Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Morning Fix: Obama, Health Care and Political Timelines

President Obama sat for an interview with "60 Minutes" Sunday night. AP Photo/CBS News, 60 Minutes

President Obama's comments on health care -- made Sunday during a 60 Minutes interview with CBS's Steve Kroft -- highlight the fundamentally different political timetables on which he and the Democratic-controlled Congress are operating.

Asked about his willingness to compromise on a bill, Obama responded:

I intend to be president for a while and once bill passes, I own it. And if people look and say, 'You know what? This hasn't reduced my costs. My premiums are still going up 25 percent, insurance companies are still jerking me around,' I'm the one who's going to be held responsible.

True. But, Obama's self-described timetable includes the implementation of a plan -- assuming one passes the Congress this fall -- leading up to his run for re-election in 2012.

House and Senate Democrats don't have that long.

The simple reality is that if a bill passes late this year, there is almost no chance that voters will be able to experience, process and judge the changes to their own health care coverage before November 2010.

The far more compressed time line for congressional Democrats means that the health care vote itself -- not necessarily how or whether the legislation works -- may be all voters have to judge their members on when it comes to health care and the midterm election.

Given that reality, it's not surprising that many of those most reluctant to fall in line behind the president are either House Democrats who sit in conservative-leaning districts (i.e., the Blue Dogs) or people like Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) who will stand for re-election next November in a state that went strongly for the Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

Those same members are almost certain to also be spooked by predictions of Democratic losses in the House of 20 seats or more by the likes of respected political handicappers like Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato.

It's no secret to anyone who has spent time in Washington that members of Congress do not like taking votes where there is no clear political right answer. And, taking those sort of votes a year (or less) from a midterm election where doom and gloom is already being predicted for the party is even less appealing.

Knowing this, Americans United, a liberal interest group, commissioned a survey by Democratic pollsters John Anzalone and Jeff Liszt that casts a vote for the president's health care plan as not just politically tenable but advantageous.

In the Anzalone survey, 49 percent of those tested said they would be more likely to back their member of Congress' re-election bid if he or she voted for health care reform.

Still, as with any major piece of legislation in Congress, the devil is in the details. While voters may express support for health care reform broadly, the anger expressed at town halls across the country over the August recess suggests there is a significant constituency that chafes at the government intervention.

Every member who has to stand before voters in 2010 must make their own calculation about how a vote for (or against) the Obama health care proposal will play in their districts.

It's this every-man-for-himself mentality that the White House is fighting as they seek to rally support for the bill and why compromise -- even among Democrats -- is so elusive.

Monday's Fix Picks: Jake Delhomme single-handedly destroyed week one of the Fix fantasy football season.

1. President Obama to (re)tackle regulatory reform.
2. The public-option fades.
3. Santorum 2012 -- it could happen.
4. Can Charlie Crist be beaten?
5. Another Steak Fry in the books.

Parsing the Obama/Kroft Transcript: Here's what you missed if you missed Obama's interview with Steve Kroft last night (understandable given that it was the first Sunday of the NFL season):
--One goal of his speech to Congress last week was to "disabuse some people of some crazy ideas"
--Blames Republicans to trying to recreate 1994 and a "political environment where there are those in the Republican Party who think the best thing to do is just to kill reform"
--Acknowledged that there is/was a "perception that somehow we were going to be setting up a government-run system for everybody"
--Continued to cast actions taken in first eight months in office as necessity given that "I inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression"
--"In the era of 24-hour cable news cycles the loudest, shrillest voices get the most attention"
--Said he appreciated the apology from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C) but demurred on whether Wilson should be officially rebuked

Card's Out, Brown's In: Less than 24 hours after former Bush White House chief of staff Andy Card (R) decided not to run in a special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, state Sen. Scott Brown (R) announced his candidacy. Brown sought to grasp the outsider mantle, touting a record in the state legislative in which he had "never taken my orders from the special interests or the Beacon Hill establishment." Brown is currently in his third term in the state Senate and spent six years in the state House before that. He faces long odds given his lack of statewide name identification and the strong Democratic tilt of the Bay State. Three Democrats -- state Attorney General Martha Coakley and Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch -- are in the race. The special election primary will be held on Dec. 8 with a general election to follow on Jan. 19.

Click It!: Always wanted a governor's seat but not sure how to get one? Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich -- a man for whom the word "traveshamockery" was invented -- can help. The seat Blagojevich sat in during a recent appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" is being auctioned off on eBay. (Get it. Governor's seat? For sale? Heyooo!). The current bid on the seat, which is described as "perfect for home, office or prison," is $3,005.

NJ-Gov Narrows Slightly. . . : A new Monmouth University/Gannett poll shows former U.S. attorney Chris Christie (R) leading Gov. Jon Corzine by a 47 percent to 38 percent margin -- down from the 14-point edge Christie held in the same poll in August. The poll is likely to fuel Democrats' argument that Christie's recent troubles -- a loan to a former colleague, a traffic incident in which he hit a motorcyclist -- have breathed life into Corzine's campaign. Perhaps. But, the incumbent continues to trail the challenger among several key voting blocs -- most notably independents who opt for Christie by a 45 percent to 30 percent margin. And, Corzine's gains in the Monmouth poll seem to be largely attributable to Democrats lining up behind him -- a phenomenon that was to be expected whether or not Christie had endured several weeks of bad press.

. . . With Benenson On Board: Joel Benenson, who spearheaded President Obama's polling operation in 2008, is now serving as an adviser to Corzine, according to the Newark Star Ledger. Benenson, who joined the Corzine team quietly in August, has scads of polling experience in the Garden State, having handled survey research for Gov. Jim McGreevey in 2001 and Sen. Bob Menendez.

The Best State-Based Political Reporters: We are compiling the suggestions for the best of the best when it comes to reporters in the state but still aren't close to having at least one reporter for every state! (Here's our last list, for reference purposes.) You can send suggestions -- name and state -- via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. Bring. It. On.

Say What?: "I am not going to apologize again." -- Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C) says he is done saying sorry in an interview with Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 14, 2009; 5:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: MA-Senate: Markey Out, Field Solidified
Next: NJ Gov: Is Corzine Coming Back?


Love the way that Navy seals took out the wanted terrorist in Somalia, under the direction of POTUS, Barack Obama..Don't you love the way Democrats protect the security of the nation..Find the target, take them out and no civilian casualties..That is the way Barack Obama is gonna take out OBL..OBL must be quivering in his cave..instead of the bluster of W and co, he now faces a President who knows how to get things done..

Posted by: ruraledcomm | September 15, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

(Rep. Wilson will get another $1 million in donations if the Dems do this)

"Despite initial reluctance by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House is poised to vote Tuesday on a resolution of disapproval against Rep. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican who called out “You lie!” as pResident Barack Obama spoke to Congress last Wednesday.

The most common rebukes for a House member are reprimand, censure, and expulsion. In choosing “disapproval,” Democrats are seeking a sanction lighter than any of those.

They are playing down the move somewhat, saying they feel it’s important to chastise Wilson for violating House rules so egregiously, but also noting that the punishment is relatively minor. If Wilson apologized on the House floor, as leaders of both parties have urged him to do, Democrats say they would withdraw the motion.

The official decision to offer the resolution is likely to come at a meeting of Democratic leaders tonight, but such a move appears all but certain. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) issued a statement this afternoon saying he would vote against the resolution, making it likely it will be approved on a largely party-line vote."

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

You are right, snowbama. Pelosi and congressional Democrats are making a bigger hero out of Joe Wilson every time they complain about him. And they are shining a big spotlight on the liar-in-chief.

Everyone I know wants to contribute to Wilson's campaign. Wilson had the courage to express what all of us were screaming at our TVs as we heard the liar-in-chief lie and lie some more.

Wilson reminds us of the little boy who said what everyone was thinking but no one had the courage to say -- "the emperor is naked." Obama is naked of honesty, naked of patriotism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | September 14, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

As expected, Obama and his accomplices are demonizing the opposition. It's obvious, however, that the only Americans who support Obamacare are his accomplices and those who have been dumbed down by a substandard and politicized education as per the warnings of Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov.

In 1985, Bezmenov told us that our enemies were working hard at brainwashing us (dumbing us down) and would succeed if we did not defend our principles:

The dumbed down are obviously unable to understand that Obamacare will further contribute to “the American descent into Marxism,” which “is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple…”

Fortunately, as we can see in the town halls and the marches, most Americans have NOT been dumbed down! 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 Obamacare and socialism/Marxism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | September 14, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Nobody cares what those anti-capitalist Birther drones in the Republic Party of No wants.

To compete globally, we need a public option, so that small businesses can have healthy employees and not go broke paying for insurance for them.

So stop shilling for the unpatriotic anti-American GOP, Chris.

Posted by: WillSeattle | September 14, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"That is why I suspect a health insurance reform bill to pass and it will be renamed health care reform."


Posted by: shrink2 | September 14, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Really, Chris, if you're shilling for the GOP to keep your job you should get another one instead.

I am certain CC thinks long and hard about his job and the alternatives he faces. DC is really expensive, new family...besides, I think the Republican Rising! thing is funny.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 14, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

kevin1231: "I no longer support Obama...I think he has conned the progressives."

The alternative?

Posted by: nodebris | September 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

If a public option is off the table how about putting the Republican's feet to the fire by providing for a $500.00 monthly premium to allow all veterans who do not qualify for free healthcare to have full VA coverage. veterans who do have coverage through their employer should be able to use the VA without deductables.

Would the Republicans dare so no to veterans? If not, why all of a sudden is public healthcare good? Would this not cause rationing as too many veterans will then be seeking care.

The Dems need to think outside the beltway and box. They need to make this offer to the vets and watch the Republicans crash

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | September 14, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

No more The Fix subscription on the Kindle .. the web is free but I'm not paying even a dollar a month to read this insult to the intelligence that this column has turned into.

Really, Chris, if you're shilling for the GOP to keep your job you should get another one instead.

I'm keeping my Eugene Robinson subscription.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 14, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats in Congress face a nightmare. Their core activists want a victory. So far the only thing to have passed in a 59-seat Senate, Democratic Congress and Obama White House is a bailout of rich bankers and free money for cars. Even the GM-Chrysler bailout had to be finagled and couldn't pass straight up.

Democratic activists want a victory. They have the House, the Senate and the White House, so why can't the Democrats pass anything? Or, why are Republicans, so thoroughly defeated and discredited still winning? Health Care reform is where the activists have taken a stand and if the Democrats do not pass it, the activists may stay home in November 2010. On the other hand, anyone who is not a Democratic activist isn't so sure if they like health care reform. Who will they vote for in 2010?

That is why I suspect a health insurance reform bill to pass and it will be renamed health care reform.

Posted by: caribis | September 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for your post (I never resort to name-calling against you). We will have to simply agree to disagree which is worse and who is lying now.


Wasn't it time to unsunscribe to The Fix on your Kindle?

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

blarson: please don't respond to JakeD. He's a liar and a racist troll.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 14, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

blarson -- the troll is a liar and racist. ignore.

'Kudos to Maureen Dowd for going there. 'There' being some public recognition of what should be inescapable by now: that a lot of the more electric and intemperate reactions to President Obama come from people who cannot or will not accept that a black man is the President of the United States.

I think Dowd was right to see it behind Wednesday night's outburst from Rep. Joe Wilson (R) of South Carolina, a man previously best known as one of the last hold-outs for keeping the confederate flag flying over the Capitol in South Carolina. And you didn't have to wait for the night of the speech though. The day before the speech, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) of Georgia said Obama needed to show some "humility" when he showed up on Capitol Hill Wednesday night. I've heard presidents criticized, pilloried, even villified for lots of things. But I don't think I've ever heard one warned to show some humility.

It's no accident that both comments came from white men from the Deep South in their early to mid-60s."

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse


He supported Bush for giving government money to illegal aliens for health care. Then he called Obama a liar for something he was telling the truth about.

Maybe that doesn't make Wilson a liar, only an extremely conflicted and mentally tortured individual. You're right--he's a hypocrite which is worse than a liar.

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 14, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

It's like living in a nation divided by two species of human: the modern human variety and the red-neck variety. Hmmm... me thinks the red-neck variety will go the way of Neanderthal man.

Posted by: PulSamsara | September 14, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I no longer support Obama...I think he has conned the progressives.

Posted by: kevin1231 | September 14, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Of course he was lying, there's an R after his name. Fish swim, birds fly, Republicans lie. If you expect anything else you haven't been paying attention since the ginning up of two unnecessary wars.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 14, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but blarsen1, now you are changing what you brought up earlier. Allow me to refresh your recollection:

"Who's the liar?

Obama heckler Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) voted in 2003 to provide federal funds for illegal immigrants' health care. The vote came on the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, which authorized $250,000 annually between 2003 and 2008 for government reimbursements to hospitals who provide treatment for uninsured illegal immigrants."

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 14, 2009 12:05 PM

Was Rep. Wilson "lying" about his earlier vote or not?

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

In that Obama WASN'T lying, which has been proven by virtue of the text of the bill, then Wilson was lying because he new there was language in the bill that stated specifically that illegal aliens WOULD NOT be covered in this healthcare bill. So yes, he was lying.

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 14, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Senate Democrats rushed to insert language into the healthcare bill to require verification of citizenship to receive government healthcare. It wasn't in there Wednesday night when President Barack Obama claimed, erroneously, that his bill ensured illegal aliens would not receive the taxpayer-funded healthcare. Republicans in the House tried to insert language for verification, but Democrats defeated those efforts.

Obama knew this on Wednesday night when he spoke to Congress and the American people. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) knew this, too, when he called the president out on his lie during the speech.

Obama’s slippery move of placing language in his bill specifically stating that illegals would not be eligible for the government healthcare, but warding off efforts to enforce it through verification, is what made him a liar Wednesday night. His "don't ask, don't tell" approach was exposed by Joe Wilson, to the point where Obama and congressional Democrats are terrified the media may decide to tell the truth and expose Obama and Democrats as liars. Thus the late-Friday scramble to change the bill to what Republicans have been arguing for all along took place as a means to cover the president's backside.

Now that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democrat leaders are planning some sort of official action against Wilson, Republicans will feel more comfortable, confident and even encouraged to defend Wilson. At least some in the mainstream media will have to eventually admit the truth — that when Joe Wilson yelled, "You lie!" to Obama from his seat on the House floor, he may have been rude (on par with Democrats who repeatedly booed and heckled President George W. Bush), but Wilson was right.

Pelosi and congressional Democrats are poised to make a bigger hero out of Joe Wilson than he has already become. And they are shining a big spotlight on the liar-in-chief.

Posted by: snowbama | September 14, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

No problem, mark. As I have sad, anything other than the status quo would be an improvement for me and others with pre-exisiting conditions.

I think politically, it seems like it would be a lot easier to pass the insurance package first -- to regulate the insurance industry on a federal level and ensure that it operates in a fair and ethical manner. Your suggestions to that effect seem quite sound. Once that is in place, move to step 2 and cost containment measures.

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"the anger expressed at town halls across the country over the August recess suggests there is a significant constituency that chafes at the government intervention."


This vapid nonsense is what passes for "reporting" these days? "Suggests?"

I miss the old Chris Cillizza, the one who had a brain.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 14, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse


Do you still think that Rep. Wilson is the one "lying"?

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

When you have a group of people like the republican party who have no clear leader to answer to, then you end up with the lunatic fringe in control which is why the republicans are in such disarray. Glenn Beck, more so than Limbaugh (because he's nuttier) is now who the party answers to. True conservatives like George Will are horrified to see what's happened to their party. Even Newt Gingrich is even speaking out against the takeover of the conservatives by a bunch of loons.

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 14, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Mark, first, I agree in general. Though some of the details...not so much.

To dive in, here is the brutal logic. Cost containment means people with a stake in the medical industrial colpex will lose money doing what they do now. This is because we have a system in which people would lose money doing the right thing and people are making piles of money doing the wrong thing (dumping into the public risk pool, in essence).

So in order to get to cost containment, you have to have everyone used to universal mandates. Once those exist, the rule screws can be tightened. But in the current political economic environment, Obama is in no position to tighten any screws on any part of any domestic industry.

This means we will have to pay systems that do the right thing alongside those that do not, more of the same in other words, but more of it. This, if you are a Paul Krugman type, is not too bad because we are in need of more government stimulus.

Many believe a double dip is coming without it, like what happened in the 30s when fiscal conservatives won the day and, in the view of Keynes et al, monetary policy was tightened too soon.

All that said, it is true that we are on our way to a social democracy once universal health mandates are established.
This will mark the end of the "Reagan Revolution", the end of one of America's favorite creation myths, rugged individualism.

Fortunately, rugged individualism is absurd and it has never led to fiscally conservative politics anyway. We just spend on military adventures and oil company subsidies, instead of on each other.

It is for this reason I think Obama may be a genius. He will give away the store, fail, you name it and when the dust settles and the shouting stops, health care reform will be on its way, out of the station and on track plus, a 2nd stimulus will be in the hopper.

By 2012, the recovery and the move to a health care (social spending driven) economy will be benefiting the electorate. The radical right will remain enraged, but most of them don't even vote.

Only then can we start to stand up to the people sucking at the health care teat as parasites, rather than as contributors to our next generation.

Sorry for the goofy mixed metaphors, but I'm in a mood where I'd rather be wrong than boring.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 14, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

drindl, I am willing to add "obesity"; the HB does not.

What do you think about separating the packages so that there is a clear insurance package and a clear medical cost containment package, as a political strategy? I used you for an example without permission, for which I beg your pardon. It was based on what you have said about your situation, here.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | September 14, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope that he continues to fail.

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama fails to understand you motivate people with gimmicks - he needs to have a large rally with uninsured Americans - this puts a face on the issue.

Not all gimmicks are good - sometimes a gimmick can be a good whiskey, but it is bad for you because it gets mixed with hillbilly mash.

This video from Gypsy is great - listen to it while you eat your sandwish - think politics - it really fits as to how people get duped

I wish Obama would come to South Texas. the VA clinic in harlingen may provide the best healhcare of anywhere in South TExas. It is awesome and efficient. I would love to see these type clinics set up for medicaid and medicare patients as an option - people I am telling you this place is awesome -

As a veteran I have zero complaints -

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | September 14, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

John Bresnahan has an excellent article about efforts to get Joe Wilson to apologize, including this nugget:

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other Republicans also privately asked Wilson to make an apology on the floor, but he wouldn’t comply, according to GOP insiders.
We’ve reached a stage where the Joe Wilsons and Michelle Bachmanns of the world are more beholden to Glenn Beck and the tea baggers than their own party leaders. The good news is that this weakens the Republican party. The bad news is that it creates a self-contained pocket of complete craziness in Washington that could do a lot of damage under the right circumstances."

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

b". A national regulatory scheme for the baseline policy adminstration, including the narrow premium differential allowable for age and smoking"

Mark, you mean higher premiums for older people? What about obesity? Doesn't that cause as much morbidity as smoking?

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

snowbama, I love endless spin in the face of reality -

the issue is impact - the antiwar people at Bush's ranch had zero impact - I cannot even remember the woman's name -

the teabaggers by their lack of numbers at the mall mean they are not a meaningful voice - just loud -

As I said about Joe Wilson last week - I want these people to sing out and sing out loud - the more they speak the more the independents move to the center and left.

I hope President Obama has the good sense to defend Wilson on the apology issue - Pelosi is out of line on this one

Sing out Joe sing out - the Texas Constitution on free speach says it best - paraphrase - people have the right to speak their mind and the goverment shall not restrict that speach, but they should be held accountable for their speach.

The more Joe sings out - the more the teabaggers sing out the more the independents will move away from the Republicans -

Please guys post more Nazi signs - I will pay for them.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | September 14, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Wilson will NOT apologize again. So, go ahead and censure him, Dems. Please, PLEASE, don't throw him in that briar patch!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse


I am simply answering YOUR question. Even "mikeinmidland" agrees that Rep. Wilson is not lying. Apart from the difference in dollar amounts, whether reimbursing AMERICAN hospitals is the same thing as providing affordability credits directly to MEXICAN illegal immigrants is up to your side to prove. Good luck with that.

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I understand that. $900 BILLION is the total Obamacare "estimate" -- that's my primary concern -- if hospitals were required to verify citizenship in order to get paid, that would help reduce the $250,000 amount too.

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

That vote makes Wilson a hypocrite, not a liar.

Posted by: mikeinmidIand | September 14, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

$250,000 PER HOSPITAL.

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 14, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Go Jake D-elhomme!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Chris, anyone who has followed Jake Delhomme for several seasons like Panthers fans have had to have seen him play inconsistently for several seasons, both before and after surgery. I don't play fantasy football, but surely there are quaterbacks with consistently better statistics than Delhomme, like Drew Brees.

Posted by: jameshauser | September 14, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse


pResident Obama is the liar (unless Rep. Wilson ever lied about voting in 2003 on the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003). In addition, $250,000 is a far cry from $900 BILLION.

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Who's the liar?

Obama heckler Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) voted in 2003 to provide federal funds for illegal immigrants' health care. The vote came on the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, which authorized $250,000 annually between 2003 and 2008 for government reimbursements to hospitals who provide treatment for uninsured illegal immigrants.

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 14, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Even bin Laden has reportedly called Obama "powerless":


Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Atten: Dan Balz. Re; Your column of 9-13-"09, Regarding Health Care.
Now Hear This!!! A quick reference to the Washington Post Column of 9-13-"09, written by George MCGovern, gives the perfect answer, an answer that will silence the radical right who are making a mockery of our long cherished Town Hall meetings. This proposal will relieve The President of a huge problem, and allow him to address an even bigger problem, on Wall Street. Mr. MCGovern has the perfect answer, an answer that will solve an outstanding problem, an answer that will please everyone. Medicare!!! Read the Column!!!.and remove the hands of Baucus
from the lobbyists pockets.
Cyrano applauds the MCGovern proposal.

Posted by: Cyrano | September 14, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, again, that should be "John Amick" (darn Spellchecker ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

P.S. to drindl: curiously, you have "no comment" on someone assassinating a pro-lifer in Michigan -- I would have thought, for the sake of consistency at least, you would condemn that too -- at least I condemned the assassination of Dr. Tiller:

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, on 2d meant in-home nursing care, not hospice.

The notion that universal health insurance must precede cost containment is new to me, but apparently that is how it worked in the other countries with which we compete.

My fiscal conservatism wanted cost containment first, but there are a lot of people like drindl who have real fears that they will be uninsurable or uncovered by insurance no matter what they do, and those fears will probably have to be addressed before we can get to the cost containment issues that are so compelling for the economy.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | September 14, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Collins is, indeed, a Republican but might as well be a Democrat -- regardless, pResident Obama has lost her vote -- it is true that I did not catch the error by WaPo editors, John Annick, and/or Ibby Caputo:

Forgive me for such a sin!

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

shrink2, suppose health care reform were broken into two separate packages, something like this:

1. Medical insurance reform.
a. Mandate a universal baseline policy with mandated participation, and with:
1. No preexisting condition bar.
2. No portability bar.
3. No rescission.
4. No cap.
b. A national regulatory scheme for the baseline policy adminstration, including the narrow premium differential allowable for age and smoking, and downward pressure on admin costs and profits in this area. There could be a national sales tax on the "Cadillac" policies pricing above baseline. A dedication to health care costs would be ideal, but we know it would never occur.

2. Medical cost containment.
a. Public-private partnerships on integrated clinic care, pushing Medicare/Medicaid into this mode, first, and away from fee-for-service.
b. Expanded subsidization of medical, nursing, and pharmacy students to raise the supply of professionals over a reasonable period of time. Offer loan payback for those who will work in integrated clinic care.
c. Subsidization of information exchange.
d. Eventual subsidization of in home hospice care for families that can make it work with part time help.
[This would not be in the baseline insurance plan because of the Medicaid overlap, but could be in over all cost containment plan].
e. Subsidization of "work hardening" programs OTJ.
f. Use USDA food program to provide balanced meals in the schools and cut off USDA program to schools that insist on selling candy and coke in the building.
g. Expanded subsidization of NHI support for med research.
h. A more limited view of patent protection for drugs that only slightly change the game [this will demand NHI expansion to "help" FDA, which has too much to do as is].
i. Encouragement and subsidization of coop drug buying among all major purchasers. Permission to buy pharmaceuticals in Canada as a NAFTA tag along.

j. We could import foreign health care workers, as well.

Shrink2, I know that you could add to part 2, and that like me you think it should be considered as "part 1". But I am suggesting a political strategy that mirrors reality rather than one that lets the parties obfuscate. Taxes would be raised for part 2, but within a predictable time the investment would pay off.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | September 14, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And Joe Wilson, the white southerner who attack the black president?

'Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) has received a lot of attention for calling President Obama a liar last night when he asserted that undocumented immigrants will not benefit from health care reform. Most commentators and politicians have denounced Wilson’s unruly behavior, though not enough have bothered to highlight the inherent fallacy of his accusations. Undocumented immigrants are in fact explicitly barred from receiving any health care benefits under both the House and Senate bills and a closer look at all those who restlessly suggest otherwise sheds some light on the radical nativist underpinnings of their anti-health care reform crusade.

To begin with, Wilson is a member of the Southern heritage group, Sons of Confederate Veterans, which favors secession and defends slavery and is stock full of white supremecists and right-wing extremists. As a state legislator, Wilson went against his own party and voted with seven lone right-wingers to keep the Dixie Rebel flag flying over the South Carolina state capitol building."

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who doesn't know Susan Collins is a Republican has no political credibility. Of course, we knew that already from previous blathering and bleating...

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Every day Liberals spiral deeper into clulesssness. now thay claim that taking over the mall in protest is no big deal.

when 6 or 8 anti-war protesters stood outside Bush's ranch, it was earth shaking.

but no matter. barry has already moved on, that is, retreated. He is heading over to ruin Wall street now.

Posted by: snowbama | September 14, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Back on topic, it seems as if Pelosi, Reid, and pResident Obama simply do not have the votes:

Over the weekend, Sen. Susan Collins (D-Maine) said she would not support a "trigger" option in any legislation, meaning a provision to delay a public option and allow health insurance companies to lower costs on their own.

"The problem with the trigger is it just delays the public option," Collins said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Collins also said she believes the pResident erred at the beginning of the health-care reform effort and lost many independent voters by not focusing on costs.

"He did not initially focus on cost," Collins said. "That is the number one concern, as I talk to my constituents. They're concerned that we may be creating an expensive new entitlement program. They're worried about the amount of debt that we already have accumulated."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated today pResident Obama's support for a public option in health-care reform, yet Gibbs also said the pResident will not insist on the inclusion of a public option at all costs.

When asked to respond to New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd's Sunday column calling out many Obama detractors as racist, Gibbs veered away from the assertion to highlight a struggling economy as the cause for consternation with Obama's policies.

"I don't think the pResident believes that people are upset because of the color of his skin," Gibbs said. "I think people are upset because on Monday we celebrate the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse that caused a financial catastrophe unlike anything we've ever seen."

Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) made clear she will not support ANY kind of explicit public option in health reform legislation, saying she's worried about its effect on insurance companies.

"Many of us believe ... that it will undermine the private insurance system," Landrieu said on ABC's "This Week" She expressed her desire to find ways to inject competition in the market while avoiding additional government-run health care.

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I read lower estimates -- maybe 35,000 generallly. and a lot of these people were just complete nuts with a very confused idea about what constitutes reality:

"Most of the themes of the protest were familiar. Demonstrators were upset by TARP, or the stimulus, or health care reform, or cap-and-trade. But some gripes were new. I was especially struck by the tea baggers' obsession with czars. Everyone knew the number of czars Obama appointed: 37. And nobody was happy with them. "They're socialist radicals," said Davy Reeves of Kalamazoo, Mich. "I don't like the idea of all these czars," said Geri Shea of Leesburg, Va. "It's unconstitutional."

I asked a few protesters how Obama's czars are different from the unelected advisers every president appoints. "Every president does have advisers," said Kelly Grillo, Northfield, N.J. "But Obama has way too many."

Van Jones, who resigned recently over comments he made about Republicans, was singled out for special derision. But so, too, was constitutional scholar and recently confirmed "regulatory czar" Cass Sunstein. The reason, said Davy Reeves of Kalamazoo: rats. "He thinks rats should have the right to an attorney, to sue humans," Reeves said. "Rats have no right to live in my house."

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The WSJ is quoting medical services as saying more than 75k teabaggers showed up, according to wikipedia the police estimate nearly 500k showed up in 87' for the last same gender (censorship is so stupid when it is so easy to get around it) rights March on Washington - in terms of turnout - it was a failure.

the dems need to look at this failure and march on without the Republicans and extreme rightwing supporters

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | September 14, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

With some justification, the same comment could have been made in mid-1982 by David Stockman (why should we get the blame for the mess Carter left us). Dems will get the blame in 2010 and the credit in 2012. It's just the way of things.

Kinda like bonuses being dependent on company earnings even if the individuals had little to do with it.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | September 14, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

That "significant constituency" showed us this weekend just how puny their numbers are.

Beck, Fox and Freedomworks promoted the TEA baggers' Saturday march hard for weeks. They have a significant conservative base with-in driving distance of their event. And they get 70,000 demonstrators? And their causes were all over the map: we saw low tax people, anti-abortion people, the Don't Tread on Me Tenthers, the Birthers, LaRouche followers, and the strangle-government-into non-existence crowd. There was little cohesion in their agenda for being there.
No one is going to be able to make this disparate crowd hang together for long or show-up for many demonstrations. And the poor showing this time out guarantees that they are not going to get any prominent political figures, even Republicans, to appear at the next outing. The demonstration was deeply unpersuasive on MANY levels, not just the low turn-out.

Freedomworks hit their peak/nadir in disrupting the Town Halls.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 14, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I would be more convinced about the authenticity of the 'anger' at the town halls if I didn't know that the republican party and insurance companies paid for the buses that took those people to the meetings, and even made their signs for them.

Gee, notice how in the photos the most of the signs look alike? Why do you suppose that is?

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The reason President Obama should hold is ground is simple - he will be blamed if it goes wrong - even if he were to sign off on a Republican Bill.

It is time to threaten the Blue Dogs with no DNC support if they continue to oppose the President.

Blue Dogs represent swing districts - if the President fails to get a bill it will bring out the right wing and independents against the Blue Dogs - people will see "D" next to their name - that is all that will matter.

It is in the interest of the Blue Dogs to back the President so that in 2010 they can tell their voters "we accomplihsed something." I predict the Blue Dogs will hang themselves and then blame the president

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | September 14, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Probably the primary concern of the President in his speech to Congress was to outline the positions the Democrats will be able to take to the voters next year. That included a discussion of both the Republicans and the Democrats contribution to the deficit and the basic logic of health care reform legislation. By all accounts the Democrats seem confortable with his positions. The public is still under considerable influence from ideological noise about issues that will not apply to the final bill. Once the process has run its course health care reform votes are likely to be a bigger problem for the Republcans than for the Democrats.

Posted by: dnjake | September 14, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"The economy's in the tank and those in power, like it or not, get the responsibility. "

Why shouldn't the people who actually caused the meltdown be blamed for it? Why is it that Republicans never take responsibility or are held accountable for anything? It's like dealing with an entire party composed of 2-year-olds.

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"the anger expressed at town halls across the country over the August recess suggests there is a significant constituency that chafes at the government intervention."


So then it works. You can become a "significant constituency" by screaming and carrying on about the healthcaresocialistfascist boogieman beneath your bed.

If Congress had produced a bill or two before the break, robust, reasonable bills, then the Summer would not have been dominated by uncertainty and hysteria about demons who people substituted for the details missing from the current offerings. The insurance industry strategy to delay these bills and build up opposition has worked.

Is it possible that by devising the right health care bill, the one most acceptable to the most(not loudest) people, Congress will provide themselves the political cover to survive the mid-terms? Maybe. Or maybe they'll be saved by a more rapid than predicted pace of economic recovery. Maybe. Or, perhaps they need to be introduced to an excellent Democratic candidate that would be receiving the party's support in the primary if they don't deliver. This really is a test of the White House's legislative leadership skills. This is what Emanuel left the House to do.

We'll see.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | September 14, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should decree they must have their ID numbers tattooed on their arms, Blade. That way we can be SURE they're not Jews. I mean, black. I mean, immigrants.

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

That there are going to be significant Democratic losses in the House is almost a given. The economy's in the tank and those in power, like it or not, get the responsibility. The Dems won a lot of marginal seats in the last two cycles, thanks to an anti-Bush backlash. The Republicans under Reagan were shellacked in 1982, not that it mattered 2 years later. If the economy recovers (I know, *I* *F*), 2012 could shape up to be a good year. I think that's also more important as the Dems will be defending a number of Senate seats in 2012 from the 2006 election.

Incidentally, I like the new precedent. Any politician is not allowed to insult another politician until they show each other their birth certificates. Long, short, or otherwise.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | September 14, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Gov't-enabled atrocities make health care reform a cruel joke...


• Community-based warrantless GPS-activated vigilante stalking, harassment, financial exploitation enabled by federal and local law enforcement

• Is Team Obama naive, misinformed, or complicit?

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 14, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse


Rep. Wilson should demand to see Obama's LONG FORM birth certificate if he's accused of insulting the President.

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

If VA Hospitals and Medicare/Medicaid are constitutional, then nothing in the current legislation could be considered unconstitutional.

Regulating the insurance industry is not controlling medical practice.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 14, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

john, i think you are pulling legs here.

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

If we just went back to the way it was with the founding fathers, we wouldn't have the riff-raff running the country. Only the landed gentry (the educated) would have a say, no women, no immigrants, and certainly few persons of color. And
since the South has the worst education, healthcare, and unhealthiest lifestyle, that part of the country would see a reduction in population that would make your head swim. Sounds like a plan!

Posted by: jjohn9357 | September 14, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Ajax2, please cite a section of the HB that you think the Supremes would find to be outside the commerce power and then give us a post 1939 case in point.

I may actually be able to do that, but in the instances I can think of I can cite other cases that would indicate that the Supremes would consider anything in the bill regulation of commerce and the provisions would survive scrutiny, as did Medicare/Medicaid, on the whole.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | September 14, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

What have the courts ruled?

In Linder v. United States, 268 U.S. 5, 18, 45 S. Ct. 446 (1925), The court ruled: "Obviously, direct control of medical practice in and of states is beyond the power the federal government."

In U.S. v. Anthony, 15 Supp. 553, 555, (S.D. Ca., 1936) and U.S. v. Evers, 453 F. Supp. 1141, 1150 (M.D. Ala., 1978), the court ruled: "...The direct control of medical practice has been left to the states."

There is no question this legislation contains hundreds of provisions that the court has ruled unconstitutional. The courts have ruled that Congress overstepped their legislative authority.

Posted by: AJAX2 | September 14, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

jjohn9357 can add

every road and highway we drive on,
every airplane and train we sit in or transport goods on,
the postal service,
public universities,
the CDC and all public health efforts like insect control and vaccination programs, all of our utilities including clean water,
an awful lot of agriculture,
food and drug inspection,
safety regulations and hourly limits in the work place (vacation and sick days, too),
border protection and the inspection of imports,
our outstanding military,
patent and copywrite protections (well, I guess the whole court system, really),
Dish TV, cell phones and internet that connect through satellites.

If we got rid of all this we could each of us be saving a lot of money and could live like KINGS in our own Somalia.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 14, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Here is the reason universal coverage will pass. I won't call it reform, because the final bill can not work to contract the industry. In the end, it will be a stimulus package.

The fortune (literally and figuratively) of the Democrats at the poles depends upon the economy. The recent bail outs and the stimulus have worked to some extent, but the effects are wearing off. The recovery has gone flat.

The dollar dropped again last month, oil can't seem to get over $70 and stay there. Ominously, the US and China are fighting about tires and we have more to lose from a trade war than they do.

Since a second stimulus going primarily to government projects/jobs is politically impossible, the next one will get run through health care.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 14, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Cook and Sabato -- respected by whom, exactly? You can keep preaching the R gospel, CC but that's doesn't mean it's going to happen. No particular reason to predict any D losses, really. Tell me ONE postive thing, one idea, one contribution Republicans have made in the last nearly a year since Obama was elected?

NOTHING. NADA. ZIP. ZILCH. Why would anyone vote for these loud, lazy, negative and hateful louts? We haven't heard about any accomplishments from a single one of them, except their various exploits with men and women they aren't married to.

Posted by: drindl | September 14, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I'll assume jjohn is being sarcastic.

Socialism is government ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Public safety measures and even financial assistance are not socialism.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 14, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

What is really needed is to get rid of every Socialist program: Police, Fire, public schools, Medicare, Social Security, Public Health, and Sanitation. If you can't or won't pay for it, then you don't need it. Don't look to your neighbors. It's all up to you. Jesus' message of 'you are your brother's keeper' does not apply here. Survival of the fittest is the new mantra. Those who can't afford healthcare should just sit down, get your affairs in order, and write your last will and testament. Adios, amigo!

Posted by: jjohn9357 | September 14, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I agree with margaret that our representatives need to actually DO their job some of the time, and not spend all their effort keeping their job.

Blue Dogs also need to remember that if they are in a conservative district, the GOP has a target painted on their back already. They will not escape by voting no on health care, or otherwise acting like a Republican. Their opponent will put their picture up next to Obama, and that will be the sum of their argument. Yes, the dems will lose a few seats in 2010, but that will happen regardless.

The swing voters are the ones who vote based on competence. So do your job, but don't forget who brought you to the dance!

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 14, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

CC, wrong again. Democrats have much more to fear from not passing some form of universal coverage than from passing it. See today's better take on health care reform, Roger Cohen in the NYT.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 14, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Obama said last night on "60 Minutes" that an advisor (guessing Rahm) said that health care would be declared "DOA" four or five times this year, before passing.

The Democrats will get it line, meaningful reform will be signed into law, and we will move on to the next set of serious issues. Quoting Rasmussen polls and claiming Obama is "damaged" will not change the facts.

Posted by: yeswiican | September 14, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

CC writes "Those same members are almost certain to also be spooked by predictions of Democratic losses in the House of 20 seats or more by the likes of respected political handicappers like Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato."

If you are a member of Congress and you make decisions on what Cook and Sabato think then you have no buisness being in Congress.

Also Joe Wilson will be censured and I would bet that a significant amount of old guard Republicans will vote for it.

Posted by: AndyR3 | September 14, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

FWIW Rep. Wilson spoke the truth and should not have apologized even once -- Sen. Reid didn't when he called GWB a "liar" -- as the current bills in Congress stand, there is no enforcement mechanism to prevent illegal aliens from obtaining Obamacare. There is now some grumbling that the GOP amendment in that regard will be passed, which was defeated by Dems before and would never have been re-considered without Rep. Wilson calling out pResident Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Keep in mind that the Dems already missed one of Obama's "dead"lines. BTW, sorry that Jake Delhomme single-handedly ruined it for you ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 14, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Everyone knows the democrats will lose big if they fail on health care like in 94. The real question is how much insurance corporation bribe money is influencing the vote. If they have to lose the election either way, then blue dogs want some change in their pockets. The democratic leadership is going to have to make some sort of "arrangement" if it wants the blue dog vote.
Make them a deal that they cannot refuse, teamsters.

Posted by: seemstome | September 14, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Margaret, you have pointed to the results of the historic American conundrum.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | September 14, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with margaret and pamela. Those who will cave in to short term and personal interest should be put out of office not only by the republican angry and moronic crowds but by the democrats too. There are circumstances where the careerist politicians should think of the general interest before their little person, like now.

Posted by: sensifr | September 14, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Everyone likes to get reelected, but there is more to *being* a Congressman than being reelected. Those who are worried about being reelected need to remind themselves

1) 17% of the GDP and rising is a crippling cost considering the results: yes we need reform, and it will not happen on a state by state basis (the insurance companies make sure of that already).
2) The party helps get them elected. They line them up with national donors, they give them campaign support and publicity, they identify them for the voters. You do owe something to your party leadership.
3) Democratic constituencies put them in office. They chose that congressman to represent them. Democratic voters want reform and universal coverage. Time to represent the interests of your voters over your own.

If your only focus as you serve on the Hill is to continue to serve on the Hill... you aren't serving.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 14, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Well then basically, if you are happy with what the Dems do, you need to give to their campaign war chests to support them?

Posted by: msame | September 14, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

About a week ago, published a list of Blue Dogs in the House Certainly it's true some of the newer members of Congress won by slim margins in heavily Republican districts that McCain carried - only b/c it was a Democratic year. But those folks are going to have a hard time getting re-elected, regardless of their votes on health care. If the current Congress lets health care fail, or passes a terrible bill, does anyone really think those endangered Dems will win re-election? And for those few that do, how much will they enjoy minority status? Failure to pass health care will only make the case that Democrats can't govern - not exactly a strong platform to run on.

Posted by: -pamela | September 14, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company