Oh, good God. Obamacare originated in a throwaway line for a speech??

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**Posted by Phineas

"You're doing what??"

“Are you kidding me??”

Could it be true? Could this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a bill, which was rammed down the throats of a nation that didn’t want it and still doesn’t want it and which is already doing untold damage to our healthcare and the economy, have been born of nothing more than a need for an applause line?

According to Politico, that’s exactly what happened:

The most important red line of Barack Obama’s presidency was scrawled hastily in January 2007, a few weeks before he even announced he was running for president.

Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA, when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.

Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?

Thus was born Obamacare, a check-the-box, news-cycle expedient that would ultimately define a president.

“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”

Unbelievable. The biggest, most far-reaching socio-economic legislation since Medicare, and it was nothing more than spit-balling. People are losing their insurance, their work hours are being cut, their access to doctors and hospitals is being restricted, insurance rates are going up, the relationship between the citizen and the State has been fundamentally redefined, and all because Obama wanted to “go big” in a race he thought he was going to lose, anyway.

Allahpundit is right: this is the domestic version of Obama’s Syrian red line, something tossed off with no prior thought to the consequences.

Except Syria was stopped. With Obamacare, we’re stuck with the bill for his intellectual shallowness.

Next time you and your team have a bright idea, Mr. President — sit on it!

RELATED: More from ST on the coming crunch in medical care access. Andrew McCarthy: Defund Obamacare. John McCormack: There’s a better way. From Legal Insurrection: Medicaid-Lite. Obamacare is forcing layoffs, including doctors.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Wait… Where have we heard this before?

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**Posted by Phineas

From the RNC, via Roger Kimball, presenting Obama 2008 vs Obama 2012:

You know what they say, Mr. President: “Fool me once, shame on you…”

Well, to quote The Who, we won’t get fooled again.

PS: Kimball’s essay introducing the video is a good one: “Feeling Sorry for Maureen Dowd.”

PPS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because they’re not foolin’.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Pravda would be proud

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People on the Right have for years complained about a media establishment biased toward the Left, only to be roundly mocked as paranoid, even when some evidence shows they were right. (For example) During the 2008 campaign, it became increasingly apparent that the major media had given up objectivity and was openly pulling for the victory of then-Senator Obama. While concentrating all their powers on Sarah Palin’s tanning bed, they almost totally ignored Obama’s political background, relationships, and lack of experience.

But they weren’t just passively avoiding anything that might be critical of Obama or detrimental to his presidential bid. No, at the very least some members of a now-defunct private mailing list for liberal and left-wing journalists and other opinion makers called “Journolist” were looking for ways to actively intimidate into silence not just conservative critics, but even more moderate liberal members of the MSM. How would they do this?

According to The Daily Caller, by smearing their opponents as racists:

It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

The members of Journolist weren’t about to see their champion hurled to the ground. But, rather than investigate and try to refute the allegations regarding Reverend Wright and Obama, they instead decided to attack their colleagues:

“Part of me doesn’t like this shit either,” agreed Spencer Ackerman, then of the Washington Independent. “But what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals.”

Ackerman went on:

“I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

“And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.”

In other words, a naked call to play the Race Card in American politics in order to stifle debate and criticism. Racism is the most vile charge one can make in our society; to accuse someone of it is to smear them for a long time, if not forever. And the discussants on Journolist were about to unleash it on their professional colleagues.

It’s fair to note that the people mentioned in the DC article formulating this strategy are almost all opinion journalists, such as Katha Pollitt at the progressive The Nation. One would expect them to try to shape the debate and defend their ideological positions, just as their counterparts at The Weekly Standard or National Review would do.

But not by character assassination and implying they were racists. And not by attacking members of the “objective press” for simply asking tough, legitimate questions.

That crosses the line not just into advocacy journalism, but propaganda of the worst sort, the kind I’d expect to see from the “journalistic organs” of a totalitarian state. Jack Reed and Walter Duranty would be proud.

The Daily Caller promises more in the days to come, and it will be interesting to see how far this rot has spread from politically-oriented opinion journalists to mainstream reporters.

I suspect it’s gone quite far.

(via Big Journalism)

LINKS: More from John Nolte, who says the playing of the race card isn’t the most shocking thing; Andrew Breitbart, who thinks the reporters at Pravda were better people; Kurt Schlichter, who talks about the MSM memory hole; Ed Morrissey, who considers the implications of this for the Left’s attempts to paint the Tea Party as racists; and William Jacobson, who says “Yes, Liberal journalists did manipulate the 2008 election.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Audio: Former DNC finance chair gives most pathetic defense of New Black Panthers voter intimidation attempts evah

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Yesterday on my way home from work, and after doing some grocery shopping, I listened to Sean Hannity’s 4 PM segment. The issue up for discussion at the top of the hour was whether or not the Obama administration was playing racial politics with the 2008 New Black Panthers voter intimidation incident in Philadelphia. A refresher:

In emotional and personal testimony, an ex-Justice official who quit over the handling of a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party accused his former employer of instructing attorneys in the civil rights division to ignore cases that involve black defendants and white victims.

J. Christian Adams, testifying Tuesday before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said that “over and over and over again,” the department showed “hostility” toward those cases. He described the Black Panther case as one example of that — he defended the legitimacy of the suit and said his “blood boiled” when he heard a Justice official claim the case wasn’t solid.

“It is false,” Adams said of the claim.

“We abetted wrongdoing and abandoned law-abiding citizens,” he later testified.

The department abandoned the New Black Panther case last year. It stemmed from an incident on Election Day in 2008 in Philadelphia, where members of the party were videotaped in front of a polling place, dressed in military-style uniforms and allegedly hurling racial slurs while one brandished a night stick.

The Bush Justice Department brought the first case against three members of the group, accusing them in a civil complaint of violating the Voter Rights Act. The Obama administration initially pursued the case, winning a default judgment in federal court in April 2009 when the Black Panther members did not appear in court. But then the administration moved to dismiss the charges the following month after getting one of the New Black Panther members to agree to not carry a “deadly weapon” near a polling place until 2012.

“[U]ntil 2012″ – when President Obama is up for re-election. Then, apparently, it’s ok to carry a weapon and dress in a paramilitary uniform while standing menacingly in front of a polling place. As long as you are a black militant liberal, of course.

Anyway, back to Hannity – he had two guests on to talk about this issue. Black conservative Erik Rush and former DNC finance chair Michael Brown. From almost the start it was clear that Rush and Hannity were not going to be able to say very much because Brown, shockingly, actually defended “what the New Black Panthers were trying to do” in 2008. His defense? They were there to give black voters in urban communities a sense of “protection” to counter “the police officers” who were there on behalf of … President Bush … to “intimidate black voters.” The NBP’s presence at that polling location had nothing whatsoever to do with trying to scare off white voters, you see.

No, I’m not kidding. That is exactly what Brown said. In just a few short breaths, this guy – while condemning the filth that has come out of the mouth of one of the New Black Panthers in question on the issue of “killing cracker babies” (more here) – managed to accuse President Bush and policemen all over this country of being in cahoots on wanting to intimidate black voters in certain areas on election day 2008, and said the New Black Panthers who were “stationed” at that polling place in Philadelphia were “just trying to protect black voters.”

I told The Right Scoop about what I heard and he, in turned subscribed to and listened to the Hannity broadcast in question, and graciously captured the 13 minute segment on audio. Click here to listen. Just when you think you’d heard it all.

I wonder if Brown would be offering up the same “defense” if white “crackers” had been dressed in paramilitary unis and openly carrying weapons while standing menacingly in front of polling locations where high concentrations of black people vote? I doubt it. I also wonder if Brown is well-versed in history enough to know that on the issue of intimidating black voters at the polls, that is is DEMOCRATS who have the most lengthy and disturbing history of trying to intimidate black voters at the polls – through various means, including violence that dates back to the 1800s?

Somebody buy this disgraceful moral relativist/apologist a clue, please. Several of them. Oh, and welcome to “post-racial” America, everyone.

Is it over for Norm Coleman?

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The Politico reports this morning that things aren’t looking good for Norm Coleman in his bid to defeat liberal laughingstock Al Franken to retain his seat in the Senate:

Seven months after Minnesota’s Senate election, the state’s highest court hasn’t reached a decision but election law experts agree: Norm Coleman doesn’t have a prayer.

These experts see almost no chance Coleman’s lawyers will prevail in their appeal to the state’s high court to count more ballots in a bid to erase Al Franken’s slim lead.

Peter Knapp, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, pointed to the court’s oral arguments on Monday, when the justices expressed skepticism toward Coleman’s lawyer, Joe Friedberg.

“Each of the five justices asked some questions that seemed to hone in on the absence of evidence,” said Knapp, an expert on the Minnesota Supreme Court who has kept a close eye on the case. “And when each of the five are asking those questions, that’s significant.”

He cautioned that “it’s really easy to over-read the judges’ questions as a sign of the way they’re leaning,” but added: “That being said, if I had to put money on the outcome – my money would be on Franken.”

Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, agreed: “Based on the questioning, I’d be surprised if Coleman got a remand back to the trial court.”

Foley said that Coleman’s lawyers “always had a fighting chance” based on legal theory — but, he pointed out, “having a valid legal theory is not enough to win a lawsuit.”

He and other legal scholars interviewed by POLITICO said that that the facts were simply not on Coleman’s side. Friedberg’s task this week was to convince the justices of his contention that more than 4,000 additional absentee ballots should be included in the final vote tally because they had not been handled in the same way by every county.

Back in April, Minnesota legal blogger Scott Johnson from the Power Line blog wrote a piece for National Review that summarized the situation there for both Coleman and Franken, and he noted that in spite of what it appeared like on the surface, that Franken was “not” trying to steal the election. Coleman’s post-election day strategy has just been deeply flawed – not only that, but in all honesty he wouldn’t be in this position if he had been a better Senator.

Minnesota stands poised to name a lying liberal thug to the United States Senate. It’s hard to figure out whether or not this says more about the voters of Minnesota, or Norm Coleman – or both.

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.

Quote of the day: Obama on Bubba

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From an upcoming book on Obama’s campaign for President by former Newsweek reporter Richard Wolffe:

His wife is now Obama’s secretary of state, but Obama had some tough words for the actions of former President Bill Clinton during the campaign.

“We had to figure out how to deal with a former president who was just lying, engaging in bald-faced lies,” Obama explained to Wolffe.

And now we have to figure out how to – without being accused of racism – deal with a current President who is engaging in bald-faced lies himself.

Here’s a detailed excerpt from the book on the internal debate on whether or not to pick Hillary Clinton for Sec. of State.

Read more quotes from the book here. More excerpts can be found here.

Cross-posted to No Runny Eggs, where I am helping guestblog while Steve Egg is on vacation.

Screwed up in Minnesota

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Looks like it’s just about over for Norm Coleman:

In a potentially decisive ruling, a panel of three judges today ordered up to 400 new absentee ballots opened and counted, far fewer than Republican Norm Coleman had sought in his effort to overcome a lead held by DFLer Al Franken.

The ballots appear to include some that Franken had identified as wrongly rejected as well as ballots that Coleman wanted opened in his quest to overcome a 225-vote lead that Franken gained after a recount.

About half come from Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis counties, places Franken won by significant margins, though many of those are from suburban precincts that the Republican carried in November.

“We are very pleased,” said Franken lead lawyer Marc Elias shortly after the ruling.

Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg all but conceded that the Republican lost the seven-week trial and was prepared to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

“It is pretty much of a longshot with that few ballots being put in play,” Ginsberg said, comparing the Republican’s odds of winning the trial to someone betting on the winning team in the NCAA basketball tournament. “We are disappointed. But we feel the court is wrong and we will appeal.”

The ruling is not a final order and it’s not clear for which candidate the ballots were cast.

Ambinder points out that the appeals process could last 6 weeks.

I think it’s all over but the crying at this point for the Coleman campaign. The deck just continues to be stacked against him.

My mind continues to be blown at how the hell Minnesotans could possibly come even close to electing a jerk like Al Franken, a humorless “comedian” and bullying pundit who doesn’t deserve to step one toe into the esteemed halls of the US Senate. What the hell is wrong with people? Coleman certainly wasn’t a dreamboat Senator, but I can’t believe anyone outside of the most diehards of Democrats would prefer Franken over Coleman.

Then again, that assumes the people who voted for Franken knew exactly what kind of person he was when they went into the voting booth last November. Sadly, as with what we saw over how mislead and clueless so many people were over Obama to the point of voting for him in November, I suspect the case is true with what happened in MN. Ideally, we’d all like to believe that everyone who goes to vote has done their homework on who/what they are voting for/on. Unfortunately, all too often that is not the case.

Tonight, as I did the night of the presidential election, I weep for our republic.

The latest on the Franken/Coleman contest

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Al FrankenThe Minnesota bloggers over at Power Line remind everyone that the Senate race in their state is not over in spite of the fact that Franken was “declared” the winner yesterday, and argue pursuasively that Norm Coleman has legitimate legal challenges that need to be resolved. Even the liberal Star Tribune supports Coleman’s legal challenges in the interest that every vote is counted.

Unsurprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid disagrees and believes that Coleman should throw in the towel. For whatever you feel about Coleman, and I know there are a lot of conservatives out there who aren’t crazy about him, the embarassment alone of having Al “I like try to physically intimidate people I disagree with” Franken sitting in the US Senate is worth Coleman’s continued persistence, if nothing else. I know Minnesotans are known for sending off the wall figures to serve in government (former pro-wrestler/governor Jesse Ventura comes to mind), but I hope this time around that doesn’t happen.

And just how the hell did they get to this point in the first place? Yeah, I know Coleman’s a weak candidate, but to be neck and neck with Franken? Once upon a time I figured he’d never be popular enough to be appointed dog catcher, much less come thisclose to winning a US Senate seat. Seriously. Is this another example of the ignorance of a certain segment of the American populace or do you think most Minnesotans knew exactly what they were doing when they voted for him?

Related/Flashback:

I want one!

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Ok, so most – if not all – of us have seen the goofy ads on TV offering the commemorative Obama election “victory plate” which features a picture of the O-Man from when he gave The Speech That Started It Allâ„¢ back during the 2004 DNC. Well, I’m here to tell you that that plate doesn’t even compare to the awesomeness of the Joe Biden plate:

I nearly picked up the phone and ordered the Obama plate the other day. Now, I’m glad I waited. I think the Biden plate is much better ;)

Hat tip: A liberal reader and friend who probably does not want to be identified!