Update further down in bold recounting thatHouse Democratic Whip James Clyburn once described health care reform as being part of "rectifying effects of past discrimination," which Chris Matthews referred to as "reparations."
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann picked up on an item from the far left Media Matters for America to charge that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh is "putting on his sheet" and "dropping any remaining pretense that the opposition to health care reform is not flat-out racism." Inspired by a quote in which Limbaugh used the terms "civil rights" and "reparations" while discussing health care reform with a caller, Olbermann began the segment on Limbaugh by recounting what he viewed as "race-baiting" against President Obama. Olbermann:
There is no mystery as to why President Obama has been accused more than any other recent Democratic President of being socialist, fascist, communist, take your pick. The ugliest surviving strain and stain in American politics is still race-baiting. But it`s particularly offensive when it surfaces so very blatantly. Maybe it is better this way, though. Rush Limbaugh has declared that the President`s health care reform package is a civil rights bill and constitutes reparations.
Advancing the Obama administration’s efforts to impugn private insurance companies, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer set up a Tuesday night story on who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?” Reporter Jonathan Karl explained “the idea from the White House is to keep premiums down by simply limiting how much insurance companies can raise them,” before he relayed the White House spin: “The Obama administration is putting the heat on insurance companies, accusing them of placing profits ahead of health care.”
Karl reported “the top five insurance companies took in $12 billion in profit last year,” as if that’s shameful or excessive, and gave short-shrift to how Republicans would control costs “with a limit on malpractice lawsuits, and increasing competition to allow people to buy insurance policies across state lines.”
He concluded by returning to the Obama team’s claims that their reform regime in itself would lower costs: “As for the White House idea to have that panel control how much insurance premiums can go up, the White House acknowledges that that is only part of the solution – in fact, a temporary fix until health care can go – health care reform can go fully into effect.”
It wasn’t so long ago that the Washington Post was touting massive popular support for a socialist “public option” in the health care plan. Now that the hopes for liberals are so bleak that the Post on Tuesday published a pie graph at top of page one asking respondents “how you would feel if Congress decides to stop work on health-care reform and does not pass a law this year?”
The Post put what it perceived to be the liberal answers in red: “Angry” (20 percent) and “Disappointed” (38 percent). In gray were “Relieved” (24 percent) and “Happy” (14 percent). The poll wasn’t done by the Post, but by the liberal “reform” advocates at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
This liberal group’s survey also asked “do you generally support or generally oppose the health care proposals being discussed before Congress?” That answer was 43 to 43, with a larger group of “strongly oppose” (32 percent) than “strongly favor” (24 percent). That poll wasn’t used.
President Obama’s health plan announced Monday is little more than the Senate bill with a new tax and federal price control regime, but ABC’s Diane Sawyer touted how “Obama today officially put forward his plan” and CBS’s Katie Couric hailed “a plan of his own,” though she pointed out “it includes no public option.” (In contrast, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie observed: “This new plan of the President's looks a lot like the old plan, just repackaged.”)
All three evening newscasts employed terminology congenial to Obama’s wish to interfere in the marketplace by trumpeting how Obama would “block insurance companies from unreasonable rate increases” while CBS and NBC both advanced Obama’s effort to disparage insurance companies by showcasing sympathetic victims of a health insurance rate hike – pregnant women.
Sawyer delivered a very innocuous summary: “It would give the government new power to control big hikes in insurance premiums, it would give a maximum of nearly $8,500 to a family of four to help them buy insurance and it would prevent insurers from denying coverage to anyone who's already sick or at risk of illness.”
On CBS, Couric segued to “a lot of anger about soaring insurance premiums” and reporter Ben Tracy found a woman “seven months pregnant” upset by a 35 percent hike. She scolded: “You have a right to make money but not at the expense of abusing other people.” NBC’s Guthrie noted “the White House has seized on a California company's decision to jack up rates 39 percent. This Redondo Beach mother was stunned.” Viewers then heard from the woman, near tears: “Do I go without insurance? Does my daughter go without insurance? What are we supposed to do?”
While discussing the Democrats' latest version of health care reform on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked GOP strategist Ed Rollins: "Are the Republicans better off just saying let the Democrats burn in hell with this, we're going to stay on the sidelines and win the House back this fall?"
The segment also featured disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who Smith earlier asked about an upcoming health care summit: "...this whole notion that the Republicans were saying 'well, we might not show up, now Mitch McConnell over the weekend, the minority head of the Senate, says 'we're going come, but we think the Democrats are arrogant.' Is this doomed from the get-go?" Spitzer proclaimed: "the Democratic Party and the President know they must get something done. The internal discipline within the Democratic Party will be what makes this a success."
Spitzer later argued: "The Republican Party's been the party of no, the party of nihilism. The President should stand up and say 'here's what's good for America. We have the votes, we're willing to do it.'" Smith followed that logic: "So is this then the real test for the President?...To say 'I have control of the people in my party, I can do this thing and it will benefit the American people.' And in the end, push back to everything that's been pushing up against him?" Spitzer replied: "This is the moment when either he says we are leaders, we will get it done, or if they fail this time, then it really is debacle for the Democratic Party."
In an exclusive interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez fretted over the future of ObamaCare: "Deadlines keep getting missed for passing health care. Obstacles keep mounting....Unfortunately at the moment...health care is being held hostage by partisanship."
Rodriguez introduced the interview by proclaiming that the First Lady: "acknowledges the many hurdles to passing it [health care reform], but insists it will remain a top priority for the President." In her first question to Mrs. Obama, Rodriguez focused on the President's determination to get something passed: "Will your husband ever give up on trying to find a compromise?" After Obama replied that "we can't afford to give up," Rodriguez concluded: "You can't imagine a scenario where he would not finish the job on health care?" Obama declared: "My hope is that the country understands that we need to do this."
Ironically, Rodriguez later focused on political partisanship: "Democrats are losing a lot of legislators, either they're leaving or incumbents are losing. How do you stop the bleeding?...What do you think could help Democrats keep those crucial seats?"
As my colleague Tim Graham brought to my attention this morning, Newsweek is not content to let its advocacy for ObamaCare lie in the realm of biased writing. Nope, it appears the gang at Newsweek wants to help along President Obama by lampooning earnest Americans who expressed their displeasure last year at town hall meetings.
Why Newsweek chose now to roll out its photo gallery on "The Town Hall Face" now is anyone's guess, but I believe it's part of an effort by Newsweek to deride the skeptical American public as too deranged to understand how good ObamaCare will be for them.
Here's how the editors prefaced their 23-image slideshow, wherein most targets of derision were ObamaCare critics:
On Monday, Newsweek’s website featured a strange headline. "Poll: Most Favor Health Care." It would be interesting to find out who opposes health care. (It's like a headline that says "Most Favor Food.") The headline wasn’t just strange, it was misleading: it suggested the Democrats’ proposals were favored by most. That’s not what they found.
Newsweek took an Obama-defending poll. Here was the headline once you clicked on the link: "The Polling Contradiction: In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the majority of Americans are opposed to President Obama's health-care reform plan -- until they learn the details."
That’s called a "push poll." It’s just like Newsweek calling up people and insisting they should really support ObamaCare, because it embraces abstract liberal principles like requiring insurance companies to insure everyone. After they pushed, Newsweek touted how they yanked voters into Obama’s column:
“I have nightmares sometimes you know. I’m gonna wake up and everyone’s gonna be driving Priuses…living in a condo…we’re all getting health insurance,” musician Kid Rock lamented during an interview with Fox News.
Kid Rock has been a constant presence overseas, offering his talent and support to lift U.S. troops in war.Always loath to discuss or pontificate upon politics publicly, the rock star sat down with Megyn Kelly Wednesday for a short segment on “America Live.”
Citing the recent CBS/New York Times Poll which shows that Americans want a smaller government with fewer services by a wide margin over big government, Kelly asked her guest: “When you’re out there, you’re talking to people, what are they saying to you? What is your reaction to all this government spending?”
Give the New York Times points for nerve, anyway. Chief political reporter Adam Nagourney managed to take the paper's new poll, full of bad news for President Obama and Democrats, and to change the subject, twisting the findings to suggest that Republicans were the party in trouble, in Friday's front page story: “Obama Fares Better in Poll Than G.O.P." The online headline is similar: "Obama Has Edge Over G.O.P. With Public."
Nagourney, with co-writer Megan Thee-Brenan, entirely passed over several interesting tidbits from the poll (you can read a .PDF version here) which reflected badly on the prospects of Obama and the Democrats. The negative stuff that was brought to light was buried, while positive but irrelevant trends for Obama were placed up high, in paragraph three.
That's where Nagourney gave Obama credit for being on the popular side of the issue of gays serving openly in the military, an issue that wasn't even on the national agenda before Obama's State of the Union address two weeks ago. Meanwhile, deep public opposition to Obama's long-time signature issue -- his health care plan -- wasn't addressed until paragraph 10, and then only lightly.
People around the world view Canada as “very hip” because of its “progressive” health care and environmental policies, actor/impersonator Martin Short contended in a soundbite featured in a Thursday NBC Nightly News story looking at how, on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canadians perceive themselves.
In his story, NBC reporter Kevin Tibbles, a native of Canada, also aired a clip from Morton Weinfeld, of Montreal's McGill University, who asserted: “Canada is this peaceable kingdom. It's this decent place. Decency is not that exciting.” Short (IMDb page), a Saturday Night Live veteran now starring on FX's Damages, declared:
As a Canadian, when I travel the world I find that people find being Canadian to be very hip because we have been progressive in health care, and we have been progressive in environmental issues. And I think that we now wear that with great pride.
In a new CBS News/New York Times poll, President Barack Obama’s disapproval level jumped five points, to 45 percent since the last survey in mid-January, with approval now at just 46 percent, but Thursday’s CBS Evening News skipped that bad news for Obama and instead highlighted some better news for the President.
Though 80 percent said “members of Congress [are] more interested in serving special interest groups” than the American people, “the President gets better marks on that score,” Katie Couric touted, as “most think his priority is serving the people.” Reporter Nancy Cordes relayed how “only 29 percent think the GOP is trying to work with the President, while 62 percent think Mr. Obama is reaching across the aisle.”
Cordes proceeded to report how 18 percent, of whom she pointed out are 95 percent white, consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, “but for more than half the country, the Tea Party movement remains a relative mystery.” Nonetheless, “the Tea Party mentality is spreading” since “56 percent of everyone polled said they'd prefer a smaller government, providing fewer services. That's the highest percentage in more than a decade.” (In 1996, it stood at 61 percent.) At the very end, Cordes squeezed in how “concern about government spending is so great, that a majority of Americans -- 53 percent -- now believe the U.S. cannot afford to fix health care at this time.”
“Until the economy starts to create jobs, the President's political fortunes are not going to improve,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos conceded Wednesday night in reporting how President Obama’s approval level has fallen to 46 percent amongst independents. But though 53 percent disapprove of his handling of health care and more are opposed to than in favor of the congressional Democrats/Obama plan, Stephanopoulos asserted a health care bill would help Obama rebound since “people still want that” passed:
What the White House can do -- what they're trying to do -- is to achieve a health care bill. People still want that. Probably scaled down.
Stephanopoulos apparently based his contention how the ABC News/Washington Post poll (PDF of portion released Wednesday night) found 63 percent think “lawmakers in Washington should (keep trying to pass) a comprehensive health care reform plan.” But they don’t want what Obama is pushing, so it’s hard to see how continued White House focus would benefit Obama.
There's really little opportunity for the spirit of bipartisanship to exist when you have a part-time operative for the Obama administration/cable network political commentator throwing bombs about the GOP for not catering to the Obama administration's wishes on health care reform.
"Well, it is kind of preposterous," Begala said. "The Republicans bit is, ‘Well, we'll work on health care if you stop and end and scrap all the progress we've made over the course of a year.' Well no, actually. The health care bill already has 213 Republican-sponsored amendments - 213. And for that they got zero Republican votes. I guess they got one in the House, David [sic - Joseph] Cao."
It's always nice to see Hollywood pitch in and do its bit for the nation. In WWII, Tinsel Town mobilized to help defeat the Axis powers. Today, the heirs of that proud tradition are going all out against today's forces of evil - medical insurance companies.
At least, that's the impression fans of Fox's "House M.D." got from the show's Feb.8 episode. Detailing a hectic day in the life of Princeton Plainsboro Hospital Administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), three of the episode's four story lines involved insurance.
In one story line, a former patient was suing the hospital for reattaching his severed thumb. The surgeon who had done it explained that, "his insurance only covered 60 percent of his in-patient expenses," so the patient wanted only the least expensive option. The surgeon reattached it anyway. "I wasn't going to let him throw his thumb away over a few dollars." Owing the money for the procedure to the insurance company, the man protested to Cuddy that he was in danger of losing his house.
In another scene, Cuddy was consulting a patient with cancer was convinced that human breast milk was his only cure. When she refused to write him a prescription for it, he accused her of being "some type of shill for the insurance company." He had paid premiums all this life, he said, and never been sick a day, but was now being denied the only thing that would save him. Cuddy assured him her refusal had nothing to do with insurance, and the scene ended.
It's the central question of the health care debate to liberty-loving Americans: Where in the Constitution does our charter of government grant the federal government the power to make us buy health care (or make us buy anything, for that matter)?
But to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it's an illegitimate question. "Are you serious?!" she shot back at a CNSNews.com correspondent Matt Cover. Pelosi is not alone. Her friends in the liberal media also find the question ludicrous.
So Media Research Center video producer Bob Parks worked up a brief video that showcased how many in the liberal media see no constitutional problem with federal mandatory health care insurance.You can watch the video in the embed at right.
Picking up on the story, "Hannity" substitute host Tucker Carlson had Bozell and fellow signatory American Papist blogger Thomas Peters on the Friday, February 5 show to discuss Knox's record of anti-Catholic rhetoric, including his refusal to apologize for saying that the Pope's opposition to condoms was "hurting people in the name of Jesus."
Cautioning the Obama administration's “deficit projections...are just that, projections,” NBC's Chuck Todd on Monday evening bought into the White House's claim that Democratic health care reform bills that would add millions to the system are actually spending reduction measures, as he warned: “If health care doesn't pass, because this budget assumes health care will pass, that's yet another $150 billion that would be tacked on to the deficit.”
ABC's Jake Tapper also passed along the ludicrous contention, but at least stressed Obama's team is assuming passage of “reform” that's very unlikely to be enacted: “The President outlines a number of measures to reduce the deficit, over $1 trillion worth. But Diane, perhaps the most surprising, the budget assumes a savings of $150 billion over the next ten years from health care reform, legislation that is at the very best -- at the most optimistic -- on life support on Capitol Hill right now.”
ABC’s Devin Dwyer recycled the tidbit from Terry Moran’s Nightline interview with Obama last July where Obama said he keeps the faith by getting daily devotions on his BlackBerry.
No one in the ABC piece is allowed to question if Obama now has a phobia about church attendance due to his 20-year membership in the church of radical-left Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Dwyer can’t even bring himself to mention Wright’s name, only that Obama quit "Chicago’s embattled Trinity United Church of Christ." He couldn’t get any more specific than that.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith introduced a bizarre story designed to show how desperate the situation is for people lacking health insurance: “A California woman has launched a unique online search for a husband. Not for love, but for health care.”
Earlier, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased the story by proclaiming: “I don’t know if you would think it’s sad or if you would think it’s admirable – but it’s definitely a position no one wants to be in. It’s an extreme to get health insurance.”
Correspondent Randall Pinkston later reported on the situation:
45-year-old Terri Carlson says she does not care what you look like, she will marry you, but only if you have good health insurance....She is divorced and has one year left under cobra health coverage, but after that, she will have nothing to help pay for numerous doctors’ appointments and dozens of medications....[she] suffers from a rare genetic disorder....And because of her disorder, insurance companies have denied her coverage.
Barbara Walters began her This Week interview with Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown by reciting his “fascinating resume,” including how “at 12 you were arrested for shoplifting” and “at 22 you posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine,” before she proceeded to press Brown from the left to distance himself from, or denounce, the Republican Party positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and “don’t ask, don’t tell.” She pushed him: “Are you out of step with your party, or do you think that the party has to broaden and change its platform?”
Given “Massachusetts requires that all residents purchase health insurance” and “you voted for that plan,” a befuddled Walters wondered: “So why doesn't it make sense that all Americans have health insurance? Why isn't what's good for Massachusetts good for the whole country?” When he affirmed opposition to the national Democratic plans, an astonished Walters pleaded: “Goodbye to the whole plan?”
Walters recited President Obama’s contention his administration has captured or killed more al-Qaeda than did the Bush administration in 2008, so: “Do you think that the President has made the country more safe?”
She soon informed Brown that “you replaced a beloved figure,” as she ruminated: “How do you think that Senator Ted Kennedy would feel about your election? Do you think he'd be disappointed?” (MP3 audio of this question; video below)
“Tonight, the President takes on his Republican opponents face to face and fact by fact,” Katie Couric teased at the top of Friday’s CBS Evening News in setting up an anti-Republican zinger from President Barack Obama: “That's factually just not true. And you know it's not true.”
Reporting on Obama’s appearance before GOP House members at their retreat in Baltimore, Chip Reid was in awe of Obama and delivered lines that might as well have been formulated by White House Press Secretary Roberts Gibbs:
♦ It was extraordinary. And it was a command performance by the President. In fact, some Republicans are wondering if they made a mistake by allowing TV cameras in the room.
♦ It was on health care reform where he finally revealed his exasperation with Republican attacks.
♦ Throughout what was essentially a policy debate, the President demonstrated intimate knowledge of the issues....And deep familiarity with Republican positions.
♦ Republicans were on their best behavior. There were no “you lie” moments. But when the President thought the last question was unfair, he let him know it.
♦ Here at the White House, some believe this could be a game-changer for the President. As one official put it, this is the best thing the President has done in a very long time.
The Washington Post launched an interactive page this week to profile President Obama's record on his campaign promises after one year in office. The Post put promises into three categories: "To Do," "In Progress" and "Completed."
Based on the president's record, most people would be surprised to learn the Post put most of the promises in the "In Progress" category -- and didn't even include a "Broken Promises" category. Many recent promises made as president would belong in that category.
"In Progress" according to the Post includes "reversing" the Bush tax cuts, while the "To Do" list includes "enact a windfall profits tax" on oil companies.
James Valvo, government affairs manager for Americans for Prosperity, offers the following additions to the Post's analysis:
Scott Brown replacing Ted Kennedy in the Senate really irritates the Washington press corps, as evidenced by Washington Post business section columnist Steven Pearlstein, who in Wednesday's paper cited Brown's victory as an example of the “wretched” state of the nation while he scolded Massachusetts voters for selfishness in picking Brown to replace Kennedy who had fought “for social justice.”
Massachusetts, which for nearly half a century proudly sent a senator to Washington to fight for social justice and universal health care, has chosen as his replacement someone who campaigned in effect on the slogan “We've got ours, so the hell with everyone else.”
Diane Sawyer's interview with President Barack Obama wasn't nearly as sycophantic as the one conducted last Wednesday by George Stephanopoulos, with Sawyer posing mostly informational inquiries about the direction he'll set out in the State of the Union speech as she also raised the huge deficits and whether all future meetings about health care will “be on C-SPAN” as he had pledged?
But she presumed some of the anger at him wasn't his fault -- “People think you must say at the end of the day, this is not who I was in 2008, these deals with Nebraska, with Florida” -- and empathized with the “buzz saw bruising” he gets, so: “Ever in the middle of all that's coming at you, do you think maybe one term is enough?”
In a second segment aired at the end of Monday's World News, she wondered whether he favors the Colts or Saints in the SuperBowl (Saints) and “what's been the most important and useful thing” Michelle Obama has “said to you?” (Help Sasha with basketball shots.) In her “if you were a tree, what kind would you be?” moment, a beaming Sawyer held up photos of Obama at the inauguration and his first congressional speech and wondered: “What would you say to him?” (Obama: “You're going to look older in a year.”)
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday used his interview with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bash Republicans.
After his largely friendly discussion with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, the "Meet the Press" host abruptly changed his tone and manner with the very first question to McConnell, "Is there one Republican who will support any Democratic healthcare initiative?"
Gregory continued to press his guest: "So let me just be clear. There is not one Republican that would vote for any Democratic healthcare reform initiative that's out there now?"
When he didn't get the answer he wanted, Gregory concluded, "So it sounds like the party of no charge is well deserved" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
With the exception of George Will, the panel on ABC’s This Week (hosted by Terry Moran) roundtable insisted Scott Brown’s Massachusetts Senate seat victory was less an anti-liberal or anti-Obama vote than simply a “pox on both your houses “and “throw the bums” out choice when Democrats happened to be in power. (On Face the Nation, Nancy Cordes described Brown as a “true Republican moderate” and dreamed he “could make being a moderate cool again.”)
Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson also contended people really want ObamaCare and so the White House, Donaldson asserted, should have pushed it more “vigorously” and he despaired that “Republicans were able the make the idea that being on a government health program is terrible. How absurd.”
ABC News veteran Roberts declared of Brown’s win: “I think it's much more the process than the substance” as voters said “‘a pox on both your houses. You know, we don't like any of you guys’” since “when you ask which party do you trust more with various issues, the Republicans do worse than the Democrats. So it's not a Republican tide, but it is a ‘throw the bums out’ tide.”
The retired ABC newsman Sam Donaldson echoed it was “throw the bums out” and “the bums at the moment happen to be in. They're the Democrats. And, therefore, I don't care what your name is, or how much experience you have or don't have, or what your positions are even. You're the other guy.” Former George W. Bush campaign chief Matthew Dowd agreed “it wasn't a Republican victory. It was a victory for an outsider.”