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Posts Tagged ‘victory’

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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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 2007: Vote for Me over Hillary Because I Won’t Use Reconciliation on Health Care

Monday, March 8th, 2010

In 2007, Barack Obama argued that primary voters should support him because he would not use reconciliation on health care reform, but Hillary Clinton is.

A little-known interview in 2007 by Barack Obama supplies some fresh evidence of President Barack Obama’s shifting views on the use of reconciliation to pass comprehensive health care reform. Now, in 2010, the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have settled upon a plan to pass Obamacare via the use of reconciliation in the Senate after a majority vote in the House. Back in 2007, candidate Obama actually used the issue of the use of reconciliation on health care reform as an example of what Hillary Clinton would do but Obama would not, concluding that folks should vote for Obama for this reason:

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.

Even left-leaning Polifact, who collected the above Obama quotes in the wake of Glenn Beck’s partial airing of them last week, states that Obama has committed a complete flip flop on the use of reconciliation:

Obama may argue that he has tried to include Republicans, but that they have simply been unwilling to play ball. He also has noted that the first iteration of the health care bill passed the Senate with a supermajority. But the fact is, the health care bill is not getting any Republican support, and Obama is pressing forward with a plan to push through a health care plan without them, and without a 60-vote majority.

And we think the last quote, from 2005, is even more on point. Yes, Obama was speaking about the “nuclear option” as it related to judicial nominees, and not a reconciliation bill. But the principles are largely the same, especially as Obama noted that having simple “majoritarian” power in the Senate is “just not what the Founders intended.” And we think that’s enough to warrant a Full Flop.

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Mainstream Media Consensus on Health Care Summit: Tie Goes to the GOP

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

President Barack Obama Had a Tough Day Today at his Health Care Summit as the GOP had the "best day they've had in years"

The same journalists who cheered Candidate Barack Obama on to victory in 2008 and engaged in mainly fawning coverage of the Obama Presidency in 2009 tonight appear to be turning on their hero, declaring that today’s summit was either a win for the the GOP or at best for Obama it was a tie, and a tie goes to the GOP because Obama needed a big win to build momentum for the monumental task ahead of pushing Obamacare through the House and Senate once again. Politico’s Obama-loving writer Glenn Thrush outlines the building media narrative:

Seven thick hours of substantive policy discussion, preening and low-grade political clashes had Hill staffers nodding at their desks, policy mavens buzzing — and participants declaring the marathon C-SPAN-broadcast session a draw.

But in this case, the tie goes to Republicans, according to operatives on both sides of the aisle — because the stakes were so much higher for Democrats trying to build their case for ramming reform through using a 51-vote reconciliation tactic.

“I think it was a draw, which was a Republican win,” said Democratic political consultant Dan Gerstein. “The Republican tone was just right: a respectful, substantive disagreement, very disciplined and consistent in their message.”

The White House and Hill Democrats had hoped congressional Republicans would prove themselves to be unruly, unreasonable and incapable of a serious policy discussion — “the face of gridlock,” as one Democrat put it hours before the summit.

Obama clearly failed to gain a clear advantage over the GOP, like he did a few weeks ago at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore. Thrush also notes that the Democrats tended to talk about stories they’ve heard on the campaign trail about health experiences, as opposed to actually defending the legislation they were there to discuss:

Obama wasn’t able to dominate them like he did last month during an encounter with House Republicans in Baltimore, when he delivered zingers high above the GOP from a conference room podium.

All of this makes it tougher — though not impossible — for Democrats to make the case that they need to abandon talks with the GOP and immediately proceed with a plan to ram health reform through the Senate using a 50-vote reconciliation tactic.

“He didn’t create the predicate for passing this through reconciliation,” said a senior Senate GOP staffer.

That’s not to say the gathering of 40 House and Senate members wasn’t a shaggy, bumptious, sometimes testy affair. Democrats were less eager to discuss legislative process than present case stories of constituents denied coverage by health insurers — often without explaining how their own bill would benefit those people.

Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post, also a well-known Obama sycophant, managed to rationalize the naming of Obama as his #2 winner on his winners/losers list, despite the fact that the entire Obama strategy, to make the GOP look clueless and obstructive so as to justify the use of reconciliation, completely failed today. Of course, Cilizza did not address the overall strategy coming into the summit nor the effect of the summit on that strategy in his article, instead choosing a simplistic winners/losers formula so as to avoid what he must know is the truth – today was a very bad day for President Barack Obama. Indeed, Cilizza seemed more interested in whether CSPAN or the cable networks “won” today than the effect of the summit on Obamacare’s chances of passage.

Across the cable and network dial, and in the new media on the internet, even strongly left-leaning folks admitted that today was a total bust for the Obama Reconciliation Strategy and a veritable disaster for the Democrats who are facing reelection in 2010. For instance, leftist John Dickerson at Slate, while also in denial regarding the disaster today was for his hero Obama personally, admits in his writing that the GOP looked very good and fence-sitting Democrats facing the 2010 electoral buzzsaw saw nothing that would encourage them to jump off the cliff with Obama on Obamacare:

Republicans came out ahead for the same reason: They did not look like hell-bent obstructionists….

This is why it wasn’t a good day for congressional Democrats. According to strategists involved in 2010 races, fence-sitting Democrats needed to see Obama change the political dynamic. He needed to show how health care reform could be defended and how Republicans could be brought low. He did neither. White House aides and the president himself said he was going to press Republicans for how their plans would work, but he did that only twice—and mildly. There was no put-up-or-shut-up moment.

Yet another Obama-worshipping journalist, Marc Ambinder, again couldn’t bring himself to admit the GOP beat Obama today – instead also calling the summit a tie, and adding that “that’s good news for the GOP” in his report for CBS News:

The political world watched the proceedings at Blair House looking for theatre: instead, a policy fight broke out. This time, both sides came armored, and there was no referee. It was a wash — and the tie goes to the Republicans.

The key question on the table was not whether Democrats and Republicans could come up with ways to compromise; it was whether the White House could move public opinion in a way that helps Nancy Pelosi get the votes she needs to pass the Senate bill in the House. That’s unlikely.

All told, the old halcyon days of “Hope and Change” in 2008, when “journalists” like Thrush, Ambinder, Cilizza and Dickerson could freely cheer lead for their hero Obama without any concern about appearing in the tank for Obama because the entire media was providing Obama with unerringly positive coverage at that time, are gone. Now, with Obama on year two and his signature initiative Obamacare on life support, these Obama sycophants are now being forced to admit that the momentum behind Obama’s agenda has completely collapsed. The failure of Obama to produce a GOP “gotcha” moment for his crew of “journalist” sycophants to write about tonight, combined with the steady and professional GOP performance, could be the death blow to the “last best chance” to pass Obamacare via reconciliation. An objective journalist would be outlining those possibilities in their piece tonight, it is unfortunate the American media is so enamored with Obama and the Democratic establishment that they have to be pulled kicking and screaming by indisputable facts, such as the GOP’s clear win in today’s summit, into reporting anything even approaching the facts on the ground.

Other, less biased, mainstream media sources stated with absolute clarity that today was an indisputable victory for the GOP, not least of which was CNN’s centrist analyst David Gergen, who blunted declared that for the GOP, this was “the best day they’ve had in years.” Gergen went on to explain that the GOP got tons of airtime today to show the public they have solutions in health care and are not obstructionist, perhaps undercutting the Democratic talking point of “Party of No” to some degree. Somehow even James Carville managed to praise the performance of GOP Senators today, and Politico also chimed in on the afternoon session by noting that “by the afternoon, however, both sides took a more substantive approach that played to the Republicans’ benefit, given Democratic attempts to portray them as unreasonable and partisan.”

While we quoted Gergen extensively already, this David Gergen quote from the halftime proceedings perhaps best sums up the total disaster today was for Obama and the Democrats:

CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The folks in the White House just must be kicking themselves right now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

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Palin, Biden Meet Expectations in VP Debate

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Both candidates excelled in a night of debate filled mainly with recited stump speeches that were largely unresponsive to moderator Gwen Ifill’s questioning without any major gaffes. The key question going into the debate was whether Sarah Palin could reestablish her credibility after a series of missteps in interviews. Palin clearly met that bar and avoided what could have been a support meltdown on the Republican side if she had tanked.

Biden was knowledgable and forceful in his policy discussions, especially in the foreign policy discussions. Thematically, Biden did his job by linking McCain to Bush and demonizing Bush in an effective manner. Palin survived on foreign policy issues and excelled on tax and energy issues. Thematically, Palin did her job and by reinforcing McCain’s image as a maverick and linking Obama to higher taxes, more government and a loss in Iraq. From an objective point of view, both candidates did what they set out to do and the debate was essentially a tie.

The initial pundit reaction was predictable: CNN and MSNBC called it for Obama, Fox News called it for Palin. However, even the CNN “analysts” agreed that Palin swept aside credibility questions with her performance and boosted GOP morale and any threat of Palin “dragging down” McCain was erased. Predictably again, the focus groups set up by CNN and Fox News split in their reaction. CNN/Opinion Rsearch’s instant poll shows a 51-39 Biden victory, with 84% believing Palin exceeded expectations and 64% believing Biden exceeded expectations. with 55% Fox’s text message poll went for Palin, 86-12.

As for undecided voters, CBS’s poll of undecided went to Biden, 46-24%, with 55% stating their view of Palin improved. Importantly, CBS’s poll 18% of the undecideds are now committed to Obama, while 10% of the undecideds are now committed to McCain. If this takeaway from the VP debate holds, with Obama gaining more than McCain from undecideds, the McCain campaign will continue to slide in the polls.

Regarding the impact on the presidential race, most soft McCain voters who were concerned about Palin’s recent interview performances were likely part of the 84% in CNN’s poll who believed Palin beat expectations. The question becomes how independents and conservative Democrats react to the debate over the next few days. These groups strongly dislike Bush and Palin did condemn the Bush Administration several times and talked about looking to the future instead of backward.

With the second Obama-McCain debate set for a week from now, McCain is likely to become much more aggressive attacking Obama should the House pass the bailout package passed by the Senate yesterday. McCain has a set of commercials relating to the GOP’s version of the cause of the economic crisis – failure to control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – set to be unleashed once the House acts.

The media often talks about the great Right Wing Attack Machine, and Hillary Clinton often warned that Obama would not be able to withstand a full-on assault. Expect the GOP and third party groups to unleash “Greek fire” on Obama on both the economic crisis and his character issues (Wright, Rezko, Ayers, Marshall, ACORN, etc.) as soon as the bailout passes. The only way that McCain can win this election at this point is to return the focus to a referendum on Obama’s fitness for office instead of the quality of the Bush years.

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