August 16, 2009

A New Definition of Chutzpah

You've probably heard the definition of chutzpah: A boy who's convicted of murdering his parents and begs the judge for leniency on the grounds that he's an orphan. Now we've got an example that's almost as... well, audacious.

A few months ago, President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama said this about his grandmother:

President Barack Obama said his grandmother's hip-replacement surgery during the final weeks of her life made him wonder whether expensive procedures for the terminally ill reflect a "sustainable model" for health care.

The president's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, had a hip replaced after she was diagnosed with cancer, Obama said in an interview with the New York Times magazine that was published today. Dunham, who lived in Honolulu, died at the age of 86 on Nov. 2, 2008, two days before her grandson's election victory.

"I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost," Obama said in the interview. "I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she's my grandmother."

Obama said "you just get into some very difficult moral issues" when considering whether "to give my grandmother, or everybody else's aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they're terminally ill."

Which is why he now wants the government to take more of a hand in those decisions. Which is why, apparently, we should listen to him.

Then yesterday, during his "townhall" meeting in Colorado, Obama said this:

"I just lost my grandmother last year. I know what it's like to watch somebody you love, who's aging, deteriorate and have to struggle with that," an impassioned Obama told a crowd as he spoke of Madelyn Payne Dunham. He took issue with "the notion that somehow I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so they can go around pulling the plug on grandma."

And thus, we have a new definition of chutzpah: A President of the United States who complains about the expense of alleviating his dying grandmother's suffering, and who then uses her death as evidence of his compassion.

You may not have run for office specifically to pull the plug on grandma, Mr. President, but you're obviously not going to let her get in your way.

P.S. Speaking of hip replacements, Biden's a pretty swingin' guy.

Posted by Jim Treacher at August 16, 2009 03:58 AM