Carl Bernstein Hypes Obama's 'Very Smart Move' to Take Employer Mandate 'Off the Table'

On Tuesday night, the Obama administration announced it was delaying the implementation of a key provision of the president’s signature health care law – a so-called “employer mandate,” which requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance.

The move to delay implementation until 2015 was criticized by Republican lawmakers, who claim the measure is proof positive that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will be costly and disastrous. Of course, to a liberal journalist like Carl Bernstein the consequences of the delay are irrelevant, because “it’s a very smart move” that “takes this issue off the table in an election year.” [Video after the jump, via MSNBC.com.]

The famous Washington Post reporter defended the Obama administration and bashed Republicans for “politicizing everything” on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, with liberal members of guest host Mark Halperin’s panel eagerly joining in.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and an advisor to President Obama on the health care bill, claimed that ObamaCare “never affected small business” and that any claims to the contrary were “nonargument[s].” Of course, Bernstein was happy to agree: “Zeke is absolutely right. That's the point.”

But for the most of the segment, Bernstein wouldn’t even focus on the actual effects of the employer mandate delay, instead arguing for the political merits of the administration’s decision:

It’s a very smart move to do it. It takes this issue off the table in an election year. It says to business, we're not going to shove this down your throat.

Of course, the delay doesn’t assure that President Obama won’t “shove” the burdensome employer mandate down businesses’s throats. It just postpones the order until after the 2014 midterm elections, when it can’t negatively impact Democratic seats in Congress.

Bernstein seems to forget this, though, in his fawning over the administration. The reporter even praised President Obama for the country’s economic “recovery,” completely out of context:

The Obama administration, in one area where it's been particularly smart, is in the economy. We're in a recovery, we don't want to alienate business, the people in the White House are saying.

And it wouldn’t be a complete segment on MSNBC without someone blasting Republicans. Bernstein faithfully executed the takedown:

They've taken a step that business is going to look favorably upon, and it's going to take this off the election table as well. And the Republicans are mad as hell about it in their interest of politicizing everything into an election year issue. But this one isn't going to work.

I think we’re all looking forward to seeing Joe Scarborough restore some order to Morning Joe when he returns, as it’s quickly becoming a “Marxist variety hour” without him.

See the full transcript below:


MSNBC
Morning Joe
July 3, 2013
7:04 a.m. Eastern

MARK HALPERIN: Carl, what do you about the way this was announced by the administration? Late in the day, a blog post from Valerie Jarrett, a blog post from a Treasury Department official that, with all due respect, none of us have never heard of. A lot of Republicans are saying, why does this guy become the fourth branch of government and get to decide to delay the implementation of this?

CARL BERNSTEIN: I think that’s real inside baseball, because they're smart enough in the White House to know the story is going to be picked up, and we're all going to be talking about it this morning. It’s going to be front page in every newspaper in America. It’s a very smart move to do it. It takes this issue off the table in an election year. It says to business, we're not going to shove this down your throat. Look, nobody is going to repeal this law. This law is here. It's not going away, and it needs to be perfected. The Obama administration, in one area where it's been particularly smart, is in the economy. We're in a recovery, we don't want to alienate business, the people in the White House are saying. They've taken a step that business is going to look favorably upon, and it's going to take this off the election table as well. And the Republicans are mad as hell about it in their interest of politicizing everything into an election year issue. But this one isn't going to work.

HALPERIN: Nicole [Wallace], is the fact that the law, as Carl says, here to stay. Does that mean, that for whatever the political advantages Republicans see in attacking it, as Democrats did with President Bush's prescription drug plan, work with the White House to try to figure out how to improve it.

NICOLE WALLCE: Let me just, with all due respect, I beg to differ that the recovery is still largely a jobless one, and the unemployment rate is only ticking down because people are opting out of the work force.

BERNSTEIN: That part you're absolutely right about.

WALLACE: The notion that our economy and our recovery is under way, the Obama administration has to, at some level, understand that small business owners are the key to the recovery becoming a recovery in which people actually go back to work.

DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: But this never affected small business!

WALLACE: If they're hampered –

BERNSTEIN: Zeke is absolutely right. That's the point.

EMANUEL: This never affected small business. That is a nonargument.

HALPERIN: The law is going to be implemented, as Carl says. Should Republicans sit down with the president and say, let's try to figure out how to improve it? As all major pieces of legislation like this require.

WALLACE: I think people in both parties should always be constructive, but I think that this law has been political from the beginning, because President Obama refused to take input from Republicans from go. And the White House set the tone, in terms of making this political.

BERNSTEIN: Wait just a moment. That's just not the case. In the Senate from the beginning, one of the reasons that the legislation was deferred for so long is that the president and the Democrats on the Hill wanted to sit down with Republicans, and there was a caucus going on in the Senate for months until the Republicans finally said, to hell with the whole thing. So let’s be factual about this.                                         
WALLACE: But this isn't about politicians. This is also about an uprising in this country.

BERNSTEIN: This is about the politicians.

WALLACE: There was a ground swell of opposition.

EMANUEL: Excuse me! We met with many Republicans. We talked with them. Olympia Snowe gave us a list of ten things she wanted done in the bill. We did all ten. She voted in the committee for the bill and then on the floor against it. You cannot say we did not talk to Republicans. It was Republicans who had one word for this whole legislative process, which was nyet. We're not playing ball. We're not going to discuss it.