In an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez touted the signing of ObamaCare into law: "the Senate bill...becomes law today. You're going to be stuck with a bill you don't like." She then wondered: "What if the catastrophic scenario that you've been warning about doesn't play out?"
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
Former presidential candidate and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani minced no words when it came to the Obama administration's massive health care overhaul. In an exclusive interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Giuliani stated that, plain and simple, it "was an ideological act by the Congress" liberal Democrats "are very happy about."
"Instead of privatizing - which is what our government should be doing - we're taking major roles of the economy for the United States government," Giuliani told "Closing Bell" anchor Bartiromo. "And it is not an exaggeration to say we are starting to look more like a European social democracy than we are an American free-market capitalist society."
A self-avowed free-market advocate, Bartiromo attempted to defend the Democrats' actions for a second: "Let me take devil's advocate for a minute here and say, ‘Okay, you say socialism and we're seeing this government takeover. Well maybe some of this stuff wasn't working before, so how do we know this isn't going to work better?'" she posed.
Giuliani lamented how disingenuous Obama's entire argument about a health care "crisis" was, seeing as how much of the significant provisions do not go into effect for years - and quite possibly under the watch of a Republican president.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer shared the glow of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's health policy victory, showing her, in an “ABC News exclusive” interview, a Washington Post with the headline of “Democrats Claim Health Votes” as she wondered: “What do you think your dad and your mom would have said about this moment?” Sawyer followed up: “Did your dad have a phrase, a sentence that meant the most to you when he'd say it to you, or your mom?” Pelosi's answer, “make sure you have the votes,” cracked up Sawyer, who chuckled: “No so sentimental.”
Sawyer framed her sit-down by trumpeting Pelosi's power, teasing at the top of World News: “Our exclusive interview with the woman now called the most powerful Speaker in one hundred years.”
Setting up the interview excerpts, Sawyer heralded how “she's said to have done it with an epic blend of persuasion, muscle,” describing Pelosi as the “indefatigable,, unwavering almost 70-year-old Speaker, mother of five, grandmother of seven.” After fretting about how “there was such vitriol around the Capitol and also inside the room last night,” Sawyer told Pelosi: “The Economist said that you are arguably the most powerful woman in American history. A Brown university professor has said you are certainly the most powerful Speaker in one hundred years.”
After weeks of featuring mostly Democratic guests arguing for health care legislation, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday conducted a hectoring interview with Republican John McCain. The former Democratic operative turned journalist's first question revolved around the Kennedys: "...You were good friends with Senator Ted Kennedy. What would you say to him this morning?"
After McCain mentioned some ideas that Republicans could do better and, at the same time, advocated for overturning the health care bill, Stephanopoulos complained, "But, Senator, if you repeal the bill, those reforms that you just mentioned will be repealed as well. Won't they?"
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on Monday allowed the Kennedys to take a victory lap for the passage of health care. As the co-host interviewed Patrick Kennedy, an ABC graphic announced, "Rep. Kennedy on Dad's Final Wish: Father's Life Work Was Reform."Roberts teased the segment, "And we talk to the Congressman who sees this bill's passage as the completion of his late father's legacy."
The anchor repeatedly tossed softballs to the Rhode Island representative: "Did you feel your father's presence throughout this ordeal?" Earlier in the segment, she offered this hard-hitting query: "Congressman, an emotional 24 hours for so many people. I want to just get a gauge of your feelings here this morning."
In comparison, co-host George Stephanopoulos grilled Senator John McCain on the Republican response. He demanded, "I know that Republicans want to repeal the bill. But there are also some provisions that take effect this year that you said you're for...No cancellation of policies if you get ill. Will you move to repeal those provisions as well?"
Who knew that two brave twenty-somethings and a skilled mentor constituted America's entire right wing?
That's apparently how Ian Urbina at the New York Times sees it. In a subheadline employed in a front-page article in the paper's March 20 print edition (relevant portion shown at right) but not used in the online edition's version, the reporter told readers that the poor, put-upon Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is on the brink of bankruptcy because it was "ATTACKED BY" the streamrolling monolith known at "THE RIGHT" (cue the scare music and the blood-curdling scream).
Actually, it was filmmaker James O'Keefe, his investigative partner Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart, the pair's take-no-prisoners mentor. Three people, hardly "the right wing," basically did it all. What followed -- the de-fundings, the abandonments by former political and corporate friends, and now apparently its imminent financial demise -- was largely inevitable fallout from a brilliantly conceived series of stings followed by a savvily managed exposure campaign that ultimately forced holdout establishment media publications, including the Times itself, to play catch-up after days of embarrassing unprofessional silence.
Obviously, that's not how Urbina sees it, occasionally with barely concealed bitterness (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a Friday piece of presidential protection prose promulgated by the Associated Press, writer Erica Werner correctly identified a number of significant "unfulfilled commitments" relating to proposed health care legislation, and then attempted to make excuses for why they didn't happen.
Werner's work was conveniently accompanied by a heavily downplaying headline -- "Final health bill omits some of Obama's promises" -- while her rundown of the specifics in reality ended up being "all but two":
It was a bold response to skyrocketing health insurance premiums. President Barack Obama would give federal authorities the power to block unreasonable rate hikes.
Yet when Democrats unveiled the final, incarnation of their health care bill this week, the proposal was nowhere to be found.
On Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Wolf Blitzer engaged newly-elected Republican Scott Brown on his opposition to ObamaCare, and asked him the same question from the left twice in succession: "What's wrong with giving 30 million-plus more Americans access to health insurance?" He also later added, "What's wrong with spending money...if it's going to give access to 30 million Americans?" [audio clips available here; video clips available here]
Blitzer had the Massachusetts senator on just before the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. The anchor first complimented Brown for driving over to the CNN Washington Bureau in his "nice little truck," and immediately asked his slanted question.
After the senator gave his initial answer, Blitzer, seemingly unsatisfied by the response, pressed further, and added another argument from the left: "I guess I should rephrase the question. What's wrong with spending money- the cost, if it winds up costing money, if it winds up raising taxes on multimillionaires or millionaires, or people even earning more than $250,000 a year- if it's going to give access to 30 million Americans, so they don't have to worry about getting sick- what's wrong with that?"
The mainstream media are carping about Bret Baier's "contentious" interview when in fact "he did nothing unlike what Tim Russert did in all the years that Tim Russert interviewed Republican presidents," argued Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell on today's "Fox & Friends." [MP3 audio available here; WMV format video available here]
Just as the late "Meet the Press" host would push interview subjects to reconcile contradictory positions, Baier asked the same of President Obama, who "showed up [to the Baier interview] prepared to give a speech with his talking points, which is what he always does and always gets away with" when interviewed by other journalists, Bozell noted.
Later in the interview, former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino noted that Obama currently has a 46 percent approval rating and asked Bozell what the poll numbers would look like if the media were actually tougher on Obama.
"If the press were, not tough on Obama [but] fair, fair with this president... I think among other things, health care would be dead. This whole charade would be dead," Bozell concluded.
Adopting the tone of an anxious car salesman, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Friday yet again pressed pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak on what it would take to get him to vote yes on health care. Over the course of two interviews, Stephanopoulos has offered eight questions designed to figure out what the Representative needs to support the legislation.
Speaking of a brief chat between Stupak and Barack Obama, Stephanopoulos wondered, "Did he say anything to change your mind that could move you from no to yes?" The host later implored, "What more do you need?" At various points, the two seemed to be having separate conversations.
At one point, the former Democratic operative turned journalist hopefully opined, "Congressman, I have to say, this is more openness to working this out than I've seen from you in weeks. What's changing here?" But, Stupak shot back: "Nothing, George. If they had the vote today, I'm still a no vote."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday lobbied Representative Jason Altmire, a Democrat who is undecided on the health care legislation, over what it will take "to change your vote from no to yes." The former Democratic operative turned journalist pressed for details: "Well, the House bill was about, what, $950 billion. The Senate bill came in about $875 billion. What number do you need to see?"
Stephanopoulos chided Altmire over whether he was ready to take down Obama's presidency. Citing another Democrat who changed sides, he argued, "You know, yesterday, when Congressman Kucinich said he was switching from no to yes, he said one of the factors guiding his vote was the fact that if this went down, it would cripple President Obama's presidency. How big a factor is that for you?"
The ABC anchor even concocted a hypothetical situation in which Altmire held the key to everything: "Okay, Congressman, it's Sunday afternoon. The vote's been called. The clock has run out. The Democrats are stuck at 215 yes votes. Speaker Pelosi comes up to you on the floor. The President gets you on the phone and says, 'It is all up to you.' Can you imagine voting no under those circumstances?"
With a disparity of five-to-one, the same network morning and evening news programs that displayed an eager interest in Republican Mark Foley's E-mail scandal minimized the groping and tickling of Democrat Eric Massa. In 2010, these shows offered a scant 30 stories to Democrat Eric Massa and details of how he engaged in naked shower fights. Over a 12 day period in 2006, 152 segments were devoted to Foley.
Additionally, this number of 30 is a generous one. From March 5 through March 16, the networks conducted only 13 full reports on Massa and eight anchor briefs. The remaining nine examples were mere mentions where Massa's name was simply highlighted. NBC's Nightly News showed the least interest in the Democratic Congressman. Anchor Brian Williams featured Massa in a quick 25 second anchor brief on March 5 and, briefly, the next day, during a Mike Viqueira piece on health care.
It's no shock to rational, thinking people that healthcare legislation currently before Congress will do nothing to halt rising insurance premiums, but that the folks at the Associated Press would come to such a conclusion AND write about it is quite surprising.
There it was in a piece published Wednesday called, "FACT CHECK: Premiums would rise under Obama plan."
Readers are strongly encouraged to fasten seatbelts tightly, for they're about to enter what has to be an alternate universe (h/t Ed Morrissey):
"[H]ypocrisy is a well-established parliamentary procedure," Tumulty noted in her March 17 Swampland blog post before contrasting the Hoyer of 2010 to the in-the-minority-party Hoyer of 2003 who decried "deem and pass" as "demeaning of democracy" and cautioned that its prior use should not excuse the practice in the future (emphases mine):
2010: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on the idea of passing health care with a self-executing rule:
The House Democratic leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, also defended the maneuver on Tuesday. “It is consistent with the rules,” Mr. Hoyer said. “It is consistent with former practice.”
2003: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer complaining about the Republicans' use of self-executing rules:
On Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty returned to targeting Nancy Pelosi, this time for endorsing the controversial "Slaughter Solution" to passing ObamaCare through the House of Representatives without a vote. Cafferty labeled the proposal "beyond sleazy," and later flatly remarked, "This reeks!" The commentator even gave some rare kudos to House Republicans [audio clips from the segment available here].
Cafferty devoted his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary to Pelosi's support for the "deem and pass" procedural maneuver that Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter submitted as a possible way of getting the Senate version of health care "reform" passed through the House. He wasted little time in expressing his amazement at the move: "Just when you think you've seen it all in Washington, along comes something like this. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may try to pass the controversial health care reform bill without making members vote on it- simply unbelievable."
Eternally optimistic New York Times pro-Obama-care reporter David Herszenhorn's Tuesday morning post managed to make the desperate proposal by House Democrats to pass a massive federal expansion of health care entitlement spending without actually voting on the legislation sound like an innocuous procedural wrinkle: “Passing Health Care Legislation, Tucked in a Rule.”
According to a plan by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House would vote on changes to the Senate-approved bill, which would then be "deemed" to have passed the House without actually being voted on in the House.
As they push for a climactic vote on major health care legislation, House Democratic leaders face a bit of a conundrum: rank-and-file lawmakers detest the Senate-passed health care bill, and yet before the Democrats’ overall proposal becomes law, the House somehow has to find a way to approve that Senate bill.
The reason for that is simple: Democrats no longer control the 60 votes needed to stop Republican filibusters in the Senate, so passing a brand-new bill in both chambers is impossible. Instead, the House is planning to first adopt the Senate bill and then adopt a package of revisions to that bill in an expedited budget measure that cannot be filibustered and can be approved in the Senate by a simple majority.
Herszenhorn reduced the tactics of both sides to procedural maneuvers, though the idea of the House refusing to vote on such vast historic legislation would seem to at least possibly be unconstitutional. The Times doesn't even raise the possibility:
MSNBC host David Shuster on Tuesday demonstrated his condescension for conservative tea party activists, deriding protesters who had arrived in Washington as "far right" and "going nuts." Talking to reporter Richard Wolffe, he chided, "I mean, what does the White House make of the opposition on the far right?" [Audio available here.]
Later in the day, Shuster showed video of demonstrators who oppose the health care bill and dismissed, "Tea partiers are going nuts over the process Nancy Pelosi may use to pass the bill, even though it's the same process Republicans used when they were in power."
In the 10am hour, the MSNBC anchor talked to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. He brought up the very unusual parliamentary tactics that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has threatened to use. But, Shuster didn't seem particularly concerned with questions of the constitutionality of the so-called deem and pass measure. Instead, the journalist fretted about the "very pugnacious, very aggressive" tone of the protesters.
The Associated Press's timing couldn't have been better for those who still want to pretend that Social Security is really not in serious trouble. Stephen Ohlemacher's item ("Social Security to start cashing Uncle Sam's IOUs") originally appeared on Sunday, in the midst of most of the major college basketball conference tournament championships, then followed by the evening's announcement of the selections for the NCAA Division I Men's basketball tournament. (The AP has issued minor revisions several times since its original appearance, up to and including today.)
The wire service's timing, while convenient for the Washington establishment, as it minimizes the possibility of distractions from its statist health care obsession, couldn't have been worse for those of us who wish the American people would get a grip on the gravity of the situation -- which is why I saved this post for today.
What is about to occur is the event that as little as a year ago, according to the Social Security Trustees' 2009 Report, wasn't expected to arrive until 2016. Ohlemacher tells us that it's right here, right now, and gets the reporting right until his seventh paragraph (bolds are mine):
The White House may have to waterboard its congressional allies to compel enough Democrats to support the health care bill and Congress will definitely have to raise taxes if the bill passes, insisted Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation on CBS, this morning on The Early Show. [Audio available here.]
As liberals focus on extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, Schieffer departed from the liberal talking points by pointing out that the current bill would definitely force Congress to raise taxes.
“These Democrats don’t know yet how much this bill is going to cost, they don’t know exactly who’s going to pay the taxes—there is no question some taxes are going up on this,” he said.
Two reports linked by Instapundit earlier today demonstrate at a macro and micro level how weak the claim that Toyota has deliberately jeopardized consumer safety in connection with "sudden acceleration" complaints may ultimately turn out to be.
The macro piece comes from Megan McArdle (pictured at left; "How Real are the Defects in Toyota's Cars?") at her blog at the Atlantic. The magazine's business and economics editor dissected case-by-case detail originally compiled by the Los Angeles Times, which was also analyzed to an extent by Washington Examiner op-ed writer and Overlawyered blogger Ted Frank, to make important points about the likelihood of driver error in many of them.
The micro item comes from Michael Fumento, whose Forbes column takes apart the recent James Sikes "sudden acceleration" incident in California as it rips the establishment media for its total lack of skepticism about the driver's claims and his credibility.
First, to McArdle, who also has nicely done graphs at her post:
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Friday moderated a group of mostly liberal voices to sympathize with Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy and, at times, former Representative Eric Massa. Speaking of the politician who spent the week talking about naked showers arguments and tickle fights, Stephanopoulos fretted, "Too much time on Eric Massa?"
The former Democratic operative turned journalist's liberal guests included DailyBeast.com editor Tina Brown and former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner. (Republican strategist Kevin Madden was the lone conservative.)
Speaking of Massa's now infamous Glenn Beck interview, Hefner tried to highlight the positive: "...I actually thought the most thoughtful thing that Massa said on the Glenn Beck show, was in response to the question of, what would you fix? And he started talking about campaign finance reform."
The New York Times published a scathing editorial Sunday condemning Americans who have the audacity to request that attorneys who represented terrorists not set national legal policy. The Times smeared them and their elected representatives as McCarthyites, and criticized them for noting that colossal conflict of interest.
"It is not the first time that the right has tried to distract Americans from the real issues surrounding detention policy by attacking lawyers," the Times states of controversy over Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to inform Congress who in the Justice Department has represented alleged terrorists, and in what capacity are they now serving.
But the left has done just that -- use nominees' records as means to block their appointments -- and the Times hasn't complained. So why the sudden outrage? Well, the paper's liberal editorial board doesn't mind when the left attacks. But when conservatives demand answers, they are evil McCarthyites on a political witch hunt.
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "President Obama makes a tough final push, going on the offensive against health insurance companies. Will it work?" Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez gushed: "It looked like a campaign rally yesterday with President Obama center-stage taking his fight for health care reform out of Washington and into America's heartland."
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed up Rodriguez's fawning intro by reporting: "It did indeed look like a campaign. I'll tell you, the President is racing hard to get across the finish line with health care reform. He's trying to convince the public to ignore what he calls 'Washington's obsession with keeping score in politics.'" An on-screen headline read: "Obama on the Offensive; Attacks Insurers In Latest Push for Reform."
Plante ignored the Obama administration's constant political score-keeping and instead lamented how despite the President "taking on the pundits and the political establishment...polls show Mr. Obama has an uphill battle." Plante cited a recent Gallup poll showing 49% of Americans oppose ObamaCare, though failed to point out that only 42% of respondents in that poll favored the plan.
On Thursday, the Early Show claimed that ObamaCare was on the "fast-track" to being passed.
Rush mentioned this on the air as his show opened.
It comes from the Associated Press, in a later paragraph of an Obama cheerleading item ("Obama pitches health plan in spirited appearance"; AP picture at right is from that story) by Julie Pace and David Espo.
The paragraph in question opens by giving readers the impression that either Pace, Espo, or another AP person has actually seen language in whatever iteration of ObamaCare happens to be floating around House chambers these days. But then it backs down and says it's only "described by a Democratic aide," meaning that the wire service is willingly serving as a trial-balloon enabler:
In a new change sought by House Democrats, the fix-it bill would require businesses to count part-time workers when calculating penalties for failing to provide health coverage for employees. Smaller businesses would be exempt. The Senate bill would count only full-time workers in applying the penalties, but under the change, described by a Democratic aide, two part-time workers would count as one full-time worker. Businesses say that's unduly burdensome, but Democrats contend it would prevent businesses from avoiding penalties by hiring more workers part-time.
MSNBC's David Shuster on Monday attacked Republicans as racist for calling embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel a "crooked, Harlem Democrat." Talking to ex-Virginia Governor Doug Wilder, the host complained about a press release by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): "They could have called him the crooked New York Democrat. They could have called him a crooked Democrat." [Audio available here.]
Shuster continued, "Why crooked Harlem Democrat? And did you see that as being racially tinged?" Clearly, the provocative part of the NRCC's press release was labeling Rangel corrupt. How is it inaccurate to refer to the Representative as a "Harlem Democrat?" Harlem is in his district.
Not the biggest deal, but emblematic of how the Washington press corps consider anyone to the right of center, no matter if barely so, to be a “conservative,” while anyone who strays at all from a perfect liberal line is not worthy of an ideological label.
Setting up Sunday’s Face the Nation, CBS's Bob Schieffer described guest Evan Bayh simply as “the Indiana Democrat” while tagging Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is every bit, if not more, off the conservative reservation as Bayh is off the liberal one, as a “conservative Republican.” Schieffer:
Today on Face the Nation: Is Washington broken? We'll talk to Evan Bayh, the Indiana Democrat. He's become so disillusioned with the Senate he's leaving, but he's still trying to find a way to ease the partisan rancor by teaming with conservative Republican Lindsey Graham who’s also here to talk about that...
ABC's World News on Friday night finally caught up with burgeoning Democratic scandals, though hardly showing the same zeal as when the networks incessantly focused on Republican Congressman Mark Foley back in 2006. On Thursday, the MRC's Scott Whitlock documented how this week the ABC evening newscast had “devoted almost six times as much coverage to Senator Jim Bunning and his temporary hold-up of an unemployment bill as the program did for the ongoing revelations that Democratic Charlie Rangel violated House ethics with his trips to the Caribbean [38 seconds].” Anchor Diane Sawyer set up the Friday night story:
And in political Washington tonight, Democrats on Capitol Hill capping a bad week have to be saying thank heaven this is Friday. The latest: Democratic Congressman Eric Massa, from upstate New York, announced he's quitting his seat under a cloud of harassment allegations. What does this mean for the Democratic Party and the future? Here's Jon Karl.
Karl showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promise of the “most ethical Congress in history” and that she would “drain the swamp” as he highlighted Rangel and the announcement Massa, accused of “sexually harassing two male aides,” will resign. Karl recalled:
Democrats rode into power by targeting Republican corruption, and there was lots of it: The Mark Foley sex scandal involving under-age pages and lobbying scandals that landed two Republican Congressmen in jail.