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Posts Tagged ‘Kickback’

The Obama Brand: Tarnished by the Passage of Obamacare over Bipartisan Opposition and Special Interest Deals

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Has the Obama Brand Been Tarnished By the Ugly Partisan Process Surrounding the Passage of his Signature Initiative, Obamacare?

President Barack Obama and the Democrats deserve a night or two to celebrate their historic victory in ramming the Obamacare package through Congress against bipartisan opposition, although only Democrats voted for the bill last night (219) while both Democrats (34) and Republicans (all) opposed the bill. However, as the reality of passage sets in upon America, an analysis of the political effects upon the Obama Brand is an interesting subject to review. CentristNet takes on this subject as the establishment media is in full celebration mode, with absolutely no focus so far in any reporting about the meaning of the substantial Democratic defections in the House yesterday or the lack of a single Republican vote in Congress for the massive initiative that defines the Obama Administration.

President Barack Obama will sign the Senate bill, as passed by the House last night, into law sometime this week, making the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback and unfair exclusion of only Florida residents from the cuts to Medicare Advantage the law of the land while also sanctioning a very flawed process that led a bipartisan coalition of legislators to oppose the Democrats-only bill.

President Obama ran for election in 2008 as a bipartisan, pragmatic problem solver and has frequently claimed in 2009 and 2010 that he is running his Presidency in an open, transparent and bipartisan manner while fighting the “special interests” on behalf of the American people. Now, centrist and independent Americans, as well as ideologues on both sides, are confronted with the example of the signature initiative of the Obama Presidency – health care reform – being passed in the most partisan fashion possible, with absolutely no Republican support and substantial Democratic opposition.  Indeed, 34 of the 253 voting House Democrats voted against the young President’s signature initiative – a not insignificant 13.4% of the House Democratic Caucus.

Considering this, one must now ponder the effect of this entire year-long process upon the Obama Brand – a brand that was built upon the idea of a post-partisan, cooperative governance that would end the untoward “ways of Washington” that so many Americans roundly reject. For instance, consider these sentiments from then-candidate Obama in his speech announcing his candidacy in January 2007:

We all made this journey for a reason. It’s humbling, but in my heart I know you didn’t come here just for me, you came here because you believe in what this country can be. In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that’s shut you out, that’s told you to settle, that’s divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what’s possible, building that more perfect union.

It was here we learned to disagree without being disagreeable — that it’s possible to compromise so long as you know those principles that can never be compromised; and that so long as we’re willing to listen to each other, we can assume the best in people instead of the worst.

I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness — a certain audacity — to this announcement. I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.

What’s stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What’s stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics — the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.

And as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what’s filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who’ve turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we’re here today to take it back. The time for that politics is over. It’s time to turn the page.

It is quite jarring to read the words of candidate Obama listed above considering that President Obama just forced his massive health care plan, which fundamentally remakes nearly 20% of the American economy, through Congress without a single Republican vote – hardly an example of “building a working consensus” as he promised America on that chilly day in January 2007.    As jarring is the derisive 2007 talk about “special interests who’ve turned our government into a game only they can afford to play” as the President cut backroom deals with essentially every special interest group in the health care industry during the Obamacare process.  As the Obama Administration has spent an overwhelming majority of its political capital to date on health care reform, the fact that the only bipartisan aspect of the Obamacare package in the final analysis is the bipartisan opposition to its passage is certainly not what the country expected when Obama was ushered into office with 53% of the vote in November 2008.

A Laughing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is Seen Here after the House's 219-212 Passage of Obamacare Via Solely Democratic Votes With 34 Democrats and All Republicans joining in Bipartisan Opposition

Most Americans, including many centrists and independents, believed that Obama would work with Republicans on major issues like health care reform to produce centrist, bipartisan solutions.  This early public confidence in Obama’s potential to be a post-partisan, centrist leader is  shown by the incredible levels of approval Obama received early in his Presidency – upwards of 65-70% support.  Obama’s approval had fallen steadily since March 2009 into a range between 45-50% before the passage of Obamacare today, no doubt in part due to the ugly, partisan acrimony surrounding the health care reform effort.  Now that his signature initiative has passed, incredibly, without a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate and 13.4% of House Democrats voting against it, America now knows that Obama has chosen a partisan path on the historic legislation that defines his Presidency.  Historically speaking, this exclusively partisan passage of a major domestic reform is unprecedented in American history, as both parties voted in favor of Social Security and Medicare, as well as the Civil Rights Act – yet only Democrats voted for Obamacare.

Obama, of course, has chosen to push a different narrative immediately after the House passage of the Senate bill – one that focuses on the allegedly centrist nature of his bill that just passed without a single Republican vote and garnered 34 Democratic no votes.   Obama gave a speech right after the House vote claiming that Obamacare proves “change in this country comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up” and that “tonight’s vote is not a victory for any one party — it’s a victory for them. It’s a victory for the American people.  And it’s a victory for common sense.”    Obama here is clearly trying to take the focus off the fact that only Democrats voted for his bill, and he reinforces his point by stating that now America will have “a health care system that incorporates ideas from both parties.“  Oddly, Obama appears to see himself as apart from the American people, saying it is “a victory for them” as opposed to a victory for us.  Obama also tweeted out this:

Tonight’s vote is not a victory for any one party – it is a victory for the American people. Tonight, we answered the call of history.

Obama also sent out an email to the many millions on his “Organizing for America” list, which said in part:

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we’ve faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right — and actually create the change we believe in.

Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.

In last night’s speech, tweets, and email, Obama is trying to take the focus off the fact that only Democrats voted for the signature initiative of this Presidency and avoid the subject of bipartisanship if possible, despite the fact that the Obama Brand is based in part on the image of Obama as a pragmatic bipartisan reformer. Both his speech and tweet make the claim that last night’s historic passage of Obamacare is “not a victory for any one party”, while the email to his campaign list removes this reference for obvious reasons. All three communications claim that the passage of the bill is a victory for the “American people” despite the fact that a majority of the American people oppose the bill in general and 64-73% of Americans would have preferred the President and Democrats either start over or start from scratch than do as they have now done in passing the present enormous, partisan bill. All told, it is clear that Obama will try to avoid any discussion of the lack of any semblance of bipartisanship in his signature initiative while also asserting that Obamacare “runs straight down the center of American political thought“, and it remains to be seen if that dog will hunt.

The odious special interest deals and pork in the Senate bill that was passed on Christmas Eve by the Senate, and last night by the House, will now all become the law of the land upon Obama’s planned signature early this week. While Obama and the Democrats will attempt to ram through a new bill to make changes to Obamacare though the Senate, the hard reality of the situation is that President Obama will sanction and endorse each and every backroom deal and pork handout in the Senate bill when he affixes his signature to it. The Senate may never pass the “fixes” Obama wants to the bill, “fixes” that were made necessary by the untoward deal cutting to obtain the Christmas Eve Senate passage of Obamacare from the sixty Democratic Senators who voted for it, such as the Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase and ridiculous provisions that allow Florida residents to retain Medicare Advantage benefits while all other states’ residents lose same.

The Backroom, Pork-Laden Deals Between President Barack Obama and Nearly Every Special Interest Group in the Health Care Industry Have Dented the Obama Brand

Additionally, the President referred to his fighting the “special interests” in his comments last night, as well as in his 2007 campaign kickoff speech and at many points in between, and the image of Obama as a tireless fighter of “special interests” in Washington is a critical component of the Obama Brand.   Here as well, the Obama Brand has taken a hit during the Obamacare process as 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 as the process has unfolded.

Regardless, in the days to come, expect Obama and the Democrats to attack the Republicans for “delaying” the “fixes” to the bill the Democrats themselves assembled and passed through the Senate on Christmas Eve. For instance, Obama also had this to say last night:

“On Tuesday, the Senate will take up revisions to this legislation that the House has embraced and these are revisions that have strengthened this law and removed provisions that have no place it in. Some have predicted another siege of parliamentary maneuvering in order to delay adoption of these improvements. I hope that’s not the case. It’s time to bring this debate to a close and bring in the hard work of implementing this reform properly on behalf of the American people.”

President Barack Obama, here with VP Joe Biden, on December 24, 2009 Praising the Senate Obamacare Bill's Passage

Here Obama is already staking out the high ground in the next phase of the Obamacare legislative battle, asserting that the changes that are to pass via reconciliation will remove “provisions that have no place” in the legislation. However, Obama himself is set to sign that very legislation early this week, and Obama had nothing at all to say about “provisions that have no place” in the bill in his December 24, 2009 statement after the Senate passage of Obamacare, calling it a “tremendous step forward” as he “hailed Senate passage“.

It appears that Obama and the Democrats will attempt to demagogue the GOP for stalling the Democratic attempt to push through changes to Obamacare via reconciliation in Senate by claiming the GOP is stopping the Democrats from fixing the very fraudulent deals the Democrats themselves made in order to obtain the initial Senate passage of the bill. As with Obama’s attempt to frame Obamacare as a bipartisan piece of legislation despite the fact that only Democrats voted for it and 13.4% of the House Democratic Caucus joined a unified GOP in opposing it, it remains to be seen if this dog will hunt as well.

Indeed, the entire, high profile “sausage-making” process over the past year or so surrounding the passage of the President’s signature initiative, Obamacare, demonstrates all of the untoward “ways of Washington” that candidate Barack Obama condemned in 2007-8, and President Obama has condemned in 2009 and 2010. Indeed, last night Obama condemned the very bill he will sign this week as having “provisions that have no place” in it.  Further, the background story of the strong arming done by Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the past few weeks of reluctant House Democrats is sure to be more fully reported in the days to come, and such details are also destructive of the Obama Brand.

All told, the Obama Brand of pragmatic bipartisanship has been seriously dented by the facts surrounding the passage of his Presidency’s signature initiative, and the next few weeks could bring more highlighting of the odious parts of the bill as the battle over Senate reconciliation heats up next week. Few, if any, Americans who voted for President Obama in November 2008 could have forseen that he would end up forcing comprehensive health care reform through Congress with only Democratic votes over bipartisan opposition via an ugly backroom deal laden process, and those facts could indeed change the way many Americans view the young President. Finally, then-candidate Obama’s words in 2007 about the need to avoid “slash and burn” politics and how American cannot “pass universal health care with a 50-plus-one strategy” are especially jarring considering the process that has now ended in the wholly partisan passage of his signature initiative:

Obama was talking about the differences between himself and his then-opponent in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton.

“I think it is legitimate at this point for me to explain very clearly to the American people why I think I will be a better president than Hillary Clinton, and to draw contrasts,” Obama said.

“But that’s very different from this sort of slash-and-burn politics that I think we’ve become accustomed to. Look, part of the reason I’m running is not just to be president, it’s to get things done. And what I believe that means is we’ve got to break out of what I call, sort of, the 50-plus-one pattern of presidential politics. Which is, you have nasty primaries where everybody’s disheartened. Then you divide the country 45 percent on one side, 45 percent on the other, 10 percent in the middle — all of them apparently live in Florida and Ohio — and battle it out. And maybe you eke out a victory of 50-plus-one, but you can’t govern. I mean, you get Air Force One, there are a lot of nice perks to being president, but you can’t deliver on health care. We’re not going to pass universal health care with a 50-plus-one strategy. We’re not going to have a serious bold energy policy of the sort I proposed yesterday unless you build a working majority. And part of the task of building that working majority is to get people to believe in our government, that it can work, that it’s based on common sense, that it’s not just sort of scoring political points.

The interviewer then asked, “So is your answer to ‘Why I will be a better president than Hillary Clinton,’ is your answer that she’ll be a 50-plus-one president and you won’t?”

“Yes,” Obama said.

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Obama Flip Flops, OK’s “Unpopular Deal-Sweetening Measures” To Buy Obamacare Votes

Monday, March 15th, 2010

President Barack Obama Flip Flopped on the backroom, special interest deals in Obamacare, now allowing them to remain in the legislation in the hopes of buying Congressional votes and toasting the passage of Obamacare within a week

President Barack Obama has flip flopped today, embracing the kind of backroom deals he campaigned against in 2008 and even recently condemned in the Senate health care package, as he heads to Ohio to begin the final push to gain passage of his massive comprehensive health care reform plan known as Obamacare.  The fact that Obama has decided to accept these unpopular, backroom special interest deals at this critical moment regarding the signature initiative of his Presidency could come to define the Obama brand for years to come.  Indeed, Specific pork in the Obamacare package intended to purchase votes, such as those of Dem. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Dem. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CN) and Dem. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), will now remain in the final Obamacare package to be voted upon by the House of Representatives this week:

WASHINGTON – Still seeking votes for his proposed health care overhaul, President Barack Obama appears ready to reverse his position and allow unpopular deal-sweetening measures in the hopes of finding Democratic support for legislation whose future will be decided in coming days.

Taking a new position, Axelrod said the White House only objects to state-specific arrangements, such as an increase in Medicaid funding for Nebraska, ridiculed as the “Cornhusker Kickback.” That’s being cut, but provisions that could affect more than one state are OK, Axelrod said.

That means deals sought by senators from Montana and Connecticut would be fine — even though Gibbs last week singled them out as items Obama wanted removed. There was resistance, however, from two committee chairman, Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and the White House has apparently backed down.

It appears that the claims of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs regarding the need to remove the special pork-laden deals for individual Democratic senators were designed solely to win a news cycle from the compliant establishment media, not actually improve the Obamacare legislation by removing such backroom deals. At the end of the day, the only change to the 100′s of pages of special interest pork in Obamacare to be made is the extension of the special Medicare deal for Nebraska, known as the “Cornhusker Kickback”, to all states, which, of course, will increase the amount of federal deficit spending that will result if Obamacare passes.

In Ohio, instead of focusing on the substance of the Obamacare legislation, or the special backroom deals he allegedly wants to remove from same, President Obama will focus on the individual story of Natoma Canfield and try to use that person’s misfortune to sell his policies to America:

Meanwhile, the White House tried to increase public pressure on Congress to pass the legislation. Obama planned to visit Strongsville, Ohio, home of cancer patient Natoma Canfield, who wrote the president she gave up her health insurance after it rose to $8,500 a year. Obama repeatedly has cited that letter from a self-employed cleaning worker who lives in the Cleveland suburb to illustrate the urgency of the massive overhaul.

Canfield’s sister, Connie Anderson, was scheduled to introduce Obama at that event.

This use of individual anecdote was the same strategy employed by Obama and the Democrats at the health care summit a few weeks ago, and the benefit of this strategy is to allow Obama to make an emotional appeal without focusing too much on the quite ugly realities of the legislative language itself (such as the payoffs to Baucus and Dodd) and the even ugilier realities of the procedural trickery to be used by Democrats this week in the House (“Slaughter Solution”) and the Senate (reconciliation).

Politico confirmed just now that the “Slaughter Solution” is now being pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for use on the Obamacare package to allow the House to “deem” the bill passed without actually voting on it:

The so-called solution, named for House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), would “deem” the Senate bill passed if House Democrats approve a package of fixes.

In other words, House members wouldn’t have to formally cast a vote on a bill that most of them don’t want to defend on the campaign trail — but it would pass anyway.

The speaker told her rank and file Friday that the decision was still up in the air but she thought this was the way most of her members wanted to handle the Senate bill.

The Newsweek article by David Stone from Friday, March 12, 2010 which strongly condemned any move to use the “Slaughter Solution”, excerpted by CentristNet here, has now been pulled from Newsweek’s site, clearly indicating that the establishment media is circling the wagons and set to push the “Slaughter Solution” over the finish line. Indeed, the talking points released by Democrats on Friday refer to such issues as the arguably unconstitutional “Slaughter Solution” and the use of reconciliation in the Senate as “inside baseball” and not worthy of discussion with the public. Considering Obama is starting the week by flip flopping on the sweetheart, backroom deals in Obamacare, whether the public catches on to the unprecedented procedural trickery planned in the House and Senate could determine the fate of the bill.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair points out that the Democrats have now unveiled their 2300 page “Shell bill”, a copy of which can be found here, to start the process of the “Slaughter Solution”:

According to Heritage and Philip Klein, this is a shell bill, not the actual proposed reconciliation bill. It’s a copy of the version from last autumn. Later this week, the House will gut this version and replace it with their new ObamaCare fixes. However, the student loan nationalization will remain in the bill, so it’s not entirely old hat.

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Gibbs Fibs re Slaughter Solution, Claims House Will “Pass the Underlying Senate Bill” and Then Take up Fixes

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Did White House Spokeman Robert Gibbs Lie this morning on CBS's Face the Nation When He Claimed the House will pass the Senate bill and President Sign it Before any "Corrective" Legislation is Passed by the House?

Despite White House and Congressional Democratic leadership support for a single, final House vote on Obamacare, in an incredible display of intentionally misleading statements by a federal official, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs today declared that the House will pass the “underlying Senate bill” next week, and that it will be signed by the President and then “corrective” bills will be passed through the House and Senate to “fix” the language of the Senate bill.   Gibbs even explicitly murmured “right” and “yes, sir” and nodded as CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer stated his understanding that the House must pass and President must sign the Senate bill before any “fixes” could be passed:

BOB SCHIEFFER: A– as I understand it, and– and the parliamentarians seemed to have ruled that the House is going to have to pass the bill that the Senate passed.
ROBERT GIBBS: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And then the President is going to have to sign that before the House votes on this so-called reconciliation package. It’s going to correct all those things they don’t like in
this Senate bill.
ROBERT GIBBS: Yes, sir.

Gibbs then continues after Schieffer pushed Gibbs on whether the Senate actually pass the “corrections” to the then-passed Obamacare:

ROBERT GIBBS: Yeah. Well, again, we’ve– we’ve worked with leaders in the Senate. We’ve talked to members of the Senate. The President has. And, look, members of the House, the President, and members of the Senate want to see some of those corrections made in– in that legislation. I– I think this is going to happen. Again, I think the House will have passed the Senate bill a week from today. We’ll be working now next on getting those corrections passed by both the House and the Senate. And we’ll have health care reform in this country.

These statements were made by the top White House spokesman despite actions of the White House and Congressional Democrats, who are planning to “deem” the Senate bill passed via a parliamentary trick known as the “Slaughter Solution,” named after the House Democrat who is the author of this unprecedented procedure, House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Obama worshipper and Newsweek journalist David Stone explains the Democratic trickery to avoid an actual up or down vote on the Senate bill in the House:

In a perfect case study of how dramatic Washington can get on a Friday afternoon, attention on health care appears to have shifted from when the final vote will be (next week?) to the possibility of a new parliamentary procedure to greenlight the bill. At issue is what’s being dubbed the “Slaughter solution,” which, in a roundabout way, would let the House pass the Senate bill without actually voting on it.

Here’s how: Rep. Louise Slaughter is chair of the House Rules committee, and as such, figured out that the House could momentarily change its rules to say that the House doesn’t need to pass the Senate bill since both bills are pretty similar anyway (in that they’re about the same subject). That way, Democratic members reticent about voting for the Senate bill technically wouldn’t have to be on record voting for it. They would just have to vote not to stop it from passing. It’s effectively a shift from active passage of the bill to passive. Then, after this rule passed, the Senate bill would go straight to the president, he would sign it, and then both chambers would start working on a few fixes through reconciliation.

The Obamaphile journalist David Stone concludes it is ludicrous to think the Democrats would actually do this, despite Democratic House Rules Chairwoman Slaughter’s explicit plans to do so, as reported by the non-partisan Congress Daily:

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Even left wing MSNBC journalist and former longtime Capitol Hill staffer (and veteran of the Hillarycare battle) Lawrence O’Donnell noted that the “Slaughter Solution” of “deeming” the Senate bill passed via rule-based trickery and then only holding a vote on the “fixes” to the Senate bill is an “unprecedented” maneuver in the legislative history of the United States that attempts to “amend a ghost” of an non-passed bill.  The entire uncut O’Donnell appearance on Morning Joe on March 12, 2010 can be seen here.  O’Donnell notes the “unprecedented” nature of the Democrats’ plan to switch gears after Scott Brown’s Senate victory and pursue reconciliation to pass Obamacare:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Will Democrats get health care passed?

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: I’m going to say what I’ve said all along in my humble approach to this subject.  I, having worked on this kind of legislation on the Senate floor, trying to get it passed, and in committee.  I do not see how they can do this.  Now, and part of that is because it’s never been done before. And they have moved into a legislative territory that has never previously existed.  The Republicans have not been very smart about trying to describe this. It’s difficult to describe.  But this is unprecedented, using reconciliation this way. Because what they’ve done, is that they’ve abandoned a bill in mid-conference. The Senate passed a bill, the House passed a bill. They were in mid-conference negotiating this bill, in conference, and they said it’s going to be impossible for us to pass it now because of Scott Brown, so we’re going to abandon conferencing this bill and move over to another legislative vehicle, called reconciliation.  To handle something you’ve already been legislating another way, now, that’s never occurred before.

SCARBOROUGH: That’s never happened?

O’DONNELL: Never, never, never.

Such emphatic condemnation of the Democratic endgame strategy to pursue the “amend the ghost” trickery in the House and reconciliation in the Senate to pass Obamacare from an explicitly left wing ideologue like O’Donnell is a bright red flag for centrists and independents. Perhaps Newsweek’s David Stone is correct in saying that it is “hard to imagine a scenario in which such a process would actually fly.Left-leaning The Hill concurs that the “Slaughter Solution” is a “sneaky, slimy sleight-of-hand” and that no one will be “fooled by this.”

The talking points distributed by House Democratic leadership on Friday, which Robert Gibbs and the White House were undoubtedly privy to and approved of prior to their release, make it clear that “Slaughter Solution” is part of the endgame plan to pass Obamacare:

The Van Hollen memo also advised members to avoid talking about the process.

“At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no? Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL,” the memo says. “People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.”

Leadership expects a CBO score on the reconciliation package by today or Monday. No decisions have been made on how the final process will unfold on the House floor, the memo says. So it appears Democrats are still grappling with whether they can use the process to pass the Senate bill without voting directly on the bill. Many Democrats view the Senate bill’s deals and policies as a toxic political mix that they would rather not endorse without first making changes to it.

Tellingly, Gibbs concludes his interview by stating that only one House vote will be required, impliedly accepting the “Slaughter Solution” and explicitly contradicting his earlier agreement with Schieffer that two House votes would be required, one to pass the Senate bill and another to pass the “corrections” to the Senate bill:

ROBERT GIBBS: –I– I do think this is the– I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform. And like I said I– I think whoever you interview just this time next week, you won’t be talking about a proposal in the House. You’ll be talking about the House having passed that proposal and us being a signature away from health care reform in this country.

As this is the “climatic week for health care reform” it is truly unfortunate that procedural trickery such as the “Slaughter Solution” and reconciliation are being pursued by the Democrats on such an important piece of legislation, even in the face of criticism by left-leaning journalist allies like Newsweek, MSNBC and The Hill.   Unfortunately, the NYT and Washington Post have not touched the “Slaughter Solution” controversy to date, and the major networks are ignoring it as well, so outright misrepresentations like Gibbs’s claims on Face the Nation today will probably continue to slide under the radar until the deed is done as planned by the Obama Administration and the Congressional Democratic leadership.

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Massa Disasta: Obama and Pelosi Force Massa’s Resignation Over Obamacare; UPDATE: Says Hoyer is Liar; UPDATE#2: Massa on Beck Tomorrow For Full Hour

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Democratic House Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) is blaming the White House for forcing his ouster from the House of Representatives, creating a new Obamacare scandal: the "Massa Disasta"

In a shocking claim made this morning on a New York radio station, Democratic House Representative Eric Massa (D-NY) pointed to the White House and Democratic House Leadership as engineering his demise, essentially forcing him out because of his opposition to Obamacare.   Politico quotes Massa:

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) says the House ethics committee is investigating him for inappropriate comments he made to a male staffer on New Year’s Eve — and that he’s the victim of a power play by Democratic leaders who want him out of Congress because he’s a “no” vote on health care reform.

“Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill,” Massa, who on Friday announced his intention to resign, said during a long monologue on radio station WKPQ. “And this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill. And now they’ve gotten rid of me and it will pass. You connect the dots.”

Massa’s claims this morning, as reported by Roll Call that his ouster was “orchestrated by Democratic leaders to get him out of office before the health care vote”, will likely lead news reports on cable during the day today.   One especially newsy soundbite from Massa was his claim that:

“Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil’s spawn…He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote.”

The “Massa Disasta” is unwelcome news for the Obama Administration, which is already struggling to remedy prior questionable process actions regarding Obamacare, such as the Louisiana Purchase, Obama’s appointment of undecided Dem. Rep. Matheson’s brother to a federal judgeship and Cornhusker Kickback.   Now, the “Massa Disasta” will take its place amongst the process scandals surrounding Obamacare as America begins the final days before the all-important House vote on the Senate health care bill.

UPDATE:  Ed at Hotair links over, thanks for the link Ed.   Ed points to an interesting piece by the Washington Examiner on the Massa Disasta which is a good read.   So far, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and CBS are engaging in a news blackout on this story, we’ll see how things develop during the day.

Some “interesting” quotes from Massa also from the same NY radio station tape, which now is, of course, a dead link, courtesy of the Washington Examiner and Roll Call:

Roll Call reports this morning that on the local radio show he hosts in his district, Massa said he had not been informed of the sexual harassment allegations before they became public. He claimed that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., spoke falsely when he said he had brought the matter to him previously, Massa said. “Steny Hoyer has never said a single word to me, at all, ever, not once,” Massa said. “Not a word. This is a lie. It’s a blatant, false statement.”

He also railed against Hoyer for discussing Ethics Committee business with the press. “Never before in the history of the House of Representatives has a sitting leader of the Democratic Party discussed allegations of House investigations publicly before findings of fact. Ever.”

Directly calling our your Majority Leader as a liar is a pretty substantial claim by a House member, and these comments are also bringing to the fore the dislike of Rahm Emanuel amongst rank and file House Dem members. Some other choice quotes from Massa this morning regarding Rahm Emanuel, from Realclearpolitics:

Rep. Massa describes a confrontation with Emanuel in a shower: “I am showering, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me.”


UPDATE#2: Ben Smith reports on Glenn Beck’s tweet that Massa will be on for full hour on his 5PM show tomorrow. Expect fireworks:

Tomorrow at five: congressman Massa for the full hour. I just spoke with him off air. All Americans need To hear him. Exclusive 2morrow fox

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Obama Sells US Judge Nomination For Health Care Vote; Gibbs: “Whatever it takes to get health care done”

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

President Barack Obama Nominated tbe Brother of "Undecided" House Democrat Jim Mathesan to Apparently Purchase Matheson's health care vote

In a deal reminiscent of the shady deals Obama cut with Democratic Senators from Louisiana (“Louisiana Purchase”) and Nebraska (“Cornhusker Kickback”) to get Senate health care votes, Obama nominated the brother (Scott M. Matheson, Jr.) of “undecided” House Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Ut.) on Wednesday in an apparent sale of Rep. Matheson’s vote for the price of his brother’s nomination.

Candidate Barack Obama in 2008 surely would have opposed such a blatant backroom deal by the President to purchase a health care vote from a wavering Congressperson, as Candidate Obama pledged in 2008 that all negotiations amongst politicians would be “televised on C-SPAN” to avoid the creation of backroom deals by politicians amongst themselves and/or with special interest groups.   Public disclosure of the appointment of Rep. Matheson’s brother to the US Attorney position comes in the midst of Obama’s call today for the Democratic leadership of Congress to use reconciliation to avoid the GOP filibuster and pass health care.

Commenting today regarding Obama’s hectic efforts to obtain passage of the massive, signature initiative of his Presidency, top White House spokesman Robert Gibbs stated the White House is doing “”whatever it takes to get health care done.” Today’s disclosure of the apparent use of a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals federal judicial nomination as a bargaining chip to obtain House health care votes could result in increased opposition amongst many Americans to the passage of Obamacare.

UPDATE: Hotair points out an interesting quote from Obama today in light of the news of the Obama’s appointment of the brother of “undecided” House Dem Jim Matheson (D-UT) to an appellate seat: “I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform.” Apparently Obama may be including the sale of federal appellate seats as part of doing “everything” in his “power to make the case for reform.”

UPDATE #2: Ed at Hotair points out that during the health care summit, Obama used more time than anyone else and ran over hsi claimed amount every time he spoke yet continuously scolded the GOP to be “brief”. Yet another example of Obama’s “do as I say and not as I do” mindset, similar to the CSPAN transparency claim outlined above.

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