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Posts Tagged ‘House Of Representatives’

54% of Americans Say Repeal Obamacare as Key Dems Admit “Redistribution of Wealth” as Motive

Monday, March 29th, 2010

President Obama certainly scored a victory by obtaining the passage of Obamacare, but will the American public support the new massive law as key Democrats admit Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth?

As the dust settles after the passage of the historic comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare, the American public appears to favor its immediate repeal as 54% support such a repeal while 42% oppose repeal:

One week after the House of Representatives passed the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, 54% of the nation’s likely voters still favor repealing the new law. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 42% oppose repeal.

Those figures are virtually unchanged from last week. They include 44% who Strongly Favor repeal and 34% who Strongly Oppose it.

Repeal is favored by 84% of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters. Among white Democrats, 25% favor repeal, but only one percent (1%) of black Democrats share that view.

Americans also simply do not believe the Obama health care talking points, strongly repudiating the main claims made by Obama about the benefits of Obamacare by a wide margin:

Only 17% of all voters believe the plan will achieve one of its primary goals and reduce the cost of health care. Most (55%) believe it will have the opposite affect and increase the cost of care.

Forty-nine percent (49%) believe the new law will reduce the quality of care. Sixty percent (60%) believe it will increase the federal budget deficit. Those numbers are consistent with expectations before the bill was passed.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, notes that “the overriding tone of the data is that passage of the legislation has not changed anything. Those who opposed the bill before it passed now want to repeal it. Those who supported the legislation oppose repealing it.”

As noted by Scott Rasmussen above, little has changed regarding public opinion Obamacare since its passage, repudiating the media’s “conventional wisdom” that the Democrats would see a surge in public support after its passage. The ABC/Washington Post poll confirms Rasmussen’s findings that few Americans believe Obama’s health care talking points and that majority opposition continues that is “virtually identical to the pre-vote split” regarding Obamacare:

More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country.

Most respondents said reform will require everyone to make changes, whether they want to or not; only about a third said they believe the Democrats’ contention that people who have coverage will be able to keep it without alterations. And nearly two-thirds see the changes as increasing the federal budget deficit, with few thinking the deficit will shrink as a result. The Congressional Budget Office said the measure will reduce the deficit.

About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates “too much government involvement” in the health-care system, a concern that is especially pronounced among Republicans.

Senior citizens, who typically make up about one in five midterm voters, represent a particularly valuable but tough audience on this issue. More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system. Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Considering these numbers, President Obama has a steep uphill climb to convince Americans that this broad claims that Obamacare will be a “historic” deficit reduction plan, that Americans can keep their doctor and plan if they like it, and that Obamacare will reduce costs and increase the quality of American health care. Key Democrats are not making the President’s job easier by explicitly stating that the true intent of Obamacare is to redistribute wealth in America, something that went unmentioned by Democrats prior to the passage of Obamacare.

Americans strongly oppose, by a 84%-14% margin, government policies that attempt to bring about wealth redistribution in the American economy

Indeed, such wealth redistribution policies are strongly rejected by Americans, with 84% rejecting that approach according to Gallup:

When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today’s consumer, Americans overwhelmingly — by 84% to 13% — prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.

First, Democratic Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth:

It seems Senator Max Baucus let slip the real purpose of health care reform efforts – the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Baucus said of the health care bill, “This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.” According to the influential Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, “The last couple three years, the mal-distribution of income in American is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy and the middle income class is left behind.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean then chipped in on Thursday March 25, 2010 by admitting that “this is a form of redistribution” and Obamacare is intended to cause wealth redistribution in the American economy because the economy is “like a machine. You always got to tune it right.” Of course, as the establishment media is well aware such explicit Democratic admissions that Obamacare is intended to tinker with the economy to bring about wealth redistribution would be damaging to Obamacare’s popularity, so the claims of Dean and Baucus have gone virtually unreported in the media. However, Americans continue to oppose the Obamacare package, as evidenced by today’s poll showing 54% favor its repeal.

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Democrats & Media Try To Shift Obamacare Opinion with Shaky one-day Gallup Poll

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

The establishment media and the Obama Administration have been hyping Gallup's one-day poll taken the day after Obamacare's passage and ignoring all other polling data, which explicitly contradict those Gallup results

As many are undoubtedly already aware, the polling outfit Gallup, as well as all Democrats and establishment media, have been pushing a one-day poll done on Monday, March 22, 2010, the day after the House of Representatives’ historic passage of Obamacare, to “prove” that American opinion simply shifted overnight to support Obamacare by a 9 point margin, 49%-40%.  Anyone who has seen Gallup boss Frank Newport interviewed or read a Gallup release is well aware of the left-leaning nature of Newport’s views. As will be described in detail below, this over-reliance on a one-day poll, taken on perhaps the most positive media day for the Obama Administration ever, appears to be an attempt by the Democrats and the establishment media to actually shift public opinion in America in favor of Obamacare based on a poll that is dubious at best.

The Obama Administration, Democratic politicians and the establishment media have been harping on the one-day Gallup poll showing Americans approved of the House’s actions by a 49%/40% margin since Tuesday and up to and including today, as Gallup trumpets favorable polling to Obama on its front page asking whether Obamacare was a “good first step” or not and cable networks continue to discuss the Monday poll. Amazingly, the media and the Democrats continue to trumpet these one-day results from Monday nearly a week after the poll was taken while Gallup fails to do any further polling on this issue.  This conduct clearly begs the question: why not continue the polling on Tuesday and Wednesday to do a proper three day sample? Perhaps the left-leaning Gallup obtained the results it and its left-wing allies wanted on Monday and feared a dilution of the outlier results obtained on Monday with additional days of polling, which, of course, would have enhanced the accuracy and reliability of the polling overall.

Many factors point towards a conclusion that this one-day Gallup poll is an outlier at best or an manufactured result at worst, as every other poll released since the House vote has shown Obamacare remaining unpopular with Americans, clearly contradicting the one-day Gallup results.   For instance, Quinnipiac did a poll over two days, March 22 and 23, demonstrating that Obamacare remained quite unpopular with Americans, with 49% opposing and only 40% in favor (the exact opposite of Gallup’s findings). That same Quinnipiac post-Obamacare poll showed President Obama at the low of his Presidency for approval, 45%, which is “President Obama’s worst grades so far, tying his 45 – 46 percent approval February 11.”  It certainly defies belief that Obama himself would be less popular overall (45%) than his signature initiative which has been his primary focus for his entire Presidency so far (49%, according to Gallup’s one-day sample).    Indeed, today Gallup itself shows Obama’s approval is down to 48%, again casting doubt on the legitimacy of their one-day poll on Obamacare approval.

Bloomberg's Poll Found Obamacare remains unpopular with "no meaningful movement of opinion the final night of interviewing, after the vote was taken“, explicitly contradicting Gallup's findings

Another post-Obamacare poll which casts serious doubt upon Gallup’s one-day polling results is from Bloomberg News, which noted in its release of a March 19-22, 2010 poll that the final day of polling, the same day in which Gallup’s one-day poll was in the field, showed “Americans remain skeptical” of Obamacare with “no meaningful movement of opinion the final night of interviewing, after the vote was taken“:

Americans remain skeptical about the health-care overhaul even after the U.S. House passed landmark legislation that promises to provide access to medical coverage for tens of millions of the uninsured.

At the same time, most say the government should play a role in ensuring everyone has access to affordable care, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. A majority also agree that health care is a private matter and consider the new rules approved by Congress to be a government takeover.

The poll found the percentage of Americans who favor the almost $1 trillion 10-year plan remained at about just four in 10 following the House vote on March 21 to send the bill to President Barack Obama, who signed it into law today.

The poll of 1,002 adults was conducted March 19-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. There was no meaningful movement of opinion the final night of interviewing, after the vote was taken.

Of course, the Bloomberg and Quinnipiac findings received little to no attention from the establishment media or Democrats, who were busy pushing the one-day Gallup poll in every possible medium. Also, Rasmussen polling, which was nearly alone in correctly calling the New Jersey Governor’s race for Chris Christie (R-NJ)  and came within one point of calling the exact final results of the 2008 Presidential election, found that by a 55%/42% margin Americans want Obamacare repealed, with independents favoring repeal by a massive 59%/35% margin:

Just before the House of Representatives passed sweeping health care legislation last Sunday, 41% of voters nationwide favored the legislation while 54% were opposed. Now that President Obama has signed the legislation into law, most voters want to see it repealed.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted on the first two nights after the president signed the bill, shows that 55% favor repealing the legislation. Forty-two percent (42%) oppose repeal. Those figures include 46% who Strongly Favor repeal and 35% who Strongly Oppose it.

In terms of Election 2010, 52% say they’d vote for a candidate who favors repeal over one who does not. Forty-one percent (41%) would cast their vote for someone who opposes repeal.

Not surprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly favor repeal while most Democrats are opposed. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 59% favor repeal, and 35% are against it.

Apparently Gallup would have us believe independents support Obamacare by a 46%/45% margin, despite Rasmussen’s findings, from a more reliable two day sample, that independents favor repeal by a whopping 24 point margin (59%-35%).  Finally, CBS News did a two-day poll after Obamacare’s passage which showed Obamacare underwater by a 42%/46% margin and finding that “nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.” Obviously, when 2/3 of Americans desire continued GOP resistance to the implementation of Obamacare, it is spurious to claim that Obamacare has magically transformed overnight into a popular piece of legislation.

Was USA Today Carrying Water for the Obama Administration when it hyped a one-day Gallup poll on its front page this week despite other polling data which explicitly contradicted Gallup's findings?

Despite four other pollsters directly repudiating the results of the one-day Gallup poll showing Obamacare favored by the public by a 49%/41% margin, the establishment media continues to this day to trumpet the one-day Gallup poll to “prove” that Americans now support the Obamacare package. Epitomizing the establishment media’s extraordinary over-reliance upon this one-day Gallup poll, national newspaper USA Today used its entire front page above the fold on Wednesday to push the idea that Obamacare has suddenly become popular, literally overnight, based on the single day of Gallup polling. Of course, USA Today makes no mention of the contradictory Bloomberg results in its “objective” report on Americans’ views on Obamacare on Wednesday. It appears that the establishment media and Democrats are attempting to push low information voters who are not paying close attention into supporting Obamacare by bombarding such voters with the message that Obamacare is now favored by most Americans.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs Strongly Pushed the one-day Gallup Poll showing Obamacare to be popular, despite previously slamming day to day fluctuations in Gallup polling as "meaningless"

Further, the Obama Administration has happily pushed the Gallup poll as hard as it could, with senior White House spokeman Robert Gibbs going so far as to tweet out a link to the poll while saying this:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, amid the glee of the healthcare bill signing Tuesday, tweeted @PressSec “In the polling obsessed town of Washington, DC this will give the nattering nabobs of negativity something to chew on” with a link to a story about the USA Today/Gallup poll that said 49 percent vs. 40 percent saw passage of the bill as “a good thing.”

Gibbs wrapped the Obama Administration up into the “credibility” of the one-day Gallup poll despite having specifically slammed Gallup’s polling as unreliable on a day to day basis several months ago, calling such daily fluctuations “meaningless” then:

The White House lashed out at the Gallup Poll on Tuesday after the survey’s daily tracking numbers showed President Obama’s approval rating dropping to a new low of 47 percent.

Asked for a response to Monday’s tracking poll, which placed Obama’s approval numbers among the lowest of any recent president in December of his first year in office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs mocked the reliability of the widely respected polling firm.

“I tell you, if I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor,” Gibbs said. “If you look back, I think five days ago, there was an 11-point spread, now there’s a 1-point spread. I mean, I’m sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that. I don’t put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend.”

He added: “I don’t pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it.”

For the White House, it appears, Gallup’s daily one-day samples are “meaningless” and comparable to what a “6-year-old with a crayon” would do, unless, of course, that one-day sample supports the Obama Administration. Then, as Gibbs tweeted out after the publication of the full, front page USA Today story on the Gallup numbers, Gallup’s one-day sample should be treated as irrefutable truth that “will give the nattering nabobs of negativity something to chew on.” Such explicit hypocrisy and doublespeak from the Obama Administration has gone completely un-noted in the past week by the media, and it falls to a tiny centrist blog such as this one to point out the objective facts surrounding this matter.

Indeed, most pollsters agree that one-day polls are less reliable than samples taken over several days because of the natural variability of the polling sample obtained in any given day, which of course is smoothed out by having multiple days of polling.   ABC News, another left-leaning pollster, explains this “night to night variability” in its polling experience:

Our practice is informed by the fact that, in all our polling, we see night-to-night variability in party ID that appears to represent trendless sampling variability rather than actual changes in partisan self-identification.

Gallup, of course, did not release its methods in weighting, or not weighting, the data it obtained for its one-day poll on Obamacare’s approval. However, the application of simple logic indicates that the day after the passage of a massive legislative package which has been a “dream” of Democrats for nearly a 100 years, the sample obtained would skew towards Democratic voters whose enthusiasm was surely spiking. Conversely, independents and Republicans, who both strongly opposed the Obamacare package before its passage, would have been more likely to avoid any pollster calls on Monday as the depressing news sunk in that the Democrats managed to ram through the massive legislative package.  This type of self-selection bias, on perhaps the most favorable media coverage day of the Obama Administration ever, is again ignored by every mainstream media report on the Gallup poll.

Finally, as is obvious to anyone who was watching the news or reading newspapers or websites on Sunday night and Monday, the establishment media has been in full celebratory mode regarding the passage of Obamacare, with newspaper headlines screaming in 6 inch print about the “historic” nature of the passage of Obamacare as finally completing the century-long “dream” for such legislation. Monday was perhaps the most positive media day ever during the Obama Administration, with the possible exception of Inauguration Day. Regardless, such overwhelmingly positive, saturation coverage of the Sunday night passage of Obamacare by the media undoubtedly had an effect on those polled by Gallup on Monday. Despite this, Gallup chose to only poll on that one day, and thereafter the Democrats and establishment media have focused solely upon this one-day outlier poll while ignoring all other polls which explicitly contradict its findings, four of which are noted above.

It remains to be seen if this gambit by the Obama Administration and the establishment media to shift public opinion in favor of Obamacare via the use of the dubious one-day poll taken on perhaps the most favorable media day ever for the Obama Administration will work.  In the history of the United States, never before has any poll, let alone a one-day poll, been afforded such prominence in reporting across all media sources and in repeated use by a national political party. What is certain is that the media is ignoring the other polls which all contradict the Gallup results, and the facts on the ground, such as today’s overflow crowd at the tea party rally in Searchlight, Nevada, and the million folks who signed up to oppose Obamacare within 11 days on a Facebook page, continue to indicate strong opposition to the Obamacare package, notwithstanding the preferences of the Obama Administration and the establishment media.

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John Larsen, Chair of Dem Caucus, Says Obamacare Has 216 Votes

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

A Classic Piece from Alphonse Mucha Known as "Les Saisons"

In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larsen stated with specificity that the proponents of Obamacare now have the 216 votes they need to pass Obamacare later today through the House of Representatives.
Here’s the NBC News twitter feed reporting Larsen’s comment:

‘We have the votes now — as we speak’ to pass Obama’s health care bill, chairman of Democratic caucus says on ABC’s ‘This Week’

It could be a bluff, but this news certainly is a bad sign for the majority of Americans who oppose the Obamacare package while it is great news for President Obama, who, if Larsen is correct, will undoubtedly receive glowing media coverage and perhaps a bounce in the polls should his health care package receive 216 votes later today.

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Obama Lies, Quotes Lincoln “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true”

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

President Barack Obama, pictured here at the House Democratic Caucus meeting today, implausibly claimed that after the passage of Obamacare, all Americans will keep their present health plans and doctors despite clear indications to the contrary

In his last speech before the historic vote on his Obamacare package in the House of Representatives set for tomorrow, President Barack Obama gave a speech to a members-only House Democratic caucus meeting today.   In his speech, the President sadly repeated many of the same lies and misrepresentations he made yesterday at George Mason, including his false claims that everyone can “keep their doctor” and “keep their plan” while also falsely asserting that Obamacare will be an “historic” deficit reduction bill.  Obama made these claims despite their debunking by even establishment media sources many months ago, and the CBO’s addendum to their scoring made public late yesterday that reports an addition to the deficit of $59 billion over the next 10 years from Obamacare once the “doctor fix” is factored in.

Despite making these misleading and explicitly false statements in his speech today, Obama recited an Abraham Lincoln quote about speaking the truth in his speech today, twice:

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true”

Apparently the establishment media has no interest in reporting on the explicit lies (you can keep your doctor, you can keep your health plan and Obamacare will be “historic” deficit reduction) repeated again by the President today, as the NYT, CNN, WaPo and the AP all focus on the rhetorical grandeur, the “history being made” and the “impassioned plea” in Obama’s speech to Democrats today while ignoring the substantively false claims made by the President.

Amazingly, none of the above-linked articles make any reference to the President’s claims that all Americans will be able to keep their doctor and keep their insurance after the passage of his reform plan; instead, the establishment media just completely ignores these explicitly false statements.

The Associated Press epitomizes the frenzied, wrongful efforts of the establishment media to cover for the explicit lies of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats regarding Obamacare, printing this as if it is fact:

The sweeping legislation, affecting virtually every American and more than a year in the making, would extend coverage to an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans, forbid insurers to deny coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and cut federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade.

Congressional analysts estimate the cost of the two bills combined would be $940 billion over a decade.

In repeating the explicitly false claims above, as made by Obama and the Democrats, the AP fails to mention the fact that the CBO admitted last night that Obamacare will actually add $59 billion to the deficit over 10 years when the pending “doctor fix” is enacted and further fails to mention that the CBO has also stated that at least $50 billion in additional funds will be required to administer Obamacare over 10 years after its passage, meaning Obamacare will add at least $109 billion to the deficit over the next decade. Sadly, that $109 billion in deficit spending resultant from Obamacare does not account for the many additional budget gimmicks used by the Democrats to entrench the false perception that the bill that creates over $100 billion a year in new federal entitlement spending will actually be an “historical” deficit reduction bill. Even the NYT’s Obama-loving (literally) columnist David Brooks listed the many ways the CBO score is explicitly rendered false by no less than seven Democratic “dodges” designed to game the CBO scoring process:

They’ve stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.

There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.

There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.

There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.

There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.

There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.

There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?

There is the pilot program dodge. Admirably, the bill includes pilot programs designed to help find ways to control costs. But it’s not clear that the bill includes mechanisms to actually implement the results. This is exactly what happened to undermine previous pilot program efforts.

All of the above-referenced “dodges” and gimmicks to obtain a good CBO score are based on publicly available information, yet nowhere in the establishment media can you find this information actually reported to rebut the ridiculously false claims by Obama and Democrats over the past few days that Obamacare will actually reduce the deficit and be “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history.” The NYT yesterday even manages to lionize the CBO scoring as unimpeachable and nonpartisan while attacking those who dared to note some of the above-referenced dodges and gimmicks listed by Brooks. In short, the establishment media is allowing the President and the Democratic Party to use an explicit lie (Obamacare reduces the deficit) to sell their comprehensive plan to the American public without informing the public in any way of illusory basis for such claims. Such conduct is a true abdication of the 4th Estate’s role as a watchdog of the American government.

The Misinformation and Lies on Obamacare Presented by President Obama and Deemed by the Media as Truthful Remind Some of the World Described by George Orwell in his classic work, "1984"

Further, Obama concludes by claiming that Democrats must pass this bill for “the American people”:

“Help us fix this system,” Obama said. “Don’t do it for me. Don’t do it for Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid — do it for all those people out there who are struggling. . . . Do it for the American people. They’re the ones who are looking for action right now.”

Amazingly, the Washington Post and the other establishment media articles fail to note that CNN’s latest poll found 73% of Americans want Obama and the Dems to either stop or start over from scratch and only 25% are “looking for action right now.” Similarly, Fox News’s latest poll found that 64% want Obama and the Dems to stop or start over from scratch and only 30% are “looking for action right now.” Even the highly left-wing Kaiser Foundation’s latest poll shows that 56% of Americans want Obama and the Democrats to stop or start over, while 42% want to proceed to a vote now. All of the establishment media reporting also omits any reference to the fact that a full 80% of the American public are satisfied “with the quality of medical care available to them” in the much-reviled “status quo”. Based on these polls, it is impossible to claim with a straight face that passing Obamacare now is what the American people are looking for “right now” – yet this is exactly what Obama is saying, and the media simply cheers without retort, notwithstanding the indisputable facts noted above.

Finally, Obama today made the equally ridiculous claim that Obamacare “runs straight down the center of American political thought” and “is a middle of the road bill” and, again, no one in the media even bothers to rebut this claim with the obvious fact that the only bipartisan thing about Obamacare is the opposition to Obamacare, as at least 31 House Democrats are joining a unified Republican opposition to the bill. Sadly, facts such as these go unmentioned by the establishment media reports as they scurry to defend their hero President Obama as the final hours tick away before the all-important House vote on Obamacare.

When the 4th Estate (media) work so strenuously to support both the President and the Congress in an effort such as Obamacare, avoiding the reporting of any facts which could possibly hinder the Democratic effort to “remake one-sixth of the U.S. economy” while cheerleading every step of the way, the continued viability of the American political system moving forward can reasonably be questioned by centrists and independents as such coordinated misinformation brings to mind the world described by George Orwell in his classic work “1984″.  Should Obamacare pass the House and become law, years from now historians will review Obama’s speeches from yesterday and today and likely designate them as some of the most misleading speeches by an American President in the history of our country.

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Obama Today on Obamacare: Most Misleading Presidential Speech in American History?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

President Barack Obama gave another speech on Obamacare today in Virginia at George Mason University, and such speech may be the most misleading speech ever given by a US President

As the reality that Obamacare is going to pass the House of Representatives sinks in after the House’s 222-203 vote yesterday to approve the use of the “Slaughter Solution” (which “deems” the Senate bill “passed”), President Barack Obama took to the stage at George Mason University to make a speech reminiscent of his campaign speeches in 2007-2008: short on actual details and heavy on unrealistic, misleading claims with grandiose rhetoric mixed in for good measure.

Sadly, the President made claims he almost certainly knows are false (you can keep your doctor, you can keep your health plan, Obamacare will reduce the deficit, for instance) while omitting any explicit reference to the $500 billion in cuts to Medicare (over the next 10 years) used to fund over half of the nearly one trillion dollars in new entitlement spending under Obamacare for the years 2014-2019 (major benefits do not begin until 2014), making today’s speech a contender for the most misleading Presidential speech in American history. Further, as leaked just now, a Democratic leadership memo to congresspeople instructs them to lie to the media and public about the substance behind the CBO preliminary scoring while ignoring the realities of the additional $371 billion in federal spending set to be enacted by Democrats as an add-on to Obamacare known as the “doctor fix” immediately after the passage of Obamacare.

Obama’s speech recycles most of the misleading talking points used by Obama and the Democrats over the past year despite the debunking of such claims by objective fact-checking organizations and simple reality, as will be outlined below. Obama began by accurately stating that the Obamacare debate is really “a debate about the character of our country.“  Obama then goes off the rails somewhat with this rhetoric, stating that the question of passing Obamacare is about

“Whether we can still meet the challenges of our time. Whether we still have the guts and courage to give every citizen, not just some, the chance to meet their dreams.”

In fact, Obamacare is about whether the United States will move towards a new, radically altered system of strict federal government control and oversight of the health care industry or whether the United States will continue on its present path of substantially private-run health care.   The drive of Americans to meet the challenges of “our time” is of course not epitomized by a massive increase in government spending and control over the health decisions of Americans, regardless of Obama’s expertly-crafted rhetoric above.   Indeed, Obamacare will fundamentally alter the character of the United States, making most American citizens reliant upon a giant federal government bureaucracy, instead of themselves, for the provision of life-saving health care, forever altering the balance between citizen and government in this country.

As the American health care system is now the envy of the world, both in terms of innovation of new cutting-edge techniques and quality, and most world leaders come here for major health care for themselves personally, taking a giant step away from our present system via the massive new federal intervention into the health care industry in Obamacare can accurately be seen as risking America’s present dominance in the health care field internationally. Of course, Obama’s speech references none of these issues nor the 80% of Americans that presently approve of their personal health care arrangements.

Obama then moves onto a familiar rhetorical trick of framing all opponents to Obamacare as insurance industry hacks, stating that we cannot “accept a system that works better for the insurance companies than the American people” while “their lobbyists are stalking the halls of congress as we speak” and that “if this vote fails, the insurance industry will continue to run amok.” These arguments are substantially false as the health insurance companies will actually benefit in part from his bill as all healthy, young Americans who presently do not waste their money on pricey, unnecessary health insurance policies will now be forced to purchase same or face an IRS penalty and enforcement of same by IRS collection efforts. Of course, Obama’s speech does not reference this penalty on individuals, nor the additionally penalty on employers who do not provide benefits, in his speech today.

At this point, President Obama and Dems in Congress appear to have made more deals than Monty Hall ever did in "Lets Make a Deal"

Obama then makes a wildly inaccurate statement:

So the only question left is this: are we going to let the special interest win once again? Or are we going to make this vote a victory for the American People!

This claim, of course, ignores the fact that, at best, only about 35-40% of Americans support the passage of the President’s comprehensive health care plan into law, making its coming passage hardly a “victory” for the American people, 80% of which are presently satisfied with their medical care.  Also ignored by this Obama claim that his bill is being opposed by “special interests” is the fact that Obama himself has made backroom deals with the large drug companies (“Big Pharma”), American Medical Association, the hospitals, the AARP, the unions, and even some insurance companies as the past year of backroom dealmaking between the Obama Administration and special interest groups has unfolded. The level of “audacity” required to claim his bill is not backed by special interests while he himself made deals with essentially every major special interest in the health care industry during meetings in his White House is substantial and this Obama claim is quite jarring when compared to the above-referenced publicly available facts.

Obama then continues in his speech to claim, as he has many times since the summer of 2009, that “the time for reform is right now. Not a year from now, not 5 years from now not 10 years from now not 20 years from now” while noting that “we have had a year of hard debate, every proposal has been put on the table, every argument has been made, we have incorporated the best ideas from Democrats and from Republicans into a final proposal that builds on the system of private insurance that we have.” These claims, of course, ignore the fact that the Republican ideas to reduce health care costs via tort reform and allowing increased competition between insurers across state lines are ignored by his legislation and those issues also go unmentioned in Obama’s speech today.

Obama then denies that his plan is “radical change” (somewhat contradicting his earlier comments extolling the major changes to come from his bill) and states that “what we’re talking about is common sense reform, that’s all we’re talking about.” Now, Obama unleashes three of the greatest lies ever told about Obamacare:

If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor. If you like your plan, you’ll be able to keep your plan. Because I don’t believe we should give the government or the insurance companies more control over health care in America. I believe it’s time to give you – the American people – more control over your health insurance.

Of course, the massive federal intervention into the American health care system will lead to many Americans having their present health care arrangements substantially altered, whether by a doctor who retires rather than face the increased costs of federal control, or by the new strict federal rules that require certain benefits to be covered, or by an employer who dumps their benefits coverage and just pays the fine to avoid the hassle, or by the elimination of nearly 10 million seniors “Medicare Advantage” coverage. amongst other ways such personal health care arrangements will be altered.

As for Obama’s claim that he does not want to “give the government or the insurance companies more control over health care” and instead wanting to give the “American people” “more control” over their health insurance, such a statement simply defies all logic and available facts known about Obamacare as many  new federal rules and regulations will be implemented and enforced on the American health care system, hence increasing federal government control of same, as intended by its authors. Of course, Obama’s speech avoids any discussion of the massive increase in the federal government’s bureaucracy in his remarks today and instead Obama implausibly denies that his bill will increase federal power over the health care industry, as it is written and intended to do.   Also unmentioned in Obama’s speech is the 15,000 new IRS employees to be hired to enforce the new Obamacare personal and company fines and taxes in Obamacare as well as cost of new federal health bureaucrats to “administer” Obamacare.

Obama then summarizes the parts of his nearly 3000 page bill that he wants to talk about, stating his Obamacare plan does three things: first, it “ends the worst practices of insurance companies” as implementing “a patients’ bill of rights on steroids”; second, “[f]or the first time, small business owners and others…will have the same kind of choice for private health insurance that members of congress give to themselves”; and third that it “brings down the cost of health care for families, businesses and the federal government.”

While the President does accurately state that insurers will be required to issue insurance policies to all those who have preexisting conditions that cost hundreds of thousands if not millions to treat every year at a cost that is not above a healthy person’s policy, the remaining two claims in his formulation are unequivocally false.   All Americans will certainly not have coverage like members of Congress after Obamacare passes, this is simply a lie.   Elite politicians will continue to receive gold-plated health care plans whether Obamacare passes or not, and the average American will either be fined for not purchasing such expensive coverage or the federal government will their own tax dollars (or borrowed dollars) pay to provide coverage made more expensive by Obamacare’s provisions.

Despite this reality, Obama makes this ridiculous claim during his discussion of his second main point that Americans will receive the same coverage as Congress:

“We will offer you tax credits to do so – tax credits that add up to the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.”

President Barack Obama's speech today on Obamacare reminds some of concepts referenced George Orwell's classic book 1984

Amazingly, Obama terms his planned new spending, in his own words, of at least a “100 billion a year” on a new federal health care entitlement program via Obamacare, as the “largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.”  Such an explicitly misleading presentation of the new entitlement programs in Obamacare certainly recalls the works of George Orwell, such as the book 1984, and this Orwell quote in the aftermath of World War 2 in 1945:

People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. . . To appreciate the danger of Fascism the Left would have had to admit its own shortcomings, which was too painful; so the whole phenomenon was ignored or misinterpreted, with disastrous results…The most intelligent people seem capable of holding schizophrenic beliefs, or disregarding plain facts, of evading serious questions with debating-society repartees, or swallowing baseless rumours and of looking on indifferently while history is falsified.

Above and beyond the false and misleading claims above, President Obama’s ridiculous claim today that Obamacare is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history” is definitely the most odious and explicitly false statement made by President Obama in his speech today, which in our view ranks as one of the most misleading Presidential speeches in American history. Of course, the giant new entitlement spending in Obamacare (at least 100 billion a year according to Obama today) will not reduce the yearly federal budget deficit, and Obama knows it. However, Obama and the Democrats keep repeating this claim, even claiming it is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history” based on entirely misleading numbers from the CBO.

It is true that the CBO issued a preliminary report on the latest nearly 3000 page long Obamacare plan today in which the CBO states the bill will cost about a trillion dollars over 10 years (only 6 years of benefits, but 10 years of taxes and Medicare cuts) while allegedly “saving” over a hundred billion in deficit spending over those first 10 years and over a trillion in deficit spending over 20 years. However, the CBO is forced to score the language and assumptions provided to it by the Democrats in charge of Congress, and cannot interject the CBO’s own opinion as to whether those assumptions will bear out or whether subsequent Congresses will change the language.

The first major misrepresentation in the CBO’s claim of deficit savings is the failure to include the “doctor fix” in the CBO’s scoring of OBamacare. The CBO’s claim of deficit spending assumes a 21% cut in doctor and hospital fees, as present law requires. That law, a 1997 act to reduce Medicare spending over time, has been waived every year since then by Congress under pressure from the AMA lobby and others. The Obama Administration, of course, made a little-publicized deal between Obama and the AMA in July 2009 to purchase their support for Obamacare by promising a long term “doctor fix” as a part of the comprehensive health care reform procedure, as reported by Politico then:

In the bill, Democrats provide $245 billion to eliminate an annual shortfall in payments to doctors under Medicare. Democrats resolved this annual headache, in large part, to win crucial support for the bill from the American Medical Association. That money currently counts against the overall costs of the bill, but Democrats have introduced legislation that would remove remove this obligation from federal deficit.

Whether you take the $245 billion dollar figure over 10 years quoted here by Politico, or the $371 billion dollar figure reported by Politico today (before they pulled the story under White House pressure) for the cost in federal spending of a long term doctor fix, the claimed $138 billion in deficit “savings” over the next 10 years completely disappears and Obamacare ends up being in the red, even putting aside all the other budgetary tricks we will outline below. Indeed, the CBO just issued an update to their report, in response to GOP Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) letter, admitting that Obamacare will add to the deficit once the doctor fix is in place, as promised by both President Obama to the AMA to buy their support and by Nancy Pelosi today in her news conference:

You asked about the total budgetary impact of enacting the reconciliation proposal (the amendment to H.R. 4872), the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590), and the Medicare Physicians Payment Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 3961). CBO estimates that enacting all three pieces of legislation would add $59 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period.

Of course, Obama was well aware of these facts regarding the lack of deficit savings when the doctor fix is factored into Obamacare, and Obama still explicitly stated today that his plan will be “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history.”  This Obama claim, a willful misrepresentation of the true cost of his program by not “counting” the doctor fix that Obama himself promised to the AMA to purchase their support for his program in July 2009, brings to mind the Orwell quote above that “most intelligent people seem capable of holding schizophrenic beliefs, or disregarding plain facts, of evading serious questions with debating-society repartees, or swallowing baseless rumours and of looking on indifferently while history is falsified. Sadly, the explicit misrepresentation of the President in claiming that Obamacare is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history” is not solely based on the doctor fix lie, but many others as well.

Even the NYT, via its Obama-worshipping columnist David Brooks, admits that the Obama claim of deficit savings is an explicit lie, and the CBO report of deficit “savings” is simply the product of legislative gimmicks by the Democrats:

They’ve stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.

There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.

There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.

There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.

There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.

There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.

There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?

There is the pilot program dodge. Admirably, the bill includes pilot programs designed to help find ways to control costs. But it’s not clear that the bill includes mechanisms to actually implement the results. This is exactly what happened to undermine previous pilot program efforts.

When an Obama-loving NYT columnist who is literally in love with President Obama, for reasons such as his “his perfectly creased pant“, admits that Obama and the Democrats have stuffed Obamacare with no less than seven “dodges” to obtain a favorable, yet explicitly false, CBO scoring, centrists and independents know that such claims of deficit “savings” must be false. Finally, on top of the seven listed “dodges”, according to the CBO, and not included in the “scoring”, is the fact that the CBO “double counts” the Medicare cuts as both helping Medicare’s solvency and paying for new spending while another $50 billion in unscored costs are likely to administer the massive new federal entitlement programs and federal controls over the health care industry contained in Obamacare:

In its March 11, 2010, cost estimate for H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as passed by the Senate, CBO indicated that it has identified at least $50 billion in specified and estimated authorizations of discretionary spending that might be involved in implementing that legislation. The authority to undertake such spending is not provided in H.R. 3590; it would require future action in appropriation bills.

Finally, the President also plays misleading rhetorical games regarding the “cost controls” in Obamacare. The only significant cost control mechanism in the Obamacare package (as tort reform and interstate competition between insurers are omitted) is the “cadillac tax” on gold-plated health insurance policies, however, that tax was pushed off until 2018 because of pressure from unions who’s members have such insurance plans. Accordingly, in order to make the ridiculous claims of deficit savings referenced above, Obama pretends that Congress in 2017 will not waive the “cadillac tax” under political pressure, as he has just done with the delay until 2018 and as every Congress has done every year since the 1997 Medicare cost-cutting legislation (which is the source of the “doctor fix” problem in the first place).  Indeed, if Obama with a huge Congressional majority cannot enact a cadillac tax within the next 8 years, why should anyone have any confidence that Congress 2017 will do so? Obama, and everyone else in Washington, knows this is an unrealistic fantasy, but Obama still made these ridiculous claims in his historically misleading speech today.

Finally, just as Congress has waived the planned reductions in fees for doctors and hospitals every year since 1997, future Congresses in all likelihood will also waive the planned nearly $500 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next 10 years to avoid a backlash by elderly voters who fear benefit cuts and pressure from medical provider lobbies. The cuts to Medicare are over half of the revenue Obama plans to use to fund the new health care entitlement spending of $100 billion a year, and everyone in Washington knows these cuts will never happen in full. Obama’s speech, of course, makes no reference to the “doctor fix” or the Medicare cuts themselves which form half of the revenue for his programs, but Obama certainly does claim that his plan is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history”, and all of his fellow Democrats are repeating similar claims all over the dial as this article is written. Such intentionally misleading statements by American leaders again remind centrist and independent Americans of the words of George Orwell as referenced above, reinforced by Obama’s ridiculous claim his “reduced” health care costs from Obamacare will mean that employers “can afford to give you a raise.”

A final Obama quote from today
sums up the fraudulent nature of his speech, as he claims “more than $1 trillion” in deficit savings, considering the facts noted above. This comment is the only reference to the $500 billion in cuts planned for the Medicare system, and of course Obama does not reference Medicare by name:

And by the way, if you’re curious, well, how exactly are we saving these costs? Well, part of it is, again, we’re not spending our health care money wisely. So, for example, you go to the hospital or you go to a doctor and you may take five tests, when it turns out if you just took one test, then you send an e-mail around with the test results, you wouldn’t be paying $500 per test. So we’re trying to save money across the system. (Applause.) And altogether, our cost-cutting measures would reduce most people’s premiums. And here’s the bonus: It brings down our deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades.

The pure idiocy of Obama’s example of emailed tests as his primary cost-cutting mechanism to cut nearly $500 billion from Medicare speaks for itself.  Obama gave his speech to an auditorium of students at George Mason University, as such young college students are Obama’s last remaining base of support with his approval slipping underwater, as more Americans disapproving than approving of his performance in all major polls released this week. One can only hope that America does not have to find out the hard way, via renewed economic instability emanating from runaway deficit spending as envisioned by the actual provisions of Obamacare, not to mention the loss of medical innovation and job creation from the health care industry and the historical alteration of the relationship between American citizens and the federal government, that the claims made in Obama’s speech today are wholly false and that his speech was likely one of the most misleading speeches ever given by a sitting American President.

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It’s OVER: Obamacare to Pass on Sunday as Dems Lie About Deficit Savings; UPDATE: Dem Memo Instructs to Lie About $371 Billion Dollar “Doctor Fix”

Friday, March 19th, 2010

President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brag today about the coming successful vote to pass Obamacare on Sunday

The largest federal government intervention into the US economy since FDR, and the most substantial legislation on health care policy in American history is set to pass the House of Representatives on Sunday, as a test vote on the floor of the House passed with 222 votes (6 to spare) on Wednesday, meaning Obamacare is all but certain to also garner the 216 House votes it needs on Sunday to reach President Obama’s desk.

As noted by many last week, the vote yesterday essentially green-lighted the use of the “Slaughter Solution” to pass the Senate Obamacare bill through the House of Representatives. The Slaughter Solution is a procedural trick which allows the House of Representatives to avoid an actual up or down vote on the special interest and pork laden Senate Obamacare bill.

Right now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in front of the media crowing about her success in finding the votes and being able to pass the comprehensive health care measure which will avoid “job-lock” based on the fear of losing health care coverage. Pelosi also repeated her wholly false claim that Obamacare will create 700,000 jobs “almost immediately” and her companion fantasy claim that Obamacare will reduce deficit spending by “1.3 trillion” over two decadesl and over a hundred billion in the next decade.

Both of these wholly false and misleading claims rely on future Congresses not waiving certain onerous “revenue raising” measures such as the “cadillac tax” on health insurance policies, which will kick in by 2018 (delayed, by pressure from unions and others, to nearly a decade from now) and further not waiving a large portion of the “planned” $500 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade. Neither of these policies are likely to actually be implemented, meaning that there will be only deficit gains from this bill, which makes logical sense as Obamacare will funnel hundreds of billions per year in new entitlement spending to purchase health insurance for those who qualify for the new American entitlement program.

Indeed, the same political pressure that will almost certainly lead future Congresses to waive a substantial majority of the cuts to Medicare benefits while also substantially lessening the bite of the “cadillac tax” on health insurance premiums set to begin in 2018 under Obama’s present plan has led Congresses, in every year since the passage of the Medicare savings bill in 1997, to waive such reductions in payments to doctors and hospitals as called for in the 1997 legislation.   This procedure is known as the “doctor fix”, and Obama promised he would include a 10 year “doctor fix” in Obamacare to buy the support of the American Medical Association back in the summer of 2009. Because the inclusion of the 10 year “doctor fix” payoff to the AMA in the initial version of Obamacare created a CBO scoring which showed over $150 billion in deficit spending over 10 years, Obama and the Democrats  removed the language from the bill and now pretend that the $250 billion dollar cost of the “doctor fix” over the first decade of Obamacare simply doesn’t exist.

Here’s what Nancy Pelosi had to say today in response to just such a question about the “doctor fix” from a brave reporter:

“We’ve been including it in legislation for a long time…it is not about a doctor fix, it is about our seniors or anyone who relies upon Medicare to have access…you call it the doctor fix, its really about access to health are for Americans…its not in this [Obamacare] bill, but we’ll have it soon. We have made a commitment to do this.”

Pelosi than refused to answer the followup question from that same reporter regarding the fact that the “doctor fix” will completely eliminate the claimed $100 billion or so in “deficit savings” over the first decade of Obamacare. President Barack Obama also started speaking just as Pelosi was under questioning about the “doctor fix”, issuing a very partisan speech at George Mason University. As it becomes clear to the American people that Obamacare will become law via the “Slaughter Solution” and President Obama’s signature just days from now, it will be interesting to see the public’s reaction to passing such a giant federal intervention into a segment of the economy that is actually producing jobs right now as the economy struggles to stop continuing job losses overall.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair and Politico note that the Democratic leadership is circulating a memo instructing congresspeople to lie to the media and public about the coming $371 billion dollar increase in federal health care spending to be done as an add-on to Obamacare in the spring and further to avoid any substantive discussion of the CBO score and to instead just repeat the extraordinarily misleading top-line numbers:

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party’s message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Democrats removed the so-called doc fix from the reform legislation last year because its $371-billion price tag would have made it impossible for Democrats to claim that their bill reduces the deficit. Republicans have argued for months that by stripping the doc fix from the bill, Democrats were playing a shell game.

“Most health staff are already aware that our health proposal does not contain a ‘doc fix.’ … The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform’s budget neutrality. So again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered,” the memo, sent Thursday to Democratic staff, said.

“As most health staff knows, leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest (it) complicate the last critical push to pass health reform,” according to the memo.

The memo helps explains why the American Medical Association has supported reform even though their top legislative priority, the doc fix, was left out. The group is working behind the scenes with Democratic leadership and the White House to fix the cuts later this year.

Indeed, in a statement this afternoon, the AMA announced its support for the reconciliation bill — and hinted that the debate is not over with reform’s passage.

“This is not the last step, but the next step toward real health system reform. We will remain actively engaged with Congress and the administration to ensure that before Congress adjourns there are additional important changes to our health system,” AMA president James Rohack said. “Congress must act to preserve access to care for seniors and military families by permanently repealing the Medicare physician payment formula that will cut Medicare payments by 21 percent next month.”

The memo also repeatedly advises Democrats not to discuss the details of the CBO score.

Such explicit misrepresentations about the true cost of Obamacare and the reality that Obamacare will actually hike the deficit, not reduce it, from the Democrats on the eve of the historic vote on comprehensive health care reform paints a very troubling picture of the leaders of America’s federal government. The full, odious memo is here.

UPDATE #2: Democrats are now denying writing the memo, and Politico has backed down and pulled it from its site. Apparently bad news for Democrats is not news at Politico. It is hard to imagine that Politico would have pulled a story about President Bush’s social security reform efforts if the GOP complained, bringing into clear focus the unbridled allegiance of the establishment media to the Democratic Party.

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Change: Obama Reverses March 18 Deadline, Delays Asia Trip for Obamacare

Friday, March 12th, 2010

President Barack Obama has now delayed his trip to Asia and backed off his March 18 deadline for House action on Obamacare

The AP has just reported that President Barack Obama is delaying his trip to Asia to focus on passing Obamacare, despite strong claims by the Obama Administration that a House of Representatives vote must occur by March 18.   Now, the AP reports that Obama will not leave until March 21, making the March 18 deadline inoperative. The latest reversal of an Obamacare deadline set by Obama or one of his top officials is another in a pattern of false deadlines set by the Administration starting last summer. In a prescient article, CNN points out yesterday that the now-inoperative deadline is one of many set by the Obama Administration:

Washington (CNN) — President Obama has set them — and they’ve repeatedly been missed.

But with Easter recess coming, Obama’s latest deadline to pass health care reform legislation could be his last one.

Over the summer, as the health care reform battle was brewing in Congress and at town hall meetings across the country, the president called on both the House and Senate to pass legislation by the end of August in order for a comprehensive bill to see its way to his desk by the end of the year.

That didn’t happen.

Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration are now struggling to produce 216 votes in the House of Representatives for Obamacare. The latest procedural trick proposed by Democrats is “Amending a Ghost” by having the House create a “rule” that “assumes” the Senate bill has been passed by the House already, and then have the House members vote on changes to the Senate bill, not the Senate bill itself. Such procedural trickery is “unprecedented” in American history and the next few days will determine whether Democrats will push forward with the “Amending the Ghost” strategy or instead simply have an up or down vote on the Senate bill in the House.

UPDATE: NPR adds some details, including a tweet by Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman:

A “alert” from the Associated Press:

“Obama delaying Asia trip from March 18 to March 21 to work on health care.”

The president’s trip will take him to Indonesia and Australia. We’ll update this news as the story develops.

Update at 9:10 a.m. ET. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs just “tweeted” that:

“The President will delay leaving for Indonesia and Australia – will now leave Sunday – the First Lady and the girls will not be on the trip.”

Sunday must mean March 21.

This news is not exactly a surprise. As The New York Times’ The Caucus blog wrote yesterday, “with President Obama’s health care bill hanging in the balance, the White House is facing intensifying questions about whether Mr. Obama should take his planned trip to Indonesia and Australia next week.”

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Gallup: President Obama Job Approval At All-Time Low of 46%

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Gallup reports today that President Obama's job approval has fallen to an all-time low of 46% amongst all adult Americans

President Barack Obama received more bad news today regarding his sagging popularity with the American people, as for the first time Obama’s job approval amongst all adults, as measured by Gallup’s polling, fell to just 46% today. It appears that the American public’s approval of President Obama declines at times of intense focus on health care reform. As you can see from the chart below, Obama’s approval has been steadily declining since his Inauguration and has now reached the low of his Presidency:

With the next week or so being the final days before the all-important House of Representatives vote on Obamacare, Obama’s sliding approval numbers are sure to draw the attention of wavering House Democrats as they decide whether to side with the President and vote for his signature, yet widely unpopular, health care initiative or risk the President’s wrath by voting down Obamacare just days from now.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair notes that the Congressional Democratic leadership has canceled all committee hearings and is meeting behind closed doors regarding Obamacare. Perhaps today’s Gallup numbers are a topic of discussion:

Faced with caucus members who aren’t responding to the normal arm-twisting, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer abruptly canceled scheduled committee hearings to call the party leadership into closed-door conference to plot strategy and tactics. That left Fox News with no one to discuss the events except Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

….

Pelosi has insisted that she has the votes to pass it, but the sudden dive behind closed doors suggests otherwise. If they had the votes, they’d produce the bill and schedule the roll-call vote.

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Senior White House Advisor on Obamacare: “This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?”; UPDATE: House Dem. Lipinski Flips to “No”

Monday, March 8th, 2010

President Barack Obama, seen here with two key advisors, is pushing House Democrats to vote for Obamacare using the line “This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?”

As perhaps the final week in the Obama Administration’s year-long campaign to push Obamacare through Congress begins, a senior White House advisor, in comments to CNN contributor Gloria Borgen, compared intensified White House efforts to pass Obamacare through the House of Representatives to the involuntary evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1974:

BORGER: Velshi: All right, Gloria, how much of a hint is the president going to make? Or is it not going to be hinted? Is he going to say, “This is the compromise. If you can’t find it in yourselves to do it, to support this for Republicans, we’re going to get it through the Senate”?

Borger: Right. This isn’t going to be subtle at all today. I think this is it. I was speaking with one senior White House adviser just before I came on the air, and he said, think of it this way. This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?

Velshi: Wow.

The Obama Administration’s use of this type of defeatist rhetoric and analogy in its final efforts to twist arms and force Democratic House members to vote for Obamacare this week and the disclosure of same to CNN is certainly another strange development in the year long debate. The WSJ’s take was to question whether these comments are foreshadowing of the chance that health care reform is becoming Obama’s Vietnam. Perhaps White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs will be asked at his press briefing today what exactly the Administration is saying by comparing their health care efforts to the horrific incident decades ago in Saigon.  The WSJ points out some media reaction from the BBC:

Mark Mardell, North American editor of the BBC, was watching and he blogged in response: “Fleeing a lost war is not the most optimistic metaphor for an adviser to adopt. And it still may go down in flames.”

Another House Democrat is bucking White House pressure on the Obamacare vote as well today, as new quotes from Democratic House member Dan Boren (D-OK) are becoming public:

“They can break my arms. They can do whatever they want to. They’ll never get my vote — ever. They’ll have to walk across my dead body if they want my vote on this issue.”
“there is no chance I am voting for this bill because it raises taxes on businesses, creates job-killing mandates, grows the size of government, and cuts services to seniors.”

Boren’s comments could be the most biting criticism from a present Democratic member of Congress to date. Combined with the Massa Disaster, the Saigon analogy and Boren’s comments create an unwelcome beginning of what could be the final week of the Obama Administration’s push to pass comprehensive health care reform through Congress.

UPDATE: Hotair points out the Weekly Standard’s reporting that former “yes” vote Democratic House Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) has flipped to a definite no:

Add Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois to the coalition of pro-life Democrats standing firmly with Bart Stupak in the fight over taxpayer-funding of abortion in the health care bill. Asked if the congressman is “open to voting for a health care bill that lacks the Stupak amendment,” Lipinski’s spokesman Nathaniel Zimmer replied in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “No. Congressman Lipinski will not vote for a health care bill that provides federal funding for abortion.”

In addition to Stupak and Lipinski, Congressman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota has said that he will not vote for the health care bill if it lacks the Stupak amendment: “I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn’t have the House abortion language in it,” Oberstar told Congressional Quarterly on February 24.

UPDATE#2: Hotair points out a Democratic Congressman who states that Pelosi has only 201 votes for Obamacare right now.

UPDATE#3: Weekly Standard’s John McCormack links over, thanks for the link John. Weekly Standard readers, please take a look around, leave a comment or two. Thanks.

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Obama To House Dems: Please Save My Presidency

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

President Barack Obama today asked leftwing House Democrats to Save his Presidency by voting for Obamacare

In a high-stakes meeting at the White House, President Barack Obama reportedly pleaded with a set of far-left House Democratic Representatives to vote for passage of the Senate health care bill in the House of Representatives. Many of the Dem House attendees are leaning against voting for the Senate bill for various reasons. TPM describes the scene at the White House today:

President Obama’s message to progressives who are dissatisfied with the Senate health care bill is two fold: First: Don’t forget about the uninsured. Second: Don’t forget what failure to pass this bill would do to the party and my presidency.

In a meeting with House progressives today, Obama made the pitch.

Speaking to reporters in the Speaker’s lobby off the House floor, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said the President reminded them that “If this opportunity passes, much of our agenda, on the progressive side…it would be difficult, if not impossible for a generation to get back to this issue.”

I asked if the message was convincing to those in attendance.

“It’s pretty compelling,” Grijalva said.

That’s a significant change from his tone earlier in the week, when Grijalva said he was inclined to vote against the bill from the left.

Obama reminded the assembled Democrats that doing nothing would be politically disastrous. “To maintain a strong presidency we need to pass this bill,” the President said, according to Grijalva.

Directly on the heels of Obama’s meeting last night at the White House with center-leaning House Democrats, today’s gathering and the leaked substance of Obama’s plea to those in attendance demonstrate the lack of a majority of votes right now in the House for the Senate bill. No Republicans will vote for the Obamacare package, while about two dozen centrist House Democrats have already announced their opposition, and a few far left progressive House Dems are announced no’s as well. The next few days could be decisive in the White House drive to push the Senate Obamacare package through the House and achieve the largest reform of the American health system in history.

UPDATE: Hotair has a different take on the meeting than TPM.

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