Kinda, Sorta Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (February 28, 2010)

(Due to unforeseen circumstances–it seems all my circumstances are unforeseen– I was unable to catch the original airing of Meet the Press.  So in remedy, I’ll jot down the main points of political interest.)

Oh yeah.  We’re talking about healthcare and President Obama’s Healthcare Summit.  Today is Sunday.  Meet the Press is on.

John McCain is providing the rejoinder to Obama’s summit on Thursday.  It seems he and the GOP are trying to portray the summit as a partisan move and the consequent policy moves to be either a partisan move or a new policy option.

On reconciliation, that DG brought up.  McCain says that he does not support the nuclear option which he argues is the move entailed in passing healthcare in reconciliation.   David Gregory has reminded him that McCain has voted on reconciliation 9 times.  McCain is arguing, yes he did but he did not choose to go for the “nuclear option.”  Furthermore, since Robert Byrd objected to pushing through entitlement programs in teh 1970’s, so too McCain and Lindsey Graham will offer legislation that will uncouple entitlement spending from the reconciliation process, i.e a simple majority vote will not be enough to pass legislation on entitlement spending because “it is too important.”  The Senate will have done its job again.

McCain refuses to budge on the fact that this bill cannot be bipartisan because the GOP negotiations ground to a halt in the Finance Committee.  He will not even admit that this is similar to the bill Bob Dole offered in 1993 and that Mass. passed under Mitt Romney.

In fact when David Gregory tried to ask him McCain opponent in the primary races went too far to call Obama’s agenda socialist, McCain would not answer. (This implies that even McCain wants to be more conservative, or anti-Obama than political analysis might allow, simply to pick up more votes to McCain’s right.  For instance, he is swerving right on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell from even his own position in 2006.  And he disavowed his own vote on TARP just to make nice with the Tea Party crowd.)

2.  Obama’s Health Care Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle is up next.  She is having immense difficult answering a very simple question: Does the Obama Administration have the votes to pass in Congress.  Her answer finally is that she “believes she will have enough votes.”

David Gregory has shown Ms. DeParle that a mjority of Americans want the administration to stop working on this bill and start over.  Pointing out that the Obama Adminstration did make inefficient deals with certain Senators and pharma yielded the old pleasantries that Obama has moved beyond “shady deals.”

Though David Gregory is trying, nevertheless, Ms. DeParle is loathe to break the news that Obama has decided to go through witht the reconciliation process.

Never mind, then that as DG points out, Obama has gutted the Cadillac Plan tax, the source of the long-term funding for the bill, by pushing back the date that it will take effect to 2018.

3.  Eric Cantor, House Minority Whip is up next.  As is Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Marc Morial from teh Nat’l Urban League.  Ron Brownstein and Katty Kay are watching the cage fight and egging on the fighters.

Per usual the GOP member is saying there aren’t enough votes to pass the bill and the Congress should start over and the Democratic Congresswoman is saying that as soon as the vote counting starts there will be enough votes to pass in the House, though its looking like the bill will pass in Reconciliation with a simply majority.

Ron Brownstein is showing exactly that the GOP and the Democratic vision of a solution to our health care crisis is vastly different from the other.  For instance he points out that while the Democrats are trying to cover 33 million people, teh GOP ‘plan’ would cover only 3 million.  Katty Kay’s point is that Obama has not gotten his point across that the uninsured need to be covered while the insured need to be assured that their coverage will deteriorate over time if premium costs are not brought down/.

Mr. Morial is doing something very important: he is reminding DG and the viewer that Obama’s plan will employ the private insurance market to deliver health insurance to more people.  This is just a series of changes to the current system.  This is not state run health insurance.

Eric Cantor is not a convincing messenger.  I cannot believe he has a real leadership position within the party, as say does Aaron Schock.  He’s reminding the audience that because most of the coverage will come from expansions into Medicaid the American public should be aware because Medicaid is inefficient, broken or worse.  (This seems like a bad excuse, one that smacks of classicism and worse. The better argument is that the DEM’s will kick furhter back the tax that actually pays for the bill)

Congressman Schultz’ argument is that Obama’s plan makes it easier for middle-class families to buy into the market through tax-breaks.

Ron Brownstein is pointing out that the CBO is saying 33 million will be covered without raising costs of coverage on teh dollar already being spent.  This implies that the move will be efficiency increasing.

Finally both Ron Brownstein and Katty Kay agree that the DEMs have to push the bill out of Congress and onto Obama’s desk in the hope that Americans don’t have long memories and that the expected positive benefits of the bills redouble up on the DEM’s chances in November to maintain as large a majority as they now enjoy.  Finally, they both agree that Americans will come back to the drawing table if Obama messages better and if the rewards to the American people are convincing enough to support a second Democratic Congress under Obama.  Only this type of thinking, at the end of teh day, really justifies the Reconciliation move or as the DEM’s want to spin it: a simple majority vote.  After all, lets not forget: this is how Welfare Reform was passed.

~ by Faheem Haider on February 28, 2010.

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