Reading what you want to read.10:43 AM, Feb 25, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
In his opening statement at the health care summit, President Obama mentioned his nightly routine. Each day, his staff selects ten letters sent to the White House from around the country and delivers them to the Oval Office. Obama then takes them up to the residence when he leaves for the day. The president mentioned that a lot of those letters call for health care reform. No problem with that. But it's also worth noting that there are plenty of other letters being sent to the White House urging the president to drop the current legislation and focus instead on his economic program. At least, that's what we can infer from the polls. How many of those letters does Reggie Love give the president to read? Probably not many.
We all search out information and arguments that confirm our biases. That's human nature. But to defeat those biases, we need constantly to engage with arguments against our position, and to treat them seriously. And when you don't do that, you end up in a political predicament like the one the Democrats are in today.
Obama and his vice president.10:16 AM, Feb 25, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
The health care summit is off to an already soporific start. How anybody will be able stay awake for the next six hours is beyond me. An early highlight: When they entered the room, both President Obama and Vice President Biden spent a few moments greeting the participants. Obama made his way to his seat efficiently. Biden, as you might imagine, did not. He kept chatting up his old friends in the Senate, and tried making some new ones from the House. But Obama grew impatient. "C'mon, Biden," he said from his seat.
1:27 PM, Feb 24, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Here's the about-to-be-unveiled list of House Republicans attending the "health care summit" tomorrow; the four additional picks are Ryan, Roskam, Blackburn, and Boustany:
- Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
- Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA)
- Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Republican Joe Barton (R-TX)
- Ways & Means Committee Ranking Republican Dave Camp (R-MI)
- Education & Labor Committee Ranking Republican John Kline (R-MN)
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
- Dr. Charles Boustany (R-LA)
- Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
1:10 PM, Feb 24, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
At tomorrow's "health summit," we'll hear a lot of talk from President Obama and congressional Democrats about unscrupulous and under-regulated insurers who pad their obscene profits by raising prices at their whim at the expense of helpless Americans from coast to coast. If only the federal government were as fiscally constrained as insurers. As I detail in a longer post over at NRO, of all the grossly false claims that underlie ObamaCare, this one might well take the cake.
Setting the stage for this week's summit.1:03 PM, Feb 23, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
A recent Kaiser poll is filled with interesting numbers. It found support for health care reform split, with 43 percent pro and 43 percent con. It found that only 34 percent of respondents believed the current legislation would better their condition. Only 32 percent said they wanted Congress to pass comprehensive legislation quickly. Twenty-two percent want health care to be put on hold until later this year. Nineteen percent want the topic to be dropped altogether. Do the math.
Obama's top advisers have led him into a ditch.11:40 AM, Feb 9, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Andrew Malcolm writes:
Many political observers are coming to see that the ex-state senator from the South Side is running his federal administration in Washington much the way they run things back home: with a small....
...claque of clout-laden people from the same school who learned their political trade back in the nation's No. 3 city, named for an Indian word for a smelly wild onion.
That style is tough, focused, immune to any distractions but cosmetic niceties. And did we mention tough. A portly, veteran Chicago alderman once confided only about 40% jokingly, that he had taken up jogging to lose weight but quickly gave it up as boring because "you can't knock anyone down." That's politics the Chicago way.
Obama and his top advisers Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, and David Axelrod all hail from the Chicago school. Press secretary Robert Gibbs is an Alabaman who worked for North Carolinian Democrats, but he's adapted to the Chicago method with ease. Together, this band of operatives has not deviated from the themes and goals of Obama's 2008 campaign. They do not admit errors of substance. Faced with a troublesome midterm election, Obama did not search out new figures and guides for his party. He reached back to his 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe.
Another win-win for the president and House GOP?8:48 AM, Feb 8, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
The New York Times reports on President Obama's offer to host a bipartisan health care summit at Blair House on February 25. The president made the offer during his Super Bowl pre-game interview with Katie Couric. Republicans quickly accepted. Not everyone is pleased, however:
Separately, some Congressional staff members expressed concern that Mr. Obama’s meeting would simply prolong an already tortuous process. And Democrats still face steep challenges in reconciling the differences between the House and Senate bills.
Some House Democrats are firmly opposed to a proposed tax on high-cost employer-sponsored insurance policies, which they think will hit some middle-class workers and violate Mr. Obama’s campaign promise not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $250,000 a year.
Don't forget Bart Stupak, either--his supporters may still balk at the Senate's abortion language. The bottom line is that Congress is stuck on health care, with Pelosi and Reid in a Mexican stand-off over which chamber will hold the next vote.