Joe Biden Tweets About the Bad Old Days When ‘Just Being a Woman Was Considered a Pre-Existing Condition’
Joe Biden tweeted today, “Remember when just being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition?” What I remember is when people were saying the president shouldn’t be using Twitter because it made him look bad, though. What I don’t remember is nonsense anywhere close to matching this.
Remember when just being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition?
The Affordable Care Act changed that.
MAGA Republicans in Congress may have forgotten. But I haven't.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 23, 2023
What on earth could he have meant by this? I’m usually pretty good at extracting meaning out of a mess — it’s part of an editor’s job sometimes — but this has me stumped. I’ve seen typos this crazy, but they don’t get published. If they do, someone yanks it off line the instant they notice. It makes me almost think he meant to say it. But … what is it he meant to say?
He says, “Just being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition,” but Obama’s legislation changed that. “Pre-existing condition” is an insurance term. It applies to some injury, illness, or … condition that calls for medical treatment, and which is present in a person when changing insurance carriers. It’s never used for anything else. So first of all, Biden is asking, “Do you remember when just being a woman called for medical treatment?” No, I don’t.
As for pre-existing, sure, being female is something that precedes a woman’s job change (when most people would change their insurance). Being male has likewise always preceded a man’s job change. What’s the point? As fascinating political observations go, this one ranks right up there with pointing out how people who switch from one insurance company to another are always alive at the time.
But… it’s about “just” being a woman. And “was considered.” He doesn’t say who’s doing the considering. Probably Republicans, since he’s implying there was something wrong with it. So if I twist my brain around hard enough, I can imagine him intending to say something like this. “Remember when Republicans thought women should be medically mistreated, not even allowing them to have choice over their own bodies?”
If you’re going to sling a snark attack against your enemies, shouldn’t you at least mention that’s who you’re talking about?
There. That’s one thing he might have meant by it. If I squint real hard, I can almost see a kind of muddy, brambly path starting from what he said, and landing on that interpretation. I have to tell you, though, it wasn’t easy scraping up enough imagination to pull that together.
But my gracious, Mr. President! If you’re going to sling a snark attack against your enemies, shouldn’t you at least mention that’s who you’re talking about?
Maybe that’s wrong though. There’s another possibility these days. Think of the person whose long-existing reality is that she’s a woman, but she doesn’t want to be one, so she “considers” it a “condition.”
But no, that’s not right! Being a woman used to be a pre-existing condition, but not any longer. What’s changed? Well if the person wasn’t previously a woman, but is now, that would fit, right? (Biden might say something like that. I never would.) But that answer leaves us stuck, tool, because “being a woman” would no longer be pre-existing. So how could it ever have been a pre-existing condition?
But no … I’m thinking … Oh, yeah! (Pardon me, folks, but the confusion you’re feeling now isn’t mine. It isn’t yours, either. It’s in the source material.) Here’s the answer. I’ve got it now! Let’s backtrack to that woman who didn’t want to be one. That’s a pre-existing condition for sure, or at least she would probably consider it one.
Except Biden didn’t narrow it down to that small group of women. All it took, he said, was “just being a woman” Maybe he himself thinks that’s all it takes to need treatment.
The confusion you’re feeling now isn’t mine. It isn’t yours, either. It’s in the source material.
Obviously that’s not what he meant. It’s disgustingly objectionable to anyone who respects women — I had trouble even suggesting he might have meant it, it bothers me so much — and if the president meant that, the House and the Senate would flip to about 90 percent Republican next year.
It’s wrong, and yet, of my three guesses so far, it’s the one that fits the logic of his tweet the best. Funny how the worst way to understand what his words mean is by treating them as if they were meant to be logical.
Anyway, my first guess still seems the best to me, so let’s run with that one, okay? Just don’t run fast, and don’t run far, because we’re about to hit another wall. Biden said, “The Affordable Care Act changed that.” Really? If my best guess is really the best guess, it would mean the Affordable Care Act changed something about Republicans refusal to let women control their own bodies.
Forget the most obvious error — that has never been pro-lifers’ motivation — and try with me again to figure out what Biden was trying to say. What is it that Obamacare actually changed? It had no effect at all on anyone’s views regarding women’s bodies — or babies’ bodies, or abortion, for that matter.
That line throws every possible interpretation out the window. With that, I can’t even pretend to guess. The Affordable Care Act changed a lot, but I am sure it did nothing to change … to change … to change whatever it was he was talking about.
At Least It Ends Strong! (?)
At least he closes it strong. “MAGA Republicans in Congress may have forgotten. But I haven’t.”
It’s a great closing. That last line in particular: Very presidential. Short, pithy, targeted, and ominous. That’s exactly great leaders speak when they need to make sure their message is so powerful, so packed with punch, so abundantly clear, no one could possibly miss the point.
Enough said? I think I can let you take it from there.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the highly acclaimed Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.