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HealthCare Summit A Bust For Obamacare

HealthCare Summit A Bust For Obamacare
February 25
20:41 2010

After having endured four of the 6 1/2 hours of the Health Care Summit (also known as the Blair House Project) today, I offer the following observations:

First, if the Obama administration intended for this event to promote its health care plan in the public eye, it was a major mistake. Not only was the president and particularly the Democrat leadership unconvincing, they were unable to score a single factual point in the entire time I was watching despite having about two-thirds of the airtime.

Oh, sure, we were treated to government-by-sob story again and again, and there was a great deal of “You’ve got your facts wrong” aimed at Republicans. But there was never a time that I could see in which any of the Democrats could point to either examples of their programs working at the state level or in another country. They didn’t do anything to convince anyone, and they didn’t appear to be able to talk about their proposals on any level other than what they “don’t” do.

In other words, Obama’s side, despite holding the floor for the lion’s share of the time, seemed like they were on defense all day. That can’t have been what he was looking for.

Unless, of course, the plan all along was to throw the Republicans a bone before ramming through whatever he wants on reconciliation or other “non-traditional” means.

But if that’s the game, Obama did a lot more damage than he needed to his party line.

The “Party Of No” thing was buried today, for example. It died as soon as Tom Coburn and Paul Ryan got a chance to speak, because Coburn and Ryan, among others, brought a wealth of facts, numbers and philosophy to the table. They exploded the myth that the Republicans don’t have any ideas of their own, and if Obama or his acolytes try to trot that one out again they’re going to look stupid.

The Left as the nice guys in this debate also took a hit. When Lamar Alexander, who comes off as a cross between Ned Flanders and Mr. Rogers, was the GOP’s opening speaker and the Democrats brought out Harry Reid, it was a palpable difference. And when Obama arrogantly threw out the line that he didn’t count his time because he’s the president, it didn’t help. Obama calling the senators and congressmen by their first names, particularly in the case of John McCain where he threw in the added insult of informing him that the campaign is over, was disrespectful and stupid on his part and gave the American people a takeaway from the event that represented an unforced error. Also, when Ryan mentioned that state legislatures have a hand in regulating health insurance and that it’s not like they can’t do a decent job, and the response he got from the Democrats was that “it depends on who we’re talking about,” it was a bit of hubris they could have done without – after all, a recent poll found that 71 percent of the American people think Congress is doing a “poor” job; for the majority to demean anyone else’s capabilities just makes them look even more out of touch than they do already.

Will today’s confab change anything? No. The majority of the American people hate this plan and won’t support it, it’s still poison for the Democrats to try to push it through, there is still a deficit of votes available for them to get it passed, and they’re still bound and determined to force it down America’s throat. Which means Punxatawney Phil sees his shadow and we’re getting six more weeks of Obamacare.

At this point, the GOP probably ought to be happy to keep this issue going on forever. The longer healthcare goes on, the less opportunity for any other major abusive federal legislation to get passed. And the longer it goes on, the easier the road to a majority in both houses becomes. In other words, if your enemy is busy hanging himself, just get out of the way. For this to work, however, the party is going to have to maintain discipline and do what it can to recruit turncoats from the other side – either party-switchers like Parker Griffith or just conscientious objectors like Bart Stupak or the newly-minted Ben Nelson. A final vote on this package, in which it goes down to defeat, would almost be anti-climactic at this point; this has gone from an apocalyptic initiative to a pinata. And everybody likes a pinata.

But for the administration, today’s dog-and-pony show didn’t move the ball an inch – when progress was crucial. In that sense, this was six hours of epic failure.

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20 Comments

  1. For_Country
    For_Country February 26, 18:23

    Sadly, I admit that I missed the entire event. I was busy catching re-runs of Las Vegas and Sportscenter; while also mindnumbing, still kept me from the cliff jumping which would have been the result of watching 6+ hours of CSPAN.

    From the highlights, it appears that the D's came across as arrogant, condenscending douche bags. (How surprising!) I've already forgotten why our already lame-duck president even scheduled this summit. Was it to show to the American people what a great idea this Health Care bill is? After watching Obama admonish Cantor for stacking all 2400 pages of the bill in front of himself, or Obama cutting off R's who actually read excerpts from the bill itself, the answer was obvious:

  2. For_Country
    For_Country February 26, 18:23

    Sadly, I admit that I missed the entire event. I was busy catching re-runs of Las Vegas and Sportscenter; while also mindnumbing, still kept me from the cliff jumping which would have been the result of watching 6+ hours of CSPAN.

    From the highlights, it appears that the D's came across as arrogant, condenscending douche bags. (How surprising!) I've already forgotten why our already lame-duck president even scheduled this summit. Was it to show to the American people what a great idea this Health Care bill is? After watching Obama admonish Cantor for stacking all 2400 pages of the bill in front of himself, or Obama cutting off R's who actually read excerpts from the bill itself, the answer was obvious:

  3. macaoidh
    macaoidh February 26, 18:35

    I would have liked to see Cantor object like this when Obama made that remark about the Senate Bill being a "prop:"

    "I'm sorry, Mr. President. I know it's your expectation that all of us Republicans should be the only props in the room, and I know we're letting you down."

  4. macaoidh
    macaoidh February 26, 18:35

    I would have liked to see Cantor object like this when Obama made that remark about the Senate Bill being a "prop:"

    "I'm sorry, Mr. President. I know it's your expectation that all of us Republicans should be the only props in the room, and I know we're letting you down."

  5. For_Country
    For_Country February 27, 00:28

    To make the "Party of No" look bad in front of the cameras for anyone who was suffering from insomnia to watch. What they didn't expect is for the R's to become prepared to the event, which makes it revealing in the nearly 2 to 1 ratio in speaking time: If you (Ds) can't showering the American people in facts (i.e. that in can work), baffle us in bullshit. The R's are saying No because they appear to be the only group trying to represent the American people.

    Shakespeare said: Brevity is the soul of wit. It's also true in this regard: Brevity is the soul of truth. If there was any truthful evidence that the socialistic health care worked, then the facts would speak for themselves. However, we've seen it not work every chance it has been implemented. It won't be any different here because we've seen government controlled anything fail miserably throughout history.

  6. For_Country
    For_Country February 26, 18:28

    To make the "Party of No" look bad in front of the cameras for anyone who was suffering from insomnia to watch. What they didn't expect is for the R's to become prepared to the event, which makes it revealing in the nearly 2 to 1 ratio in speaking time: If you (Ds) can't showering the American people in facts (i.e. that in can work), baffle us in bullshit. The R's are saying No because they appear to be the only group trying to represent the American people.

    Shakespeare said: Brevity is the soul of wit. It's also true in this regard: Brevity is the soul of truth. If there was any truthful evidence that the socialistic health care worked, then the facts would speak for themselves. However, we've seen it not work every chance it has been implemented. It won't be any different here because we've seen government controlled anything fail miserably throughout history.

  7. For_Country
    For_Country February 27, 00:37

    Sorry for the double post. There is a limit to posting length.

  8. For_Country
    For_Country February 26, 18:37

    Sorry for the double post. There is a limit to posting length.

  9. Frank Auer
    Frank Auer February 27, 17:08

    I agree with your observations, but i have a concern with your conclusion.

    I think the administration's team should have been smart enough to predict this outcome (so far) and they had to have a reason to endure the embarassment they experienced Thursday and Friday.

    I believe the Dems' cupidity for the power that this plan would deliver causes them to think they can use reconciliation in the Senate and that the Witch of the House can cobble together enough votes to pass something. If she can get anything passed, I think they believe they can use reconciliation and get 51 "Yes" votes in Harry's Hovel.

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh February 28, 15:12

      I would say you're correct, and I noted in the post that reconciliation might have been the plan all along, with the Blair House confab nothing more than a ruse to offer the appearance of bipartisanship. Two items support such a conclusion in particular; first was the absurd monotony of virtually every Democrat speaking at the summit that "we're not that far apart" when it's crystal clear that the two sides have irreconcilable differences on health care, and second was Obama's tacit admission in his 28-minute "summit summation" that they're going to do what they want to do and then the people will get a chance to judge it in November.

      That said, it looks like Nancy Pelosi only has about 190 votes in the House right now. She could maybe wheel and deal and recapture a majority, but it won't be easy now that Cao has rejected Obamacare (<a href="http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/25/joseph-ca…” target=”_blank”>http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/25/joseph-ca… Wexler and Abercrombie retired and Murtha died. That takes her down to 216 votes against 216 the Republicans now have. A tie will not pass the bill. And I can't imagine she'll improve on the first vote for this thing.

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh February 28, 15:12

      I would say you're correct, and I noted in the post that reconciliation might have been the plan all along, with the Blair House confab nothing more than a ruse to offer the appearance of bipartisanship. Two items support such a conclusion in particular; first was the absurd monotony of virtually every Democrat speaking at the summit that "we're not that far apart" when it's crystal clear that the two sides have irreconcilable differences on health care, and second was Obama's tacit admission in his 28-minute "summit summation" that they're going to do what they want to do and then the people will get a chance to judge it in November.

      That said, it looks like Nancy Pelosi only has about 190 votes in the House right now. She could maybe wheel and deal and recapture a majority, but it won't be easy now that Cao has rejected Obamacare (<a href="http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/25/joseph-ca…” target=”_blank”>http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/25/joseph-ca… Wexler and Abercrombie retired and Murtha died. That takes her down to 216 votes against 216 the Republicans now have. A tie will not pass the bill. And I can't imagine she'll improve on the first vote for this thing.

  10. Frank Auer
    Frank Auer February 27, 17:08

    I agree with your observations, but i have a concern with your conclusion.

    I think the administration's team should have been smart enough to predict this outcome (so far) and they had to have a reason to endure the embarassment they experienced Thursday and Friday.

    I believe the Dems' cupidity for the power that this plan would deliver causes them to think they can use reconciliation in the Senate and that the Witch of the House can cobble together enough votes to pass something. If she can get anything passed, I think they believe they can use reconciliation and get 51 "Yes" votes in Harry's Hovel.

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh February 28, 15:12

      I would say you're correct, and I noted in the post that reconciliation might have been the plan all along, with the Blair House confab nothing more than a ruse to offer the appearance of bipartisanship. Two items support such a conclusion in particular; first was the absurd monotony of virtually every Democrat speaking at the summit that "we're not that far apart" when it's crystal clear that the two sides have irreconcilable differences on health care, and second was Obama's tacit admission in his 28-minute "summit summation" that they're going to do what they want to do and then the people will get a chance to judge it in November.

      That said, it looks like Nancy Pelosi only has about 190 votes in the House right now. She could maybe wheel and deal and recapture a majority, but it won't be easy now that Cao has rejected Obamacare (

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh February 28, 15:12

      I would say you're correct, and I noted in the post that reconciliation might have been the plan all along, with the Blair House confab nothing more than a ruse to offer the appearance of bipartisanship. Two items support such a conclusion in particular; first was the absurd monotony of virtually every Democrat speaking at the summit that "we're not that far apart" when it's crystal clear that the two sides have irreconcilable differences on health care, and second was Obama's tacit admission in his 28-minute "summit summation" that they're going to do what they want to do and then the people will get a chance to judge it in November.

      That said, it looks like Nancy Pelosi only has about 190 votes in the House right now. She could maybe wheel and deal and recapture a majority, but it won't be easy now that Cao has rejected Obamacare (

  11. Frank Auer
    Frank Auer February 27, 17:09


    I believe the Dems are also going to ballyhoo a few meaningless concessions (every good negotiator has some "throw aways") and the statist media will help them sell all this as enough of a bi-paritson effort to save more seats in November than we would like. Then, with no real problems being created in the first 4 years by whatever they get passed, voters will relax and the control seekers will begin to incrementally build the fence around us until the pen is complete.

    I enjoyed the ample doses of reality which Libs eschew whenever possible, but I am confident they will mulct all of us in any way possible to get the power they covet.

    Vigilance and action are needed now as much as ever. I was ready to join Reagan with an aubade as he described the morning of America, but to do so now would be premature, IMO.

  12. Frank Auer
    Frank Auer February 27, 17:09

    I believe the Dems are also going to ballyhoo a few meaningless concessions (every good negotiator has some "throw aways") and the statist media will help them sell all this as enough of a bi-paritson effort to save more seats in November than we would like. Then, with no real problems being created in the first 4 years by whatever they get passed, voters will relax and the control seekers will begin to incrementally build the fence around us until the pen is complete.

    I enjoyed the ample doses of reality which Libs eschew whenever possible, but I am confident they will mulct all of us in any way possible to get the power they covet.

    Vigilance and action are needed now as much as ever. I was ready to join Reagan with an aubade as he described the morning of America, but to do so now would be premature, IMO.

  13. Bob Nicholson
    Bob Nicholson February 28, 07:54

    Your comment about "…an epic failure." is actually a "Win" for conservatves and constutionists who believe Government should stay out of privae business.

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh February 28, 15:04

      Very much so. It's episodes like this which illuminate what Rush Limbaugh was talking about in his much-maligned statement that he hopes Obama fails last year. If you believe the federal seizure of the medical sector is unconstitutional and disastrous, how can you not wish failure on those who would institute it?

  14. Bob Nicholson
    Bob Nicholson February 28, 07:54

    Your comment about "…an epic failure." is actually a "Win" for conservatves and constutionists who believe Government should stay out of privae business.

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh February 28, 15:04

      Very much so. It's episodes like this which illuminate what Rush Limbaugh was talking about in his much-maligned statement that he hopes Obama fails last year. If you believe the federal seizure of the medical sector is unconstitutional and disastrous, how can you not wish failure on those who would institute it?

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