President Obama's ham-handed, laissez faire handling of his signature legislative achievement, ObamaCare, "cost Obama a lot of credibility as a leader," argued retiring one-term Sen. James Webb (D-Va.). Webb.
"If you were going to do something of this magnitude, you have to do it with some clarity, with a clear set of objectives from the White House," reporter Karen Tumulty quoted Webb, noting he made his comments Wednesday at "a breakfast organized by Bloomberg News." Webb held out ObamaCare as a key reason why the president may ultimately be unable to keep Virginia in the Democratic win column in the 2012 presidential race. But alas, Tumulty's reporting was consigned to six paragraphs and printed on page A4 in the Election 2012 digest.
It's not every day that the ombudsman for one of the nation's elite newspapers puts, front and center, his publication's angst about publishing information counter to the Obama administration's spin, but there it is, today, in the Washington Post.
New York Times former Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse appeared on the CBS morning show Saturday to defend Barack Obama's unprecedented attack on the "unelected" Supreme Court and hold to her much-mocked belief, first presented in her March 21 column for nytimes.com, that ObamaCare opponents are "simply wrong" and their argument "analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection." A week later, that "weak" argument emerged triumphant during Supreme Court arguments, demolishing the White House's rationale for ObamaCare.
First, Greenhouse put the best spin on Obama's attack on the Supreme Court:
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 2/3rds of Americans want at least a part of the ObamaCare overhaul tossed by the Supreme Court when it decides HHS v. Florida in June. Thirty-eight percent of respondents in the poll want the entire law thrown out while 29 percent say just a part of it being thrown out would suffice.
Yet rather than lead with these numbers in their story today, Washington Post reporters Robert Barnes and Scott Clement chose a question from the April 5-8 poll that shows 50 percent of Americans think the Court "will rule on the health-care reform case mainly on the basis... of their partisan political views."
NBC and CBS completely skipped a new report indicating that President Obama's health care law will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday allowed a mere 17 seconds to the revelation that the law could balloon the deficit by $340 billion.
News reader Josh Elliott swiftly explained, "And President Obama's health care law could up costing a lot more than previously expected, at least according to one new study. It found that the law could add some $340 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade." However, he also parroted talking points that, according to the White House, the study was simply "new math." This was the only mention on GMA. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning ignored the story.
Not at all surprisingly, Georgetown University professor and MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson on Sunday made the case that the criticism of President Obama's harsh remarks to the Supreme Court this week were racially motivated.
Fortunately for the sane component of those that view ABC's This Week, George Will and Peggy Noonan were there to add some desperately needed reason (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Catching up with what The Weekly Standard dubbed “the prize for unhinged emotionalism” in reaction from within the liberal bubble to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on ObamaCare, back on Friday, March 30, Andrew Cohen, the “chief analyst and legal editor for CBS Radio News,” wrote on The Atlantic’s Web site:
“The arguments in the Care Act cases may be funny to Justice Antonin Scalia, the bully that he is, but they aren’t funny to the single father who will avoid bankruptcy because of the law.”
The fact that CNN's senior legal analyst squared off against a conservative legal scholar should be telling for the network's liberal bias. On Thursday night's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin was confronted by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice over his defense of President Obama's comments on a pending Supreme Court case.
"Jeff, do you know another President of the United States during a case that was argued and pending that made a statement about how the outcome of the case can be and talking about unelected judges?" Sekulow grilled Toobin. "And calling someone that would strike the law as unconstitutional 'judicial activist'?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
No "embarrassment" here. Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, last spotted (before the Supreme Court's arguments on Obama-care) calling skeptics of the law's constitutionality "simply wrong," was defiant in her online column Wednesday, even after the administration's case fell embarrassingly flat. In "'Embarrass the Future?'"(the headline is a quote from Chief Justice John Roberts on the Court's controversial "strip-search" decision) she still thinks Obama-care will prevail.
Greenhouse gathered much mockery for her column two weeks ago calling Obama-care opponents "simply wrong" in their belief that the legislation is unconstitutional, their case "rhetorically powerful but analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams accused a federal judge of bringing politics into the judicial process simply by ordering the Justice Department to explain controversial comments President Obama made against the Supreme Court: "Politics are ideally supposed to stay out of the nation's courtrooms, but that's not what happened this week in a federal courtroom in Texas."
In report that followed, correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The political controversy spilled into a Texas federal court, where the rules are designed to filter out politics, interrupting arguments about a challenge to part of the Obama health care law." Williams noted how Judge Jerry Smith "put a Justice Department lawyer on the spot" to explain the President's attack on the court system and made sure to point out that Smith was "a Reagan appointee."
For decades, Republicans have railed every four years against the Supreme Court and its perceived liberal activism to spur conservatives to elect presidents who will appoint like-minded justices. Now strategists in both parties are suggesting this could be the Democrats’ year to make the court a foil to mobilize voters.
The reason tea partiers carried signs saying "Read the Constitution!" was that we were hoping people would read the Constitution.
Alas, we still have Rick Santorum saying Obamacare is the same as what he calls "Romneycare"; the otherwise brilliant Mickey Kaus sniffing that if states can mandate insurance purchases, then we're "not talking about some basic individual liberty to not purchase stuff" (no, just the nation's founding document, which protects "basic individual liberties" by putting constraints on Congress); and the former law professor, Barack Obama, alleging that a "good example" of judicial activism would be the Supreme Court (in his words, "a group of people") overturning "a duly constituted and passed law."
Liberal pundits, journalists, and yes, the president of the United States seem to be in a full-blown panic about the prospects of ObamaCare going down in flames when the Supreme Court rules on HHS v. Florida in two months. Doing so would be the sort of judicial activism that conservatives decry, President Obama complained ludicrously earlier this week.
But have no fear, liberals, for law professor and Daily Beast/Newsweek contributor David R. Dow -- who previously wrote a book defending judicial activism -- has your solution. The Yale-educated lawyer suggests that President Obama's congressional defenders could try something last attempted in 1805: the politically-motivated impeachment of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Here's how Dow opened his April 3 Daily Beast post:
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is clearly beside herself over the possiblity the Supreme Court might strike down ObamaCare.
"This court," she wrote Wednesday, "is well on its way to becoming one of the most divisive in modern American history...It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes...[M]irrors the setup on Fox News":
Though I have concern that every American citizen has affordable health care, too, I have grave concerns about the opinion that the federal government holds the true solution.
History shows that whenever government oversees personal welfare (such as with Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and Social Security), the program is inept, broken, intrusive, impersonalized, oppressive or often bankrupt.
"President Obama used conservative arguments against judicial activism to urge justices to uphold the law," a teaser headline on the bottom of today's Washington Post front page notes, directing readers to page A4 for the story by staffer David Nakamura.
Nakamura dutifully opened his story noting that Obama said in a Rose Garden press conference yesterday that if the Court overturns ObamaCare in the HHS v. Florida case, that it would "amount to an 'unprecedented, extraordinary step' of judicial activism." Yet nowhere in the 18-paragraph story did Nakamura lay out exactly how Obama's argument was conservative in nature nor did he cite a single conservative constitutional or legal expert to agree with Obama.
Barack Obama took to the airwaves Monday speaking about the Supreme Court and ObamaCare as if he had never studied American history or constitutional law.
Fox News's Greta Van Susteren took on the President later in the day saying, "He went to Harvard law school. Every person in law school hears Marbury versus Madison that says the function of the Supreme Court, its power includes the right to review whether a statute is constitutional or not" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas feared for the consequences of a world without Obama-care on Saturday's front page: "A Health Law At Risk Gives Insurers Pause." The Times quoted nine people, from insurance executives to liberal activists, who suggested that a defeat for Obama-care at the Supreme Court would be harmful for U.S. health care, compared to only one who welcomed the prospect, treating that side as a vast minority, even though 26 states have sued to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. (Another quote was deemed neutral.)
Different network, same fawning coverage. MSNBC journalists Chuck Todd and Luke Russert fawned over Bill Clinton, Monday, with Todd "loving" the liberal history lesson that the former Democratic President gave on health care.
Rather than show the interview straight through, Russert and Todd would play a clip and then marvel over Clinton's wisdom. Regarding Obamacare, the Daily Rundown anchor introduced, "Well, speaking of health care, I love the history lesson he gave you on health care. Here’s his health care answer."
An embarrassing performance Sunday for CBS’s Bob Schieffer in the debut of the new hour-long format for Face the Nation. At least he should be embarrassed by the contrast in how he played sycophant to Vice President Joe Biden, treating him as an oracle of wisdom, while not being nearly so coddling with Newt Gingrich who he corrected and challenged. Schieffer cued up Biden to pontificate:
What’s your take on that?
What did you mean by that?
What do you make of all of that?
What’s your take on that?
To Gingrich, however, he argued with the former Speaker’s points.
Reeling from the possibility the Supreme Court might undermine ObamaCare, two members in good standing of the liberal media elite, both with the New York Times, took to the Sunday shows to lament the lack of public recognition for the great benefits of the law. “On health care,” columnist Tom Friedman rationalized on NBC’s Meet the Press, “that’s partly a failure of communication.”
A befuddled Friedman advanced the liberal narrative that blames communication, not facts, as he wondered: “How do you go a year and a half where so many Americans don’t even understand the benefits of this legislation when they apply to them? And that gets to this administration, which I think has been abysmal at communicating some of its most important agenda items.”
On Friday's Daily Rundown on MSNBC, anchor Chuck Todd asked about the sour outlook for ObamaCare: “There’s a lot of panic at the White House, to be frank. They really thought this wasn’t going to be that hard of a case....Now they’re biting their fingernails. Should they be biting their fingernails?”
NPR’s Nina Totenberg responded: “Yeah, they should be biting their fingernails." Totenberg insisted that everyone thought this was constitutional, a "piece of cake." But the Bush appointments were "very, very, very conservative." This is not the first time she's loaded the "very" boat:
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Friday said the Supreme Court striking down ObamaCare could energize the Left in this nation in much the same way 1973's Roe v. Wade decision galvanized the Right.
Such was said on PBS's Inside Washington (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
The New York Times has previously reported on the dangers of the arcane problem of "epistemic closure," whereby the conservative movement (but evidently not the liberal one) suffers from "a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement....a high-toned abbreviation for ideological intolerance and misinformation."
Speaking of which...In Wednesday's edition of the weekly online chat at nytimes.com among columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins, posted under the heading "Moral Arguments," the more liberal Collins unwittingly provided Exhibit A of ideological intolerance, liberal-style.
Today's starter topic: While the verdict of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of President Obama's signature healthcare law won't likely be known by most people until the end of June, the justices on the court very likely will know its fate later today when they meet to cast their first informal votes on the case.
How detached is Chris Matthews from the rest of the country? The Hardball host on Thursday appeared bewildered as he conceded to being "totally unprepared" for the prospect that Obamacare might be "ripped off the books." Talking to Chuck Todd, Matthews asked his fellow MSNBC colleague if he would be "surprised" to see the Supreme Court strike down the health care law.
Matthews then confessed, "I was totally unprepared because of the way people talked." The anchor insisted that "intellectually," he knew it could be a problem, but "I never heard it discussed politically as a prospect, that they actually might get his major achievement just ripped off the books." He never heard it discussed? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After three days of oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Obamcare, liberals seem genuinely stunned that Obamacare has a good chance of going down in flames. They never saw it coming.
Consider this exchange between CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and anchor Wolf Blitzer on the first day of the argument which focused on the individual mandate, provision of Obamacare which forces all Americans to purchase medical insurance or procure it via their employers:
On today's edition of MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner, ObamaCare apologist and Rahm Emanuel sibling Zeke Emanuel insisted that the lack of a "severability clause" in the health care overhaul legislation was simply an "oversight, not an intention." Neither host Alex Wagner nor any panelist interjected to correct the record.
In fact, severability was not inserted into the ObamaCare legislation as part of a legislative strategy by the Democrats who shepherded it through Congress. Boston Globe's Noah Bierman explained as much in the March 29 paper (emphases mine):