Sullivan did some number crunching and found that, due to concerns about a lack of a restriction on abortion spending in the Senate bill, Pelosi may end up being a few votes shy of the threshold to pass the legislation.
Sullivan's advice to the Speaker? She just needs to moderate her testy tone to dupe enough pro-life Democrats to voting for a bill that lacks the Stupak amendment which was passed in the House version of the bill (emphasis mine):
Introducing a story on the latest effort pass health care reform on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "This morning President Obama is putting health care reform on the fast-track, declaring that it's year-long journey must be completed in Congress quickly."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
What is Katie Couric drinking these days? Who has taken over her body? The CBS Evening News anchor on Wednesday night cited hypocritical positions or actions taken by President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On the day when Obama pressed forward with using “reconciliation” to pass his health bill in the Senate -- and while MSNBC hosts obsess over Republican hypocrisy in now opposing it when they used it to pass bills when the GOP had the Senate majority -- Couric recalled that “in 2007 when President Obama was a Senator, he criticized the use of the reconciliation process in health care reform.”
Following a story on the ethics violations swirling around Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel which forced him to step down Wednesday as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, and how additional issues are still being probed, including his failure to report income and pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic, his use of four rent controlled apartments in Harlem and his failure to report $500,000 in assets, Couric remarked:
And yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi...stood by him for a year. How does that square with her famous promise 'to drain the swamp' and clamp down on ethics breaches?
Why can't President Obama get a health care bill through Congress? Nope, it has nothing to do with the fact that a clear majority of the country doesn't want the federal government overhauling seventeen percent of the economy. The problem is he is just too darn reasonable.
So posits Newsweek's Andrew Romano, who notes that Obama could have gone wholesale-government-takeover on health care and a number of other legislative proposals during the past year. He opted for mandates and regulations rather than single-payer and hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful stimulus spending instead of a trillion plus.
"Obama has chosen to support what he believes to be the best possible proposal instead of what he believes to be the best imaginable proposal," Romano states. Reasonableness in this context is simply a moderation in the president's march towards statism. He COULD be sprinting towards socialized medicine. Instead, his movement towards government control is more of a leisurely stroll. Unfortunately for the president the American people have rejected that approach as well.
More and more it's becoming clear that when Keith Olbermann takes a night off from "Countdown," and Lawrence O'Donnell fills in for him, viewers are getting the same hyperpartisan, hate-filled Democrat talking points.
Consider the reaction that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) got from O'Donnell Tuesday evening after the Congressman called the folks at "Fox & Friends" liars earlier in the day.
"Congressman Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, thank you, thank you, thank you" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary, h/t Right Scoop):
That was the reaction of Newsweek's Sarah Ball to Navy physician Capt. Jeffrey Kuhlman noting ongoing "smoking cessation efforts" by President Obama in a publicly-released memo regarding the results of Sunday's physical exam of the commander-in-chief.
After going over a few takes from other media outlets about the story, Ball shared with readers of the magazine's The Gaggle blog her favorite headline:
But Huff Po's Andy Borowitz wins the Headline Award: OBAMA TO GOP: I WILL QUIT SMOKING IF YOU WILL QUIT BEING DICKS.
On Monday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the possibility of Democrats using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill and noted how Republicans used the procedure when they were in the majority: "In the past it has helped the majority party push through some controversial legislation. In 2001, Republicans used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut."
A Media Research Center special report conducted from January 20 to March 31 in 2001 found that out of 94 judgements of the size of the Bush tax cuts on ABC, NBC, and CBS, "84 percent...labeled it as 'big' or 'huge' or otherwise portrayed it as large." CBS was one of the worst offenders, with various reporters describing the cuts as large a total of 14 times in that ten-week period. Then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather alone used the word "big" 11 times to describe the tax cuts.
Meanwhile, on Monday's Early Show, Plante did not use the "giant" label to describe the massive ObamaCare legislation, simply referring to it as a "sweeping proposal." According to a Heritage Foundation study by James C. Capretta, the total cost of the bill could add up to $2.5 trillion over ten years.
The Washington Post issued a correction on Saturday in which it apologized for a mischaracterization of the House Republican Whip's use of a printout of the Senate-passed health care bill:
In a Feb. 26 editorial, we said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was "posturing" during the Thursday health-care summit by stacking the voluminous Senate bill before him. Mr. Cantor says that he had the bill with him, well-tabbed, not for show but so that Republicans could respond if specific provisions of the bill came up for discussion. That makes sense, and we should not have characterized his purpose as we did.
To emphasize Barack Obama's frustration with what Republicans were saying at Thursday's healthcare summit, CNN aired a montage of the faces the President was making as prominent members of the GOP spoke.
Candy Crowley introduced the segment on Sunday's "State of the Union":
As we mentioned earlier, President Obama's face said a lot last week. I was in the studio where you can watch what which call an ISO, that's the camera focused only on the president as Republicans made their points. We wanted to share.
As you watch, consider how much differently this would have been presented if it was about a Republican President's reactions to what Democrats were saying (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
Quite a contrast in how ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, taking her turn hosting This Week, approached House Speaker Nancy Pelosi versus Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, all before agreeing with Sam Donaldson when he urged President Obama to become “ruthless” to pass his health care reform bill since that’s what FDR and Truman “would have done.” She affirmed: “That's a good point.”
With Pelosi, she forwarded process questions about whether the Speaker has the votes to pass the health bill and whether it would have been “more helpful for you” if Obama had put up his proposal earlier, pressed the Speaker from the left on the size of the “jobs” bill and empathized with her struggles: “Are you frustrated so many bills have been stalled in the Senate? Almost 300 bills passed by the House that are sitting, languishing in the Senate?” Not to mention cuing her up: “How would you rate yourself in the past year?”
But with Alexander, the 20/20 anchor did not wonder if he’s “frustrated” by Obama’s intransigence as she challenged him to help pass the Democratic health bill, raised presumed Republican hypocrisy and rued the inability of Congress to pass “sweeping” legislation to provide “the changes we need in the country.” She demanded to know if Republicans will “play ball,” pressing: “Why not take what you consider to be an imperfect bill and at least attach some proposals that you support?” Raising GOP opposition to passing the health bill via “reconciliation” in the Senate, Vargas asked: “Why are you so opposed to this given the fact that Republicans have used reconciliation more often than the Democrats in the past?”
George Will Sunday gave New York Times columnist Paul Krugman a much-needed lesson on what happens if ObamaCare is passed.
Krugman wrote a piece Friday accusing Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) of lying at Thursday's healthcare summit about premiums going up if the Democrats' plan is enacted.
During the Roundtable segment of Sunday's "This Week," Will pointed out, "You said in the next sentence in your column, "I guess you could say he wasn't technically lying because the Congressional Budget Office says that's true."
Krugman responded by explaining that even though "the average payments go up," many people will receive better coverage.
To this inanity, Will marvelously asked Krugman if the government forced him to buy a more expensive car, but told him it's not really more expensive because it's a better car, "Wouldn't you tell them to get off your land?" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 4:30):
Unable to defend ObamaCare with reasoning or facts, many of the Democrats at Thursday's health care summit resorted to anecdotes or, as Rush Limbaugh appropriately characterized them, sob stories. The recycling of a dead woman's dentures and a letter from a struggling farmer who just happens to be the brother of a staffer for the Democratic senator sent the letter were the order of the day.
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez must have found such stories compelling. Yesterday, his producer sent out this tweet from Sanchez's Twitter account:
*FRP* (From Rick's Producer) Today Rick's looking 4 hardship stories: financial, med., trouble w/ (BROKEN?) govt., family, etc Keep short, maybe will read on air
Sadly, Rick didn't get any good denture yarns. But he kicked off his Rick's List program yesterday with a few tales of woe:
As a matter of fact, let's go to the Twitter board. This is what you have been saying about this situation with health care, about these politics and these policies that are being discussed.
Look at this one right there in the middle. "Thousands of people are going broke and dying due to the American health care system. The summit was not a game to be won or lost."
Democrats at the Feb. 25 health summit argued that under their proposal, 31 million of the 47 million uninsured Americans would receive coverage.
CNN's "American Morning" co-host Kiran Chetry repeated that claim Feb. 26 and asked one of her guests: Kenneth Thorpe, Prof. at the Rollins School of Public Health, about its validity and the debate surrounding the statistic.
"I mean there's 47 million uninsured Americans they [Senate Democrats] argue. And when you talk to Republicans, we talked to Sen. John Cornyn yesterday - ‘No, no, no - that's a wildly inflated number," Chetry said.
"If you can't even necessarily agree on who wants and needs health insurance at various stages of their lives, how can you move forward on who is going to get it under the plan?" Chetry asked.
A report on the health care summit on Friday's CBS Early Show featured a clip of President Obama scolding lawmakers for "trading talking points" during the meeting, that was followed by correspondent Bill Plante pointing a finger at the GOP: "But from their first speaker, Republicans never backed down from their opposition to the Democrats' bill."
Plante noted that "John McCain, the President's opponent In 2008, challenged the process by which the Democrats' bill was produced." After a clip was played of McCain denouncing the lack of change in Washington, Plante touted how "the President shot back," playing a clip of Obama proclaiming "the election is over." Plante also highlighted an exchange in which Obama slammed Senator Lamar Alexander, telling the Tennessee Republican to get his "facts straight."
Oddly, after displaying the President's clearly partisan attacks, Plante concluded: "Democrats emerged from the meeting saying they still want bipartisanship. Republicans said they don't see that happening."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how "exasperated" President Obama was with Republicans, who proved they were the "party of no."
Stop the presses: David Gergen actually said something nice about the GOP Thursday.
"I don't think [the Democrats] got the breakthrough they were looking for in terms of the public, reaching the public and trying to change opinions," Gergen told Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room" panel shortly after President Obama's healthcare summit ended.
"That is because intellectually, the Republicans had the best day they have had in years."
Gergen even reiterated, "The best day they have had in years."
Less amazing was the silence from the panel -- which consisted of Candy Crowley, John King, Gloria Borger, and Joe Johns -- when Gergen made this statement (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Hot Air):
What good is the liberal media's "truth squadding" or "fact-checking" when it doesn't reveal any facts and is completely divorced from the truth?
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell gave a stark answer to that question this morning, when she appeared on "Morning Joe" to discuss yesterday's health care summit. O'Donnell heaped praise on the President for being "in command of some of the facts", like the "fact" that premiums would decline 10-13 percent under his plan. If she had actually looked at the CBO report she was citing, however, she would know that the plan is expected to raise, not lower, premiums for individuals by 10-13 percent.
So for all her "truth-squadding" and "fact-checking", O'Donnell is still confused about the difference between up and down. Either that, or she didn't truth-squad or fact-check anything, but simply said what she wanted to believe. Maybe she should spend less time devising her awkward hyphenated verbs , and more actually examining the facts.
Conservative dominance of the talk radio airwaves continues, but liberals are making concerted efforts to get their voices heard through large top-down campaigns.
Organizing for America--the campaign arm of the Obama administration--is rolling out the astroturf in an effort to get liberal voices heard on the nation's most popular (i.e. conservative) talk radio shows. The campaign is called "On the Air."
Visitors at radio.barackobama.com (talk about grassroots!) are provided with a phone number of a conservative talk radio show, and a list of health care talking points. They are instructed to call when health care comes up and reissue these points for the benefit of that station's audience.
OFA makes sure to note that the talking points are "only to provide extra information and suggestions." Tell that to Ellie Light.
Although the Canadian health care system may kind of work for its roughly 33 million people and still have a myriad of downsides, its hard to imagine it could be sustainable in the United States, with 304 million people. But looking at the Canadian system was how NBC News decided to handle its follow-up to the health care summit.
"As Washington grapples with its seemingly irreconcilable differences over health care, here in Canada that question was settled decades ago," Williams said. "Canada has universal health insurance, what's known in the U.S. as a single-payer system. Who's to say it's a better way?"
The Washington Post couldn’t provide a solely objective analysis of the health "summit" in Friday’s paper. Instead, they put liberal columnist Dana Milbank on page one to crow that Obama had badly paddled the Republicans. The headline was "Prof. Obama walks tall and carries a big paddle." The opening came with a heaping spoonful of sugar for Obama:
Republicans had been hesitant to accept President Obama's invitation to participate in Thursday's White House health-care summit. Their hesitance turned out to be justified.
An equal number of Democratic and Republican legislators assembled around the table....But members of the opposition party may not have fully understood that they were stepping into Prof. Obama's classroom, and that they were to be treated like his undisciplined pupils.
The headline on the Post website also echoed that idea: "Professor Obama schools lawmakers on health-care reform." Obama called out John McCain’s "tirade," he wrote:
But as one reads Zak's article, it becomes clear the nascent "Coffee Party" movement is a decaf brew of mostly liberals whining about how the rabble are roused by the Tea Parties while they, the sophisticates "have real political dialogue with substance and compassion":
Furious at the tempest over the Tea Party -- the scattershot citizen uprising against big government and wild spending -- Annabel Park did what any American does when she feels her voice has been drowned out: She squeezed her anger into a Facebook status update.
let's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion.
A Tuesday night NewsBusters post, “Ed Schultz Uses Cheney's Heart Attack to Push Healthcare Reform,” riled Ed Schultz, the Radio Equalizer noticed. On his Wednesday radio show, a laughing Schultz mocked NewsBusters (“I just want all of you to know that I get my entertainment through NewsBusters”) and derided “some little weasel” at NewsBusters before he graphically reaffirmed using Cheney's heart attack to score a political point:
You're damn right, Dick Cheney's heart's a political football. We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him. I'm glad he didn't tip over. He is the new poster child for health care in this country.
“The President often seemed exasperated with Republican arguments,” CBS's Chip Reid empathetically conveyed in reporting on Thursday's health care policy summit before he declared that President Obama had achieved what he needed to accomplish:
Well, he really did, Katie. What he really wanted to do was convince the American people, and more importantly wavering Democrats in Congress, that the Republicans are the party of no. They won't compromise and he now has no choice but to move ahead with Democrats alone.
On ABC, anchor Diane Sawyer led with what she described as “a landmark event today, a televised political duel.” Echoing Reid's assessment of Obama's “exasperation,” Jake Tapper saw “from the Republicans, some old arguments and new frustrations for the President.” George Stephanopoulos decided Obama had “reinforced his bipartisan bonafides, showed that he was reaching out.”
Parting with Reid, however, Stephanopoulos considered it an “honorable draw” since “both sides...gained something” as “Republicans were able to show they had real substantive ideas, there are just differences about how to achieve health care reform in this country.”
There are always unintended consequences. And with the negotiations taking place at Blair House between the White House and members of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 25 - that's what appears to be occurring.
On Fox News Channel's Feb. 25 "America Live with Megyn Kelly," medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel explained some of the myths surrounding the proposed political solutions for health care in the United States. He started with tort reform and explained the trial lawyers have their hands in how this tort reform is done.
"You know 37 states already have tort reform," Siegel said. "That's one of these political solutions that doesn't make any sense - the same as today's summit. The problem with tort isn't even the issue with caps. It's the issue of nuisance suits. Once a doctor has been to a lawyer's office and has their charts combed through, they feel raided. The way they practice medicine changes. They become more defensive. We got to get boards that cut down on nuisance suits. None of that is in the legislation. And if the American public is cynical it's because they know the trial lawyers association is preventing that."
Taking a break from ongoing coverage of today's Blair House health care summit around 3:15 p.m. EST today, Fox News Channel's Shep Smith scolded Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and congressional Republicans for impeding passage of the Democratic health care agenda (video embedded at right; audio available here):
Why do Republicans want to throw this thing out and start over, senator? Why do they want to do that? Nobody buys that!
Can't we just say, "Look, we [sic] got to do something in this country. This is going to bankrupt us!" And you people up there who are supposed to be representing us are making it perfectly clear, you are going to sit in your corners with your own talking points and we're going to lose! We're going to get nothing. And it's clear we're not.
So when this is over, the president will be able to say, "I tried, we couldn't get anything done, here comes reconciliation." Fifty-one votes, and away we go. Then we got a real mess on our hands, and everybody is just mad at everybody else as the country falls apart. It just doesn't seem fair!
Republican leadership quickly condemned the plan, which relies heavily on the current Senate bill, as the same government takeover that had already been proposed. House GOP Leader John Boehner said the plan "crippled the credibility" of the upcoming summit.
In more than thirty stories the cable and network news media reacted by defending the White House against Boehner's claim by saying the plan was merely an "opening bid," consulting liberal politicians and outside groups like Brookings Institution, The Nation and Huffington Post, and by pushing Republicans to compromise and accept a bipartisan solution.
A night after ABC anchor Diane Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?”, on Wednesday night she again put ABC into service for the liberal spin machine the night before President Obama’s health summit, teasing: “Big insurance executives forced to answer why they're raising your premiums while raking in big profits.” World News devoted a full story to a hearing held by House Democrats to demonize WellPoint:
We turn to the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits. Today, executives of the company that insures the most Americans had to answer for big bonuses and lavish retreats while socking clients with a double-digit increase in fees.
ABC viewers were treated to demagogic Democrats railing against the salaries and profits of WellPoint. Then, as if it were a coincidence, Sawyer acknowledged “this anger erupts on the eve of President Obama's health care reform summit tomorrow.” (NBC also ran a story pegged to the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, but sans the histrionics.)
Over on CBS, Katie Couric insisted Thursday would bring “that much-anticipated summit at the White House” to “try to save health care reform.” She began with “shades of the Paris peace talks,” ruing “Republicans have been arguing about the shape of the table and the seating arrangement.” Getting to the substance, Couric pleaded: “Does the President have any chance of reaching some kind of compromise with Republicans on health care reform?”
"I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing." - Joe Biden, 2005
Few Americans would be shocked to hear that members of Congress are not always consistent, and occasionally outright hypocritical. Very often, however, the liberal media attempts to downplay Democratic double standards and highlight Republican ones.
Each recent change in the congressional majority, it seems has brought calls from the newly dominant party for an end to the filibuster. This Democratic majority is no different.
When noting rhetorical inconsistencies, however, the mainstream media has jumped at the chance to note that Republicans, now using the filibuster as a potential means to block Democratic health care legislation, were ardent advocates of majoritarianism in the Senate only a few years ago (as demonstrated in the video below the fold).