Last night, the right-of-center side of the blogosphere jumped all over President Obama’s reference to what they thought was a non-existent Hawaiian Earthquake in 2006. Writers for the site Hot Air and Gateway Pundit, among others, predictably used the comment as an example of Obama’s “one size fits all” government-funded solution to any problem. But even worse, it was seen as an even more indicting example of his presidential cluelessness, because of course, “Hawaii hasn’t had an earthquake since 1972!” Actually, on this one, Obama was right.
President Obama’s interview with Special Report host Bret Baier yesterday was seen by many as a draw. In truth, many saw the drama surrounding the build-up to the interview was more compelling than the actual interview. Then came Hawaiian Earthquake dust-up and, well, here we are.
Writer Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit was the first to notice the odd reference:
Either Obama’s completely making up stuff now or we all missed some horrible devastating earthquake in Hawaii…President Obama said tonight that he agreed with “The Louisiana Purchase” in Obamacare because it also covered the earthquake in Hawaii….In 1868 there was a major earthquake in Hawaii that killed 77 people. In 1975 an earthquake in Hawaii killed 2 people.
Then Cassy Fiano at Hot Air got in the act, writing:
This moment, from Bret Baier’s interview on Fox News with Obama, might just be one of the biggest “WTF?!” moments from Obama’s presidency yet. Obama is either completely making things up, living in an alternate reality, or really, really confused. …
Apparently, there was a devastating earthquake in Hawaii that we all somehow missed.
Oh, wait, no. That’s right. There was no earthquake, and Obama is just totally clueless, as usual. In fact, the last earthquake in Hawaii to cause any deaths at all was in 1975, and two people died.
In any case, why is he using this argument, anyways? He’s turned this health care bill into a one-size-fits-all solution for everything. Not only will it fix our health care, but it will apparently create jobs and give disaster relief around the country!
The meme was then picked up by numerous other right-of-center blogs and, as usually happens with Internet memes, sort of started a life of its own. Of course, it is completely germane to criticize the merits of an enormous, and some would say byzantine health care bill that allows for additional medical coverage in the event of a natural disaster (though phrased that way, it sort of makes sense.) But to claim that Obama is confused or somehow making things up because of this Hawaiian earthquake reference? Well that’s just plain wrong.
Why? Because there actually WAS an earthquake in Hawaii in 2006. And, no — it wasn’t just some slight tremor, it was considered by many to be a disaster — even then president George W. Bush declared it a major disaster so that it could receive Federal Aid (big government!)
Video and transcript of the exchange is below:
Transcript provided by Fox News:
BAIER: Do you know which specific deals are in or out, as of today?
OBAMA: I am certain that we’ve made sure, for example, that any burdens on states are alleviated, when it comes to what they’re going to have to chip in to make sure that we’re giving subsidies to small businesses, and subsidies to individuals, for example.
BAIER: So the Connecticut deal is still in?
OBAMA: So that’s not — that’s not going to be something that is going to be in this final package. I think the same is true on all of these provisions. I’ll give you some exceptions though.
Something that was called a special deal was for Louisiana. It was said that there were billions — millions of dollars going to Louisiana, this was a special deal. Well, in fact, that provision, which I think should remain in, said that if a state has been affected by a natural catastrophe, that has created a special health care emergency in that state, they should get help. Louisiana, obviously, went through Katrina, and they’re still trying to deal with the enormous challenges that were faced because of that.
OBAMA: That also — I’m giving you an example of one that I consider important. It also affects Hawaii, which went through an earthquake. So that’s not just a Louisiana provision. That is a provision that affects every state that is going through a natural catastrophe.
Now I have said that there are certain provisions, like this Nebraska one, that don’t make sense. And they needed to be out. And we have removed those. So, at the end of the day, what people are going to be able to say is that this legislation is going to be providing help to small businesses and individuals, across the board, in an even handed way, and providing people relief from a status quo that’s just not working.