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Morning Fix: What Obama Should Say

President Barack Obama faces a critical moment when he addresses Congress on health care tonight. AP photo by Gerry Herbert.

President Obama's speech tonight to a joint session of Congress is widely being cast as a seminal moment not only in the fight over the right way to reform health care but also in rating the relative success or failure of his first year in office.

While the White House is playing coy about the contents of the president's speech -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that he didn't want to get "too far ahead of the president in terms of the speech or drawing lines" -- the Democratic chattering class was far less reluctant to offer advice to Obama about what should be in the address.

The Fix spoke with nearly a dozen high level Democratic operatives to solicit their takes on not just what Obama should say but how he should say it.

Those opinions coalesced into a handful of ideas:

Hammer the Insurance Industry: "He should abandon his 'change Washington' message and go after the insurance industry," said Democratic media consultant Steve Murphy. Another well-connected Democrat suggested that Obama must "attack a villain" and that said villain should be the insurance industry. On its face, the strategy makes sense. Politics in Washington tends to play out along the heroes and villains motif, and voters are already pre-disposed to see the insurance industry as cold-hearted and unfeeling. Obama, however, has worked to avoid falling into the trap of doing things the way Washington wants them done; witness senior adviser David Axelrod's quote in Scott Wilson's Post piece asserting that "there is great value associated in this town with the straight right jab and the occasional knee to the groin. ... He'll throw the jab when he sees it, when he feels it's necessary. But he's not likely to throw the knee."

Reassurer-in-Chief: Whether or not the White House wants to admit it, it's clear that those seeking to raise doubts about what the health care plan will and won't do succeeded over the past month. As a result, there are real questions from the American people -- particularly those who already have coverage -- about the impact the passage of a health reform bill will have. Gibbs seemed to signal that Obama would do just that in regards the public option -- "I think the president will discuss both what the public option isn't and what the public option is, in terms of bringing choice and competition," he said -- but the strategists we talked to said Obama should broaden the debate to make crystal clear what his plan will and won't do. "He needs to lay out the facts, correct the falsehoods, [and] reassure people who like their health care that it won't change," said one senior party operative.

Going It Alone IS An Option: So far in the health care debate, the White House has been careful to keep a patina of bipartisanship on the negotiations. Scrap that, said several Democrats. Instead Obama should make clear that he will pass the bill with or without Republican support and vulnerable GOPers need to get on board or run the risk of getting run over. Obama needs to "make it clear to the Republicans, by the size of the cheers from the Democrats, that he will be able to pass a basic package of reforms with or without them," said one Democratic consultant. The problem with that approach? It remains unclear whether Democrats have the 60 votes required to bring a health care package to a vote.

Know Your Audience: Obama needs to avoid getting sucked in to speaking to the elected officials in the House chamber. "Ignore the room," advised on Democratic strategist. "There's plenty of time to huddle with senators -- his audience tomorrow night is the middle class, not members of Congress or advocates." That means plain language -- do NOT use the word "cloture" under any circumstances -- that addresses the concerns average Americans have about the legislation. It's a tough balancing act for Obama: he must assuage the doubts of John Q. Public while also making a political argument for why members of Congress need to get behind the bill. Of course, if Obama can convince the American people of the rightness of his vision on health care, the politicians will likely follow.

Have an idea for what the president should say tonight? The comments section awaits.

And, don't forget that the Fix will be live-tweeting President Obama's speech starting at 8 p.m. in this space and over at "The Hyper Fix." We'll also have our instant analysis of how he did in this space immediately after the address.

Wednesday's Fix Picks:

1. Sarah Palin, death panels and the health care debate.
2. What's in the Baucus Plan.
3. Texas Monthly sits down with Karl Rove.
4. Jane Norton moves toward Senate bid in Colorado.
5. Blago plays defense!

Capuano In, Meehan Out in Mass.: Less than 24 hours after former representative Joe Kennedy II decided not to run in the Senate special election to replace his uncle -- the late Sen. Ted Kennedy -- the dominoes began falling in the race. First came word -- as expected -- that Rep. Michael Capuano (D) had pulled nominating papers in advance of an expected announcement next week. Capuano wasted no time in trying to lay claim to the Kennedy legacy, noting in a statement released by his campaign: "No other candidate being mentioned or already announced more closely mirrors Ted Kennedy's positions on important issues of war and peace." Also on Tuesday, former representative Marty Meehan re-affirmed previous reports that he would not make the race; Meehan said he was enjoying his current post at chancellor at UMass-Lowell and "I just don't want to walk away." With Capuano, Rep. Stephen Lynch and state Attorney General Martha Coakley now in the race, attention will turn to Reps. Ed Markey and John Tierney who have yet to make clear their political plans.

S.C. House Speaker Calls on Sanford to Resign: South Carolina State House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R) penned a letter calling on Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign his seat on Tuesday, citing "an environment that makes it impossible for you to continue to lead our state." Some in South Carolina Republican circles whispered Tuesday that Harrell was also planning to convene a special committee to investigate Sanford but Harrell communications director Greg Foster denied that such an effort was in the works. "We still stand by our position that any official action of the House needs to wait on the report from the Ethics Commission investigation," said Foster. Harrell joins Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) in insisting that Sanford should step aside in light of the revelations regarding his affair with an Argentinian woman and his misuse of a state-funded airplane. Sanford, to date, has resisted such calls. Bauer is one of four Republicans -- state Attorney General Henry McMaster, state Sen. Nikki Haley and Rep. Gresham Barrett are the others -- seeking to replace the term-limited Sanford in 2010.

Obama Still Very Europe: Nearly eight in ten Europeans approve of the job President Obama has done in international affairs, according to a new "Transatlantic Trends" survey being released today by the German Marshall Fund. That represents a massive change in international attitudes from the presidency of George W. Bush; just 19 percent of Europeans approved of the job Bush was doing on international affairs last year in this same poll. Interestingly, despite the popularity of Obama's general handling of international affairs, Europeans are less sanguine about his administration's chances of success in Afghanistan with two-thirds saying they are pessimistic about order being restored to the country.

Best State Political Reporters (Cont.): We continue to solicit recommendations for the best state-based political reporters. You can e-mail, Twitter or post your suggestions in the comments section below. Keep them coming! (For reference purposes,check out our last list.)

Simmons as Establishment Pick?: Former Connecticut representative Rob Simmons has won the support of more than a third of the state's Republican central committee, a sign, perhaps that the establishment of the party is lining up behind his challenge to Sen. Chris Dodd (D). Simmons, who held an eastern Connecticut seat in Congress from 2000 to 2006, picked up the endorsement of six more state central committee members on Tuesday including Jerry Labriola, Jr., the treasurer of the organization. Roughly 1,500 Connecticut Republicans will gather in May 2010 to choose a candidate to endorse. An endorsement comes when one of the candidates secures a majority of the delegates in attendance although there are several other ways candidates can make it on the primary ballot. Simmons is almost certain to face a primary regardless of the results of the convention with former ambassador Tom Foley, state Sen. Sam Caliguri and investor Peter Schiff all in the running. Dodd's electoral prospects appear to have brightened slightly over the August recess but he still remains the most endangered Senate Democrat up for re-election in 2010.

Click It!: Chris Daggett, who is running as an independent for governor in New Jersey this fall, is up with his first ad -- a commercial that paints Gov. Jon Corzine (D) as an ineffectual, out of touch bureaucrat and former U.S. attorney Chris Christie (R) as a portly hot-head. Daggett's not going to win this race but the nastier it gets between Corzine and Christie, the higher the independent's vote share will go.

Health Care Prep Course: The Bipartisan Policy Center and Better Health Care Together are sponsoring a panel discussion -- entitled "Common Sense Collaboration: Health Reform Perspectives from Employers and Employees" -- today focused on areas of agreement between the two parties on health care in advance of the president's speech on the issue tonight. Among the participants at today's gathering at the Newseum: former Senate majority leaders Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as well as Service Employees International Union chief Andy Stern and Wal-Mart executive vice president Leslie Dach.

Why Pat Toomey Can Win, Part XII: Amid widespread conservative criticism of President Obama's address on Tuesday to school children, former Pennsylvania representative Pat Toomey (R) sung the president's praises. "The President's emphasis on responsibility and the personal stories about his own education are exactly the kind of inspiring messages our children need to hear from our country's leaders," said Toomey. Toomey continues to smartly move to the ideological center in advance of next year's Pennsylvania Senate race even as Sen. Arlen Specter (D) and Rep. Joe Sestak (D) continue to brace for a no-holds-barred primary fight.

Say What?: "So basically, he's an 18-term freshman." -- Alaska Businessman Andrew Halcro (R) on Rep. Don Young.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 9, 2009; 5:05 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Next: The Hyper-Localism of VA and NJ



While the Court is going to hear the obama Birth Certificate case there are a bunch more that have contributed to ALL the citizens pain in AMERICA.

For instance the ones in his campaign that had responsibilities for the filings required by obama. Or:

Clerk of the House of Representatives, Secretary of the Senate, Federal Election Commission, Secretary of state's offices in the US where forms must be filled out by candidates,AND The Attorney general.

Even folks that voted for obama in GOOD FAITH hoping for a GOOD change were duped by obama. This has hurt everyone in this country and set us back in time.

We need to show all the elected officials NEVER AGAIN!

We also need to give MORAL SUPPORT to the judge that will only be hearing the obama Birth Certificate portion of this CRIME.

We can do this by YOU going to the State and Federal GRAND JURIES all over this country requesting a COMPLETE investigation of all involved. Lets get a resolve once and for all.



Posted by: WONDERWALEYE | September 9, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

This could get ugly - just please have a quick painless recovery, that is always the best outcome after a procedure.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Semoga sukses dengan operasinya. Semoga lekas sembuh. Banyak-banyak istirahat.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Back on topic:

"As an Obama supporter and contributor, I am outraged at the slowness with which the standing army of Democratic consultants and commentators publicly expressed discontent with the administration's strategic missteps this year. I suspect there had been private grumbling all along, but the media warhorses failed to speak out when they should have -- from week one after the inauguration, when Obama went flat as a rug in letting Congress pass that obscenely bloated stimulus package. Had more Democrats protested, the administration would have felt less arrogantly emboldened to jam through a cap-and-trade bill whose costs have made it virtually impossible for an alarmed public to accept the gargantuan expenses of national healthcare reform. (Who is naive enough to believe that Obama's plan would be deficit-neutral? Or that major cuts could be achieved without drastic rationing?)

By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done. At this point, Democrats' main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate. Given the GOP's facility for shooting itself in the foot, that may well happen.

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse


This column has been calling for heads to roll at the White House from the get-go. Thankfully, they do seem to be falling faster -- as witness the middle-of-the-night bum's rush given to "green jobs" czar Van Jones last week -- but there's a long way to go. An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president's innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to "help" the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare?


Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism."

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

je te dis merde,


Tôi dã phải dùng từ điẻn dễ hiểu.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

thanks, shrink. whatever we do can't be worse than what we have now.

Posted by: drindl

stop referring to me in your posts. I am a proud liberal and a succesful President. Just because my ratings are sinking and I have not passed a law, everyone is piling on.

Posted by: snowbama | September 9, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

je te dis merde,

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to stand firm on this moral principle of fairness and balance. He's identified problems with our health care system, and he needs to remind people of the facts. In a nutshell, some are well off (good for them), but plenty of others are getting screwed by the current system and/or denied, or they simply cannot afford. The fact of the matter is, regardless of which category we all fall into, we're ALL Americans and we ALL deserve to be a part of a working system. Obama stands as a president who listens to both sides. We've heard one side singing loudly, but he needs to make it clear he's listening to the rest of us too. What WE have to say on the situation, matters as well. Our voices ought to be equal.

He needs to address those in fear, and inform them about the bill and what is likely or not likely to change as far as their services. However, he ALSO needs to inform them, that he intends to address the aforementioned problem with our current setup, for the sake of the REST of the American citizens as well. We're all part of the team. Plain and simple.

I just know I didn't vote him in just so he could sit and be a bystanding president, watching the issue as some seem to prefer. In the 21st century United States, having such a fight over this issue, it is no wonder why we are far behind other countries as far as health care is concerned. It makes me wonder how much do we desire to progress. It's not with power, selfishness, and greed. This country needs to get with the program and drop the "everyone for themselves" attitude.

Posted by: Obama2008 | September 9, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Hope you have good pain control,
sometimes that is the best "health care" can offer.


Didn't hurt that much at all, like a sprain. OTOH the MRI, holding my arm extended and motionless for a half-hour, that hurt like hell. And not from the injury.

I have a really REALLY good orthopedic surgeon, and Friday afternoon I will have a brand new scar in formation.


Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

There is no way on earth that Palin wrote that op-ed in the WSJ herself. The incompetent airhead cannot string two coherent sentences together, let alone two thoughts.


OTOH she likely wrote the "energy independence" one in WaPo a few months ago. Seventh-grade level writer, third-grade level thinking.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

and smile Mr. President-
always works wonders.
..."President Obama's speech tonight to a joint session of Congress is widely being cast as a seminal moment not only in the fight over the right way to reform health care but also in rating the relative success or failure of his first year in office..."
it's a teaching moment (if you did not read the bill yet)...
and chris, it has nothing to do with the gauge of his first year in office. so there.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 9, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The Baucus plan: more of the same + subsidizing the monopolistic, bloated, health care industry, at taxpayers' expenses.

Baucus and the rest of the Gang of Six can shove their plan where the sun never shines.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | September 9, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

There is no way on earth that Palin wrote that op-ed in the WSJ herself. The incompetent airhead cannot string two coherent sentences together, let alone two thoughts.

So, not only is Palin a "quitter", she is also a fraud.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | September 9, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

rbuch1, just right.
I call this force feeding the existing structures and calling it reform.
Fois gras is more like it.

But actually, it is a stimulus package in disguise. Americans can not go to work in manufacturing or service industries anymore. We have to do something.

So it is time for America to get on the health care gravy train.

Allllll ABOARD!

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Hope you have good pain control,
sometimes that is the best "health care" can offer.

Speaking of hurting yourself, I reread The Plague this week. Palliative care, The Saint complex, the meaning of living, love, healing, death, etc.

Camus, what a piece of work.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Yathink? G&T you can do better than this.
No more penetrating the obvious.
We want your A game.


Not this week, sorry.

Swamped with work, ortho surgery coming up. My muscles are stronger than my tendons and I snapped one on the curl machine two weeks ago.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

There's something poetic about Obama's health care speech occurring within the same 24 hours as the Supreme's decision to undermine McCain - Feingold.

After learning of the cool 280 million the health sector has spent on lobbying to defeat any meaningful health care reform, the two issues could not be more closely related.

For a hilarious take on both these issues, check out YouTube's "All-American Suckers"

Posted by: rbuch1 | September 9, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks hayden. I think the media has a duty to look more closely into the personal lives of any policitian who talks about 'family values.' They always have more than one family, and that's what they value.

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

all the GOP cares about is maintaining maximization of for-profit insurance

Yathink? G&T you can do better than this.
No more penetrating the obvious.
We want your A game.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

thanks, shrink. whatever we do can't be worse than what we have now.


It'd be worse if the plan ended up like Medicaid in Goergia ... seems like all the GOP cares about is maintaining maximization of for-profit insurance

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Michael Duvall

Orange County Republican and "family values" guy says

"So, I am getting into spanking her," says the Orange County Republican. "I like spanking her. She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah! Because you're such a bad girl!'"

The lobbyists reportedly represent utility companies. Duvall is vice chairman of the Utilities and Commerce Committee.

Posted by: hayden1 | September 9, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

thanks, shrink. whatever we do can't be worse than what we have now.

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@drindl, I see nothing, nothing at all in this plan that will contain costs. This is the health industry's dream. It will throw vast quantities of borrowed money at the industry. But bear with me here, this is no hollow argument, this may be a decision we want to make.

America seems to have made its choice, health "reform" or not, we could see the health industry growing to 40% of gdp for the next generation.

That, as it happens, is fine with me.
Now that is not just because I am a doctor and this can not but benefit my.
I think all the new jobs that will be created by "health reform" are a good thing.

Americans need to do something. We are out of work and we are out of investment capital. The Chinese are cornering the "green revolution" markets.

Maybe we can spend much more time and money creating and consuming health care. It is better than wars, it is better than creating and consuming cars and smart phones and TVs.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

So does Ms. Bailin have someone copy editing her ramblings into readable babble? She's worse than GW Bush.

Posted by: ILDem | September 9, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

So does Ms. Bailin have someone copy editing her ramblings into readable babble? She's worse than GW Bush.

Posted by: ILDem | September 9, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"What Obama should say."
1. Choice of health care plans, including government plan. The taxpayers should have the same medical coverage as our elected Congressman and Senators.)
2. Lower premiums.
3. No exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
4. Standard rates for medical procedures.
5. All working Americans will pay their fair share.
6. Medicaid needs strict guidelines to prevent freeloading.

Posted by: mcj1 | September 9, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Non-sense all. We simply need the same health plan members of Congress receive, with government footing the bill.

Wouldn't you love hear Congress people get on their bull horns and scream that their plan is too good and too expensive for the voter. ROFLMAO

Posted by: Maddogg | September 9, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

What a surprise --K Street was the first to see the Baucus Plan.

"In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted that the Obama administration has not yet seen a copy of Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) newest draft of health care legislation. “[W]e’ve seen what we’ve read in the paper, but I do not believe that we’ve seen paper on the plan,” said Gibbs. However, he added that he believes special interests on K Street have already received a copy.

Here's link to all 3 bills under consideration.

GIBBS: I was told that — that K Street had a copy of the Baucus plan, meaning, not surprisingly, the special interests have gotten a copy of the plan that I understand was given to committee members today.

Baucus has received hefty financial contributions from the health care industry. Igor Volsky compares the Baucus proposal to other pieces of existing legislation."

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Fate1: Of course he knows. Those are HIS articles.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 9, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@mtcooley: Agree 100% with your post on Fix Pick#1.

Either someone helped her make it (somewhat) more cohesive, or perhaps being free from the tremendous burden of running Alaska has improved her thought processes.

It is still a pack of lies wrapped around an obstructionist agenda.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 9, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

>>The podium in the US congress is not the place for the President of the United States to villify the Insurance industry, or play down to the death panel idiots.

That's not what I'm saying he should do for one. Shouldn't put words in my mouth because I never implied that either.

I'd like him to make a clear and concise layout on what needs to get passed. I'm staunchly pro reform but he needs to be harder on this subject as I don't feel he's been sending a strong, assertive enough answer to the American people. Doing that would also be beneficial for congressional compromise because they'd know what he's looking for and can play around with details to get a better supported bill. Though I'm sure many members of Congress already have an idea of what is wanted.

You pretty much are going to have to ignore the death panel idiots and focus solely on the bare bones of structure and the effects it would have if reform was implimented. That doesn't involve villifying anything in my book.

If he starts talking like a Congressman he's going to lose people in both interest and effectiveness. Because for one I don't feel the men and women of Congress need it spelled out as much as we do. Appealing to them is honestly worthless with the split political support in the populace. If the public support were enormous I'd say talk only to the resistance in Congress. But that's not the reality of the situation. It's a dual audience with a slight tip towards making sure the layman doesn't get left out.

Posted by: mtcooley | September 9, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

scrivener50 wrote: "Access to health care doesn't help untold thousands of unjustly targeted Americans recover from the devastating physiological effects of being silently irradiated by microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons"..."

You realize what the website is right? Its a "news" site where anyone can write an article? I suggest you pick your "news" sources more carefully.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 9, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse


Thank you for that reminder -- as I said yesterday, we'll just have to wait and see what he does, insist on the public option, some hybrid "trigger", or attack the insurance industry -- just for you, I won't post on this thread again today : )

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

'How in America, allegedly the most advanced, highly educated citizenry in the world, did it come to pass that spooky, creepy, uneducated morons like Limbaugh and Beck could so easily rise to the top? '

We fell from that perch a long time ago. Sure, some of our citizens are well-educated, but we have a sizable contingent who sneer at education, who think that's just for 'elites' and pass that attitude along to their kids, with the same results. A lot of folks who glorify ignorance as some badge of honor, and hence, politicians like Sarah Palin.

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

'If we decide to go with the health care economy, we will rob investment capital and sustainability (sorry for using that word) from an awful lot of others things we say we want.'

shrink, to the millions of us who don't get healthcare through work, who have pre-existing conditions, who are slowly or not so slowly dying because we can't afford decent healthcare, your arguments ring hollow.

what else do we want but life itself? if you don't have health, or health care, you don't have anything at all.

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

This is from WaPo's article on today's speech:

Instead of requiring all employers to offer insurance, as several other proposals do, Baucus suggests targeting only those with more than 50 full-time workers, and only if their employees receive federal subsidies to buy insurance. His plan calls for employers in those circumstances to reimburse the government.

The idea appeals to champions of small business but worries liberals, who note that it would give some companies a huge incentive not to hire people who earn between 133 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level, the group that would be eligible for subsidies. The plan "would discourage the hiring of lower-income people," particularly minorities and women, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

OK, I don't get that last criticism. The plan "would discourage the hiring of lower-income people"? Umm, doesn't the wage that company is offering pretty much determine whether their employee is low-income? They can't ask questions about marital status or spousal income or whether their spouse has insurance.

I'm not all on-board with the Baucus plan, but that particular criticism falls pretty flat to me--am I missing something?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 9, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse


The President's main problem is of his own making. He has shown a reticence to fight for principle. He won the presidency on the platform of "Change We Can Believe In," not appeasement and accommodation. Rhetoric alone will no longer cut it; Obama must show boldness, a willingness to fully engage.

He should admit that allowing Congress to write the health care bills was a mistake -- that he should have proffered a comprehensive bill that incorporated his vision of reform, with the understanding that Congressional input would shape the final draft.

He should support and defend the public option, rather than prematurely negotiating it away. If he cannot defend the public option, doesn't that make Medicare and Medicaid vulnerable to those on the right who would seek the elimination of those alleged "big government" programs?

He should include in his definition of the public option the concept of health care co-ops -- since a cooperative scheme would place ownership in the hands of individual members, not the government (although government would rightfully underwrite and insure the integrity of any co-op system).

If Obama fails to come down from the mountain, admit mistakes and defend core principles, his rhetoric will ring hollow and his end goal of affordable quality health care for all will remain elusive.



Access to health care doesn't help untold thousands of unjustly targeted Americans recover from the devastating physiological effects of being silently irradiated by microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons"...

...the weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum, a silent "final solution" that may have the nation's political leadership in its ideological cross-hairs. The full story, below:

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 9, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse


As usual, your article about Pres. Obama's speech is spot on and merely underscores why I find your insights worth slogging through the 'troll wars' on this blog. I'd like to just gently remind those participants--if I may take that liberty--that a good journalist reports FACTS, wherever they lead; if you want OPINIONS, there's the opinion page of the paper to turn to (or one of the cable talking heads), so don't blame CC if the stories don't follow your particular individual agenda.

In Other News:

*Toomey can TRY to rebrand himself as a 'moderate', but the inconvenience of videotape will, once the Dem. primary is over, quickly reveal his true nature. Didn't politicians learn ANY lessons from George Allen's 'Maccaca Moment'???

*If one's own Party turns against one, it's time to call it a day. Why is Gov. Sanford holding out? Does he expect the Deity to intercede for him with the state GOP bosses? In this world with all its many problems, I would expect even God to prioritise, and there are a lot worthier causes than Gov. Sanford.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | September 9, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Drindl: I live SE Pennsylvania and the NJ governor's race has not been particularly nasty. There was a flurry right after all the indictments but even that mess hasn't spread or stayed in the papers. No, can't say that even the recent revelations about Christie and his traffic violations are being played-out in a nsaty way.

Corzine and Christie are playing for keeps, but I think they are also wisely trying to avoid anything resembling the Town Hall frenzy. 8 weeks to go and things are pretty calm in Jersey.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 9, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

This is going to be a "State of the Union" type speech. Ostensibly directed at the Congress, but with the clear understanding (by the speaker AND the Congress) that the country is listening.

CC is really saying Obama should talk like a president and not like a senator (cloture, reconciliation, HR3200, etc).

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 9, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It is an astonishing commentary on just how far the mainstream media has declined that this idiotic notion on the right that Obama was trying to "indoctrinate" our kids with his education speech.

These demigoons on the right should know all about indoctrination since it is the one activity that they really excel in. I mean what is it when uneducated, barfy loons like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh get all of this radio airtime to slander, demonize, and villify the President with the most noxious pack of lies since old Tailgunner Joe McCarthy dragged innocent men and women through his own fetid Limbaughesque hogpen of filth.

How in America, allegedly the most advanced, highly educated citizenry in the world, did it come to pass that spooky, creepy, uneducated morons like Limbaugh and Beck could so easily rise to the top? I call it the Toilet Bowl Principle: You all know what rises to the top in a toilet bowl.

Posted by: jaxas | September 9, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I am not saying that he not explain his plan, but to come in and competely ignore his primary audience is foolish. Not to mention it is offensive for the president to march down to the Capitol and give a campaign style speech. The podium in the US congress is not the place for the President of the United States to villify the Insurance industry, or play down to the death panel idiots.

Posted by: AndyR3 | September 9, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Well using facts to confuse people whose minds are made up only makes them mad.

Meanwhile, I respect Howard Dean and he seems to want to support the Baucus plan, the one the President will try to sell tonight. But I don't know why. He seems to feel this plan is a step toward the single payer model, the model he supports as the only way to provide affordable health care for everyone.

But the Baucus plan seems to me to be a way to drive health care costs so high the entire economy will be driven by its needs, the ways economies are driven by mobilization for wars, or like the consumer goods focus that drove American prosperity in decades past.

Will people look at health care numbers the way they used to look at retail numbers? Perhaps the equity markets will rise when consumers spend more on health care and fall when "consumer confidence" in health care spending falls.

This is a huge decision, I don't think its importance can be exaggerated. If we decide to go with the health care economy, we will rob investment capital and sustainability (sorry for using that word) from an awful lot of others things we say we want.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Daggett's not going to win this race but the nastier it gets between Corzine and Christie, the higher the independent's vote share will go."

Why? this makes no sense. The race is not getting nastier -- it is simply that more and more of Christie's record -- and particularly his record with driving 'accidents' [ like driving the wrong way on a one-way street and hitting a motorcyclist] is coming to light.

Why should this make anyone vote for someone whom they know can't win?

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

drindl wrote: "Finally some sanity among Republicans re the birthers: [...] “This shouldn‘t have been a controversy at all,” Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake said on “Hardball” at the time. “It just kind of cheapens the debate.” [...] “It raises an issue that is not real,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)."

Anyone want to bet how long it will be before Flake and King backtrack on their statements or "clarifies" them? Lets see, Rush is usually done by 1pm, so I'm guessing we'll hear tomorrow morning that they did not mean what they clearly said.

Penence is more than a few Hail Marys in that religion.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 9, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Are right wingers going to allow their children to watch? Are they not themselves afraid of being indoctrinated? Time to cover the ears and stick the head in the sand. Oh right, their heads are already in the sand.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 9, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Finally some sanity among Republicans re the birthers:

"The guy who introduced the infamous “birther” bill in the House, Posey may be a winner with the tinfoil hat crowd, but his credibility has taken a hit with his colleagues and most serious politicos of both parties.

“This shouldn‘t have been a controversy at all,” Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake said on “Hardball” at the time. “It just kind of cheapens the debate.”

Posey claimed his bill, which would require presidential candidates to submit their birth certificates, had nothing to do with President Barack Obama, who, during the campaign, had to beat back rumors that he was not born in the United States. But even some of Posey’s Republican colleagues said the legislation was clearly aimed at hurting Obama.

“It raises an issue that is not real,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Palin's puff piece in the Journal...that was kind of visually painful to read with the sheer amount of quotes and elipses. I don't recommend it unless you're a glutton for mental punishment. She really, really needs to hire someone to proofread or teach her basic college writing techniques. It was more coherently strung though which is a pleasant surprise, but the visual clutter and structure doesn't help it any. It doesn't read well and it takes a few to get through.

But she's being willfully hypocritical as usual. Doubt the government, yet if she was in the position of power her first words would be 'trust me' and she'd want to be taken at that. She's still bashing end of life counciling and how medical boards making decisions have no accountability. Not like they have any in the private sector either since they have specific counterparts in private insurance. It's not a full on attack piece which is different from Palin but it's very wishy washy on what it wants to do. Do you want to decry government or health care. It's trying to do both from what I read.

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

"Toomey continues to smartly move to the ideological center"

This is a truly laughable statement. Toomey is not 'moving' anywhere. He is trying to pull a Romney by pretending he is something he is most certainly not -- a moderate. Voters in PA are savvy enough to see through it, even if - sorry, Chris -- Mr. Cilizza is not.

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Andy, I don't agree. If anything I think the people are the ones he's going to have to convince to get any meaningful leverage for the plan. He needs to break it down and lay it out plainly with support. He's speaking to more than one audience and in my opinion he should cater more to the people in that regard because public support means a lot for a bill like this.

The people will speak to Congress if things go well. Talking to Congress directly when people are not on your side overwhelmingly is not going to gain points with the populace. It's going to be seen as ignoring them.

Posted by: mtcooley | September 9, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree with everything CC says about what Obama should do tonight, read carefully and observing the caveats.

Obama does need a villian, and it can't be congress, and it can't be "illness." It could be doctors, malpractice lawyers, or the pharmaceutical industry. But given the changes he wants are mostly to insurance, the insurance industry is the logical target. Focusing on prior conditions and recisions are straight right jabs. But he should avoid the knee-to-the-groin, which is talking about greed or excessive profits.

If "know your audience" means not using words like "cloture" I agree. And we don't need to be listening in to a coach's pep talk to the team. Talk to congress and America at the same time about what your vision of health care reform is.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 9, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Mark Sanford needs to get some health care.
Watching him avoid treatment is an object lesson. By spending a little money (on LiCo3 perhaps?) a few years ago, he could have avoided the extraordinary cost of losing his family, his career and paradoxically, he may lose health care benefits in the end, once forced to resign. After all, he suffers with a pre-existing condition.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

AndyR3: Actually, addressing a joint session of Congress in public sends a stronger message than just an Oval Office address. He's essentially letting the entire country see him spell things out for their representatives.

In the Oval Office, it's just one guy behind a desk. Tonight, he will be the Alpha dog in front of the entire pack. While the Executive and Legislature are co-equal branches of government, an address like this reinforces that the President is the biggest dog in the pound, 2/3rds the size of the entire Congress.

Now it just depends on what kind of speech he gives.

Posted by: Gallenod | September 9, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Only lip service is being paid to changing the fundamentals of the American health care business model.

So we see two alternatives, one, the Gerson/Palin reactionaries, there is either no crisis, or if there is, the solution has to be within the "market driven" farce we have right now, or two, the Democrats plan to expand all that is wrong with the current model by pushing vast amounts of borrowed money into it, "caring" for everyone and calling that reform. Well I don't see a difference between these two alternatives. They both feed the beast.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Margaret you are right on about Toomey, he doesn't have a chance.

I disagree that Obama should speak to the American people and not the Congress itself. If he wanted to address the people then he should have made this speech from the Oval Office. The fact that he is addressing the US Congress is a rare event and he should use it to speak directly to the members.

Also there is no point hammering the insurance industry it will sound petty and is below this type of address. Obama needs to look like he is above the small issues and he is there to close the deal (which btw will look very similar to the Baucus plan with a possible trigger added in).

Posted by: AndyR3 | September 9, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Toomey positioning himself as fond of Obama is as ridiculous as McDonnell presenting himself as a moderate Republican.

Toomey's praise of Obama was easy to do seeing as all the President did was give a grandfatherly talk to the kids. I think that might be the extent of the warm and fuzzy feeling between the two, and I'm sorry that the Fix thinks such bald lip service will win votes for Toomey from people who actually admire the President.

There is very little overlap between Toomey's positions and Obama's positions. Toomey packs the same "Christian Values" voting record Mc Donnell does. Toomey has been the face of the Club for Growth, a group that feels government is here to support the business environment in much the same way Regent University feels government is here to support the advancement of Christianity -- meaning at the expense of everything else. Toomey is dedicated to the kind of small government/low tax agenda under which public schools, middle and lower class voters, cities, minorities and anyone who is vulnerable (economically, politically, socially) SUFFER while the connected, corporations, banks, insurance companies and the well-to-do PROSPER.

Toomey isn't going to fly in PA. "Why Pat Toomey Can Win, Part XII" is lame, and the Roman Numerals aren't making it any stronger.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 9, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

@hunter340: Do Republicans tell any lies or is that something that only Democrats do?

Posted by: jlaprise | September 9, 2009 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Obama continues to be untruthful about illegal alien's health care coverage.

Illegal aliens can and will be covered because Obama refuses to require proof of citizenship to get government health aid.

Democrats recently defeated the Heller amendment in the House Bill that would have enforced a citizenship requirement for health care benefits.

Saying that illegal immigrants cannot benefit while at the same time blocking verification is akin to passing a law that sets the legal drinking age at 21 years and then preventing bars from checking a patron's identification.

The reason we have 12 - 20 million illegal aliens here is because they refused to enforce our immigration laws and now they are attempting to make it even worse.

Just more Obama lies, trickery and deceit.

The Heller amendment:

Posted by: hunter340 | September 9, 2009 5:44 AM | Report abuse

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