of the White House Writers Group, "so they can vote against it."