Did Sen. Obama campaign on a public option or not? It’s a question that is taking up a lot of pixels online and airtime on radio and TV. As a motivation to go looking for some answers, I have pondered something for a while about President Obama and other elected officials: How much does every American read into a candidates’ generic statement? Are we really listening to what they’re saying or are we hearing what we want to hear? All too often, I fear it is the latter. That’s one reason why campaigns are so frustrating to many people. Candidates are purposefully generic because they know everybody will read into their statements what they want to some degree. Getting elected is all about convincing enough people that you support everybody’s position. You can’t, of course, but that’s the task.
To begin with, I think I remember then-Sen. Obama campaigning on a public option. While I knew he wasn’t the most progressive Democratic candidate, he was all I had once Nov. 2008 rolled around. But did he campaign on something close to what I wanted or didn’t he? Here is some of what I found: