Archive for February, 2010

Growth And Justice leader Dane Smith has written another op-ed for the St. Cloud Times. Unfortunately, Smith refuses to think that saying yes the DFL special interest allies’ wish lists might be part of the problem. Here’s a revealing quote from his op-ed:

As Pawlenty explores further a run for the presidency, it’s interesting to note how close his words track with themes promulgated by national conservative kingmakers. “Leave us alone!” and “Get out of our way!” Pawlenty declared in his recent State of the State speech, presuming to speak for business leaders in the state, making the case that only the private-sector and captains of commerce and industry could be the “true source” of our economic salvation.

The fact that Smith talks condescendingly about government being limited and that the private sector should being thriving says alot about his philosophy. It’s interesting that Smith talks down the very things that the American people are saying right now. Is Dane Smith saying that he knows better than We The People what the nation needs?

Our Founding Fathers new that limited government that was closest to the people is the best form of governance. They knew that an oversized government was oppressive. Right now, the DFL and their allies like Dane Smith think that government isn’t big enough and that they aren’t spending enough.

We The People passionately and emphatically disagree.

Here’s another glimpse into Smith’s mindset:

As legislators in both parties grapple with the most troubling economic situation and the prospect of real damage to the people who rely on our governments, and that’s all of us, I can’t help but think of the contrast in language employed by another tall and lanky Midwestern Republican, Abraham Lincoln.

Saying that all of us rely on government is Smith’s way of saying that we can’t survive without BIG government. While there’s no doubt that each of us is affected by governments’ decisions, there’s no doubt that the DFL refuses to say no to their special interest allies, which is causing the budget fights that we’ve seen the last eight years.

At a League of Women’s Voters Education Forum in September, 2007, Larry Haws was stunned into saying that “maybe we do need to prioritize” after Steve Gottwalt questioned the DFL’s status quo education policies. Based on the look on his face, it was apparent that he hadn’t thought of prioritizing spending prior to that event.

More revealing that day was when the panelists talked about kindergarten. Steve questioned the need for all day kindergarten, which caused another startling exchange:

Steve said that parents help their children as much simply by reading to them each day. At that point, Grandpa Larry said (in a rather condescending tone of voice) “Maybe I should pass a law mandating that parents read to their children.”

Isn’t it telling that the DFL’s first reaction to something as simple reading to your children evokes a response that legislators need to pass a law to mandate that? If you’re asking what this has to do with Dane Smith’s op-ed, it’s this: the DFL thinks that government must get involved to ensure that parents and businesses do the right thing.

I’ll simply argue that not every problem has a governmental solution and that We The People know how to make the right decisions. Was a government program needed to create IBM or Fedex? Of course it wasn’t. Did Microsoft need corporate welfare to launch itself? No. Do parents need the government to tell them that reading to their pre-school-aged children is the right thing to do? Not likely.

If you operate, like Dane Smith does, that government is needed in solving society’s ills, then you operate from a mindset that tax increases are a way of life. If, hwoever, you think that people are capable of making good decisions on their own, which most of America agrees with, then you’re more likely to think that government is too big and taxes too much.

I highlighted in this post that businesses and people are voting with their feet in favor of lower taxes and limited government. The IRS can even tell us where people who’ve left Minnesota go. It’s that precise.

In arguing for tax increases and bigger government, Dane Smith and lefty politicians like Larry Haws are saying that the American people aren’t capable of making their own decisions.

We The People passionately disagree.

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In the many conversations I’ve had with King, we’ve often talked about testing theories, situations where 2 people make statements that are diametrically opposed to each other. It’s a situation where one person is wrong, the other right. Such is the case with Joe Klein’s column and this IBD editorial. Let’s start with Joe Klein’s column first:

Shame on me. I was elsewhere yesterday and missed the health care summit. I’m catching up now, and the tea leaves seem to indicate that Obama came out well ahead of the Republicans. How do I know that? From Matt Drudge, of course. I mean, Drudge’s takeaway from the summit is that the President talked a lot; actually, the President, the Congressional Democrats and Republicans each spoke an equal amount; the Times of London found it boring and the networks turned to other programming.

Reading between the lines, you can conclude that the Republicans had nothing very interesting, or clever, to say (and were never able to get the President’s goat). And that the President was his usual, unflappable, well-informed self. You can also conclude that not much progress was made at the summit, as Karen reports here–but that’s a huge surprise, right?

If ever there’s a way to tell who won, there’s no better way than by what the headlines on the Drudge page says. Is he kidding me??? The first thing I thought when I read Mr. Klein’s analysis (I’m using that term loosely) was “Good grief Charlie Brown. How do idiots like this get paid a penny for their thoughts and their writings?”

Another thought I had was how similar Klein sounds to President Obama’s opinion of what happened with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, first admitting that he didn’t know anything, then saying that the police must’ve acted stupidly. Klein admits that he didn’t watch the health care summit, then saying that Republicans must not have had anything interesting to say. How does he know that? Blind ideology? It isn’t from verifiable facts and exhaustive research.

Just because the Agenda Media refuses to report something doesn’t mean that President Obama didn’t get his backside handed to him. In fact, had Mr. Klein checked out David Gergen’s analysis and Gloria Borger’s analysis, he might’ve reached a different conclusion.

Next, let’s check IBD’s editorial. Here’s how it starts:

Many viewers were wowed by the president’s performance at the health care summit, his command of facts and ability to rebut every point the Republicans made. We must have been watching another channel.

‘Obama dominates the room at health care summit” was the headline on a Reuters dispatch that found the president “always in command not only of the room but also the most intricate policy details, as he personally rebutted every point he disagreed with.”

In a Washington Post column titled “Professor Obama schools lawmakers on health care reform,” Dana Milbank marveled at how the president “controlled the microphone and the clock, (using) both skillfully to limit the Republicans’ time, to rebut their arguments and to always have the last word.”

IBD’s rundown of the spinmeister media’s is instructive, though in this case a bit repetitive. Here’s where IBD parts ways with Mr. Klein:

It was the Wisconsin congressman who made the most pointed remarks about Obama’s reform proposal. For example:

“This bill does not control costs (or) reduce deficits. Instead, (it) adds a new health care entitlement when we have no idea how to pay for the entitlements we already have.”

“The bill has 10 years of tax increases, about half a trillion dollars, with 10 years of Medicare cuts, about half a trillion dollars, to pay for six years of spending. The true 10-year cost (is) $2.3 trillion.”

“The bill takes $52 billion in higher Social Security tax revenues and counts them as offsets. But that’s really reserved for Social Security. So either we’re double-counting them or we don’t intend on paying those Social Security benefits.”

“The bill takes $72 billion from the CLASS Act (long-term care insurance) benefit premiums and claims them as offsets.”

“The bill treats Medicare like a piggy bank, (raiding) half a trillion dollars not to shore up Medicare solvency, but to spend on this new government program.”

“The chief actuary of Medicare (says) as much as 20% of Medicare providers will either go out of business or have to stop seeing Medicare beneficiaries.”

“Millions of seniors who have chosen Medicare Advantage (Medicare President Obama didn’t dare question Ryan’s analysis.

Had President Obama tried refuting any of Congressman Ryan’s statistics, each of which demolishes Obamacare’s credibility, Ryan would’ve repeated reciting the statistics he’d just rattled off. Ryan’s statistics are rock solid, with some coming from the CMS actuary and others coming from CBO. In other words, there’s no disputing them because the CBO and the CMS actuary are serious people who take their professional responsibilities seriously.

Klein’s opinions apparently are based on the theory that President Obama wins if he talks enough. That theory was disproven months ago. President Obama has given 29 speeches on health care. After each of the early speeches, the public’s approval of Obamacare has dropped before levelling off at a low level that it’s currently stuck in.

President Obama is a wonderful orator but he isn’t persuasive. He isn’t persuasive because the people think that the things he’s attempting to sell are rat poison. That’s why they’re rejecting Obamacare in the numbers that they’ve been rejecting it at.

If you don’t think they’re rejecting Obamacare, I’ll make the argument short and sweet: Sen. Scott Brown. He promised to be the legislation-killing 41st vote against Obamacare in the Senate. He won by a semi-comfortable margin. I’ll even throw in the fact that Obamacare is the reason why independents have fled President Obama and the Democrats like they were selling toxic waste.

For all of Joe Klein’s bloviating, he still hasn’t proven that he’s got a clue:

But the obvious truth here is that the Republicans do not want any sort of health care bill to pass at all because they do not want to hand President Obama a victory. Shame on them.

Had this egotist watched Thursday, he’d know that Republicans put forward a comprehensive health care reform package that didn’t raise taxes, that cut health care and health insurance costs and that wouldn’t add to the deficit. Instead, the American people are ill-served by Mr. Klein because he wrote something based on his biases and newspaper headlines rather than on verifiable facts.

This is why people would be far better informed if they forgot about pundits like Mr. Klein and instead got their information from the Right Blogosphere. People are free to disagree with our opinions but our research is real and our facts are verifiable. Unlike Mr. Klein, the serious people of the Right Blogosphere take pride in doing the research needed to present verifiable information.

That’s why, when determining whether to trust Mr. Klein’s opinions or IBD’s editorial, I’ll pick IBD’s editorial every time. Their information is verifiable whereas Klein’s post is pure hypothesis and supposition.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Of all the outrageous claims coming out of Thursday’s summit, Steny Hoyer’s op-ed ranks right up there with Harry Reid’s claim that “no one’s talking about reconciliation.” The American people know that Democrats haven’t listened to the American people. They know that because the Republicans’ ideas, which were on full display Thursday, haven’t been included in the Democrats’ health care legislation.

I believe in bipartisan compromise, but Senate Minority Leader John Boehner’s recent AOL News op-ed piece was more about political talking points than common solutions. It deserves a line-by-line rebuttal.

“Americans want Washington to scrap this job-killing government takeover of health care and start over.”

It’s really the rising cost of health care that’s killing jobs. A study from economists at USC and Harvard shows that passing health insurance reform would create 4 million more jobs over the next decade.

First, it’s important that we mention that the American people, in poll after poll, say that they want nothing to be done as opposed to passing the Democrats’ bill and that they prefer starting over as opposed to passing the Democrat’s legislation.

That alone refutes the notion that the Democrats are listening.

Another thing that refutes the notion that Democrats are listening is the fact that the American people’s top priorities are getting spending under control and getting the economy creating jobs. In his SOTU address, President Obama promised that he was going to focus on jobs. After focusing on “jobs, jobs, jobs” for at least a split second, he’s repivoted to health care. That might be a Democratic spinmeister’s spin of listening to the American people but the American people aren’t buying it.

Here’s another part of Hoyer’s op-ed that’s been repeatedly refuted:

And no matter how many times Republicans call health insurance reform a “government takeover,” in fact, the Democratic plan facilitates a transparent market for private-sector insurance and does not take away the coverage of any American who likes his or her plan.

Leader Hoyer knows that the Democrats’ health care legislation forces people out of plans that they like because the Democrats’ legislation forces them out of HSAs. They know it because the federal government’s mandates include a definition of what coverages must be included in every insurance policy sold in the United States.

This is typical Democrat behavior. Despite all the federal government’s failures, they still believe that the federal goverment knows best. In my interview with Paul Ryan, I asked him about patients consulting with their physicians, then creating a health insurance policy that fits their needs. Here’s Rep. Ryan’s reply:

2. Shouldn’t people, working in concert with their physician, have the option of putting together a customized health insurance policy?

Yes – that’s a great idea and just the type of innovative thinking we don’t want the federal government to squash. Patients have different needs, and that’s exactly why health insurance shouldn’t be run by the federal government. The government does not know what is best for patients. Patients and doctors should be able to make decisions together about the types of health plans that best suit their individual needs. That concept is exactly what motivated the Patients’ Choice Act. We don’t want the federal government taking over these decisions – and we want to show people that there is another way that allows the individual to maintain control over these personal decisions.

There’s nothing in the Democrats’ legislation that would allow that type of doctor-patient interaction. That very thinking is included in the Patients’ Choice Act, which Congressman Ryan wrote with Sen. Coburn. Whenever that option is put before the American people, it’s incredibly popular.

That’s additional proof that Democrats aren’t listening to the American people.

“Republicans have offered a commonsense plan squarely focused on lowering costs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that it will lower premiums by as much as 10 percent.”

The CBO also confirmed that it will do next to nothing to cover the uninsured, whose ranks are growing every day as costs rise for middle-class families. According to the CBO, the Republican plan will cover only 3 million more people by 2020, out of 52 million Americans who will lack insurance. And paying for the care of those uninsured Americans adds an extra $1,100 to the average family premium.

This is another argument that’s been refuted. CBO said that the Republican plan will lower health insurance premiums and health care prices. Anyone thinking that making health care and health insurance less expensive won’t affect access isn’t just kidding themselves. They’re delusional. Lowering health insurance prices will cause more young people to buy health insurance. Ditto with middle class families opting not to buy health insurance or self-insuring.

In this instance, CBO’s prediction isn’t reliable because they aren’t allowed to say that a change in dynamics changes behavior.

For all of the political slogans in Leader Boehner’s op-ed, I didn’t read a single factual description of what’s actually in the health bill. There’s a reason for that: When Americans hear “government takeover of health care,” they naturally oppose it. When they hear the bill described in plain language, they support it.

Listen to Hoyer’s arrogance. When citizens were schooling Democrats at townhall meetings last August, they knew what was in the bill and they didn’t like the Democrats’ legislation. They told Baron Davis, Sheila Jackson-Lee and Arlen Specter that they didn’t like the Democrats’ plan. I remember the DNC’s response: creating a web ad that said “the angry mob is back”, that they couldn’t accept losing another election.

That isn’t how a political party that’s listening to the people react. That’s how a political party that’s driven by a failed ideology reacts.

The Democrats’ insistence on ramming through health care legislation are ignorning the American people. The American people want the focus paid on the economy, not health care. When health care is the subject, the American people want more of the Republicans’ ideas included in the legislation.

That’s before we ask the American people if they favor individual mandates, fines and tax increases. I’m betting the American people disagree with each of those proposals.

That’s why I say without hesitation that Democrats aren’t listening to We The People.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to Scott Rasmussen’s polling, President Obama’s popularity keeps sinking:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 23% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -20. For President Obama, the Approval Index has been lower only once.

It isn’t likely that President Obama’s approval ratings will enjoy a significant upswing anytime soon. His performance yesterday was as usual: condescending, scolding and ill-tempered. Charles Krauthammer said it perfectly during last night’s roundtable, saying that with the presidency comes Air Force One and a private chef but it doesn’t make you the arbiter of what’s legitimate and what’s a prop.

I’m kinda curious what people think about the theory I’m working on, namely that Harry Reid’s and Speaker Pelosi’s incompetence, while not the main cause of his unpopularity, is contributing to his unpopularity.

Yesterday’s winners include the GOP campaign committees, Paul Ryan, Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, Dave Camp, Eric Cantor and Jon Kyl. Yesterday’s losers include, in my opinion, were President Obama, Harry Reid and Max ‘We’re not that far apart’ Baucus.

In my opinion, President Obama took the biggest hit because Paul Ryan, Dave Camp and Eric Cantor all looked more knowledgeable than President Obama on reducing health care and health insurance costs and deficit reduction. Mssrs. Ryan and Camp did a great job of highlighting that the Medicare cuts weren’t to strengthen Medicare solvency but that the cuts went to pay for another entitlement.

If I were advising the campaign committees, I’d tell them to turn those exchanges into campaign commercials that run daily the last month of the campaign. The other thing that can’t be ignored is that people who watched the summit, whether they watched a little bit or most of it, heard the Republicans’ ideas. The people that heard those ideas will start asking why Republicans had been shut out of the process thus far.

More importantly, they’ll ask why the Republicans’ ideas haven’t been incorporated into the legislation. The Democrats don’t have a defense for that question. By not including Republican ideas in the legislation, the Democrats will look overly partisan, which will hurt. While the American people will tolerate some partisanship, they won’t tolerate that level of partisanship.

The bottom line is that the Democrats’ election chances are sinking and they aren’t likely to improve. If President Obama doesn’t change course, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him be a one-term wonder.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Though I didn’t get to watch the entire summit, what I did see impressed me. Going in, I knew I’d be confident that John Kline, Eric Cantor, Dave Camp and Paul Ryan would be persuasive. They didn’t disappoint in that respect.

Paul Ryan was particularly persuasive. His dissertation on the CBO’s deficit projections was a thing of beauty. When Xavier Becerra tried accusing Ryan of criticizing the CBO, Ryan’s strong response quickly forced Becerra to quickly backpedal. Here’s that exchange:

BECERRA: Mr. President, thank you very much for bringing us all together. I do want to address something that my friend, Paul Ryan, said, because I almost think that we can’t have this discussion any further without addressing something Paul said.

Paul, you called into question the Congressional Budget Office. Now, we could all agree to disagree. We could all have our politics, but if there’s no referee on the field, we can never agree how the game should be played.

RYAN: Let me clarify just to be clear.

BECERRA: No, no, let me…if I could just finish. And so I think we have to decide, do we believe in the Congressional Budget Office or not? Because Paul, you and I have sat on the Budget Committee for years together and you have on any number of occasions in those years cited the Congressional Budget Office to make your point, referred to the Congressional Budget Office’s projections to make your point. And today, you essentially said you can’t trust the Congressional Budget Office.

RYAN: No, that is not what I’m saying.

BECERRA: Well, that was my interpretation. I apologize if I misinterpreted.

RYAN: I am not questioning the quality of their scoring. I am questioning the reality of their scoring.

BECERRA: If I could just finish my — OK. I — I take your point on your clarification.

As good as Congressman Ryan’s exchange was with Rep. Becerra, Eric Cantor’s substantive criticism of the Senate health care bill was even better. Here’s a portion of Cantor’s criticism:

So…but I do want to go back to your suggestion as to why we’re here. And you suggested that maybe we are here to find some points of agreement to bridge the gap in our differences. And I do like…to go back to basics, we’re here because we Republicans care about health care just as the Democrats in this room.

And when the speaker cites her letters from the folks in Michigan and the leader talks about the letters he’s received, Mr. Andrews his, all of us share the concerns when people are allegedly wronged in our health care system.

I mean, I think that is sort of a given.

We don’t care for this bill. I think you know that. The American people don’t care for the bill. I think that we demonstrated, you know, in the polling that they don’t.

But there is…there is a reason why we all voted no. And it does have to do with the philosophical difference that you point out. It does have to do with our fear that if you say that Washington can be the one to define essential health benefits, there may be a problem with that.

And that’s the language in the Section 1302 of this bill, that it says that the secretary shall define for people what essential health benefits are.

I’m certain that the American people agree with Rep. Cantor. I’m certain that they don’t trust Washington with setting the right regulations, especially when the legislation cedes all authority to the HHS secretary. I’m betting that the American people aren’t comfortable handing that much authority to an unelected official.

Dave Camp also skewered President Obama with his presentation:

CAMP: Thank you, Leader Boehner. And thank you, Mr. President, for the invitation today.

I think as we focus this part of the conversation on cost, a lot of Americans say to me, “If you’re really interested in controlling costs, well, maybe you shouldn’t be spending a trillion dollars on health care, as the Senate and House bills do.”

Also, cutting Medicare benefits by a half-trillion dollars to fund this new entitlement is I think a step in the wrong direction, and many Americans do as well. The nonpartisan actuaries at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services say on page four of their letter on the Senate-passed bill that it would bend the cost curve in the wrong direction by about a quarter-trillion dollars. They specifically say the health expenditures under the Senate bill would increase by $222 billion.

A key way of reducing costs that’s missing from the House and Senate bills is responsible lawsuit reform that guarantees injured parties, much like our two largest states have adopted, Texas and California, access to all economic damages such as future medical care. If they need nursing care in the future, they’ll get it, lost wages, reasonable awards for punitive damages and pain and suffering.

Again, I’m betting that most people would agree with Rep. Camp that lawsuit abuse reform must be part of any health care legislation. Camp and Ryan also did a great job of highlighting the fact that Democrats are cutting Medicare with the intent of using that money to pay for a new entitlement. It’s one thing to cut Medicare to strengthen it long term. It’s unacceptable to cut Medicare to pay for a new entitlement because that would make Medicare less solvent while creating a new entitlement at a time when entitlement reform is badly needed.

The Democrats’ storyline of Republicans being the Party of No was demolished, too, though I’d be surprised if they didn’t play that card again. It just won’t have any credibility. Yesterday, America got to see the Republicans’ poise, their ideas and their solutions. I think they did themselves an immense amount of good for November.

This was likely the first time America got to see John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Dave Camp. They now can picture them as credible alternatives to Speaker Pelosi’s leadership team.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

DISCLAIMER: I’m part of Tom Emmer’s steering committee.

According to this Strib post, Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert offered amendments to the legislation that would move Minnesota’s primary from September to August. Had it passed, Tom’s amendment would’ve required voters to present a photo ID before voting. Unfortunately, too many DFL legislators stayed loyal to the DFL leadership to vote for a reform that upwards of 75 percent of Minnesotans agree with.

Larry Haws and Larry Hosch, who represent HD-15B and HD-14B respectively, voted against the photo ID amendment.

Marty Seifert’s amendment would’ve reduced the number of people a legally registerd voter could vouch for from 15 to 3. My question for Rep. Seifert is simple: Why didn’t your amendment eliminate vouching altogether? If you think it’s important to offer an amendment limiting vouching, you obviously must think that there’s something wrong with vouching. If something in our electoral system needs fixing, shouldn’t we fix it rather than just tinker around the edges?

I remember this Powerline post from the 2004 election cycle:

Among the well-funded and supposedly independent groups supporting John Kerry in the campaign is Americans Coming Together (ACT). ACT has taken notice of Minnesota’s special vulnerabilty to vote fraud and organized a sophisticated effort to exploit it in a manner that violates Minnesota law. In Minnesota the Bush campaign has come into the possession of the following email from ACT to its Minnesota volunteers:

Election Day is upon us. You are confirmed to volunteer with ACT (America Coming Together – on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 2.

We will be creating name badges that include your Ward and Precinct information for each of the thousands of volunteers that day to make it easier to find a volunteer to vouch for a voter at the polls.

I am emailing you to request your street address, city and zipcode. We’ve already got your other contact information, but your record in our database does not include this information.

You can save us time on election day by replying today to this email with this information, or give us a call at [phone number with St. Paul area code].

In order to get your badge correct, please reply by Thursday.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. See you on Election Day!

This email is a smoking gun of massive premeditated vote fraud. The ACT effort contemplates the prepositioning of registered voters as volunteers at their precincts of residence to provide the “vouching” necessary to get individuals registered to vote on election day in the precinct whether or not the volunteer “personally knows” the residence of the unregistered voter. It is a recipe for illegal voting in every precinct of the state.

Clearly, the opportunity for voter fraud exists within a vouching system. There’s no reason to trust someone vouching for someone who doesn’t have the proper paperwork. As Powerline’s post shows, liberal special interest groups have figured out how to game the system.

With that in mind, shouldn’t Mr. Seifert’s amendment eliminated vouching, not just cut down on it? I’ll admit that it was likely that the DFL was going to defeat the amendment. That’s all the more the reason to draft it right. Doing something half way gives the DFL the excuse that they didn’t vote for it because it didn’t fix the problem. Had Rep. Seifert offered an amendment that would’ve eliminated vouching, the DFL would’ve been forced to defend a system that can be gamed.

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1:15– Dave Camp continues to do a great job. This time, he’s highlighting the Democrats’ legislation that gives “an unelected secretary of HHS” the authority to establish what benefits the federal government will mandate.
1:32– Marsha Blackburn is highlighting the sale of insurance across state lines. She’s comparing it with people buying other products across state lines. She’s now talking about the California 39 percent rate increase. If the legislature opened things up, “Californians could go to Oregon” and save money.
1:39– President Obama says that mandates “may increase costs a little bit.” WHAT??? That’s just plain wrong. Mandates significantly drives up costs.

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Check out this article and see what jumps off the page at you. Here’s what jumped off the page at me:

President Barack Obama scolded Virgina Republican Rep. Eric Cantor for the stack of paper he brought with him to the health summit, calling it the type of political stunt that gets in the way of lawmakers having a serious conversation.

Here’s something from an exchange between President Obama and Sen. McCain:

“People are angry… we promised them change in Washington,” Senator McCain said at the meeting on Obama’s stalled top domestic priority at the Blair House presidential guest house in Washington.
“Look, let me just make this point John, because we are not campaigning anymore,” Obama said, having had time to compose his rebuttal jab.

“We can spend the remainder of our time with our respective talking points going back and forwards, we are supposed to be talking about insurance.”

This was stunning TV. President Obama has having a snit all day thus far. Petulant is an adjective that fits President Obama to a Tee. He’s had his lunch handed to him several times, with Dave Camp, Eric Cantor and Lamar Alexander leading the charge.

This isn’t going according to the Democrats’ script. In fact, I’ll predict this: If this afternoon’s session goes like this morning’s session, this will demolish the Democrats’ ‘Party of No’ storyline forever. They’re getting their backsides kick. The reason I know that is because Max Baucus and Chuck Schumer spent their time talking about how little the differences were between the Democrats’ legislation and the Republicans’ ideas. That simply isn’t credible. If that were true, we would’ve agreed on a compromise bill long ago.

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10:05– Sen. Coburn is talking about CMS stating that government regulations drive costs up and that the government’s involvement is 33 percent of the health care costs increases.
10:07– Sen. Coburn is now talking about lawsuit abuse reform and defensive medicine costs. Eliminating lawsuit abuse and defensive medicine costs would save almost $850,000,000,000 annually.
10:09– Sen. Coburn: Incentivizing people on food stamps to eat healthier would reduce costs. One out of three dollars doesn’t help produce better health.
10:12– President Obama is saying that saving money on government health care won’t save money in the private sector. Sen. Coburn quickly and correctly reject President Obama’s assertion.
10:42– Paul Ryan is responding to Rob Andrews on the issue of federal regulations. Andrews says that the federal government needs to regulate health care mandates. Ryan nailed Andrews, saying that organizations like NFIB will do a good job of negotiating health care policies for their members. Ryan then says that governors will do a good job regulating health insurance, too.
Recap from earlier– Sen. Baucus apparently believes that he’s getting paid for each time he says “We’re not that far apart.” Yes, Sen. Baucus, the plans are that far apart.
Summary thus far: The difference thus far is stunning. Democrats sound like their bills are nearly identical to the Republicans’ bill. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sen. Kyl is now highlighting how the Democrats’ legislation would have Washington, DC regulating health care whereas the Republicans’ would trust state legislatures and governors should regulate health insurance.

The differences are significant and we still haven’t gotten into the Democrats’ tax increases.

FACTCHECK– PRESIDENT OBAMA: “It’s Not Factually Accurate. Here’s What The Congressional Budget Office Says. The Costs For Families For The Same Type Of Coverage As They’re Currently Receiving Would Go Down 14 To 20%.” PRESIDENT OBAMA: “No, no, no. And this is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight.”
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): “That’s my point.”
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Well, exactly. So let me respond to what you just Lamar, because it’s not factually accurate. Here’s what the Congressional Budget Office says. The costs for families for the same type of coverage as they’re currently receiving would go down 14 to 20%.” (President Obama, Health Care Summit, 2/25/10)

CBO: “Average Premiums Per Policy In The Nongroup Market In 2016 Would Be Roughly $5,800 For Single Policies And $15,200 For Family Policies Under The Proposal, Compared With Roughly $5,500 For Single Policies And $13,100 For Family Policies Under Current Law. The Weighted Average Of The Differences In Those Amounts Equals The Change Of 10 Percent To 13 Percent In The Average Premium Per Person Summarized Above…” (Emphasis In Original; CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, Letter To Sen. Bayh, P. 6, 11/30/09)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): “So It Is True That Some Persons In The So-Called Nongroup Market In The Year 2016, Would Find Their Premiums Would Go Up Without Subsidies. And I Think That Figure Nets Out To About 7%, But They’re Getting Better Insurance.” (Sen. Baucus, Floor Remarks, 12/7/09)

FACTCHECK– Senator Reid TODAY: “…no one has talked about reconciliation, but that’s what you folks have talked about ever since that came out.” (Senator Reid, Health Care Summit, 2/25/10)

Reid Spokesman ONE WEEK AGO: “If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstacles and secure enough votes.” (Statement by Senator Reid Spokesman Rodell Mollineau, The Plum Line, 2/19/2010)

11:15– Rush is talking about Dave Camp’s presentation, saying that Camp “is sinking three-pointer after three-pointer with nothing but net.” I agree. Camp was citing specific pages in the Democrats’ bills, only to have President Obama cut him off.

OBSERVATION: This is a pretty stellar performance by the Republicans. Their arguments are solid. They’re challenging the Democrats’ claims. Most cleverly, they’re citing the Democrats’ legislation. They’ve shown the reasonableness of their proposals. President Obama himself is agreeing with the Republicans’ goals.

11:53– Rep. Louise Slaughter is now speaking. Yet another Democrat talking about abandoning “the elderly, the mentally ill” and other victim groups. She’s inferring that only government can take care of these people. This is a deep philosophical disagreement.

12:55– They’re starting to regather at Blair House. The summit should start again in 10-15 minutes.

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Based on this article, I’d say that President Obama’s election coalition has all but disappeared:

A study by the Pew Research Center, being released Wednesday, highlights the eroding support from 18- to 29-year-olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was read by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.

The findings are significant because they offer further proof that the diverse coalition of voters Obama cobbled together in 2008, including high numbers of first-timers, young minorities and youths, are not Democratic Party voters who can necessarily be counted on.

While young adults remain decidedly more liberal, the survey found the Democratic advantage among 18- to 29-year-olds has substantially narrowed, from a record 62 percent identifying as Democrat vs. 30 percent for the Republicans in 2008, down to 54 percent vs. 40 percent last December. It was the largest percentage point jump in those who identified or leaned Republican among all the voting age groups.

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

The finding that the support gap has narrowed is troubling enough. That’s enough to make a Democratic strategist cringe. That said, that last sentence is the sentence I’d most be worried about:

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

Young Americans for Liberty, college students who support Ron Paul’s principles on campus, haven’t experienced that enthusiasm gap like their liberal counterparts. In fact, they’re pumped and ready to get liberty-loving young people to the polls this November.

I’ve met with their group here in St. Cloud. They’re one of the most active student groups on SCSU’s campus. SCSU’s chapter of the College Republicans, while not as robust a presence as the Young Americans for Liberty group, are still plenty energized.

According to Pew’s polling, SCSU’s conservative students are pretty much typical in terms of intensity with what they’re finding nationwide.

“This is a generation of young adults who made a big splash politically in 2008,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and co-author of the report. “But a year and a half later, they show signs of disillusionment with the president and, perhaps, with politics itself.”

Democrats saw evidence of this last November, when Republicans removed Democrats from power in the New Jersey and Virginia governors’s races. Young, minority and new voters who Obama pulled into the fold in 2008 did not turn out at the same levels for the two Democratic candidates. The same thing happened in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race last month in which a Republican won a solidly Democratic seat.

With young people supporting him less than enthusiastically, President Obama’s coalition has all but disappeared. His support amongst independents was large and enthusiastic. They’re now supporting Republicans by 2:1 margins. Seniors supported President Obama, too. Thanks to the Democrats’ proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage, seniors have abandoned President Obama, too.

Couple that with the luster going off his speeches and I think it’s safe to say that the lightning has left President Obama’s bottle.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative