February 25th, 2010

About that much-ballyhooed, analyzed, and largely unwatched “bipartisan” health care summit

[NOTE: I'm bumping this up to keep it at the top. Scroll down for newer posts.]

Well, I tried. But a couple of minutes was it for me.

I suspect that the vast majority of people will not be watching this thing, either. A few stalwart (or drunk) souls are liveblogging; the rest will wait for the post-game wrapup, the reviews, and for the MSM to assemble the clips and sound bites that will make their team—Obama and the Democrats—look good, and the Republicans bad.

Will it matter? I doubt it. But like most bloggers, pundits, journalists, and other assorted commentators, I have no idea what plan really lurks in the minds of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid—except that I have come to the point of not trusting a word they say. Mike Allen of Politico quotes an unnamed “Democratic official” that the summit’s theater is designed to “give a face to gridlock, in the form of House and Senate Republicans,” and that it will be followed in due course by a push for reconciliation and passage of the Democratic bill we’ve all grown to know and love so well.

That would be my guess too, but it’s only a guess.

My brief look at the summit revealed that the Republicans, alas, did not follow Newt Gingrich’s gameplan. I didn’t think they would, but I still think they should have. Instead, it has been more of a back and forth, with Obama leading the show and calling the shots, and doing his best to look presidential and as though he’s really listening.

Ace points out that these seem to be the rules:

1. Democrats get more time because “I’m the President.”

2. Republicans may not criticise my bill. They can only talk about things on which we agree.

3. Republicans may not use the word “Washington” because it tips the scales.

4. Republicans may not use or reference an actual copy of the Senate bill. That’s a “prop” and it’s unfair.

Ace also noticed that, when Cantor criticized Obama, the expression on Obama’s face was a “pissed-off grimace.” During the few minutes I watched, I noticed something like that, too, although it was fairly subtle: an impatient annoyance that Obama cannot hide when listening to criticism of himself, try though he may.

Those of you with stronger stomachs than I can watch the rest. Feel free to vent in the comments.

[ADDENDUM: Interesting observation from a comment at Ace's: the Democrats had mostly sob stories, the Republicans had mostly facts. That old heart/mind dichotomy.]

91 Responses to “About that much-ballyhooed, analyzed, and largely unwatched “bipartisan” health care summit”

  1. Mike Lief Says:

    It’s more than I can bear, too, but what’s fascinating is Obama’s inability to maintain a neutral demeanor.

    I’m a trial lawyer, and the ability to hide anxiety or irritation — to show the judge and jury a confident, calm “game face” is part of being an effective advocate.

    What’s your professional take on Obama’s lack of interest — assuming he’s even capable — in maintaining the presidential facade?

  2. expat Says:

    Commentary’s Contentions have some good ongoing comments. All I got from the first hour was the Dems saying how much they agreed on. A set-up to make the Reps look bad. Obama is his typical arrogant self.

  3. Artfldgr Says:

    ya have to like the title…
    given that the summit is kind of unwatchable

    While You Are Distracted by the Summit, Obama Democrats Are Targeting the CIA [Andy McCarthy]
    corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NDVhNWUzMjJkMjY1OWMyYmExMjRkMDc0NTJjMDk3Zjg=

    While the country and the Congress have their eyes on today’s dog-and-pony show on socialized medicine, House Democrats last night stashed a new provision in the intelligence bill which is to be voted on today.

  4. TexExec Says:

    If I used the words I’d like to use about Obama’s arrogance and how I feel about him, you’d ban me from this blog. Let me just say that it seems that Obama’s idea of democracy is that you say anything you think you need to say to get elected…then when you are, you do whatever you damn well please.

  5. SteveH Says:

    Is there a single health professional at this healthcare summit? Sort of brings to mind the sense of a plumbers seminar without any plumbers.

  6. Bob From Virginia Says:

    McCain and the Obmessiah seemed to have had a tiff. Anyone got the details. It looks like the Messiah accused the Reps for acting like the election was still on.

  7. Bob From Virginia Says:

    TexExec Says: “If I used the words I’d like to use about Obama’s arrogance and how I feel about him, you’d ban me from this blog.”

    You are among friends here.

  8. Tom Says:

    Steve: Sen Coburn (R-OK) and Rep Boustany (R-LA) are MDs.
    How this managed event was staged: On Tuesday, Boustany had not been invited, and his office had no list of invitees. He was invited on Wed. afternoon. I thought he did well this morning.

    I would be chagrined to be a Dem, given the utter stupidity of some of their comments. Rep.Slaughter’s (D-NY) contribution was that one of her voters was so deprived she had to wear her dead sister’s dentures. Sen Harkin (D-IA) read a long letter from an Iowa farmer compaining about premiums and being stuck with his insuror because he had a pre-existing condition.
    Enlightening, NO? I thought not.

    The Repubs did well. But it ain’t gonna matter.

  9. Scott Says:

    Baucus, Harkin, and a couple of other Democrats started their speeches with some variant of “we’re really not that far apart”.

    I’m not sure how that helps further the goal of “putting a face on gridlock” as the Democrat official said.

  10. Baklava Says:

    I watched a half an hour before and after the break for a total of an hour.

    John McCain was blown off by Obama with the campaign is over statement.

    Marsha Blackburn gave it to Obama pretty good about not understanding the people want freedom. “Free it up” she said. Obama clearly did not understand the angle she was coming from and I listened closely to that segment.

  11. Conrad Says:

    I’m watching it, and I think it’s going fine for the GOP. There’s certainly no visible evidence of “obstructionism” on display. The Republicans seem to be articulate, highly-informed spokesmen for the p.o.v. (share by the American people) that Obamacare is the wrong approach and should be scrapped, and that they (Republicans) have a lot to offer in shaping a better alternative.

    As others have noted, Obama IS being rather transparent in attempting to stifle (at the margins) commentary he doesn’t want to hear. He’s being civil, but not even-handed.

    The optics seem surprisingly UNfavorable to the president. He’s coming off as nothing more than a competent seminar moderator. There is utterly no sense of the majesty or gravitas that we (viscerally, at least) associate with the presidency. He’s doing nothing, from a presentational standpoint, to demonstrate why HE is president rather than any of the other hundred people in the room. If this is supposed to be good political theatre for him, they have REALLY botched the production.

    It seems Obama’s strategy is to try to characterize the discussions as showing that there are wide swaths of agreement between the parties so the Dems can try to sell the line, AFTER the event, that the GOP’s continued refusal to support Obamacare represents nothing more than rank political obstructionism. I just don’t think this forum is actually laying the foundation for that argument. That’s because the Republicans are doing a very good job of making it clear what their legitimate objections to the Dems’ plans are.

  12. Baklava Says:

    Paul Ryan is BLISTERING.

    My heart is beating faster. My blood is surging.

    I AM PROUD

  13. Conrad Says:

    Also: I’m right now watching Paul Ryan eviscerate the fiscal impact of the Dems’ plans right to Obama’s face, and it’s wonderful.

  14. Baklava Says:

    XAVIER (D) is attempting to slam Paul Ryan in return.

    Paul Ryan let XAVIER know that he is misstating his point.

    Xavier said, “doo doo” ;)

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    SteveH: Two of the Republican members of Congress attending are doctors.

  16. Baklava Says:

    yawn… xavier puts me to sleep.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    It’s great that the Republicans are doing well. But since most people aren’t watching this, I wonder if the MSM will allow word to get out.

  18. Baklava Says:

    Good point Neo.

    I’m a unique person who watches stuff like this. I watched the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, the Bridgestone Tire hearings, about 30 other hearings I could name.

    I’m unique.

    This one is by far one of the most painful of the ones I’ve watched. Why is that? Except for Paul Ryan I’m so uninterested.

  19. Baklava Says:

    Chuck Grassley (R) was horrible. Whiny. Looked uneducated about health care. Especially at the end when he said he “learned a whole heck of a lot about health care” this last year working with Max Baucus.

  20. Artfldgr Says:

    From a post at Freeper

    Obama “I had a rear end access accident and my insurance company just laughed”

    I have never heard so many lies and straw man arguments made up on the fly in my life.

    Maybe someone should tell Obama if you get rear ended it isn’t your insurance that pays for the accident, it is the person that hit you.

  21. nyomythus Says:

    Obama telling McCain, “Look, the election is over…” was jaw-droppingly arrogant and childish.

    And I still would not have Palin within an inch of the Presidency in retrospect :) — it’s a case of stunningly bad to stunningly horrible. We need better choices people, get off the Left/Right fences and come to the Center of the field.

  22. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    art, I have no doubt that the lies and straw men are flying (you couldn’t pay me to watch) but as for rear end accidents, it depends where you live. My state has no-fault mv insurance, which means just what it sounds like — unless the accident is very serious, each insured is covered by his or her own insurer, regardless of fault.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    nyomythus: the proper response to Obama would have been, “Then why don’t you act that way?”

  24. Steve G Says:

    This is the Democrat’s dog and pony show and it is boring to watch. Minus one for the Democrats. If the thought was that the Republicans would be demolished by Obama and that his health care bill would glide through as a result, the person who had that thought should be taken out and shot.

    The Democrats, mostly Obama, are arguing, in essence, that the Republicans are in agreement with the Democrat plan but are too stupid to understand that fact. This may look good as a talking point on the MSM by extracting snippets of the debate but will be put to the lie on Fox and Youtube. And, it will not move the polls.

    Reid pretty much gave the game away in his introduction by asserting that reconciliation is reasonable, given all the times it has been used by Republicans. The question here is whether Obama will be able to use the debate as a lever to push recalcitrant Democrats to vote in favor of this plan with only a 51 vote majority. While I don’t think he made any headway, only time will tell. I understand that the reconciliation process can take months. If so, are the Democrats now so unhinged as to allow the continued discussions over this health care bill (rather than to deal with the economy and jobs) to do more and more political damage into the spring and summer?

  25. Conrad Says:

    Boehner just handed Obama his lunch. Gave ME a Boehner.

  26. Thomas Says:

    Baklava Says:

    “Marsha Blackburn gave it to Obama pretty good about not understanding the people want freedom. ”

    The lefties I know tend to be loosing it over the freedom argument. They want to think free stuff = freedom with them setting the terms of what free stuff you get. Me, freedom is me choosing what to buy for myself and family and them taking that choice away is not freedom. Using the disadvantaged as a tool / prop to take away my freedom is also a tired argument (they use it for everything they want).

  27. nyomythus Says:

    nyomythus: the proper response to Obama would have been, “Then why don’t you act that way?”

    That would be funny, but then McCain would have looked immature … and jealous. I think his response of, “I’m reminded of that everyday,” was a honest response to a rude statement.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    nyomythus: I was joking.

  29. nyomythus Says:

    …and for what it’s worth, my weekend computer is still banned from posting here :\

  30. nyomythus Says:

    …and please don’t respond with, “Well, now your weekday computer is too.”

    unless you’re joking :-)

  31. Baklava Says:

    nyom,

    W W
    \ /
    :(

    Throwing hands in the air…

    Yes. We could use better choices. But BY FAR you picked the WRONG choice. Your hatred of Palin is a mental illness with no basis.

  32. Baklava Says:

    Charlie Rangel says the person in the emergency room doesn’t care about the “size” of the bill (2733 pages)

  33. Baklava Says:

    John Dingell quoted Ahnold commenting on “starting over” saying, “That’s partisan talk and bogus talk”.

    That’s my liberal big headed governor. Sorry nation!.

    See Nyom. That’s a “sorry” for my vote.

  34. huxley Says:

    It’s great that the Republicans are doing well. But since most people aren’t watching this, I wonder if the MSM will allow word to get out.

    I’m sure the MSM will do their usual. But if Republicans break even in this deal, that’s a win in my book.

    I’m relieved.

  35. nyomythus Says:

    I don’t hate Sarah Palin.

    I have some mild criticisms of her, but I certainly don’t hate her. Dude, you’re weird.

  36. nyomythus Says:

    “Any criticism of Palin and I freak out” derangement syndrome.

  37. huxley Says:

    One thing to keep in mind — this is about the last trump card Obama gets to play for healthcare.

    If Republicans have succeeded, as seems to be the case, in holding their own in the Blair House kangaroo court, then the Democrats’ healthcare offensive goes back to whipping their frightened Congress members into line for the reconciliation trick votes.

    Obama, Pelosi and Reid weren’t doing well with that yesterday, and doesn’t look like it will going any better tomorrow.

  38. Baklava Says:

    Your criticisms were neither mild nor were they valid.

    ’tis the reason I asked you when you stopped beating your wife.

    Remember?

    It’s not wise to make up irrational arguments about somebody and then say they are mild criticisms.

    I know that you don’t beat your wife.

    Are there better governors than Sarah? Yes.
    Are there smarter people in politics? Yes.

    Was Obama a BETTER choice than McCain / Palin? No. and therefore you blew it with your vote. Just like you blew it with your invalid but supposed mild criticisms.

  39. Baklava Says:

    BTW, That was my last comment on Sarah in this post.

    Back to the sham bipartisan conference.

  40. SteveH Says:

    If more democrats had sold encyclopedias door to door instead of being anti establishment activist they’d probably have gotten health care in some form through by now.

    Theres a bit of irony in their anti capitalist bias means they suck at selling their ideas.

  41. csimon Says:

    Today’s show wasn’t the last trump card. Reconciliation is.

    And for all the rational thinking in the world, I can’t believe the Dems are actually going to push for reconciliation. (I mean, I DO think they have it planned, but why they are willing to commit mass suicide, I don’t get.) Did Obama somehow get the recipe for Jonestown Kool-Aid? They certainly aren’t in full-politician mode which is 1) Self-preservation, 2) Self-Preservation, 3) Self-Preservation…..

  42. Baklava Says:

    SteveH,

    You have to have a product to sell.

    One that doesn’t include:
    1) A backroom pharma-fix deal – buyoff.
    2) A backroom doctor-fix deal
    3) A backroom Medicare Advantage fix for Florida deal
    4) A backroom Cadillac tax fix for Union members
    5) A backroom 100% funding for Medicaid for Nebraska only deal
    6) A backroom Louisiana deal – whatever that 300 million dollar deal was… can somebody explain that one?

    the list goes on and on.

    You can’t sell that one. We are in the information age now.

  43. SAB Says:

    The majority of the people who did watch the spectacle today did so because they are sitting at home UNEMPLOYED!!!wondering why the hell our President is so damned concerned with healthcare when their main concern is how to afford groceries, utilites, rent/mortgage while their savings (if they have any left) dwindle away waiting on an unemployment extension…or a JOB! offer.

  44. huxley Says:

    John Podhoretz sums up Obama’s summing up:

    [Obama concludes,] “We cannot have another year-long debate about this…Is there enough serious effort so that in a month’s time, or six weeks time, we can make a deal or we’ll have to go forward….That’s what elections are for.”

    And so, at the end, Obama threatens Republicans with passage of the bill through the “reconciliation” process that will only require 51 Senate votes rather than 60. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the fact that the House bill passed by only 5 votes and we don’t know yet whether Nancy Pelosi could command a majority for final passage for this bill when many prognosticators are looking at Democratic losses in the House of a minimum of 35-40 seats and a maximum of 75-80, more than Republicans lost after Watergate…

  45. Baklava Says:

    This is the stare ∅bama gave Paul Ryan

    http://pajamasmedia.com/vodkapundit/2010/02/25/you-wouldnt-like-me-when-im-angry/

  46. csimon Says:

    Huxley — Podhoretz has a good point: …”that’s what elections are for.”

    Only problem, he’s thinking about the election a year ago. Not the ones coming in November 2010 and 2012!

    Come to think of it, he does seem to look back much more than going forward, doesn’t he? His compunction for always reminding everyone that “he won,” (…ergo, he is right) and inserting in every speech no matter what the topic an allusion to George Bush and the mess he left Obama with, is all the evidence one needs. He hit both themes today, as usual.

    (I’m sure this is part of the Democratic playbook which preaches that the more one repeats something, the more people will come to believe it. The greatest example is the “Bush lied” mantra. If I had a nickel for everytime that was repeated, I dare say I might very well be able to finance the next Presidential election campaign!

  47. Adrian Day Says:

    Caught as much of the thing as I could of this thing. It was more apparent today than it ever as been the defining attribute of the president: he is a major a**hole. Everything meaningful that may be said about the man must proceed from this fact.

  48. Geoffrey de Bouillon Says:

    Only problem, he’s thinking about the election a year ago. Not the ones coming in November 2010 and 2012!

    Come to think of it, he does seem to look back much more than going forward, doesn’t he?

    Mortimer Adler used to be a darling of the left until he said, “The definition of middle class is being capable of thinking about the day after tomorrow.” His rejection of immediate gratification ejected him from the ranks of the elite.

  49. huxley Says:

    From NRO:

    According to Senate Republicans, President Obama spoke for 119 minutes, other Democrats for 114 minutes, and Congressional Republicans for 110 minutes.

    Talking, talking, talking … talking more than any other person by far. This is one of the things I can’t stand about Obama or anyone for that matter.

    Plus it was a sweet bit of rigging to pretend as though Obama were a neutral moderator in the summit rather than the least disinterested person in the room.

  50. Mr. Frank Says:

    This is not a big revelation, but I figured out where the Dems were coming from today. Their bill was untouchable in every detail. Maybe they would think about adding a Republican idea or two, but their bill was going forward in any event. Only Republican ideas were negotiable.

  51. rickl Says:

    TexExec Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:05 pm
    If I used the words I’d like to use about Obama’s arrogance and how I feel about him, you’d ban me from this blog.

    I’d be arrested.

  52. betsybounds Says:

    Well I was very pleased with the Republicans–most especially with Paul Ryan, of course. I think I saw Obama flip him off, in that famously unsubtle gesture of his where he rests his middle finger against his cheek. The accompanying scowl was positively ugly, a threatening mien. This man has serious ego issues. Serious.

    However, I must say that Lamar Alexander surprised the daylights out of me. He’s been a big disappointment over the last years–and that’s saying something, since I never had very high expectations for him anyway. But Lamar rocked! The last time I thought this highly of him was back in 1994, when he first ran in a Republican presidential primary, and he came up with the slogan for the Congress, “Cut their pay and send them home!” Would that someone would do it.

    I don’t know. This thing might still be in play. No one wants it. Well, that’s a bit of hyperbole–but the majority of American citizens don’t want it. Question on the point: Are the Dems going to recognize the basic American principle of self-government? Or are they going to court who-knows-what kind of disaster? I don’t think they–or at least their leadership–have a grasp of what they are tampering with, here.

    I hope, hope, hope that Huxley is right, that we will get over this by using our votes, and with the power of our system confirmed and intact. At least these Republicans today gave us some manner of a cause ’round which to rally. They gave us something to support, and a sense of some actual leaders.

  53. pst314 Says:

    “…what’s fascinating is Obama’s inability to maintain a neutral demeanor…What’s your professional take on Obama’s lack of interest — assuming he’s even capable — in maintaining the presidential facade?”

    I’d love to hear the opinions of Neo, Siggy, Shrinkwrapped and Dr. Sanity.

    From my personal experience, interacting (that’s the polite word) with leftists since the sixties, a very large fraction are uninclined to treat those who disagree with respect or courtesy. Instead they reflexively insult us and shout us down, treat us with contempt and use every trick to defame us. I think the problem stems from the ideology: Leftism is inherently intolerant and totalitarian.

  54. Wm Lawrence Says:

    A “rear end access accident”? WTF is that? Maybe that’s how his head got so far up there…

  55. betsybounds Says:

    pst314,

    If you haven’t already, you should have a look at Whittaker Chambers’ Witness. I’m finally reading it right now, and I must say it lives up to all the advance billing I’ve seen over the years. There are insights into Leftism on every page–plus, Chambers was a helluva fine writer.

    The Left’s program is astonishing in its understanding, and exercise, of power. Really. Astonishing.

  56. betsybounds Says:

    The connections with “no-fault” insurance (rear-end accidents, anyone?) are interesting. My brother lived in a no-fault state. He used to say, “No fault means yo’ fault.”

  57. pst314 Says:

    “you should have a look at Whittaker Chambers’ Witness.”

    It’s already on my list to read, but thanks for the reminder. (The list is getting awfully long.)

  58. TexExec Says:

    Sort of off the subject, but does anyone else here wanna just SMACK an immature person who uses the word “dude” when saying something negative to someone else?

    I once fired an employee for saying that to me.

  59. betsybounds Says:

    pst314

    Yeah, the list grows, but the time for reading doesn’t! Well, I’m closer to the end than I am to the beginning (pace Network)! :)

    Anyway, I love finding stuff to read. We have a nice balcony with a view of the Smoky Mountains, and if Global Warming ever lets up, it’ll be warm enough to go outside and enjoy the view! :)

  60. strcpy Says:

    “Are the Dems going to recognize the basic American principle of self-government? Or are they going to court who-knows-what kind of disaster? I don’t think they–or at least their leadership–have a grasp of what they are tampering with, here.”

    They most certainly do, they just think they can pin it on republicans.

    There are several possibilities for this meeting and I personally think they thought of them already – there wasn’t just one purpose.

    First is to be able to truly frame the Republicans as forcing them into reconciliation. That they obviously agree with them (make sure you cut the part out where Obama says they are only allowed to discuss parts they agree on) and it is just politics and those caring Dems are just what needs to be done. Then if/when it fails it is the R’s fault again because they wouldn’t come to the table and work things out.

    Then we have the whole thing about Republicans often sticking their foot up their own rear end (I suppose that would be of the accidental kind). I do not think they got any real good one today but no matter what there are going to be edits that look bad.

    If they are fairly certain they can do the first paragraph the bill goes through reconciliation. If not then they just need to pressure a few blue dogs and a few RINO’s and then they can call it bipartisan so when it fails they can pin it on republicans.

    This isn’t about health care, if it was they could have had the bill passed by now. It is about trying to manipulate the system into hate against the Republicans. They do know the whirlwind they are raising, they just think they can control it to do as they wish. In today’s information age I’m not so sure of that – 10 years ago probably, 20 for absolute certain. In another 10 years no way at all.

    Frankly they have to create the hate first so they aren’t worried – they have done this numerous times in the past and their friendly neighborhood media does everything in their power to help.

    Further I can tell you that this action has really fired up their base. One of the people I work with today said no thinking person could even remotely side with the Republicans now (I said “Oh” – no reason to argue and elections are going to speak louder than anything I can say).

    So, for them they see nothing more than a win on every front – fired up base and they have set the ground motion for pinning/shifting the anger to the Republicans. The Republicans are really great about having no spine and taking it so we will see – we are close to enough transparency (despite efforts to the contrary) that it will backfire. I truly hope this is the time for that and think it may very well be – once people notice that the Emperor has no clothes no amount of talking about how beautiful the invisible garment is going to work. That tactic requires an amount of control of the narrative and a level of trust I think they may have crossed into not having.

  61. Gray Says:

    I love that the Republicans schooled the dopey president with substantive point after substantive point, accusing him of “gimmics” and “misrepresentations”.

    I hate that Obama has so diminished the presidency that the president now has to sit there listening intently like a dope while he gets lectured

  62. huxley Says:

    betsybounds: You’ve got a good eye! The Paul Ryan piece was priceless.

    See text and video at Powerline.

    Obama looks like a poisonous lizard, sitting with one hand cupping his chin, slow grouped eyeblinks, and a glare you wouldn’t believe. Ryan was lucky to have escaped with his life!

    Obama has revealed his inner Caligula. This is not a man mature enough to tolerate criticism or contradiction, and now it’s out there for everyone to see.

    It was a good day, folks!

  63. huxley Says:

    Seriously go look at the video at the bottom of the post.

    I can’t recall any US president looking this unpleasant on national TV ever. Obama has exceeded Richard Nixon.

  64. huxley Says:

    I hate that Obama has so diminished the presidency that the president now has to sit there listening intently like a dope while he gets lectured

    Gray: Likewise.

    Even though Obama and his team rigged this game from the get-go, they got beat on the merits and on the optics.

  65. Artfldgr Says:

    Paul Ryan (R-WI) pummels Obama with facts…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V_kSMKKZFw

  66. Baklava Says:

    I was the first one to point out Paul Ryan at 2:54

    neener neener

  67. Baklava Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InimsXo9mc4&feature=player_embedded

  68. rickl Says:

    huxley Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 11:19 pm
    Obama has revealed his inner Caligula. This is not a man mature enough to tolerate criticism or contradiction, and now it’s out there for everyone to see.

    Considering that he is the most powerful man in the world, that is more than a little bit unsettling.

  69. huxley Says:

    rickl: Then there’s the whole middle finger business.

    I was inclined to dismiss that stuff if it was one or two occasions, but here’s Pam Geller with a catalog: President F***k You Flips Off the American People.

    I don’t know anyone who innocently folds their second and fourth fingers while extending their third. It’s an unnatural gesture — unless one is delivering a particular message.

    Something else I’ve never seen an American president do.

  70. grackle Says:

    And so, at the end, Obama threatens Republicans with passage of the bill through the “reconciliation” process that will only require 51 Senate votes rather than 60.

    I believe that if Obamacare is passed and time is allowed to pass with it in place then it will very difficult to go back or to implement a more free market type of reform. Once folks get used to an entitlement it is almost impossible to root out.

    But if the next election gives the GOP majorities in Congress and the GOP has the guts to repeal Obamacare and enact afterwards a better system then the day can be saved. The GOP version would then have some time, years perhaps, in which to prove its worth.

    Anything passed through reconciliation can be repealed through reconciliation. And a GOP-originated common sense substitute then implemented through reconciliation.

    It all depends on the coming election.

    If past GOP-dominated Congresses had possessed the foresight to do some free market oriented healthcare reform I doubt that we would now be faced with the scary prospect of Obamacare. Instead they carelessly allowed a rickety, Rube Goldberg, evermore expensive, lobbyist-driven healthcare system go without needed reform. All the parts of the present GOP plan are directed toward correcting flaws that have existed for many years. What was it the mechanic said in that commercial years ago? “Pay me now or pay me[much more] later.” The GOP, if it’s not too late, needs to learn a lesson from all this.

  71. SteveH Says:

    “”If past GOP-dominated Congresses had possessed the foresight to do some free market oriented healthcare reform “”
    Grackle

    Remember attempts at Social Security reform? Seems to me the problem is and has been Americans not willing to see the writing on the wall. They don’t want to hear the truth, or else do anything uncomfortable even if they happen to hear the truth loud and clear.

    We basically have a cultural entitlement problem overiding any attempts at a sane fiscal government. Its a democracy of too many short sighted adolescent voters bitching at politicians for their failures, stemming from the politicians recognition that his constituents are short sighted adolescents.

  72. NeoConScum Says:

    I see that even David Rodham Gergen said last night that it was a Big Winner for the Repubs.

    Should I believe the putz, for once ? A quandry.

  73. expat Says:

    John at Powerline looks at Obama’s little car accident anecdote:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/02/025686.php

    This is the kind of thing The Won gets away with all the time. No one asks about whether it was no-fault insurance or whether it was standard liability/collision coverage because it is tangential to the issue at hand. However, if someone were to delve a bit into the OT anecdotes, people might come to the conclusion that Mr. Brilliant Harvard-trained Lawyer was too stupid to read an insurance policy.

    I wonder how he would handle having to read a 2,700-page law to learn whether his health insurance covers surfing accidents or whether the policy will pay for insulin if you didn’t eat your daily dose of raw carrots.

    Steve: Don’t forget that these shrt-sighted adolescent voters were educated in schools influenced by the Bill Ayers philosophy of education. Crying about polar bears is more important than learning to calculate a budget. Victimology 101 is THE required course.

  74. Steve G Says:

    Obama told a short story (that I paraphrase) about having to buy insurance on his clunker of a car that was necessary in order for him to be able to drive it. A few months later he was rear ended. He called his insurance carrier and they laughed at him when he wanted to make a claim for the damages. The point being that everyone should get full coverage so these kind of things don’t happen to the unwary dufuss. Apparently, even though he was a professor of Constitutional law and a graduate of Harvard Law School (what the hell do they teach there?), as well as the editor of the Harvard Law Review (did he even edit articles written by other students?), he did not know the difference between the barest liability coverage required by law to operate a vehicle on the streets of Illinois and more expensive collision and/or comprehensive coverage. So, he relies on his ignorance of automobile insurance to drive (no pun intended) his arguments on health insurance. That is, everyone should carry full comprehensive coverage on their cars even if the cars are worth less than the insurance premiums. Ergo, everyone must get full health insurance coverage, including abortion, even if they could never use it.

    Obama did very well without a teleprompter until he had his “the police are stupid” moment at the very end. That’s when he gave the lie to the summit by threatening to do whatever had to be done to move the bill forward if the Republicans did not agree to vote for it, and soon. (FOX has been showing that clip all morning.) Until a few days ago the Democrat meme has been that the Republicans had no health care plan to address the problems of high cost, pre-existing conditions, etc. But the “stupid” Republicans show up at the summit, clearly very well prepared to address the issues and with their own plan, a copy of which had been sent to the White House weeks ago. OOPS!!! Guess they had a plan after all. The net effect for those who watched at least some of the summit was to see a president who did not look or act presidential and to learn of a Republican plan that made some sense. A very good outing for our side.

  75. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    I could only stand to watch a few live minutes and a few highlights of what one Fox commentator called this “Healthcarepalooza.”

    However, above and beyond any understanding of the content, minutia, and smoke and mirrors that make up the proposed Health Care Reform bills and the President’s proposal watchers might have gained, I think that my overwhelming impression is of how badly Obama came off as a person, and my guess is that a lot of other viewers might feel the same way.

    A sustained, 7 ½ hour stint of watching Obama in action—as opposed to his carefully staged campaign rallies, with their vacuous slogans and almost religious fervor, and as opposed to his scripted, teleprompted speeches—revealed, at times, a bored (loved the clips of him picking his nose*), arrogant, petulant, glowering and, once or twice, a snake- eyed, glaring, menacing figure, totally at odds with his manufactured façade. This, not the Republican’s dissection of the sham that is Health Care Reform, is, I believe, what his greatest loss coming out of this “summit” was.

    * I once attended a memorable meeting in which the powerful woman who was second in command of the Federal government research organization I worked for, who was watched very carefully by everyone there, very carefully and deliberately mined that old boogey mine in front of a room full of people—I believe as a sign of her contempt for them, and as a sign that, with her power, she could get away with anything, and do exactly what she wanted.

  76. grackle Says:

    Remember attempts at Social Security reform? Seems to me the problem is and has been Americans not willing to see the writing on the wall. They don’t want to hear the truth, or else do anything uncomfortable even if they happen to hear the truth loud and clear.

    I see the Social Security “problems” as different in kind and scope than the healthcare issues. Also, Bush and his relatively few GOP supporters hinged the reform on a stock market investment scheme that wasn’t reform so much as an attempt let the brokers get their hot little hands on the Social Security fund, a provision that didn’t sit well with a lot of voters.

    What is needed to make Social Security self-sustaining are steps such as a modest cut-back in the benefit amount, cutting out the retirement at 62 option, raising the retirement age to 66, a slight raise in the payroll SS contribution(FICA) and a modest co-payment for Medicare. Keep the investment crap out of the picture.

    All these might be difficult to enact but we don’t know for sure just how difficult since they’ve never really been attempted by themselves – there’s always been some scheme like the stock market thing to muddy the water. Trying to tack on schemes to reward certain constituencies is NOT the way to get reform done. The public might accept honest, sincere reform of Social Security. Leaders need to lead, not just hand out perks to powerful constituencies.

    But there’s nothing set in concrete about the self-sustaining aspect of Social Security. Most items in the budget are not self-sustaining. All budget items are ‘in trouble’ and have a ‘funding crisis’ until and unless they are funded.

    Pay me now or pay me later.

  77. huxley Says:

    Obama’s Rasmussen numbers are in the basement again: -20 presidential approval index.

    Since the polls run on a three-day rolling average, the drop cannot be attributed to yesterday’s summit outcome.

    From watching this poll regularly, though, I have the impression that prominent coverage of healthcare drives Obama’s numbers down.

    Obama and his advisers keep thinking that Obama can bring up the numbers for healthcare; actually it works the other way around and in the other direction.

  78. Baklava Says:

    The Frank Luntz group was decidedly against the Democrats last night.

    Out of the 25 people in the group only 3 were for reconciliation – everybody else was against.

  79. huxley Says:

    John Podhoretz provides the best overview of all the ways that Democrats are trapped in healthcare.

    I love his concluding observation:

    I don’t think there’s ever been a situation like this in American political history. Every way you look at it, Democrats are boxed in, forced to choose between extraordinarily unattractive options. What makes it especially noteworthy is that this was a calamity they summoned entirely upon themselves.

  80. pst314 Says:

    “We have a nice balcony with a view of the Smoky Mountains”

    That is such a beautiful region.

  81. huxley Says:

    Out of the 25 people in the group only 3 were for reconciliation – everybody else was against.

    Yes. Obama and his supporters continue to believe that the healthcare bill is great and Americans want it or will once they get used to it, so the only problem is for Democrats to market it properly.

    But the plain fact, shown over and over again, is that Americans do not want this bill and will not be talked out of their opposition.

    This is what is stopping the Democrats.

  82. Baklava Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO-hZVgA-bk&feature=player_embedded

    Health care is mentioned at the end of this video… had me chuckling a few times. :)

  83. Baklava Says:

    Washington Post Page One shilling for Obama

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2010/02/26/wapo-page-one-professor-obama-schools-undisciplined-pupils-gop

  84. Baklava Says:

    Is there a LIBERAL out there who saw the meeting and liked the way the Democrats “were”.

    What liberal out there can bring up a SUBSTANTIVE argument that a Democrat raised?

    Anecdotes does nothing to talk about the 2733 page bill.

    Representative Slaughter raised a point about a sister using her dead sister’s used dentures. What denture provisions are in the 2733 page monstrosity?

    Obama talked about an anecdote dealing with a rear end auto collision. What provision in the 2733 page bill deals with auto collisions?

    At this point – I can only say a liberal has to be dishonest to the core and mentally ill. Yes you !

  85. Baklava Says:

    That’s what I thought~!

  86. betsybounds Says:

    Shamelessly plugging for Mitch Daniels:

    http://tinyurl.com/ybotnwl

    Check it out check it out check it out!!

  87. Bob from Virginia Says:

    # TexExec Says:
    Sort of off the subject, but does anyone else here wanna just SMACK an immature person who uses the word “dude” when saying something negative to someone else?

    You may have overreacted. In south California “Dude” is a refined form of address, as in “Hey Dude can you pass the scalpel so I can complete this coronary bypass.”

  88. Stakes Says:

    This kabuki theater “summit”, and Obam-uh’s tone of voice and body language therein reveal, yet again, that the only thing thinner than his resume is his skin.

  89. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Betsyhounds; reference Mitch Daniels, he looks real good and thanks for alerting me. Sadly an electorate that elected Obama doesn’t want good, they want Elvis and Santa Claus rolled into one. Nonetheless he has my vote.

  90. Steve G Says:

    After some time to reflect on the summit, one can readily perceive that the Republicans and Democrats were like two ships passing in the night. They spent 7 1/2 hours in the same room without really communicating with each other.

    The Republicans presented logical arguments about the increased costs of health care and how it would grow government and ultimately undermine the doctor/patient relationship. The Democrats, unable to deal objectively with issues that they approach from an emotional perspective, took this as being insensitive to those in need of health care. Unable to defend their plan logically, they gave one anecdotal story after another to demonstrate that they cared (which I think is a lie) and which, after the first few stories, caused me to want to shout please, no more stories. Hearing them I wanted to opt for the Chinese water torture.

    Neither side (including Obama) really listened to the other. The summit was not really intended to change the minds of the participants (the format precluded anything but speech making) but, as it was the brainchild of the Democrats, must have been meant to convey some message to the public that would place the Democrats in a better light then the Republicans. My view is that the result was just the opposite. The Democrats nonetheless still patted themselves on the back for being caring and hating the Republicans for being analytical and cold. The Republicans, forced kicking and screaming to the summit, were at last able to present their health care proposals in a public forum and sidestep the MSM with the fact that, surprise, they did have their own plan and had sent a copy to the White House several weeks prior to the summit.

    Score a big victory for the Republicans.

  91. DerHahn Says:

    What is needed to make Social Security self-sustaining are steps such as a modest cut-back in the benefit amount, cutting out the retirement at 62 option, raising the retirement age to 66, a slight raise in the payroll SS contribution(FICA) and a modest co-payment for Medicare. Keep the investment crap out of the picture.

    All these might be difficult to enact but we don’t know for sure just how difficult since they’ve never really been attempted by themselves – there’s always been some scheme like the stock market thing to muddy the water.

    @grackle, every single one of those provisons has already been enacted.

    The Social Security Amendments of 1983 (H.R. 1900, Public Law 98-21) increased the age for collecting full Social Security retirement benefits gradually from 65 to 67 over a 22-year period beginning in 2000 for those retiring at 62.

    Anyone born after 1959 now has attain age 67 before receiving full retirement benefits.

    While the age for early retirement remained at 62, the monthly benefit is reduced by a greater amount as the retirement age rises since the reduction is based on the number of months prior to full retirement age that benefits are started. (source ssa.gov)

    There has not been a recent increase in the FICA tax rate but the cap on salary subject to FICA has been indexed to the Social Security COLA adjustment.

    Medicare has required copays since the mid 1970s.

    Given your lack of knowledge regarding SS and Medicare reform, I find your critisism of Bush’s proposals less than compelling.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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