Real American Genius, Health Care Summit Edition

Are you the type of normal American who hasn't spent hours today watching our nation's best and brightest pretend that they're having a discussion that will ever lead to legislation, about health care? From what little I understand of it, the purpose seems to be for President Barack Obama to be able to say that at least the Republicans around the table agreed that proposed regulatory increases don't literally mean "total socialist takeover," the gist of which he has said on multiple occasions (including when asked during a break to summarize the day's events). Also, many politicians have received letters from actual people.

If you watch the Evening News tonight, this Obama-on-McCain violence is probably what you'll see.

Not sure the clip does justice to just how spent a force the Arizona senator seemed, even if he was right on points.

Obama is pretty good at this stuff, even when I disagree (which is usually), but it's hard to see how it will matter much, except as a way to rally his base on Twitter. Of the Republicanoids, the only ones I liked were everyone's favorite Rand-bot, Rep. Paul Ryan, and the not-McCain senator from Arizona, John Kyl.

Oh, and did Joe Biden say something comically incomprehensible? Joe Biden did! Your moment of zen, care of former Reason intern Jeff Winkler over at the Daily Caller:

I think it requires a little bit of humility to be able to know what the American people think, and I don't. I can't swear I do. I know what I think. I think I know what they think, but I'm not sure what they think.

Click the link for video. Joe!

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  • Attorney||

    The fine folks over at NRO (well, one them, anyway) said that the Reds seemed well prepared, and that the Blues seemed disorganized and unclear about what they wanted to accomplish.

  • ||

    "...unclear about what they wanted to accomplish."

    Get on TV.

  • The Gobbler||

    CNN’s WOLF BLITZER: “It looks like the Republicans certainly showed up ready to play.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

    CNN’s GLORIA BORGER: “The Republicans have been very effective today. They really did come to play. They were very smart.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

    • BORGER: “They took on the substance of a very complex issue. … But they really stuck to the substance of this issue and tried to get to the heart of it and I think did a very good job.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

    • BORGER: “They came in with a plan. They mapped it out.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

    CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The folks in the White House just must be kicking themselves right now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

    • GERGEN: “He doesn’t have a strong Democratic team behind him.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

    THE HILL’S A.B. STODDARD: “I think we need to start out by acknowledging Republicans brought their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform. I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)

  • Raven||

    I've been listening to this all day while I work. I have to agree that Ryan and Kyl have been the only remotely impressive Republicans. I did like something I heard not too long ago from Rep. Barrasso of IL that patients w/ catastrophic coverage tended to be the best consumers because they didn't just automatically choose the most expensive option.

  • ||

    Barrasso is a Senator from Wyoming and a doctor. He's one of those guys that you never hear about, though.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    Barrasso Bama?

  • Raven||

    Obviously, since I can't even remember where he's from.

  • ||

    Right. I just checked, though, and he wasn't mentioned Nick Gillespie's dead weight in the US Senate article from 2005, perhaps largely because Sen. Mike Enzi took up the Wyoming spot.

  • ||

    I think it requires a little bit of humility to be able to know what the American people think, and I don't. I can't swear I do. I know what I think. I think I know what they think, but I'm not sure what they think.

    This is perfectly comprehensible. The bad part isn't this statement; it's failing to realize that the "little bit of humility" should make politicians more reluctant to pass aggressive "comprehensive" legislation.

  • TP||

    Humility is a weakness, and should be avoided at all costs.

  • ||

    The dumb thing about Biden's statement is not what he actually said. The dumb thing about Biden's statement is that he's using his "little bit of humility" to justify ramming legislation through on the basis that the American people don't know what they really want.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    "Dumb as fuck" seems to be qualification No. 1 to be VP in this country. Biden has outdone all his predecessors, by 8 furlongs.

  • Wind Rider||

    Said it before, and probably say it again - Skippy didn't make a VP pick, he took out insurance. . .

  • EJM||

    ...and the not-McCain senator from Arizona, John Kyl

    FWIW, he also happens to be the "h"-less senator from Arizona.

  • Matt Welch||

    Fixed, thanks. Is it Friday night yet?

  • Old Mexican||

    Why? What are you planning?

    ;-)

  • ||

    I have no idea what people want; therefore, I intend to impose my will on them, based on the statements of this Ouija board.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    Re: Obama vs. McCain: Desperate ideologue vs. angry pragmatist -- decent theater, zero substance.

  • ||

    "Not sure the clip does justice to just how spent a force the Arizona senator seemed, even if he was right on points."

    Is there any subject that Welch can't spin into something anti McCain? Even when Matt admits that McCain was right. Is the most important thing that happened today really McCain being a "spent force" whatever that means?

  • ||

    Hey, from a certain point of view, being a "spent force" could be a positive in a politician. Better than angry "pass something for the sack of passing something" McCain.

  • ||

    True. I think McCain needs to retire. But, Welch's obsession with guy is odd. Seriously, the thing went on all morning and McCain's remarks are the second most important thing that was said?

  • The Gobbler||

    He's still just trying to sell his McCain book. I belive there are several warehouses full of them.

  • Matt Welch||

    Believe me, moving copies out of the warehouse won't pay me cent one. Though I recognize it's more fun to imagine various nefarious motives.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ah crap - too bad Matt, I just bought one. The hard cover price over at Amazon was the clincher...

  • Matt Welch||

    Has it reached penny-stock status yet?

  • ||

    Well, Matt's probably correct that the McCain remarks will likely be one of the few remarks to make the news, because it's McCain! and Obama! Most people aren't going to watch this, just the recap.

    However, I do always hate it when journalists do the "I'm focusing on this only to decry how the media is going to focus on this, even though I'm part of the media and contributing to the problem thereby" meta-analysis. Though it's worse with the 5 million "Are the media covering Tiger Woods too much?" Tiger Woods stories.

  • ||

    From the little bit I caught, this was just another attempt by Obama to govern like a community organizer.

    Of course, governing has about as much in common as community organizing as [insert strained metaphor here], so it was pretty much a complete failure by any measure.

    Next up: several days of desperate arm-twisting, followed by the utter failure of the "reconciliation" option.

  • ed||

    He's still talking, by the way.

  • Raven||

    I loved the Democrats' apparent horror at Sen. Grassley's honest statement (in support of Paul Ryan's statement that the CBO figures aren't working with realistic assumptions) that politicians in the future aren't going to have any more guts to really make cuts than the politicians now. Of course they'll make the "tough decisions." And tomorrow we will all sprout wings and fly.

  • ThePoint||

    The point of this exercise was not to convince anyone, or to be broadcast to the few who watch CSPAN, but to give Obama's friends in the MSM three hours of soundbites to sift through to find anything that makes Obama look good, and any that can (in or out of context) make the GOP look mean, obstructive, uncaring, and/or idiotic. As any reality TV show editor knows, with enough footage to play with you can paint a person any way you want.

  • ||

    Exactly. A few days ago I suggested that the GOP demand that Obama promise to veto any health care bill passed by reconciliation as a condition of attending this charade, and was hooted down as a terrible negotiator because Obama's promises are worthless and you don't give something away for nothing.

    Instead, the GOP appears to have volunteered to attend this thing, with Obama setting all the ground rules, for absolutely nothing in return. Maybe they need to dial me up next time they need a cunning strategery.

  • wackyjack||

    Someone on the tubes (I cannot remember who) made the case that this will be a net benefit for the Republicans. After today, I moderately agree.

    Both sides went through their talking points without making too big of a mistake, Biden aside. The Democrats' plan has been trending down ever since it broke daylight. So today, instead of proposing something new, they kept trying to make the case for their unpopular plan. While the Republicans didn't actually do anything, the Democrats kept pushing their old agenda.

    Now, if the R's had completely dropped the ball, or the D's had come up with a barnburner of an explanation, it could have changed things.

    Of course, the big loser today is us. Both parties clearly demonstrated that they don't actually give a shit about reforming healthcare. And if you haven't seen it, CREW released number showing that the 21 Congressmen who attended the summit received nearly 28 million dollars from the healthcare industry since 2005.

  • ||

    Listen to ThePoint! As has been their pattern for at least 30 years, the Democrats have announced their intentions to their buddies in the media before taking action. Head over to the Politico for a nice article detailing the plan detailed to the reporter - have the summit this weekend so that they can declare the Republicans obstructionists on Monday and begin working on "Reconciliation", formerly known as "The Nuclear Option" when threatened by Republicans for judicial appointments.

    Just like they announced going in that they were going to push for an optional public plan as a first step for complete nationalization, they announced going in that the summit is a sham. Yet most journalists pretend that they never heard such a thing, and that the summit is real. They will also pretend that they too saw the terrible obstructionism from the Republicans and acknowledge that the President and his party have no choice but to use the time honored traditional mechanism of reconciliation.

  • ||

    As any reality TV show editor knows, with enough footage to play with you can paint a person any way you want.

    I would definitely support replacing our government with a reality show. At least then more than 5% of the participants would get voted off the island once in a while.

  • ||

    0
  • ||

    What the... ?

    Listen, Paul Ryan is beautiful, and he's been saying things lately that I like a lot, but based off his voting record I'm almost positive that he'll hit me again... er... that he'll still suck on drugs and gays and abortion and privacy rights.

    But he loves me, right? He told me that he loves me...

  • ||

    Did you say Paul Ryan sucks on gays?

  • ||

    You know, I'm fully willing to make tough decisions. Should I be running things, then?

  • ||

    You know who else was willing to make the tough decisions...

  • ||

    He made tough, bad decisions. My decisions tend to be much better, and I have yet to lose an empire due to overreach. Nor have my decisions resulted in slaughter, mass or otherwise. Well, except for perhaps my meat consumption, I suppose that counts for some people.

  • Xenocles||

    Dude, "Rand-bot" is not the preferred nomenclature. "Randroid," please.

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    "Randroid"
    Scooby? Is that you?

  • PIRS||

    What about Objectivist as a term? Did that term die with the split between Pope Peikoff and David Kelley?

  • Old Mexican||

    From: LewRockwell.com

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/51907.html

    By: Bill Anderson 2/25/2010

    Nancy Pelosi claims that the new “healthcare” bill will “create 4 million jobs – 400,000 jobs almost immediately.” The audacity and shamelessness of these lying politicians is something to behold.

    Of course, Pelosi won’t be treated like a business executive, who would be prosecuted for making such false claims. Interestingly, the New York Times did not include that quote in its own story, even though Pelosi’s comments are no less fantastic than what Paul Krugman claims in his NYT column.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.c.....ately.html

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    Obama bragging that his plan will cover 30 million people, without mentioning that a large portion of that number is due to people who will be forced to buy insurance just makes me shake my head.

    Nancy Pelosi claims that the new “healthcare” bill will “create 4 million jobs – 400,000 jobs almost immediately.”
    That may be true, but we could also increase Thneed ownership and create jobs by requiring every American to purchase two, because as everyone knows a thneeds a fine something that all people need.

  • ||

    That 4 million jobs is hardly going to put a dent in the 500 million a month she said we were losing before the stimulus bill. We will need to pass 125 Health Care Bills every month to keep up.

  • Wind Rider||

    Meh. The 'Proposition Z will create X million NEW JOBS' is the new Dhimm talking point of the moment - Boxer actually used it in the EPA Budget hearing to characterize the CO2 endangerment finding!

  • Tman||

    The tradeoff between Lamar Alexander and Obama was pretty funny. Lamar brought up the recent CBO director statement concerning predicted outcome costs of the plan-

    "The average, unsubsidized premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law."

    So basically Lamar was saying the reform would raise premium costs, and Obama countered with the idea that people would "choose" to buy better and more expensive policies.

    So he thinks that I will "choose" to pay more for healthcare since the government will make my current plan more expensive by enforcing new regulations?

    Yeah, whenever I want to choose something better I look for the government to make it more expensive first.

    How the fuck does this guy sleep at night?

  • The Gobbler||

    Idiots sleep well. They always have and always will.

    Think Being There. Because that's really who this guy is.

  • MJ||

    The profoundly self-righteous always sleep like babies.

  • TP||

    Jesus Christ. If they insist on having cameras in these "negotiations", I insist they have Congresscritters like this doing the negotiating.

  • ||

    Keep in mind, Joe Biden had a major vascular event in his head awhile back. He is, lets face it, brain-damaged. Really.

    So let's cut him a little slack, shall we?

  • Colin||

    Paul Ryan just rocked today.

    He should be president.

  • TP||

    Paul Ryan voted for TARP.

  • ||

    He also voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Act, which was the exact opposite of "fiscal responsibility".

    He's nothing but talk. Next time an R is in the White house, he and every other R will start spending like drunken sailors again.

  • TP||

    I don't mean to discredit Ryan's ideas on healthcare simply because he voted for TARP. Just that the "President" thing is a bit much.

  • K-Y||

    Yeah. This is just an example of sharp political instinct.

  • ||

    And sexy. Don't forget sexy.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Fuck these insincere cocksuckers. I caught a little bit of this circus flipping through channels today. From Obama's manner of speaking it was like he was talking at everyone through his teeth as you do with someone you don't like at work. I think I saw Coburn doing the same thing. Trying to sound open minded just for the spectacle's sake.

  • ||

    If they're going to do this again then need to at least have Fred Armisen wandering around Doing his David Paterson impression to keep us non-policy wonks entertained.

  • John Mackey Greene||

    The only part that I actually caught, aside from the soundbites during the day, was Obama's closing remarks.

    I am really at a loss trying to understand why, if an employee gets sick, that should be the employer's responsibility.

    If the employer is generous enough to pay for insurance, then he's a great guy. But if he doesn't, then so what? How can people afford a car payment and a house full of electronics, but shouldn't be expected to buy their own health insurance if that's the only way they can get it?

    Why is that such a horrible thing to say or expect? Why is that concept - expecting people to pay for their own bills - apparently off the table?

    We are *so* going in the shitter.

  • RCTL||

    So do you pay for your own health insurance?

  • ||

    Everyone who gets employer-provided insurance does. It's part of your compensation package.

  • RCTL||

    "Why is that such a horrible thing to say or expect? Why is that concept - expecting people to pay for their own bills - apparently off the table?" Wouldn't you want to know if he pays his own?

  • John Mackey Greene||

    No, I am on an employer plan.

    OH SNAP! I just realized I'm a hypocrite and gaining from the current system, ergo I can't question it. What an awesome answer to my question! Slash! Slap!

    COGNITIVE DISSONANCE! OH NOOOOOOOO!

  • RCTL||

    Things I am tired of on this site:

    #1 men discussing abortion
    #2 advocating anything you will not do yourself
    #3 anyone who uses three fucking names

  • John Mackey Greene||

    Ah yes, I also think the income tax is illegitimate and the IRS is corrupt. Would you advocate me not paying my taxes, either?

    As to your third point, I hate people who hide behind internet pseudonyms and think they're clever without actually presenting arguments.

    And, fwiw, shouting HYPOCRISY! isn't argument, it's laziness.

  • RCTL||

    Other thing that I am tired of on this site:

    #4 women discussing who has the more powerful vagina
    #5 advocating anything based on talking points
    #6 anyone who uses initials for a user name

  • RCTL||

    "Ah yes, I also think the income tax is illegitimate and the IRS is corrupt. Would you advocate me not paying my taxes, either?" No, paying your taxes is a duty as a citizen. Receiving your insurance through your work is a choice. Clever has no relationship to anonymity. Your pretense of independently caring for yourself while advocating "people to pay for their own bills" is amusing.

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