After a year of trashing Fox News as the enemy, a desperate Barack Obama consented to an exclusive interview with Bret Baier in hopes of pacifying the segment of the American people not sold on his unpopular health care plan. A few impressions of the 20-minute segment on health care…
– Three minutes in, and this guy already is agitated, stammering and speaking gibberish. Apparently you don’t have to have much substance to be president. Bret Baier’s doing well, though – or as well as a reporter can do when he’s reduced to interrupting the president of the United States who won’t stop filibustering answers to his questions.
– Obama defends the Louisiana Purchase. Badly. Then he says the Nebraska deal is out of the legislation. Which is a lie – it was in the Senate bill, and if that passes, it becomes law unless Obama vetoes it.
– Then, asked about the deals for Connecticut, Florida and Montana he speaks in gobbledygook. In other words, while he touts “courage” as what’s needed he can’t speak honestly about controversial provisions in his bill.
– Baier is kicking Obama’s butt in this thing. If somebody had done this to him in 2008, he would never have been elected.
– Now Obama says everybody knows what’s in this bill and Baier drills him on Connecticut and Montana, and he can’t say if those provisions are in it.
– Obama then assaults Medicare Advantage, saying all it does is fatten profit margins of insurance companies. That’s a lie. First, Medicare Advantage is a very popular program with seniors and has shown proven results, and second, insurance companies on average turn a profit of LESS THAN FOUR PERCENT.
– Baier asks about the doctor fix and how that squares with his “deficit neutral” sales pitch, and Obama blames it on Bush.
– And then Baier asks whether he can be a transformative president without passing health care, and Obama blames it on Bush. Refuses to answer. Then says he’s confident it will pass, but his body language doesn’t really agree.
– Then Obama brings up Teddy Roosevelt as the first president who attempted to saddle us with socialized medicine – as though the fact that the American people have fought this scheme for an entire century is somehow not evidence of his foolishness in attempting to pass it.
UPDATE (5:39 p.m.): National Review’s Daniel Foster has the quote from Obama on the Slaughter Rule and procedure, and it’s the standard Democrat boilerplate – the means don’t matter, only the ends do:
“I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or Senate,” Obama said. “What I can tell you is that the vote that’s taken in the House will be a vote for health care reform. And if people vote yes, whatever form that takes, that is going to be a vote for health care reform. And I don’t think we should pretend otherwise. And if they don’t, if they vote against it, then they’re going to be voting against health care reform and they’re going to be voting in favor of the status quo.”
UPDATE (5:44 p.m.): This quote from the interview is just amazing:
“By the time the vote has taken place, not only I will know what’s in it, you’ll know what’s in it because it’s going to be posted and everybody’s going to be able to evaluate it on the merits,” he said.
Yeah, right. And by then it’s going to be the law of the land and it will be too late for people to object to what’s in the bill. This is the transparency he promised in 2008?
UPDATE (5:48 p.m.): Meanwhile, a survey released by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest shows that this might be the single most unpopular major piece of social legislation ever to stand on the doorstep of passage:
· Six in ten Americans (60%) agree that a current Democrat proposal to send the Senate health care bill to the president without voting up or down on it is “unfair.”
· Most Americans oppose (81%) health care reforms that would increase insurance premiums for healthy people to offset premiums of people who wait until they are diagnosed with an illness to purchase insurance.
· Eight Americans in ten (81%) oppose allowing the government to decide what kind of health care coverage Americans are able to purchase.
· Most Americans (87%) oppose having a government panel recommend or decide what medical procedures or medical advances your doctor or health plan can or cannot use.
· More than eight Americans in ten (84%) support reforms that would allow people to buy health insurance where it is the least expensive, such as across state lines.
· Three in four Americans (76%) oppose health care reforms that would raise taxes and cut Medicare benefits to pay for health care subsidies for expanded coverage for those currently insured.
· Eight Americans in ten (78%) support health care reforms that would let people buy less costly health plans and save and invest for health care needs in the future on a tax-free basis.
UPDATE (5:54 p.m.): Now we find out that the first batter to the plate fighting the Slaughter Rule in federal court will be radio host Mark Levin:
Mark R. Levin, president of Landmark Legal Foundation, today issued a warning to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives about the possible use of the so-called “deem and pass,” “self-executing,” or “Slaughter Rule” to enact H.R. 3590, the legislative version of President Obama’s healthcare proposal that has been previously approved by the Senate. If this tactic is employed, Landmark will immediately sue the President, Attorney General Eric Holder and other relevant cabinet members to prevent them from instituting this unconstitutional contrivance.
“Landmark has already prepared a lawsuit that will be filed in federal court the moment the House acts. Such a brazen violation of the core functions of Congress simply cannot be ignored. Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution is clear respecting the manner in which a bill becomes law. Members are required to vote on this bill, not claim they did when they didn’t. The Speaker of the House and her lieutenants are temporary custodians of congressional authority. They are not empowered to do permanent violence to our Constitution.”
UPDATE (6:11 p.m.): Via HotAir, here’s some video of the procedural brush-off answer, together with Baier’s post-interview reaction, from earlier today on Fox News:
UPDATE (6;16 p.m.): Dick Morris weighs in with this scenario confronting House Democrats still on the fence where Obama’s Medicare cuts are concerned:
If the House Democratic majority passes Obama’s health care proposals, one of two things will happen by Election Day, 2010 – and neither one will be healthy for the Democrats seeking re-election.
Either the Medicare cuts will take effect or they will be postponed by a terrified Congress.
If they take effect, physicians’ fees will be slashed 21 percent and hospital reimbursements for Medicare patients will be cut by $1.3 billion. Tens of thousands of doctors and thousands of health care institutions – hospitals, hospices, outpatient clinics and such – will refuse to treat Medicare patients.
Entire cities will be without one doctor in important specialties who will take care of the elderly on Medicare. Particularly in fields like G.I. care or arthritic and joint pain, doctors will simply refuse to accept the low reimbursement rates they are being offered and hospitals will refuse all but emergency care to Medicare patients. In effect, the elderly will experience a doctors’ strike against Medicare patients.
Congress, faced with this massive revolt coming right on the verge of the election, may back down and postpone the cuts. Originally, doctor reimbursement rates were scheduled to drop on March 1 of this year, but Congress postponed it until the fall. Now the Democrats in Congress will face not only cuts in doctors’ fees but in all forms of Medicare reimbursement – the so-called “market basket” of cuts programmed into Obamacare.
Congress, being Congress, will probably seek to postpone the cuts until after Election Day. But in doing so, they would expose the deficit reduction and cost containment features of Obama’s bill for the fraud that they are. The news media headlines would blare that Congress just voted to add tens or hundreds of billions to the deficit and the big spending, high borrowing image of Congress will worsen. All pretense that Obamacare is not a reckless spending bill will be stripped away and we will be face to face with the reality that it will add hugely to the deficit.
All this will come at precisely the time that House and Senate Democrats are scrambling to rebut the attacks of their Republican challengers over these very issues. If Congress votes to postpone the Medicare cuts, as a former Secretary of HHS predicted to me, they will have to answer for their fiscal irresponsibility right before the election.
Either poison – the cuts or the deficit – will be enough to eradicate an entire generation of House and Senate Democrats.
And these cuts will take place against a backdrop of continuing increases in health insurance premiums, no expansion of coverage (it doesn’t kick in until 2013), and no tangible benefit from the Obama bill.
This is the prospect the House and Senate Democrats who vote for Obamacare will face in the fall of 2010. This is the record they will have to defend.