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Obama is the real obstructionist at his health-care summit

By Marc Thiessen

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) says of this week’s bipartisan health-care summit: “Sounds like the Democrats spell summit: S-E-T-U-P.” He’s right -- the Blair House summit is a trap. If the objective really was to produce bipartisan compromise, Obama would not be using legislation crafted in a backroom that got virtually no Republican votes as the basis for the discussions. Nor would his secretary of health and human services have declared last week that the White House is still willing to fight for a public option, a proposal that died because of bipartisan opposition in the Senate.

The president’s real objective is to paint GOP leaders as obstructionists -- so that Democrats have an excuse to ram through their health-care legislation using extraordinary parliamentary procedures. Obstructionism has been Obama’s mantra ever since Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown’s election. Just last week in Denver, Obama declared that “for those who don’t believe in government, those who don’t believe that we have obligations to each other, it’s a lot easier task. If you can gum up the works, if you make things broken, if the Senate doesn’t get anything done, well, that's consistent with their philosophy.” This is dishonest. Republicans have a robust health-care agenda, from health savings accounts, to association health plans, insurance portability, and medical liability reform.

What has gummed up the works over the past year has been the relentless partisanship of the Obama administration. Compare Obama’s record to that of his immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Both reached across the aisle in their first months to forge bipartisan coalitions on major issues. Clinton teamed with Republicans to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement; Bush worked with Ted Kennedy to pass the No Child Left Behind Act. Even the Bush tax cuts were bipartisan -- Bush made substantive concessions that brought one-quarter of Senate Democrats on board with his plan.

By contrast, Obama did not propose, much less secure passage of, a single major bipartisan initiative during his first year. Instead, backed by the largest Democratic majority in decades, he tried to pass a massive government intervention in health care along strict party lines. The last time Obama met with GOP leaders to discuss health-care legislation was in March of 2009 -- almost a year ago. This partisan approach backfired and sparked a popular backlash. But rather than tacking to the center, as Clinton did in similar circumstances, Obama is pressing ahead -- and the Blair House summit is the first step.

Republicans would play right into Obama’s plans by refusing to attend -- giving him evidence to back his claim that they don’t want to get anything done. GOP leaders have said the basis of the summit should be a clean sheet of paper where both sides can list the areas where they both agree -- and develop legislation enacting those areas of broad agreement. They should come to the summit with such a piece of paper, and this offer: “Mr. President, you say we agree on 80 percent of the issues, so let’s pass that 80 percent solution right now.”

If Obama refuses, he will make clear who the real obstructionist is.

By Marc Thiessen  | February 22, 2010; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

I don't know what this guy is talking about. I do think we'll see some real obstructionism coming out of this, but I suspect it'll be the GOP, not Obama, that steadfastly refuses to work towards a solution. If they thought that was good politics, they would have done it already.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | February 22, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Conveniently forgotten in this analysis is the Republican strategy of saying no to anything President Obama supports. Sen. DeMint's comment that defeating the Obama health plan would be his waterloo is ample evidence of this strategy. And the recent turn-around of seven Republicans on the proposed debt-reduction commission (they supported it until the President expressed his support for it) is further evidence of their strategy.

Posted by: wengerjm | February 22, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I find you argument lacking, especially when you say, "This is dishonest. Republicans have a robust health-care agenda, from health savings accounts, to association health plans, insurance portability, and medical liability reform."

If these 4 items are the major focus of the Republican plan, then 3 of them are included in the Democratic bill.

I don't see how you can be so dishonest.

Posted by: greg50 | February 22, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

You are just blind Mr. Thiessen, blinded by your own partisanship and refusal to acknowledge the recent history. Do you remember the gang of six? the finance committee deliberations with the republicans, which went on for months, eliminating many aspects of the bill in order to appease the republicans of the committee and yet they voted against it any way??? Why did you conveniently leave that out of you 'analysis'??
When soemthing is deliberated for over 9 months in the current congress (let alone for over 40 years during several administartions) is is outright ludicrous to use the term 'ramming down our throats'!!
Was the Patriot act rammed down our throats?? which coinidently the republicans used the reconciliation process for in order to pass it!
Elections have consequences , Obama has always been clear wehere he stood and the majority voted him in and a large Democratic majority to pass legislation crucial to this country.
You are disingenuous at best, but more likely a partisan hack lying to score point or to get a paycheck from the Post

Posted by: mulume | February 22, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans have a robust health-care agenda, from health savings accounts, to association health plans, insurance portability, and medical liability reform." THIS IS DISHONEST.

Posted by: mnjam | February 22, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

this guy is just a Right Wing hack - no reason to take anything he says seriously. His hiring by the WaPo is just another episode of cowering to the winguts claiming "left wing media bias" by saying "see? we hire right wing nutjobs too..."

Posted by: emoenergy1 | February 22, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Soundsd like this guy is a subscriber to the Washington Blow Hard Principle: if you say something long enough and loud enough it becomes a fact. Therefore Obama is an obstructionist. Republicans just keep saying it. See how that works! When right-wingers say it and the press repeating what they say, bingo, a fact! (Reality to the contrary.)

Posted by: jc4773 | February 22, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"[The GOP] should come to the summit with such a piece of paper, and this offer: “Mr. President, you say we agree on 80 percent of the issues, so let’s pass that 80 percent solution right now.”"
-----------
I recall the last thing the GOP thought was a great idea, the debt reduction panel, with at least seven GOP senators co-sponsoring the bill. Then Obama said he agreed and thought it was a good plan. Suddenly those GOP senators changed their minds and killed the plan, forcing it to be done via executive order.

The GOP doesn't have my faith that if Obama did what you suggest and crafted the perfect bill that encapsulated only what the GOP and Democrats agree on that they, the GOP, would have a single vote for it. They've shown that they'll say no, and if the president says yes to something they'll say yes to, they'll turn around and say no just because.

Posted by: kmcandrew | February 22, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The GOP has already "painted" themselves as "obstructionists". Who are you kidding. BTW - I saw you get your head handed to you TWICE on MSNBC. You really are way too pratisan to have objective thought. I find it funny that YOU consider yourself as a National Security "expert". You never work the uniform of this nation and my so who did and who served in Iraq said you don't have a clue!

I guess WAPO is handing out jobs these days.

Posted by: Julescator | February 22, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord, WAPO pays another partisan hack offering more revisionism per article? Next you'll tell me that Spring is coming.

Posted by: LABC | February 22, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The logic in this post column is quite tortured. Should I be surprised given the author?

Thanks for this brilliant hire Washington Post. Maybe this time the conservatives will finally stop labeling the Post a bastion of liberalism. I mean it hasn't worked any other time you've tried despite your conservative columnists already outnumbering your liberals, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

Posted by: wp5ikonen | February 22, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

From Froomkin To Thiessen

There was only one regular opinion writer at the Washington Post who strongly and consistently opposed and exposed the torture policies and war crimes of the Bush-Cheney administration, Dan Froomkin. He was not on the op-ed page, which prominently features Charles Krauthammer, the intellectual architect of the descent of the US into the torture methods of the Gestapo, Khmer Rouge and Inquisition.

But now, Fred Hiatt has gone one step further.

He has hired as a columnist Marc Thiessen, a proud defender of torture, one of Cheney's chief propagandists, who is now promoting his book claiming that everything was kosher under Bush and Cheney and that nothing even remotely illegal or unethical took place. Thiessen's new book's subtitle is "How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack," because he is not continuing the torture program of his predecessor.

If you ever believed for a minute that Dan was fired for anything but challenging the Krauthammer line on torture, think again.

Posted by: kashe | February 22, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Mike Pence is not a Democrat.

Posted by: Muckrakers | February 22, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

It's a disgrace to hire Thiessen for the paper. If I had a subscription, I would cancel it.

Posted by: Potter2 | February 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans hadn't resorted to scare tactics, distortions, and outright lies from the very beginning of all of this, the man might have a point.

Posted by: RMS70 | February 22, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Geez, Theissen..putting it on a little strong, aren't you?

Everyone is free to their own opinion, but opinions need to be based in FACTS, not...whatever you have in your head.

Just so you know, this is the last time I read anything from you.

Posted by: OneGovt_Worker | February 22, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Who is Mark Theissen? Does he work for the Republican National Committee?

Posted by: youfunny100 | February 22, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Someone, please tell me this article is satire, maybe from the Onion or something. These right wing pundits are really good at making lies the truth. The reality is that the first major piece to be worked on was the stimulus bill-- the admin. and Congress worked to get GOP votes using tax cuts and other measures popular with them, while watering down the true job-creating stimulus measures. Result: no GOP votes.

The GOP has been behaving the past year as though they were the majority and that their ideas should be the only ones used. It doesn't work that way when you are the minority party.

This Thiessen character is a party hack-- Clinton had to work with the GOP as they were the majority, ditto Bush in 2001. Obama reached out and had his hand bitten on numerous occasions. Time to bite back with a very public show at the summit.

Posted by: estimatedeyes | February 22, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Jeebus, Thiessen is an utter jackass.

I refrain from personal insults in almost all matters, but this guy is makes stupid people look like Nobel laureates.

Seriously? Obama is the stumbling block? It has nothing to do with the unanimous No's from every Senate Republican? You know, those people who a few years ago demanded "Up or down" votes on everything, and actually got most of them.

Hey Mr. Hiatt, are there anymore Bush speech writers out there who need a helping hand in these hard times? Better give them a column, too!

Posted by: megman | February 22, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"Using extraordinary parliamentary procedures", you obviously don't remember how your beloved "Bush" crammed his tax cuts for the wealthy, it was through reconciliation! Your a hypocrite and a typical winger. Elections have consequences, you lost, after 8 years of corruption and lies, we don't need more of the same from you.

Posted by: kburnett1 | February 22, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Mike Pence (D-Ind?) Nothing else needs to be said.

This is the same idiot Republican that said Iraq was like a summertime market in Indiana. I didn't know you needed 5 tanks, 100 soldiers and snipers to shop at a market in Indiana.

Posted by: dcp26851 | February 22, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Did Fox news of the RNC buy the Post when we weren't looking?
This might just be the most biased piece of shi* article this paper has ever printed.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 22, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

What REALLY needs to be done is to level with the American People that 50 years of unhealthy lifestyles (bad diet, no exercise, chemical use etc.) have finally come due and it's EXPENSIVE.

If I have auto insurance and get speeding tickets, my rates go up. But if I smoke, drink and put on 50 lbs, I pay the same amount as the 25yo vegetarian who does his yoga every day. Where's the incentive to cut the pounds, pound the pavement and reform my life?

Then there's tort reform which nobody discusses because Congress is full of lawyers.

But we're stuck with Republicans who won't play, Democrats who won't share and taxpayers who won't face the consequences of our sedentary lifestyles. So costs go up at the same rate as our waistlines and blood-pressure.

Posted by: mwcob | February 22, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

About time they got it right, you've got the votes, use them. The GOP will only have positive input, no longer able to hold up the bill. They should put cloture on the table for a month and really push the envelope.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 22, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that Theissen considers the 59% in favor of HC reform "obstructing" the 41% who oppose. Forgotten in his narrative is the fact that so many conservative compromises have already been included -- especially in the Senate bill (limiting tax deductions for "cadillac" plans - McCain; no "public option"; ability to select among a choice of national plans; no abortions covered by nat'l plans; etc.). The Republicans are so twisted up they are even decrying proposed cuts to Medicare while also crying that not enough is being done to control costs! Republicans should bring their CBO-scored plan to the table and be ready for an open, honest debate. Problem is, they know they'll lose in the arena of fact as their spin falls flat.

Posted by: morecowbell | February 22, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

To be sure, the Republicans are gushing with ideas about health care: After defeating Clinton's initiative, they did nothing. So health care went from 9% to 17% of the economy; it is slated to go to 25% in 10 years.

So far, since GW Bush's ascent to now, the Republicans have offered all of nothing. Sorry Mr. author, but whenever an idea proposed by the Republicans gains acceptance by the Democrats, the Republicans filibuster it. They even vote against their own proposals.

Face it, they are not honest enough to negotiate with.

It is a sad state of affairs, but unfortunately that is what the Republicnas have reduced themselves to.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | February 22, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"

Interesting that Theissen considers the 59% in favor of HC reform "obstructing" the 41% who oppose. Forgotten in his narrative is the fact that so many conservative compromises have already been included -- especially in the Senate bill (limiting tax deductions for "cadillac" plans - McCain; no "public option"; ability to select among a choice of national plans; no abortions covered by nat'l plans; etc.). The Republicans are so twisted up they are even decrying proposed cuts to Medicare while also crying that not enough is being done to control costs! Republicans should bring their CBO-scored plan to the table and be ready for an open, honest debate. Problem is, they know they'll lose in the arena of fact as their spin falls flat.

Posted by: morecowbell | February 22, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse "

****

He probably hold a boat load of stock in health insurance companies. I swear these thugs would sacrifice their own children if it meant pocketing 5 bucks.

Posted by: dcp26851 | February 22, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to ask Mr Thiessen this question: Who, exactly do you think you are fooling?

Thiessen knows darned well (unless he's been living on Altair IV for the past year or so), that the GOP has been a general obstructionist party in the Congress since Obama was elected. They'll vote no on ANY health care proposal coming out of the Congress no matter how many GOP ideas are included.

Yes, the Summit is a trap for the GOP, but it was a trap of their own making. Now they got to put up or shut up. Of course they will no neither and simply go on saying no to everything the president puts forward.

The GOP's answer to everything is simply to say no.

Posted by: Carl_Goss | February 22, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

another unqualified failed bushie writing for the wapo, a nazi torturer apologist to boot!

Posted by: calif-joe | February 22, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Who is Mark Theissen? Does he work for the Republican National Committee?"

Why, he is as objective as they come! He worked for Bush/Cheney, and justified torture.

You cannot possibly question his objectivity, honesty and accuracy!

PS: Pence is a Republican.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | February 22, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Of course it is a trap for the GOP. It will trap them into showing how lacking in ideas they are and how unwilling to compromise they are. Obstructionism is not governance.

By comparison, Marc Theissen makes David Gerson sound like a sensible voice of reason. When will the Washington Post get rid of the hacks and stick with a quality editorial staff..

Posted by: Mark35 | February 22, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Thiessen, the real dishonesty here is on your part. President Obama had a series of meetings with the republicans who used those meetings to insist that his health care reform effort consist exclusively of market based solutions. In those meetings the republicans made it abundantly clear that they would oppose any effort that included in even a modest form government involvement. It was that intransigence on their part, their unwillingness to negotiate in good faith that prompted the President to react to them with: "We won."

Well. He did win. And he won with a sizable majority, far more than George W. Bush had who didn't even win a majority of his own countrymen in 2000, yet proceeded to govern as though he had a mandate.

Where in hell were you then Mr. Thiessen? Where were you when republicans were using all manner of questionable tactics to delay final votes until they could strongarm or bribe Senators and representatives to vote their way?

You're a hypocrite Mr. Thiessen. And a dishonest one at that.

Posted by: jaxas70 | February 22, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen embodies the utterly reactionary, totally cynical and completely mendacious nature of today's Republican Party and "conservative" movement. His comment is an exercise in "Big Lie" propaganda that would make even Joseph Goebbels blush.

Posted by: mnjam | February 22, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Who gave this lying, traitorous war criminal an op ed column?

Posted by: steveandshelley | February 22, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The enormous amount of ignorance displayed by the democrat posters on this thread is stunning. The party of Marx is running 2 out of the 3 branches of government and they still couldn't pass it. That means that their are democrats that don't like it either. The American people are smart enough to see a Obama's strategy for what it is: A ruse straight out of Saul Alinsky's playbook.

Posted by: tom56 | February 22, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, I forgot, the people voted in the Republicans because they thought the Republicans had such spiffy ideas about people staying healthy and not mortgaging their houses for blood pressure medication or spending three-quarters of their income for useless insurance since it would come with a $5000 deductible. That's right, it's the Republicans who convinced us they had all he number 1 ideas about all this.

Posted by: Lugg | February 22, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

obama, a modern day snake oil salesman

Posted by: GaGator | February 22, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

tom56


You couldn't be more correct!

Posted by: GaGator | February 22, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Clinton teamed with Republicans to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement; Bush worked with Ted Kennedy to pass the No Child Left Behind Act. Even the Bush tax cuts were bipartisan --

And neither bill was a success. The former screws the American blue collar worker. And the latter was never funded and just screwed the kis with ridiculous rote tests. Whoop dee doo!

If Obama produces something akin to those two farces, this country is lost.

Posted by: AverageJane | February 22, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen - like all the other War Criminals - needs to be fired by WaPo.

NOW.

Posted by: WillSeattle | February 22, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Obstructionists? Let's see here. Republicans actually opposed health care proposals that they had made (see John McCain). That is obstructionism if anything is.

Pay attention to what's going on, Theissen. You look foolish when you don't.

Posted by: jlhare1 | February 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

What a crock. So, asking the GOP to participate is a "trap"? They are suppossed to take part in the process, not just say no, and act like kids in a sand box. Shut-up and do your job.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 22, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

This plan would involve the GOP telling us what exactly it is they favor on health care (outside of the status quo).

They've been all over the place on, for example, the individual mandate. First, some of them were for it (Grassley, Graham, etc.). Now, it's an affront to the constitution. You gotta make up your mind.

The fall back is, of course, talking about a bunch of small ideas that no experts thing will have any significant impact on coverage/cost (tort reform, selling insurance across state lines).

Also, since when does moving two separate bills through multiple committees of Congress constitute a "back room"?

Posted by: edwardlahoa | February 22, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Torture-boy on health care. Who needs it?

Posted by: rashomon | February 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Why is obstructionism bad when you're trying to prevent a really crummy piece of legislation from getting passed?

Posted by: wolfcastle | February 22, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Another proven liar gets a job at the WAPO.

Posted by: Ralphie1 | February 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The red-diaper babies, infants of the Spanish Civil War, lovers of Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Hugo, Danial... go Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Lemme see here...hummm scratch head..humm...Full proof majority in the House - shut off all external debate and shut out the Republican representatives; and a filibuster proof 60-40 majority in the Senate..ditto to the above...and the Dumbocraps couldn't pass a pork, awaful, budget busting bill.

And now they blame the Republicans? Huh? Hey Pinks..you must think Americans are stupid.
-- Global Warming..hahahahaha.
-- No Global war on terrorism..hahahahaha.
-- Iran just needs respect..hahahahah
-- Republican party of No..hahahahaah.

Welcome to November 2010 reds..you're going to love that month (you are masochoists, right?)

Posted by: wjc1va | February 22, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

IT doesnt seem like this article received any editorial oversight.

In addition, the assumptions it makes are just plain wrong.

Posted by: gorble | February 22, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

This article is an embarrassment to the Post. Thiessen really is just a partisan hack. Well, maybe the Washington Times will go out of business now that the Washington Post has gone over the edge.

Posted by: scdem | February 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

So, the token right-wingnut at WAPO gets his ink... he can now go back to sleep and have a wet dream that it will all come true.

Posted by: atroncale1 | February 22, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Health Savings accounts are a JOKE. In essence, one ends up paying an insurance company for the privilege of being self insured.

Posted by: BaltimoreCotls59 | February 22, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

This is interesting: the last I heard, about 100 Republican-sponsored amendments were in the Senate health bill. The Democrats worked the bill out in committees with the Republicans until the very Republicans who were on the committees and helped write the bill began seconding the lies about death panels. If Mr. Thiessen isn't willing or able to acknowledge these facts, then he should surrender the right to express his opinion in this newspaper.

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | February 22, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo does a disservice to readers who don't know the background of some of these "opinion" writers. For those who don't know Marc is a former Bushie who often has a disconnect with the truth.

Trap - are we adults or what? If the Republicans were not perceived (rightly or wrongly) as the party of no would anyone try to "trap" them. They're free to present their ideas and let the public see if they were "trapped".

Posted by: rlj1 | February 22, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

For ideologues like Theissen, elections only have consequences when THEY win.

The GOP has nothing in any of their proposals that would do anything other than maintain insurance company profitability. Even their "health savings accounts" are meant to wean people away from emloyer based coverage--and invite even more insurance company cherry picking as those who can afford care get it, and those that can't just do without.

They are the MINORITY, yet want each and every one of therir propsals adopted, or they'll take their ball and go home; the hell with the uninsured Americans, the hell with spiraling health acre costs, the hell with the 69 million people who voted for THIS president to change the system. Since reform was first proposed by Truman, the GOP has fought it when in the minority and ignored it when in the majority. The hell with THEM.

Posted by: bklyndan22 | February 22, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse


Whoa, wait a minute.

Bush had neither the IQ, or the creativeness to do more than sign his name to bills written by Cheney or his pals in Congress at the time.

Obama is being challenged by a lot more neo-con fanatical southern style GOP personnel. This is making it extraordinarily difficult to get anything done

Posted by: dataport34 | February 22, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

WAPO: the three d**chebags siding with Cheney's boy wonder should tell you all you need to know about giving this tool an editorial to write.Ignorance, revisonism and red-baiting. No wonder WAPO is reduced to harassing people in grocery stores to buy a subscription to the paper.

Posted by: LABC | February 22, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Why is the Post giving column space to this torture-happy apparatchik? Readers want columnists who have something interesting and thoughtful to say. People who want to eat ideological feces have plenty of outlets for their fetish. It's a shame the Post has sacrificed quality for so-called ideological diversity.

Posted by: DeadCenter | February 22, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

wow not even the usual hillbilly trash showed up to troll the ubiquitous republican crap, thiessen, find something else to do. i think the corner 7-11 needs a night clerk.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | February 22, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The GOP wants the Democrats to kill the health bill and start over, but they're willing to meet the Dems half-way and just kill the health bill. No wonder Bayh is quitting.

Posted by: drazen1 | February 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I know facts are inconvienient. But the fact is that with the President's encouragement, the
Senate Finance committee made an extended effort to create a bipartisan bill. Much of that effort is reflected in the bill passed by the
Senate. The central idea of the reform, to have group health insurance available for those who have to buy their own health insurance, is surely an idea that most Repulicans know is good. The Republicans have clearly decided that their political advantage is served by discrediting the President as much as possible. Of course, it is in the President's intererest to make it as clear as possible to the American people that the Republicans are more interested in political combat than they are in doing anything that might serve the people's needs.

Posted by: dnjake | February 22, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen:

It's gotta be tough being a knee-jerk Republican when all you have in your party are jerks.

The Repubs have no health care plan. You lie through your teeth. The "missing" elements from the health care bill are already in the Dem plan.

Republicans have been outmaneuvered and will soon be embarassed by Obama. That's what happens when you act like little skinhead crapheads in public, Oh! Mr. Bohner, that plantation owner Confederate Mitch "SlaveOwner" McConnell, McCain, Limbaugh, et al.

The Democrats have done their work, and it will NOT be thrown away. The Republicans have done NOTHING for health care but obstruct, lie and terrorize with little bands of stupidity called the Tea Bag movement.

Republicans can sit now at the summit and listen to how it'll be done. NO ONE expects ANY Republican to come up with ANY real idea to help health care reform.

It's already out that right-wing liar Republicans who were outspoken against the stimulus package now BRAG when they request and get some of that money for their constituents. You're all hypocritical bags of hot air.

Reap the whirlwind, fascists.

Typical that Thiessen didn't list a single, real Republican health care idea.

Posted by: 2229 | February 22, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen should be waterboarded so we can extract more of his inside information about this Obama trap.

Posted by: squier13 | February 22, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Thiessen's logic is as tortured as those people whose torture he continues to defend.

People like him should be shunned and ostracized by civilized society; instead he is given a column at the Washington Post. Mr. Hiatt defended his hiring, saying he had strong arguments to make. We're still waiting.

By the way, Marc, what kind of bedtime stories did you read your son, Max? The Marquis de Sade?

Posted by: tja6789 | February 22, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow,

This guy Theissen is completely insane. What's going on over there at the WaPo? It' hard to believe this once a well-respected newspaper.

Posted by: kurthunt | February 22, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Growing up on a farm, I am quite familiar with the substance of Thiessen's column. It was always found mixed with straw behind the horse barn. I'm surprised to see it on the pages of the WashPo.

Posted by: SC_observer | February 22, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Thiessen, you are out of your league here.

Your specialty is the justification of torture, not health care.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 22, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

If people like Grover Norquist want to shrink government to the point where it is small enough to drown in a bathtub then why not proceed along those lines? The first thing to go is the Department of War. It costs way too much and lately has been unsuccessful in achieving Victory. The U.S. defeated Hitler and Hirohito in less time than it has taken to lose in Iraq and Afghanistan. Republicans take great pleasure in blaming government for ALL problems -- even those caused by lack of government oversight and law enforcement. It isn't necessary for Obama to conduct a seminar on health-care reform in order for it to become clear to those with at least minimal brain function that Republicans refuse to contribute to the effort so that they can blame Obama for failing to get anything useful out of Congress. Blame falls squarely on the GOP. How can you blame Obama for the GOP saying "No"? I'd sooner vote for Attila the Hun than a member of the GOP.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 22, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It must have been tough for the Post to find someone of this caliber. Not many newspapers have columnists who provide the real truth like Hermann Goebbels and have the moral compass of Joseph Mengele.

Posted by: tja6789 | February 22, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

This supporter of torture should not have a place at the Washington Post.

Posted by: caphilldcne | February 22, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

".. A robust health-care agenda?" Marc, thanks for this afternoon's chuckle. I guess if you define "robust" as covering three million, sure, why not? You gotta love the shamelessness of claiming retreaded, failed policies as brand new and innovative. Remember the Republican rubric: No millionaire left behind ...

Posted by: progress2 | February 22, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

What a dope!

Posted by: roberthurley | February 22, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Kinda like when Donohue Cathlic Bishops set up Obama to be called a "baby killer" when they invited him to speak at Notre Dame?

Posted by: coloradodog | February 22, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The trap is their own making. If that vomitous corrupt mass of sleeze, with the head skeeze bag called Grassley-the-pimp, named the US Senate can pass the Medicare Part D which lets drug companies rape elders why can't they pass health care for the rest, of us? Want to know why? Grassley-the-pimp took a $10,000,000.00 bribe.

Posted by: seasail | February 22, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

As a high school debater, my partner and I set up the opponents -- one of us asked a question during the Q&As, and we knew whatt he answer would be -- and the other partner used it to our advantage in the second round. So what if President Obama is setting up the Republicans -- they deserve it for their absolute obstructionism, for their unceasing NO NO NO without ever offering alternatives.

Posted by: Larry19 | February 22, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The GOP says they have ideas about how to improve Health Care. If they do this, then they'll look good. If they really are obstructionists trying to block anything Obama does, no matter the cost, and have no ideas for improving the broken health care system, then they'll look bad. Thats not a trap, thats putting you on the spot.

Posted by: sicksidvt | February 22, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Marc A. Thiessen (born 1967) is an American author and journalist, who served as a speechwriter for the United States President George W. Bush (2004-2009) and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld (2001–2004). Previously, Thiessen was a spokesman and senior policy advisor to Senator Jesse Helms (1995–2001). He is currently a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.

I'm just saying: clearly a partisan hack. Lets label who people are next time?

Posted by: hazy1 | February 22, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

How did this right wing nutcase get a column in the Post?

Oh yeah, I forgot: Fred Hiatt.

Thiessen is one of those chickenhawk crazies who thinks that waterboarding is not torture.

you can read more about this idiot here:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/2/19/123728/801

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo is a welfare office for discredited Neo-cons. Marc Thiessen, torture apologist, and partisan hack extraordinaire, is its latest smelly addition.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 22, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Partisan hacks like Thiessen should be clearly labeled by the Washington Post. Though the readers of this site are not fooled. Give us some useful discussion of issues, please. Why is a hack like this guy given space to repeat his drivel?

Posted by: DavidH3 | February 22, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Shame on the WPO for even printing this dribble. Marc Thiessen makes about as much sense as Tea Party fanatics who comment on the WPO articles (and are cheaper)from the writing style, logic and facts.

I do not say this lightly, there are some very smart Conservative writers such a George Will, but Marc Thiessen is the polar opposite.


Posted by: rcc_2000 | February 22, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

THE ELEPHANT NOT IN THE ROOM IS JOBS, JOBS AND JOBS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT AND NEED...
GIVE AMERICANS JOBS AND ALL OTHER PROBLEMS WILL SOLVE THEMSELVES IN TIME...
TO THE DEMS...
NO JOBS...
NO VOTE...
AND CENSUS JOBS DON'T COUNT...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps in his next insightful column, Mr. Thiessen can explain his support of the treatment of Dilawar from Yakubi, Afghanistan.

Dilawar was a 22-year-old taxi driver taken into custody at Bagram AFB on Dec. 5, 2002 and pronounced dead on Dec. 10, 2002.

Although most of Dilawar's captors later told investigators that they believed he was wrongly detained, he received the full gamut of treatments that Mr. Thiessen believes are proper for American detainees.

For the record, military reports show that Dilawar was hung for four days from the roof of his cell until both his arms were dislocated and flopped uselessly at his side. While he hung defenseless, his legs were beaten so many times with blunt instruments that they were turned into a pulp. Medical reports estimated more than 100 blows to his legs were used and that, had he survived, both legs would have had to be amputated. Interviews with guards published in various media outlets say Dilawar was also kneed repeatedly in the groin, was forced to wear a hood that made it difficult for him to breath and suffered other abuse.

Not surprisingly, the US military's death certificate ruled his death a homicide. He left behind his wife and a young daughter.

We must never forget. We must resolve that we will never allow such abuse to happen in America's name again.

Posted by: tja6789 | February 22, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"This is dishonest. Republicans have a robust health-care agenda, from health savings accounts, to association health plans, insurance portability, and medical liability reform."

All to support the insurance HC industry not cut HC costs or insure all Americans.
Tort reform, what a joke, 32 states have passed some form of tort reform and none of them can demonstrate a reduction in HC costs.

At least he didn't include buying insurance across state lines. Like a HC company in AZ is going to provide lower rates to a WV coal miner, what a hoot.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 22, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have a "robust" health care agenda in contrast to the "relentless partisanship of the Obama administration."

Good grief. Why does the Washington Post feel the need to pay one of its "columnists" to transcribe Republican talking points? I am sure the RNC would have been happy to courier over a copy for free.

Post readers deserve a newspaper with the guts to call 'em like they see 'em, not provide a platform for dueling talking heads which do nothing more than reflect Washington's prevailing empty-headed partisanship.

Posted by: TedFrier | February 22, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

One of the many sad things here is that quite a few of the people leaving comments appear far more qualified to write an intelligent column, and one more rooted in facts, than this guy. His resume says he's a Bush speech writer? Well... bravo.

Posted by: HarrisTheYounger | February 22, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr Thiessen --

The President (nor anyone else) does not need to paint the current GOP as obstructionists. They have quite handily convinced any but the most willfully ignorant that they seek to cripple the Obama administration and the Democratic majority in Congress. They do this at the risk of the successful recovery of the American economy, at the risk of leaving for future times and generations the malfunctioning healthcare system, and at the risk of many more crucial matters confronting our future (climate, energy, deficits, education, to name a few). Where do you get the gall to position yourself as some kind of guru of things proper?

President Barack H. Obama is a decent man who undertook the presidency to reel in the foolish track this nation has careened down for many, many years. We have had enough of loud posturing in place of careful thought. We have had enough of military bluster in place of real diplomacy. And, as you well know, any President not backed up by the people will accomplish little. But is that how you define patriotism? Letting the elected President fail so you will have talking points? You have no shame, sir. But your time of comeuppance shall arrive. Never underestimate the intelligence of the people.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | February 22, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Another partisan pushing the same message as everyone else in the right-wing media machine.

Posted by: j2hess | February 22, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Geefuss, this is the Republican Southern Strategy by another name. Republicans and that vomitous mass of filth, who wrote this article, just can't seem to get away from race baiting. You can never go wrong overestimating just how stupid the American voter is. Talk about imbeciles. You can take a horse to water but can't make him drink holds true with american voters. You can show the average voter what is in his best economic interest but you can't make him vote for it otherwise Dubya would have stayed in Tekhas seeking treatment for his anal itch. Just confuse them a little and they run right off the cliff.

Posted by: seasail | February 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't know who this author is but he seems really clueless. Everyone in the country knows who the obstructionists are, the reason they are PO'ed at Obama is because he won't smash you into a thousand bits like he should. The GOP has no leadership, no agenda and no life. Hell, you idiots are catering to TEABAGGERS rofl.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | February 22, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't buy it. The Republicans are not interested in anything
beyond returning to power. They are lucky to have voters
who will vote against their own self interest to re-elect them.
I want the same health care that Congress has.

Posted by: captdenelson | February 22, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

the right has been campaigning against health care reform.

Posted by: e9999999 | February 22, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

What is the logic of the democrats now threatening with reconciliation and Obama coming up with a health care proposal before the summit on Thursday? It certainly gives a strong message to all americans that Obama intends to do a photo-op and use his pulpit on Thursday to try to bully the Republicans and then make them look as nay sayers.

No, President Obama, you have laid your cards on the table preemptively and we see that you are not going to be listening at all. You are intending to shove down our throats a plan that is still full of suspicious dealings and your theatrics won't work anymore.

Mr. Thiessen is correct, folks, in his points here.

You must be such a follower and idealog that you cannot see when someone is trying something afoul and totally biased.

Let's start analyzing this new plan and you will see how Obama is sneaking funding abortion once more. The deals with the unions and lobbysts are still quite evident.

If Obama is smart, he should at least come to the table with a clean slate, at least he will look a bit presidential, unlike his political behavior that shows him as a poor listener.

What more clear message does the majority of americans need to send? We already spoke loud and clear and WE DO NOT WANT THIS NIGHTMARE OF A PROPOSAL AS IT STANDS!

WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

Can you tackle this?

Posted by: Hispana | February 22, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

god it's such a TORTURE to read anything that this hack writes

Posted by: hohandy1 | February 22, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

How arrogant this White House is! To let the public see, four days in advance, their health care proposal!

Don't they understand that transparency is just a gimmick? The public doesn't want health care reform--that's why the Republicans aren't showboating by presenting their alternative health care proposal to America!

(Can you believe these Republican hypocrites? First, the President is criticized for doing everything privately; now he's criticized for "letting the facts be submitted to a candid world." Here's hoping that rank and file America is not as gullible as these cynical Republican hacks think they are.)

Posted by: ashevilleshep | February 22, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What a load of garbage this piece is! Do you actually believe what you wrote? If so, then you are in serious need of therapy!

Posted by: Sonny53 | February 22, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

With all the talk from the Republicans I have yet to see their legislative bill. I've heard their hemispherical plans which all sound nice but where's the bill with legislative language showing how things will be paid for and how money will be spent. Do they have a bill?

Posted by: ATLGuy | February 22, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see that the WaPo has employed this torture defending chump. What -- was Ann Coulter not available? Lyndon LaRouche? When did the Post become a platform for extremists?

Posted by: chop1 | February 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans have a robust health-care agenda, from health savings accounts, to association health plans, insurance portability, and medical liability reform. "

How long would you have to put money into a health savings account to pay for a $3000 colonoscopy? A friend of mine was treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma which cost well over a $100k. How long would it cost you to save up that kind of money? Or how about a $80,000 hip replacement? Got that kind of spare change laying around?

Association Health Plans are another term for private insurance. How is that working out?

Medical liablity reform is another name for tort reform which amounts to less than 2% of health care costs - NOW there a solution for keeping down health care costs.

Insurance portablity? Great. Now you can take the plan you can't afford with you when you change jobs.

All these "robust" Republican options will insure 3 million more people and cost $10 billion more. Sounds more of a "bust" plan to me.

Posted by: thomgr | February 22, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Marc Theissen is a fool.
Obama's partisan?
Wow!
This is disgusting. And this man is pathetic.
The issue is: millions upon millions of Americans who live terrorized because they have no health insurance. And, 14,000 a day, will lose their insurance. The ticking time bomb of millions already with no health insurance, with millions more losing their insurance, day by day .. that's going to be hung around the Republicans like a concrete life perserver.
And all of this from the Party where claims on godliness and god-nearness abound. The disgusting hypocrisy of the modern day Pharisees, i.e., Republicans, oozes like slime. All those Christians, and not a worry among them for their brothers and sisters who are without coverage.
The same Party that has rarely ever seen a war it hasn't liked, and is more than happy to let the poor, the unemployed, the uninsured, those with less education, immigrants they would otherwise despise ... to fight their wars. These same Christians who are thick as fleas in the GOP ... they have no compassion for those millions without?
Now is that, Mr. Theissen. You are a pathetic, selfish, self-centered man. It's too bad the GOP can't change it's animal totem to pig. P I G. Or perhaps, R A T. S L U G?
With people like this, the Republicans think they have the moral high ground? Wow!

Posted by: zennheadd | February 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Republicans have so many good ideas about health care reform. Too bad they haven't had a chance to propose them. Oh, wait, they controlled the White House and the Congress for four years, from 2003 to 2007. I guess they were just too busy supporting torture, instituting warantless surveillance, and waging pointless wars to focus on health-care reform.


Posted by: thrustmoney | February 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable. Obama refuses to roll over and submit to GOP demands and it means he's too partisan? This health summit is no more a political move than any other high profile DC event. Everything gets politicized and therefore everything is considered from a political perspective -- that's what sells papers and gets ratings. I think the summit will have some consequences, for better or worse, which beats the heck out of the utter paralysis we've been seeing. Sounds like this writer is already making excuses for how poorly the event might reflect on the GOP. Smell the hypocrisy.

Posted by: swankcurtain | February 22, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Marc Thiessen.

Why does health care reform have to be passsed as one large bill? Why can't we start by passing smaller reforms that both republicans and democrats can agree on and, most importantly, that the public can understand! Certainly this would be better than nothing.

Posted by: anonymous9188 | February 22, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

THe GOP Party as anyone knew it is GONE..

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | February 22, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Whoa! What planet is this guy living on?

Posted by: jazmundo | February 22, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Marc,

It is understandable that you would try to characterize a rare display of Democratic strength as hypocrisy. Republicans have maintained tactical superiority over the Democrats over the past 20 years by embracing hypocrisy. And I don't say this as a criticism. Between rank hypocrisy and utter fecklessness, hypocrisy is the lesser of two evils. It is not possible to function in our system without being one of the two. The Republicans made the astute choice to choose hypocrisy over fecklessness and have been electorally rewarded.

Until they destroyed the economy.

It appears Obama is having his "Nixon to China" moment by realizing that the way to save his presidency is to dispense with tender-hearted notions of bipartisanship (that rendered his first year feckless) and begin using the raw muscle of the office (which will open him to charges of hypocrisy, but who cares?) to enact his agenda. Voters EASILY forgive hypocrisy but they NEVER forgive fecklessness.

The summit is a trap and Republicans are falling right into it. They were foolish to agree to ever attend. Obama will punch their lights out on policy points, win the camera over with his charisma and set the stage so that when Republicans inevitably obstruct and object he will have gained the "permission" of the American public (not the Tea Party lunatics) to pass health reform via reconciliation. It is the most politically astute move he's made in months.

Republicans can't win a war of ideas because Democrats can rhetorically point out that most of the ideas are versions of "doing nothing". It may be argued that less is more is a legitimate view of governance, but it doesn't play well beyond sound bites.

Bipartisanship is a complete and utter fiction. It does not exist. The problem for Democrats is that they sometimes believe this fiction and think that voters actually care about "bipartisanship", and then act in feckless, weak ways in an attempt to win that debate. Let the Republicans be seen as more "bipartisan" and the Democrats be the strong, willful, partisan ones. The Democrats will win with strength as Bush did in '04. Then the effectiveness of the policies themselves will ultimately be the deciding factor in whether they stay in power.

Obama is going to win because he has learned his lesson. I hope that he becomes a hyper-partisan Democratic President who uses muscle, leverage and raw will to enact as much of his agenda as possible. Let the Republicans cry "foul" and whine of "hypocrisy" - they will appear feckless and powerless - and that is the Democrats road to rebirth.

Posted by: Taotropics | February 22, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

McConnell has been heard to state,
"We're ready to participate."
"Participate!", the right-wing crows,
When all they mean to say are nos.
Let's look behind all of that noise.
Obstruction's what this gang enjoys,
Bought and paid for by the big boys.

Posted by: m_richert | February 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I just read the same harrangue claiming that no Republican ideas were included in the reform, so they can't play. For one, the House and Senate plans long ago ditched real left wing reform, a single-payer system, and expunged as well the more moderate and immensely popular public option to the private market. More ideas acceptable to the Repubs: small businesses can pool together in the Democratic plan, pooling is allowed across state lines, state waivers allowing state-led innovation are included if basic requirements are met. Good sources have repeatedly pointed out these ideas present in the House and Senate bills. Frivolous lawsuits are also addressed, although in Texas, where tort reform passed 4 years ago it has made no discernable difference in escalating health care costs.

The minority party is just hoping for a train wreck since it's no longer in the driver's seat. That, after all, is the GOP's 2010 campaign strategy.

Posted by: tkerley8 | February 22, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

This is the Republican Big Lie Theory at work. Keep telling a lie and eventually a percentage of the electorate will believe it. Like, for example, that the stimulus package was not beneficial. Or, that a majority of the electorate does not want health care reform.

Posted by: doubleagle | February 22, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Great article Marc! I'm glad the Post has seen fit to employ opinion writers that share the same views as the vast majority of Americans. At this rate, they may actually be able to save the paper from going under like all the other "progressive" rags are in the process of doing! The people will have the last laugh when we vote these clowns out of office in November. Hey....maybe the new bill should include hearing aids for the Dems so they can hear the people who actually elected them say WE DON"T WANT THIS CRAP PASSED!

Posted by: apatriot2 | February 22, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

John Boehner's nothing but a mouse,
Scared of going to the White House.
"Is this a trap?", he asks with dread.
And then,
With trembling hands
And face so red,
Jumps back into his tanning bed.

Posted by: m_richert | February 22, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

What a transparently partisan con-job this Thiessen hack is.

If pushing for the public option - which anywhere from 60-80% of America wants - is a "setup" then Mr. Obama would be setting the country up very nicely for sensible health care delivery for the next generation. I say he and the voter-elected Democratic majority should GO FOR IT.

Crissakes, a majority of even REPUBLICAN VOTERS in swing states are in favor of a public health insurance option. The wingnuts in the GOP caucus are against what their OWN VOTERS want!

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/01/26/51-of-self-identified-republicans-in-swing-districts-favor-a-public-option/

Posted by: B2O2 | February 22, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

What Thiessen describes as "robust" are parts of the Patients' Choice Act of 2009 (S. 1099; H.R. 2520), still in committee in both chambers.

Besides relying upon tax-credits to fund individual contributions to the [uncapped]price of ins. premiums and upon voluntary implimentation by the states and by employers, contains several booby-traps, e.g., "Requires seniors making more than a certain annual income to pay a larger proportion of Medicare Part B premiums, and implements an income-related reduction in the Part D premium subsidy." See: http://www.randcompare.org/proposals/federal-legislation/rep-ryan-hr-2520

http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/07/14/questions-about-the-patients-choice-act/

Posted by: Ogguls | February 22, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

BOOOO

Go away torturer!

Stop polluting our country with your carcinogenic speech.

Posted by: xen_22 | February 22, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

FOR OBAMA TO PUT UP THE SAME MONSTROSITY OF A HEALTHCARE BILL JUST TO CALL THE REPUBLICANS OBSTRUCTIONISTS IS THE USUAL HYPROCRITICAL BS THAT COMES FROM OBAMA ON A DAILY BASIS.

WAKE UP YOU IGNORANT DEMOCRATS AN SMELL THE ROSES. HIS HEALTHCARE WILL PUT US ALL INTO HUMAN BONDAGE. READ THE ENTIRE BILL NOT JUST THE BS OBAMA PUT UP TODAY.

Posted by: aaniko | February 22, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Is Marc Thiessen really so ignorant and/or ill-informed?

It troubles me the Washington Post would give any credence to Mr. Thiessen's blatantly biased (or woefully ill-informed) blather.

Posted by: Washington10 | February 22, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, right. The GOP has a "robust" health care plan...not. The critical elements of a successful health care reform are far outside the GOP's ideological blinders. Nothing they have proposed makes a significant dent in the number of unsured.

They just don't get it. Everyone must be insured, paperwork must be standardized, and we must have the means to bring our collective bargaining power to bear in negotiations with health care providers across the board.

We WILL be there eventually. Are we going to wait until our competitiveness is completely trashed and half the country is without insurance before we give up our addiction to all the health care we want, when we want it and at any price, regardless of whether that care is necessary and/or effective?

I'd say we have ten years at most before we're in a panic situation. That's not the best circumstance under which to embark on a total overhaul of a systems as massive and complex as ours. It looks like that's the way we'll do it.

Posted by: st50taw | February 22, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this guy Thiessen lives in an alternate reality.

What about Republican'ts voting against bills they co-sponsored? Or posing with giant Publisher's Clearinghouse-style checks from the stimulus plan they opposed? Or initiating a record number of filibusters? Or holding up Senate confirmations because they don't like completely unrelated bills? Yeah, right, it's the Democrats that are being obstructionist.

Get a clue, Thiessen. Or, if you prefer, stay clueless . . . but go away.

Posted by: tomguy1 | February 22, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse


Yes, we know. The whole thing is a trap.

The Republican plan is to make medical malpractice a minor offense, they call it "tort reform".

The Democrats plan is to use taxes to pay half of everyone's insurance premium.

Either way, the healthcare industry and the insurance industry win and ordinary Americans lose. Hence, the "trap".

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | February 22, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. "Extraordinary parlimentary procedures." Those would be the ones used
by Bush and the Repbulicans in 2001 and 2003
for tax cuts which (along with Bush's vanity wars and Katrina-style regulation of the financial sector) have created our 1.3 trillion dollar deficit. Oh, I forgot to add--it was also used to open up oil drilling in the ANWR in 2004--or would have been--the Reps couldn't even get 50 votes!

Posted by: garbage1 | February 22, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

You must be dizzy from all the spinning you had to do to paint the Democrats as obstructionists in this case. Ummmmm, when you're in the majority you don't really need to obstruct. These are the same republicans that oppose bills they support, that take credit for actions that they voted against (stimulus hypocrites, anyone?)... OF COURSE they are obstructing healthcare reform - the only thing that matters to them is winning, even if it means sacrificing the greater good of the country.

Posted by: krock2008 | February 22, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

i'll be glad when the media and polls finally catch up to us and realize that it's the republicans who have obstructionist mud on their faces. we are well past the debating stage and know full well who the guilty culprits are.

Posted by: glenknowles | February 22, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I didn't know who Marc Thiessen was until I read through some of the comments here. I'm extraordinarily disappointed that the WaPo would provide a stage for for an unrepentent torture supporter. We should be sending this dirtbag to the Hague, not listening to him wax idiotic about healthcare reform.

Posted by: krock2008 | February 22, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen has been breathing exhaust fumes again. Why do Republickans fail to recognize that elections have consequences. So, just because polls suggest some change in the air MONTHS FROM NOW, the Republicans suddenly think that a future hypothetical outcome justifies insisting more than to which the minority is entitled? We are STILL under the last election, and the Republicans lost big time, so they are STILL the minority party. I say this bit of faux reasoning by a partisan hack is more proof of the low standards the Op Ed section applies nowadays.

Posted by: lloydamy | February 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The best way to pass health care reform is for Obama to come out against it. Then the entire gop contingent would vote for it unanimously.

Posted by: mikel7 | February 22, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Ram it down their throats President Obama.. the same way the repubs rammed Bush's second round of tax cuts down the nations throat in 2003.

Posted by: VietVet68 | February 22, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

No worries, Dems. Maybe the health care initiative won't pass but mommy will let you move back home. Somewhere someone will take care of you since you fear taking care of yourselves. One just has to wonder with what contempt the immigrant ancestors of modern dems would look on their wimpy descendants.

Posted by: grohlik | February 22, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

So now we're expected to stomach Thiessen, Krauthammer, Will, Kristol -- that's enough! Need to purge.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | February 22, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen either you are psychotic or simply another lying partisan republican. The republican party has done NOTHING but filibuster, obstruct, lie and try to scare the American people. As far as I am concerned you and the McConnells, Limbaughs, Becks and Hannitys are of the same ilk and only in it for power. You and your other cronies at Fox news(and I use that term lightly)are acting anti-American with your behavior. I see you and your kind just like Bush and Cheney who stomped on our Constitution by lying, spying on Americans, wire tapping Americans eliminating Habeas Corpus and torturing. You and your ilk are a cancer on our American culture.

Posted by: jonesjay | February 22, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

A TRAP?!?

Wow, Republicans are the most dishonest, paranoid, scared, childish, idea-free people I've ever seen!

A trap!! Waaaah!

And by the way, Fred Hiatt should be horsewhipped for hiring a cheap torture-loving GOP hack like Thiessen.

Gerson isn't bad enough, now we have this idiot?

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 22, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans set their own trap. If they didn't want to engage on the issue, they shouldn't have demanded a debate for it to be televised on C-span. When Obama agrees, suddenly HE is setting a trap??? Yeah... Iraq had WMD's and if Obama was elected gay islamic terrorists would come for your guns and bibles. Oh I almost forgot... if his healthcare bill passes, death panels will kill grandma. Give me a break...

Posted by: abigsam | February 22, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Tom56 go back to your rethuglican cave where the rest of you anti-american POS live

Posted by: jonesjay | February 22, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

AAniko you are another ignorant fear mongering fool. you also need to go back to your cave because you have nothing to offer

Posted by: jonesjay | February 22, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post: Are we supposed to believe that you actually hired this clown to be bi-partisan Or are you all simply scared and delusional . My god stand up to these anti american bastards don't hire them. They are not arguing logic in any form. They only know one thing and that is to hold on to power any way possible. Where are the real journalist anymore.
The 4th estate has lost it's soul

Posted by: jonesjay | February 22, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The big lie is insisting that Republicans have a health-care reform plan. Their only tactic to date is to be obstructionistic. It is easy to blame the "teacher" when you refuse to do your homework. Republicans have proved that they are lazy, are bent on making up facts, and are extreme.

Posted by: EarlC | February 22, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

As we can see, Obama is becoming a DICTATOR. He is acting exactly like Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America.

Obama is bent on forcing us to swallow his Obamacare SCAM whether we want it or not, and he's unconstitutionally taking over the Legislative branch of power to do it.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 22, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

As we can see, Obama is becoming a DICTATOR. He is acting exactly like Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America.

Obama is bent on forcing us to swallow his Obamacare SCAM whether we want it or not, and he's unconstitutionally taking over the Legislative branch of power to do it.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 22, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse
=========================

TONY !!

I hope you lose your job.
I hope you get sick.
BUT
please do not ask for help.
You maybe a LIBERAL

ISA

Posted by: Issa1 | February 22, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

You are right, wjc1va. It seems most of those commenting here are used to reading only socialist/Marxist propaganda in the Washingon Post. When they don't find that ridiculous propaganda, they go nuts!

They demonstrate that they have been brainwashed (dumbed down) by a substandard and politicized education and a complicit media, as per the warnings of Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1wzraWhwlBt1

The dumbed down are obviously unable to understand that Obama's scams, including Obamacare and cap and trade, have as their main objective “the American descent into Marxism,” which “is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple…” http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Fortunately, as we can see now, most Americans have waken up and wised up! Most Americans are NOT sheeple! Most Americans are ready to defend their FREEDOM and the freedom of their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obama's scams, which lead only to socialism/Marxism and the slavery, poverty, corruption and despair that socialism/Marxism entails

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 22, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

A TRAP?!?!?

HOW WOULD YOU CALL A GROUP OF REPUBLICANS

WORKING TOGETHER:

- AN AMBUSH!

Posted by: marcelosba | February 22, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Theissen You have No horse in this Race.

The Republicans Could care Less about Any Meaningful Health Care Reform.

Health Care Reform is Not Finished, When its All said and Done, their will be a Great Health Care Bill.

Wait, Watch, Listen & See.

Posted by: omaarsblade | February 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

This article is truly astonishing in how it completely rewrites history. It is one thing to have partisan hacks like Theissen count as having a "balanced" op-ed page: it is another to actually have opinion columnists who use facts.

Posted by: jcaves | February 22, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with ravensfan20008. This guy must have been busy under a rock for the past year. “GOP leaders have said the basis of the summit should be a clean sheet of paper where both sides can list the areas where they both agree -- and develop legislation enacting those areas of broad agreement” What does this mean other than No healthcare reform if they can help it? The republican mantra is “Their conservative agenda or the highway” They made their strategic decision to oppose Obama on everything as their passport to the White house in 2012. Not one of them is interested in the country or their responsibility to govern. NO to everything is not a winning strategy. We all know that, but these men and women can’t see the daylight as long as they are lodged under their rocks. I had it with the republican obstructionism.

Posted by: patriot0523 | February 22, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

My, my - George W Dumbasse's speech-writer is not the type of person to look to for anything like an honest assessment of the situation. Thiessen is like his namesake, Fritz Thiessen - Hitler's moneyman, a fanatical fascistic nut. Why does the Post grant this nut a megaphone? It tells you a lot about the Post and who is calling the shots now that Catherine Graham is dead.

Posted by: hmeagher | February 22, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Lifelong subscriber here, couldn't be happier that I canceled not too long ago. And to think that I actually felt guilty for a while. This is poorly written, has no intellectual merit, and would be barely suitable for a partisan tabloid site like Breitbart's. Shameful is the only word I can think of.

You used to be great, you used to be relevant, and you used to have some of the best investigative journalism in the business. Now, you have close to nothing. I think I'll stop reading your website as well now. Cheers.

Posted by: DC07 | February 22, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

This guy is a lyinh thug. For EIGHT yeras the Reptilecans NEVER proposed a darn thing for health care reform except a rotten drug plan that was a sellout to to Big Pharma (whoever heard of using GOVERNMENT to ban an institution from negotiating prices with its supplier, much less 'free market" lovers) and that did not even attempt to finance it with anything but $1.2 TRILLION in debt.

These sewer rats cannot be trusted. Ram it down their throats? Yes sir! With a hot poker.

Posted by: MyCut | February 22, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is making the French look like the Spartans.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 22, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Give this poor guy a break, . . he's going for the Julius Streicher Prize in Conservative Journalism, hoping to out-extreme Krauthammer, the present holder.

The best part of this is the near-unanimous scorn this tripe has garnered from the Decent Folk.

Posted by: gkam | February 22, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

In all of this, we never hear the GOP apologists tell us why, if the Republicans are so in favor of healthcare reform, and just want to "do it right" and bipartisanly, then why didn't they lift a finger to do any of it when they were ramming legislation down our throat during the 6 years that they held complete legislative power?

The answer is that they don't really want reform, and this summit's going to prove that. That's why he says it's a trap.

Posted by: bjameswi | February 22, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is a piece of filth, not worthy of being part of the human race.

So, what does Hiatt do? Hire this noxious creature.

As if the WaPo's editorial page needed more sub-humans spouting vitriol...

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 22, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Pretty easy to tell where Thiessen has his bread buttered! Was the piece ghost written for him by the RNC? I love how reconciliation is now an "extraordinary parliamentary procedure" when the republicans are on the other end... when they used it to pass the Bush tax cuts (which threw the Clinton era budget surplus down the toilet) it apparently was ok!

Posted by: mini1071 | February 22, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

So the Republicans have a "robust healthcare plan"? Is this the one they tried to pass when they had control of the White House and both houses of congress? Or is it the one that they through together when someone pointed out they had no solutions to the nations problems? This is just more empty posturing.

Posted by: heveymana | February 22, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

8 years of Bush and 6 with a Republican congress, not a word out of them about health care. Now their ideas are "robust"?

BS and good on Obama for calling them on it.

Posted by: jmp66 | February 22, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans should show up and bring up their own ideas. Also, they should remind the people of Obama's promise that unemployment would not go over 8% and that the middle class would not pay more taxes.

President Obama should be more worried about the unemployment rate than health care changes not supported by the American people. Also, remember that reconciliation can't pass all of Obama's "plan". It can't pass a law forcing people to buy insurance. This whole process is going to be ugly.

Posted by: JackReacher | February 23, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

What did Move-on, Huffington and the daily kooks join forces and flood this article with posts? You betcha!

November can't come soon enough.

Posted by: Straightline | February 23, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

“Mr. President, you say we agree on 80 percent of the issues, so let’s pass that 80 percent solution right now.”

It doesn't work this way. Its like saying, "we both agree to 80% of this plane's design. Everything but the shape of the wings, so lets just build that 80%." Yes, you can build it, but it won't actually FLY, which is sort of the point. I also suspect that this is the reason the GOP is suggesting this, so they can go into next November pointing and screaming, "Look! He spent all that time on a airplane that can't even fly! It doesn't even have wings!"

Leaving the metaphor behind and talking policy, I am referring to things like the GOP's stance on the mandates. Without such parts it would cause what is know in heath care policy circles as the "death spiral." There is even a whole wikipedia page about it if you are not familiar with this basic concept of health care policy. I suspect you are not, for if you were, you'd realize that your proposal is just as ridiculous as building planes with no wings.

Posted by: nylund | February 23, 2010 3:02 AM | Report abuse

There is a reason why every major country in the world has mandatory health insurance. There is a reason why when the US invades a country like Iraq and creates a new system from scratch, they institute mandatory insurance as well. There is a reason why many states demand mandatory car insurance.

This is because if the majority of people are free to not participate in the system, those that do will have to pay extremely high costs, forcing more out of the system, forcing even higher costs on those that remain. It is called the Death Spiral in Health Policy circles (it has its own wikipedia page if you want to read up on it). We are seeing this in all over America right now where insurance companies are raising premiums by 29 percent.

Everyone who has seriously studies this knows that there is no sustainable way anyone will be able to afford insurance without everyone's participation, especially if we want to do things like ban pre-existing conditions and ban the insurance companies ability's to drop you as soon as you actually become sick. This is why the mandate is as essential to the plan as wheels are to a car. This is why passing 80% as you suggest simply CANNOT WORK. It is not a partisan position. It is a matter of necessity if we wish to fix our very broken system.

You write about health care like its just more "horse race politics" but it is so much bigger than that. Please drop your partisan stance for a second and just admit that there are numerous pieces that must work in conjunction for a plan to work and leaving out 20% of the pieces simply will not result in anything that can actually work.

Posted by: nylund | February 23, 2010 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Baloney. Hiring this man is just one more step in the rapid decline of a once great newspaper. We don't need to read garbage like this obviously hyperpartisan screed. Shame on the Post!

Posted by: boxman14191 | February 23, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

What is this, The Washington Times?! I used to respect the WaPo, but you've turned this into the NewSpeak Post... and you wonder why your paper is failing? Seriously, look around.

Posted by: christo4ferris | February 23, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Shut up, war criminal.

Posted by: uh_huhh | February 23, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Remember that only about 15% of the population of the US does not have health care. The vast majority that has health care is satisfied with it. Why do we need this massive bill that will affect all of us to fix a system that is really only marginally broken. Attempting to stop legislation that is truly onerous is a good thing.

Posted by: bkenney1 | February 23, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

When is the Post going to stop spending ink on these delusional knuckleheads? Lord love a duck.

Posted by: brantl1 | February 23, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I have time to discuss facts but try to stay out of the fiction aisle when I search for news. Congratulations, Washington Post. Now I know how to delete favorites and remove bookmarks.

Posted by: fallingsky | February 23, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Was this idiot in coma for the last one year? The Repugnicans openly said that Obama & the democrats won't get even one vote from them (Eric Canter, Mitch McConnel). The NH senator wrote a 3 page memo (when he was asked for input for healthcare) as to how to stall & stop the healthcare proposal. His boss's idea of a tax cut during the war time was the most idiotic thing..we had to beg & borrow from China. If anybody questioned that, he/she would have been branded as un-patriotic, terrorist sympathiser...remember what they did to the war veteran, triple amputee GA senator?
This idiot & the other Texas cowboys terrorized the nation for the last 8 years. This man should shut up & vanish in thin air.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | February 23, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The health care 'summit' this week is just one more example of this President's 'bait and switch' form of governing. How many more of these stupid 'made for TV' events must we Americans endure as Obama wages his own personal partisan war on anyone who doesn't agree with his failed policies. Just as in his slick, branded political campaign, it's all about him, all the time, all his way -- or no way. He could have had the whole health care tangled mess sewn up last October by accepting a health care proposal with the trigger option as supported by Senator Olympia Snowe. The votes were there. Instead, it just wasn't good enough, was it? I am so tired of the ARROGANCE of this President. Get real and govern from the center! 2012 cannot come soon enough!

Posted by: mpwynn | February 23, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Theissen is a hack. Before too long I'm sure we'll see him joined by Bybee and Yoo. The WaPo has become the home of partisian hacks and criminals.

Posted by: NotFooledTX | February 23, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The WaPo has become a haven for discredited fascists. Thiessen is but the latest foul addition to a roster of rabid right-wingers, war-mongers, and torture-abetters.

Today's edition features a beating of drums for war with Iran by Appelbaum and Cohen...

Has Hiatt totally lost it?

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 23, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Are there ANY lame-a** 2nd-tier former Bush administration hacks left who haven't yet scored a job with the allegedly "left-wing" mainstream media so they have a platform to simultaneously rehabilitate the Shrub and attempt to tear down Obama?

Fred Hiatt, if you're reading: THIS is why your paper is losing subscribers. Stop pandering to Palin-struck idiots, stop printing demonstrable falsehoods (we're looking at you, George Will), give Sally Quinn a gold watch and a one-way ticket to Florida, and stop urging the country to invade every country that looks at us sideways. Or just resign, and let somebody smarter try to redeem the Post.

Posted by: MichaelSheridan | February 23, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Goodness. I logged on to criticize Thiessen and the WaPo for blatant bias, but it seems I have been beaten to it. To all who concur, well said.

Posted by: lycg | February 23, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Why should the Democrats scrap the current bills? They're merely asking the Republicans to bring their ideas forward so they can either add them in or take out measures that they don't love. But the Republicans want only their own ideas to go forward; they have no intention of doing a one-for-me-one-you.

Over 60% of the voters support the public option. The Republicans do not. So why are they claiming to be fighting for the voters?

The Democrats have lost support because they backed down on the one piece of the bill that had a majority of support.

To prove that the Republicans are obstructionists, we need only look at the jobs bill, crafted as the Republicans have demanded - small and targeted - yet they voted against it.

I would next get the Don't Ask Bill on the table. Make them vote against something that more than 70% of voters support.

Show them for who they are what their true goals are: selfish men and women who only want to destroy the President and potentially the country, just to get power back, and they'll incite violence to obtain it.

Posted by: pathfinder12 | February 23, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

From Spencer Ackerman

"Watch the former Bush speechwriter and torture enthusiast on “Morning Joe” today. His first point is that President Obama is endangering the country because the Pakistanis aren’t getting intelligence from captured Taliban deputy commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. What he doesn’t mention is that intelligence from Baradar, reportedly, directly led to the capture of Mulvi Kabir, one of the ten most wanted Taliban leaders. This was reported yesterday and Thiessen just ignores it.

Then he avers that Obama’s rejection of torture has cost U.S. interrogators “any tools at our disposal” to “compel” information out of terrorist captures. Except that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be bomber of Northwest Flight 253, is cooperating with his interrogators after they used pressure from his family to compel that cooperation. Also, the elite interrogators of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group will surely be surprised to hear they have no available tools for interrogating a resistant detainee. Then he says that torture stopped an attempted attack on the Los Angeles library tower, a misstatement that has been so thoroughly debunked it raises questions about Thiessen’s honesty.

Then Daniel Freedman — a former Rudy Giuliani aide, aide to ex-FBI counterterrorist agent Ali Soufan and torture opponent, more than ably points out that despite the torture of senior al-Qaeda captives like Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, several attacks in Europe and throughout the Middle East nevertheless occurred. To say nothing of al-Qaeda’s demonstrable reconstitution in the tribal areas of Pakistan. And Thiessen — a former speechwriter — wants to credibly contend that torture is the difference between security and insecurity. “The problem Marc has is that he takes things out of context and doesn’t read the full documents,” Freedman observes. Yet he’s your newest Washington Post columnist.

Watch the whole thing — especially when Marc Thiessen implies that he knows more about interrogation than Gen. David Petraeus. And shame on Joe Scarborough for portraying Soufan, a man who has actually broken up al-Qaeda cells, as a “guy who writes a lot” and not one of the most experienced counterterrorists in American history:

Posted by: Patroklus | February 23, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The USA is the only developed country in the world not to have universal health care. How pathetic is this?

By the way, Hiatt, did you give a job to that torture-promoter, Thiessen, so he could have affordable health coverage?

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 23, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

MT is a wingnut hack.
nothing insightful or original. Just tripe.
The thing with Mark 'torture is real keen' Theissen is that he shares something in common with Krauthammer.
While trashing the Obama, it will be the sole subject of his columns and you have to wonder about both men's obsession over Obama to exclude all other subjects in their columns.
Their great 'insight' that they were hired for, basically is little more then extreme Obama derangement syndrome or possibly something a little more, considering theissen and Krauthammer's complete obsession over the man

Posted by: vwcat | February 23, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Lets see the "Dumm-o's " had for 1 full year a clear majority - yet could still not pass Nobama's HC bill....yet they blame repubs as the one's blocking the bill. Nobama chanted transparency - yet all of it was back-room deals. Nobama now wants a summit - which is a day late and a dollar short....A clear majority rejects this bill...and doubt - look to NJ-VA-MA...and these are blue states. If Nobama was sincere - this summit would have been held a year ago.....so please. This plan is a debacle - it does nothing as intended to curb costs..and admittedly so by having the need of a commission to regulate prices. It will certainly break the bank - as the other two entitlements will - SS & Medicare - so we should trust big government with a 3rd? Here's a plan..create private jobs as opposed to government - with full employment - the rest takes care of itself.

Posted by: short1 | February 23, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) says of this week’s bipartisan health-care summit: “Sounds like the Democrats spell summit: S-E-T-U-P.”
+++++
And Pence couldn't wait to use that line which was probably written for him the day before. Republicans don't want any health care reform, they just want to do what DeMint said -- destroy Obama with it. The Republican Party has become a radical right wing party who defends a man who used his plane as a murder weapon (loou up King and Brown's comments). Moderates in the Republican Party have been made to fear their right wing collegues. These people have no credibility with me anymore. If Obama and the Democrats have to damn the torpedos and go full speed ahead, I say do it. The Republicans have made up their mind never to work with him on HCR or most anything else, no matter what they say to the contrary.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Thiessen,stick to torture. It's what you know best, your stock and trade.

But I guess it must be tough now that you are not part of an administration that practices torture. Fortunately, you found the haven for Bush hacks over at the Washington Post.

Thank God I stopped subscribing months ago (but they recently started giving the paper to me for free, guess it will just drive them out of business sooner).

Fred Hiatt, you should rot in he** for what you have done to the Post.

Posted by: stone11777 | February 23, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I suggest changing the word "paint" to "expose" in this sentence: The president’s real objective is to paint GOP leaders as obstructionists...

Posted by: martinjohnson | February 23, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"Obama is the real obstructionist"


This is just embarrassing for the Post.

Posted by: RoguePlanet | February 23, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

As expected, DC is still drinking alot of kool aid. Obama is an empty suit that obstructs everything! A vast majority of people across the US object to Obamacare. It was proven by the voters in VA, NJ and MA. Obama is a LIER! First and foremost - HE LIES!! If I were a republican, I would not attend the so-called "summit" either. Let Obama try to get his progressive, country bankrupting bill passed outside the Senate rules. Let the Supreme Court rule it unconstitutional. LET US IMPEACH THE EMPEROR WOULD-BE OBAMA!!! In fact, we could try him for treason for bankrupting America.

Posted by: annnort | February 23, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Where did all these posters come from? I suspect they are government workers paid by OUR TAXES. Get to work or get off the payroll!! If you are sitting home, get a job. If you ask, I am retired and proud of it! I am not proud of the obamabots!

Posted by: annnort | February 23, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

[[Where did all these posters come from? I suspect they are government workers paid by OUR TAXES. Get to work or get off the payroll!! If you are sitting home, get a job. If you ask, I am retired and proud of it! I am not proud of the obamabots!]]
++++++
Republican senators and congress(men) are also paid government workers who don't work, apparently. They also don't care if you live or die or that people who are looking for a job that pays the bills, finds one. They only care about regaining their majority in Congress. Reckless deregulation, irresponsible tax breaks, and two disasterous wars brough our economy to the brink of ruin. Millions lost their jobs and their health care. Those people now have to listen to the likes of the above poster who thinks they are nothing more than brainwashed bums looking for handouts.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 23, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

say WHAT??? The President is the real obstructionist?? -and by extension NOT the present day GOP???!!!Thats hilarious ---if it wasn't clearly a pathetic excuse for a column! Say--am I dreaming or didn't the GOP lose the election?? Seems like they feel we should be governed by the losers with NOTHING to offer--shouting from the rear!! Well- talking of 'the rear' thats where we've been taking i from them too --for years -ever since the notorious 'attack politics' & one party rule intro'd & instituted in their party by the 'Gingrich revolution'!! The new senator from MA is a ray of hope!

Posted by: neilo1 | February 23, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Washington Post, on hiring a columnist who neither owns a dictionary nor reads your newspaper. Thiessen is going to have do a lot better than parading a few talking points, and practicing the now time-honored practice of political projection, to get away claiming that the last year proves that Obama is wholly partisan, unlike the Clinton and Bush II of sacred memory. It's a perfectly asinine claim, and not just because of the record of the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee discussions, duly reported on in this very newspaper, and not just because the president has indicated a willingness to include several of the GOP's favorite ideas in potential legislation.

Really, what Thiessen and his ilk are doing is throwing a very fancy tantrum in which they claim that anyone who doesn't wholly comply with their every wish is somehow partisan and uncompromising. Their claiming it, loudly and repeatedly, will not make it so, no matter how many platforms they enjoy.

Posted by: AnotherHagman | February 23, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Petraeus opposes torture: he's the guy with all the battle ribbons.

Cheney - he's got 5 deferments.

Not sure if Marc Thiessen had any deferments but he did state on C-SPAN that he NEVER SERVED but is FOR TORTURE!

Gen Petraeus- Sec Gates- #CIA want CIVILIAN TRIALS- Guess they don’t know as much anymore- NOT EXPERTS?

Ashcroft: Civilian Trials For Terrorists Have 'Use And Utility' http://bit.ly/9Gacy1
Bi-partisan? NO THANKS! Army Times: DODT DISASTROUS LAW! So much for CHECKS Balances!

Posted by: sasha2008 | February 23, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

What can I add? Agree with 99.99 percent of the above (the .01 % dimbulb population represented by "annnort" above notwithstanding). Nice hire, Mr. Dinky!

Posted by: williamminning | February 23, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Real men don't advocate for torture. Real catholics don't either.

But gerbil-abusing perversions of nature like Marc Thiessen do.

Speaking of which -- do you have any comment on the rumors of your involvement in goat fellatio, Mr. Thiessen?

Posted by: jjhare | February 23, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, this is called "PostPartisan"? That's fantastic, in the original sense of the word. Is this really in the Washington Post? Why are you giving space to a torture-justifying speech writer for the worst president ever? What are his qualifications to write on substantive policy issues? I happen to know quite a bit about politics, and I'm not a torture-justifying hack. By the apparent Hiatt standards, I'm MORE than well qualified to appear on the Post opinion pages.

in re upstream comment: "{the government} can't pass a law forcing people to buy insurance." My auto insurance company didn't get that memo.

Posted by: jwesley23 | February 23, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

You actually wrote:

"Republicans have a robust health-care agenda, from health savings accounts, to association health plans, insurance portability, and medical liability reform."

What a lying sack of ...

Tort reform, more insurance monopolization and consumer isolation are not robust health care reform, they are scams to make the insurance companies richer at the expensive of consumers.

Best for you to stay inside during thunderstorms.

Posted by: joebanks | February 24, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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