Washington's political class fundamentally misunderstands the role of politics and government in American society. They act as if government is the central force in American life and that its decisions guide the course of the nation. In historical reality, societal trends embrace new technology and the deep currents of public opinion lead the way. Government follows along a decade or two behind.
A quick review of our nation's history shows that the first 200 years were characterized by changing technology and expectations moving us to a more centralized nation.
On Megyn Kelly's Fox News Channel show last night, reporter Trace Gallagher countered the Obama adminstration's attack on Stage Four cancer patient Edie Littlefield Sundby, whose Sunday evening Wall Street Journal op-ed on her individual plan's termination in California has garnered major attention. Ms. Sundby wrote that she has not found an available insurance plan option which will cover visits and treatments from both her current oncologist and her current primary care doctor.
In the process of addressing the White House's reference to a far-left Think Progress report which tried to pin the blame on Ms. Sundby's carrier — as if that addresses the obvious failures of her Obamacare options, which it obviously doesn't — Gallagher dropped a bombshell. Covered California, the formerly Golden State's Obamacare exchange, mandated as a condition of participation that any insurance company wishing to offer plans there had to cancel all existing individual policies in the state which did not qualify under Obamacare's strictures, i.e., they could not have any grandfathered plans (video is here full transcript is here; bolds are mine):
The Associated Press's initial coverage of President Obama's attempt to "reinvent history," the term used yesterday by the National Journal's Ron Fournier, is instructive. Monday evening, Obama claimed that his core "you can keep your (health care) plan" guarantee — made dozens of times from 2008 through 2012 — was only relevant "if it (your current plan) hasn’t changed since the law was passed."
Let's look how the AP's Nedra Pickler — or perhaps the White House correspondents' pool reporter, if Team Obama limited press access — wrote things up (HT to NB commenter Alfred Lemire) immediately after Obama's speech (6:34 p.m. report after a speech which began at 5:58 p.m.):
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):
On Saturday morning, three Wall Street Journal reporters told readers that as President Obama was promoting Obamacare, there was internal debate between "policy advisers" and "political aides" as to whether the President's obviously unqualified and unconditional "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" statement, made roughly 20 times between his inauguration and the law's March 2010 passage, "was a promise they could keep."
"Policy advisers" didn't like it, but "political aides" prevailed, concluding that Obama's promise should remain dishonestly unconditional because "salability" and "simplification" were more "practical" and important than the truth. One particularly weak paragraph in the Journal report ends up reading like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" riff (bolds are mine throughout this post):
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.
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.
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.
43 months after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another national establishment press outlet has called President Barack Obama's serially made promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan" a lie. Specifically, Washington Post designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given it "four Pinocchios," the lowest possible rating on his scale reserved for "whoppers."
Kessler joins other press organizations admitting to the obvious way too late to matter. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, with rare exceptions (and note that the linked analysis did not directly address the individual market), studiously avoided looking at the truthfulness of Obama's core Affordable Care Act promise for 3-1/2 years. Finally, on September 30, Calvin Woodward in Paragraph 15 of a multi-item "fact check," called Obama's pledge "an empty promise, made repeatedly." Kessler's work has one remaining hole that I will identify after presenting excerpts (HT Twitchy; links are in original; bolds are mine):
President Obama's lie that folks who like their insurance plans could keep them is merely a "political mess," MSNBC.com's Geoffrey Cowley is insisting. After all, "consumers still stand to benefit from the new rules" governing the health care industry." [see screen capture following page break]
"For a president who has spent five years fighting for health care reform, this should be a blissful moment," Cowley lamented in the open of his October 30 story, "Debunking the right's latest Obamacare spin." But alas, "Instead, the administration is slogging through one of the toughest weeks since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law three years ago." Cowley conceded that maybe the president didn't lay out the caveats he should have in his campaign rhetoric, but that folks really have nothing to complain about since they're now forced to buy much more comprehensive -- and correspondingly more expensive -- coverage (emphasis mine):
Craig Shirley, author of several large tomes on Ronald Reagan's political history, is merciless on Real Clear Politics toward MSNBC star Chris Matthews and his new book on "Tip and the Gipper."
This isn't a book about Reagan or Tip O'Neill, he writes. "It is the history of Chris Matthews before he became the Chris Matthews we see on cable television today. It falls into the category of micro personal history, but is so elfin as to be inconsequential." You can't find Matthews even mentioned in the index of Tip O'Neill's memoir, he reports.
Barack Obama lied to the American people – repeatedly and with a straight face – every time he insisted that those who like their current healthcare could keep it under Obamacare. And he’ll keep lying to the American people because the liberal media refuse to hold him accountable.
NBC News, whose own reporter found the language in Obamacare proving Obama knowingly lied to the people for over three years, gave this bombshell revelation a pathetic 21 seconds of coverage on Nightly News. There was no follow-up on Today. In other words, NBC News buried their own reporter to protect Obama.
Time magazine's Kate Pickert was unfazed by the revelation that President Obama lied to the American people when he promised that folks would be able to keep their existing insurance plans.
Sure, "President Obama has broken his promise that Americans who like their health insurance plans can keep them under the Affordable Care Act," Pickert offered in her Monday evening post, "The Bright Side of Obamacare's Broken Promise," "[b]ut the truth is that only a small percentage of Americans will have their health insurance choices narrowed because of the ACA." What's more, Pickert insisted, the plan that folks will have to buy (quite often at an inflated cost over the plans they liked but lost) will be better, because, well, the government is mandating all sorts of new, costly goodies in them:
Monday night on her Fox News program, Megyn Kelly played a clip of President Obama going beyond the now-infamous "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" promise. Earlier Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News revealed 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."
At the 0:59 mark of the video which follows (HT Mediaite), viewers will see Kelly introduce and then replay Obama's February 2010 promise that "any insurance you have will be grandfathered in," even if it's an "Acme Insurance, just a high deductible catastrophic plan":
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:
Two snares stand in the way of conservatives' fervent desire to dismantle Obamacare: 1) a possible perception that its problems are limited to the technical issues with the rollout and 2) the GOP's potentially suicidal impulse to bail Obama out.
Though the problems with the rollout are far more than website "glitches," they can and will be fixed. But once fixed, substantive problems will remain that will only be corrected if Obamacare is undone.
Time magazine's Rana Foroohar can admit the obvious: ObamaCare is fraught with numerous problems. But the "Curious Capitalist" columnist has a strange but sadly predictable prescription: more socialism and uniformity and less amenities for the average health-care consumer.
Foroohar laid out her arguments in her Monday, October 28 piece, "What Obamacare Can Learn From Britain's National Health Service." Sure, Foroohar confessed, single-payer medicine like the NHS has its side effects, especially for mothers of newborns, but you can survive just fine with midwives and crowded maternity wards, just like she did (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday's Fox News Special report, contributor Juan Williams lamely tried to excuse away the mind-boggling incompetence of the HealthCare.gov rollout 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."
Juan's haughty huffiness was so absurd that the Fox News panel was caught slack-jawed and barely challenged him. That's not what happened Sunday morning on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday broadcast when Williams tried to claim that millions of people losing their individual health care coverage are going to be better off with Obamacare policies (video and transscript follow the jump; bolds are mine; HT to Mediaite via Twitchy):
One of the most effective ways of discouraging people is to make them think there's absolutely nothing they can do about something, anyway. Thus, liberals have tried to insinuate that Obamacare is impossible to remove, hoping conservatives will despair.
But with only one-half of one branch of government, Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and the House Republicans have made it absolutely clear that Republicans are not giving up on repealing Obamacare. Inasmuch as "bubonic plague" is polling higher than "Obamacare," I'd say this is a brilliant marketing strategy for the GOP.
On the air, MSNBC is doing its best to level some criticism of the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare but to principally deflect blame to, who else, Republicans. But the Lean Forward network's website today actually published an item headlined, "Left burned in Obamacare rollout."
"President Obama might have said on Monday that 'no one is more frustrated' than he is about the messy launch of his health care website, but he’s got serious competition for the title," noted writer Benjy Sarlin, adding, ""The flubbed rollout was a punch in the gut for the president’s allies in Democratic and progressive circles who fought for the law for years in the face of unrelenting conservatives attacks." What's more (emphasis mine):
Gregory Ferenstein has an excellent post this evening entitled, "Who Said It? President Obama Or An Infomercial?" wherein the TechCrunch contributor drew quotes from the president's Monday morning Rose Garden presser and threw in some lines from infomercials. "In the past, I’ve been exceedingly complimentary of Obama’s approach to innovation and transparency. But the press conference today was a bizarre mix of propaganda and crass salesmanship unbecoming of a president," Ferenstein groused, adding, "The American people deserve an explanation, not a 1-800 number."
This is the sort of mockery and outrage that pundits in the network news media would be bestowing on President Obama if he had an "R" after his name. At any rate, here's how Ferenstein began his piece (h/t my colleague Geoff Dickens):
Moments earlier, President Obama wrapped up a petulant, whiney Rose Garden harangue in which he defended ObamaCare while insisting no one was more frustrated by the botched roll-out than he was.
Earlier this morning, Time magazine took it upon itself to counsel that the chief executive "has to get mad" about the failures of the ObamaCare web portal. "Political reality, unlike actual reality, is malleable stuff," writer Michael Scherer offered, adding:
Western states where a majority of land is owned by the federal government were disproportionately harmed by the closure of national park lands during the partial government shutdown. Local economies in those states suffered as small businesses dependent on tourism to those parks took a big hit. Some of those states kicked in donations to reopen a few parks during the shutdown, you may recall.
Washington Post GovBeat blogger Niraj Chokshi noticed how some of those states have passed laws calling on the federal government to turn over control of "millions of acres of federal public lands to the states," and how some Western politicians believe that the shutdown bolsters their case. Chokshi's October 15 story was picked up for print by Post editors, but the 13-paragraph item was buried on page A18 in Friday's paper.
ObamaCare is "the ultimate survivor," exults a headline at the newly-redesigned MSNBC.com website today.
But the article actually teased by that headline -- "The challenges facing Obamacare" -- went at lengths to detail challenges facing the implementation of President Obama's signature health-care overhaul and to, what else, blame Republicans for anything that is already or may proceed to go wrong with the rollout. "With enemies like John Boehner, a president hardly needs friends," writer Geoffrey Cowley whined in his lead paragraph:
No major legislation has ever been passed like Obamacare -- and I'm using the word "passed" pretty loosely.
It became law without both houses ever voting on the same bill. (Say, is the Constitution considered "settled law"?) Not one Republican voted for it -- and a lot of Democrats immediately wished they hadn't.