Daily Kos diarist "Risen Tree" took a moment to discuss capitalism and freedom, in a very Kosmonaut way. The article was titled "What Teabaggers Really Want."
"One of the Teabaggers' favorite buzzwords is 'freedom,' which they seem to generally define as having to follow as few regulations as possible. For all the noise they make about it, they seem to have grave difficulty defining its scope," the article began. "[L]et me explain to them what the logical conclusions of such insane ideas include."
Can anyone imagine a top Bush 43 adviser, say Karl Rove, telling a reporter that his boss couldn't attend an important American historical anniversary event because "he's too busy trying to save the Republican Party"?
Dan Pfeiffer is "Assistant to the President of the United States and Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications." Today, in response to a tough but fair question tweeted by Ron Fournier at the National Journal, Pfeiffer said that President Barack Obama wasn't attending the ceremonies surrounding the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address because "there's this whole website thing that someone suggested might destroy the Dem Party." The exchange would surely generate a great deal of press coverage if it involved a conservative or Republican presidential adviser, but the only story other than at Fournier's National Journal was at the Hill, a popular burial ground for such stories. The Fournier-Pfeiffer exchange, with some external razzing, follows the jump (HT Twitchy):
Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist has an excellent post today deconstructing how the liberal Texas Tribune website served as an uncritical PR agent for a Texas couple -- Marni Evan and John Lockhart -- who lamented how a new Texas law pushed them to seek an abortion out-of-state
I don't want to go overboard here, but most of the print establishment press deserves a bit of grudging credit in the Arne Duncan "white suburban moms" controvery.
Most of them aren't characterizing the gutless attempt by Barack Obama's education secretary to back away from his spiteful, condescending, bigoted comment Friday as an apology — because it wasn't. In a Monday post at the Department of Educations's Homeroom blog (how courageous — not), Duncan only admitted that "I used some clumsy phrasing that I regret," and that "I singled out one group of parents when my aim was to say that we need to communicate better to all groups," while repeating many of the tired lies which have accompanied Common Core's imposition from its inception. There was no admission of wrongdoing, and nothing resembling an "I'm sorry." Predictably, Stephanie Simon at the Politico was among those who considered Duncan's dumbness an apology (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):
It's hard to tell whether a Sunday morning tweet (HT Twitchy) by the Politico's Glenn Thrush is an attempt to deflect attention from the historic Obamacare trainwreck or a sign of a serious midlife crisis.
Poor Glenn is bored. He "can't watch/listen to another word" about the Affordable Care Act. Apparently, writing a roughly 7000-word Politico Magazzzz ... zzz ... zzz ... excuse me, Magazine item about the utter uselessness and policy detachment of most of President Obama's cabinet is more interesting to him (I'm estimating the total word count because I got bored after reading Page 1 of 5 and seeing my word processor count over 1,500 words). Glenn, you really need to get out of Washington and talk to some of the millions who have seen their policies cancelled, along with a few of those who have seen their health insurance premiums double or triple under Obamacare with often worse coverage. One thing they aren't is bored.
Will yet another example of rhetorical intemperance by an Obama administration official get a free pass? So far it mostly has.
A Washington Post item by Valerie Strauss at its "Answer Sheet" blog quotes a dispatch from Libbly Nelson at the Politico, but does not link to it. I couldn't find a related original story by Nelson at her Politico archive or in a Politico search on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's name (not in quotes). Here is what the Post says Nelson wrote (HT The Blaze; bolds are mine):
The student health care plan offered by Bowie State University, Maryland's oldest historically black college, is an example of one of those "substandard" plans President Obama, the Affordable Care Act's architects, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have been determined to extinguish.
Well, they've gotten their way. Rather than continue a plan whose costs would have gone from $54 to $900 per semester, an increase of over 1500 percent, the university has dropped the plan. Many students are angry, and have criticized the President directly, as seen in a video at CampusReform.org. News coverage of this calamity has been sparse, to say the least. Excerpts from a report at Washington TV station WUSA follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Sam Stein, who poses as a journalist while toiling at the Huffington Post (he lost any legitimate claim to the title when he wouldn't back away when caught red-handed pretending to know something he couldn't possibly know about John McCain's vetting or lack thereof of Sarah Palin in September 2008), wrote on Thursday (HT Hot Air) that "The Obama administration is considering a fix to the president’s health care law that would expand the universe of individuals who receive tax subsidies to help buy insurance."
Of course, Stein didn't look into how much this "fix," better described as a "huge spending increase," might cost, and "somehow" forgot that any such "fix" substantially increasing tax subsidies would destroy President Obama's unqualified 2009 pledge that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." Neither did the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in a Friday evening writeup. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner did remember Obama's pledge. He also engaged in genuine journalism by looking at what kind of cost might be involved in the "fix" (bolds are mine):
Assisting the Obama administration in its perpetual flight from responsibility for anything, former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, who now campaigns from a paid propaganda perch at NBC and MSNBC, tweeted the following on Friday afternoon (HT Twitchy): "Wonder how many Insurance cos that sold junk policies after ACA was signed told customers at purchase that they'd have to eventually switch?"
Yeah, David it was their responsibility to inform their customers about a law whose constitutional fate wasn't decided until June 2012, and about which President Obama issued dozens of guarantees — not promises, guarantees — that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," as recently as late September of this year. And who believes, if they had tried to communicate the likelihood of cancellation before they legally had to late this year, that the unhinged wrath of the Obama administration and its leftist smear apparatus wouldn't have rained down mercilessly on them? I'll have more on that topic after the jump, but first, let me highlight several choice responses to Axelrod's tweet out of hundreds:
For several decades, many on the left have tried to dodge the designation "liberal." They've called themselves "progressives" (sometimes "pragmatic progressives") or claimed to be non-ideological rather than accept the L-word, especially if they were running for office.
This past Wednesday, however, the Daily Kos blogger who calls himself "Crashing Vor" argued that the terminological tide is turning, and that it's "conservative" that's becoming not merely disreputable but, just maybe, synonymous with lunacy:
If there is to be a tidal wave of defenders of President Barack Obama's "it if it hasn't changed" revision to his original guarantee — "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan" — Ron Fournier (NewsBusters history here), who toiled at the Associated Press for 20 years and joined the National Journal several years ago, will not be among them.
In 2008, Fournier advocated "accountability journalism." When he took over as AP Washington bureau chief, he pushed for what was described as "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing" as a "new direction AP should take." Both were, in my view, thinly veiled attempts to inject more left-leaning bias into what news consumers to this day still mostly believe are "objective" wire service reports. With that demonstrated pedigree, perhaps it's a surprise that Fournier would be so vocal about Obama's attempt to "reinvent history" (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
This morning, in an apparent rush to get a jump on the rest of the excuse-making establishment press, Aamer Madhani at USA Today claimed that President Barack Obama's shameless, lame Monday night attempt to explain away his serial guarantee, namely that "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, period" — made roughly two dozen times in 2009 and 2010, and repeated on the campaign trail in 2012 — represented a "tweaking of his claim" in which he "added a caveat." So that makes it all okay. (/sarc)
Madhani also acted as if it's only Republicans who have directed "an avalanche of criticism" at Obama. He also swallowed the false line that "only" 5 percent of Americans have been affected, ignoring a similar impact in the small group market and several well-known large-employer terminations of plans which had been offered to part-timers and retirees. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
Well, let's see how well this unspeakably pathetic attempt to explain away the lie of the century (so far) works with the establishment press.
Two separate tweeters — Reid Epstein at Politico and Mark Knoller at CBS News — are reporting that President Obama, at a rally of the Organizing For Action faithful this evening, told his audience that "What we said was you can keep it (your health plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed" (HTs to Hot Air and Twitchy):
Bill Maher was a guest on Piers Morgan's CNN show on Tuesday night; the interview segment was replayed on Friday (thanks to NB's Noel Sheppard for that catch). Among other things, Maher confirmed that he is a member of the left's unreality-based community when he described MSNBC as "very rarely wrong" and Fox News's Bill O'Reilly as someone who "says something that is insanely off-base and not true" almost every night.
Maher also lamented what he sees as CNN's biggest problem: They're trying to "play it down the middle," and viewers don't want that.
Even when it occasionally does credible work, Politifact, the website which pretends to be the ultimate arbiter of the truth or falsehood of claims made by politicians and public figures, continues to beclown itself. On Monday, Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted the absurdity of Politifact's unchanged "Half True" assessment of President Obama's June 2012 claim — a claim made with minor variations more than 20 times over a four-year period — that "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance."
Two days after Matt's post, Politifact rated a Valerie Jarrett tweet — "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans" — as "False," but made no revision to its "Half True" rating of Obama's core claim.
Maybe the folks running the HealthCare.gov call centers don't have an enemies list. Instead, based on the experience of Fox News's Jim Angle, it might be an enemies directory, with anyone they're aware of in the media and perhaps other organizations included therein.
On Bill Maher's HBO show Friday night, Democratic National Committe Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that President Obama's promise to the American people made over 20 times during a span of over two years, namely "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," was not a lie.
Maher, appeared to warm to the idea that it was a lie, but at crunch time decided that it was something, like Bush 41's "no new taxes" pledge, that "did not hold up to the realities of governing," representing "a moral complexity I'm okay with 'cause I'm not twelve." Far-far lefty Rob Reiner also felt it necessary to criticize Republicans "who are refusing to make this better." Maher, though he didn't seem to like it, finally concluded that Obama, who in his mind previously had an "almost sterling reputation for honesty," now faces the reality that "to a certain extent that ship (of his credibility) has sailed." Video and a partial transcript are after the jump (HTs to The Blaze and Mediaite, which in my view falsely portrayed Maher's degree of disagreement; bolds are mine):
As individual and small group health care policy cancellations pour in and HealthCare.gov continues to be a phenomenal embarrassment, Obamacare's apologists, when they're not promoting laughable conspiracy theories about Republican "sabotage," are desperate to find something good to say about it.
On Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Thursday night (HTs to Hot Air, The Blaze and National Review), MSNBC analyst Goldie Taylor tried this "logic": "Health care costs alone are the number one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress." Therefore, because Obamacare is providing affordable health care "for all families," it is saving marriages and keeping families together, and it is hypocritical for Republicans, as the self-described party of families, to oppose it. Too bad for Ms. Taylor that, as will be shown after the jump, Obamacare really discourages marriage while encouraging currently married couples to divorce and shack up — impacts which have been known and almost completely ignored by the establishment press since early 2010.
What an odious piece of garbage. Today'sPolitico, in an article by Todd Purdum, accuses Republicans of "calculated sabotage" of Obamacare, comparing their opposition to the "pattern of 'massive resistance' not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954."
Purdum himself seems to recognize just how loony he comes off, writing "[t]hat may sound like a left-wing conspiracy theory . . . But there is a strong factual basis for such a charge." Sabotage, really? People who understand democracy would call it entirely legitimate opposition to a philosophy and a program that millions of Americans believe undermine what this country should be about. More after the jump.
Ever since Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) engaged in an 13-hour filibuster to protest new abortion safety measures, the folks at MSNBC have taken it upon themselves to act as her unofficial campaign for governor. Apart from the numerous on-air segments pushing Ms. Davis’ candidacy, the new MSNBC.com website has followed suit in a new puff piece entitled “How Wendy Davis can win.”
Author Zachary Roth penned a 23-paragraph article which serves more as a memo for Democratic strategists than an actual informative piece of journalism. Peppered with quotes from Democratic strategists, the MSNBC national reporter argues that Davis has a chance to instead put together a cross-racial coalition that brings together minorities and liberal or moderate whites—especially women.”
Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."
Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.
On Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News reported that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them." This of course directly contradicts President Obama's repeated promises that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
I will get to the gambit the administration used to convince people that it wouldn't do what it originally intended to do in the runup to Obamacare's passage, a strategy which may have resulted from objections raised in a July 2009 Investor's Business Daily editorial, later in the post. But first, we have to look at tweets sent out tonight by three Obama administration officials in response to the NBC report, all of which dodge NBC's substantive point that the Obama administration knew policy terminations would occur, and claim that "the ACA" (the Affordable Care Act) is not to blame:
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website, the fact is that the costs involved are certainly far higher than the figures most commonly cited: "over 500 million" at Digital Trends, "over $400 million" at the New York Times. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler is claiming that it's really only $170 milion to $300 million.
In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Bloomberg Government's Peter Gosselin estimated that costs incurred and costs committed to outside firms alone are already north of $1 billion. Now let's look at how much additional taxpayer money the Department of Health and Human Services may have spent on the Obamacare exchange rollout.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website.
Based on a look at one contractor, CGI, which he must have assumed was the general contractor (i.e., the lead entity through which amounts paid to subcontracting firms would be funneled), Andrew Couts at Digital Trends originally estimated a total cost of $634 million. Couts later backed it down to "over $500 million" after identifying non-Affordable Care Act-related work with which CGI was associated. The New York Times has until recently been working with a figure of "over $400 million." All figures just noted are almost certainly miles too low, for two reasons.
During the George W. Bush years, the folks at Daily Kos routinely trashed conservatives and Republicans, but each of those groups have contained a few members (e.g., William F. Buckley Jr. and Dwight Eisenhower) that some Kossacks found semi-respectable.
Then, early in 2009, came the Tea Party, for which mere affiliation put one beyond the pale. The DKos gang has been rhetorically pummeling tea-partiers ever since. This past week, for example, "ApostleOfCarlin" endorsed Rep. Alan Grayson's Tea Party-Ku Klux Klan analogy:
As HealthCare.gov's disaster has dragged on and grown in scope, it was entirely predictable that doctrinaire leftists in the fever swamps would begin concocting reasons why its epic failure thus far has been the fault of obstructionist conservatives and Republicans.
What perhaps was less expected, but based on history should not have been, is that supposedly responsible Democrats in elected positions have also joined the ranks of "Obamacare Truthers" by promulgating outlandish theories and engaging in intense blame-shifting, both with extraordinary gusto. Perhaps the worst — or, given its absurdity, the most entertaining — is the one tweeted and quietly deleted (HT Twitchy) by Chris Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey (population 126,000):
Last night on Fox News's Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now." Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were "held hostage" by GOP press releases and speeches.
Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid: