Quote of the Day

“The politics and economics of health care are plain wacky.  From the moment, in early 2009, when Obama backed away from the public option and embraced Romneycare, things have been turned upside down with liberals supporting a costly and hideously complicated giveaway to the health-care industry, and conservatives depicting a reform that originated at the Heritage Foundation as a socialist takeover.  People on both sides are spouting claims that five years ago they would have dismissed as arrant nonsense.”

John Cassidy, “John Roberts and Mitt Romney:  Two Peas in a Pod,” The New Yorker

Bobby Jindal’s Freudian Slip

In a conference call for Mitt’s campaign, Jindal had a Freudian slip and referred to Obamacare as “Obamneycare,” that unfortunate (but true) term coined by Tim Pawlently during the primary.

If he had any shot at being Veep, that slip was the “death panel” for his chances.  Mitt is more likely to pick Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Buh-buh, Bobby.

The GOP Wrapped in a Pretzel

The GOP/Fox News machine is twisting itself into a pretzel over the “mandate is a tax” part of the Obamacare decision.  They now effectively have their heads up their tushes.

First, they demonize Justice Roberts for calling the thing a tax.  It’s not a tax, he’s wrong, he’s evil, he’s a moron.

But then, in the next breath, they turn around and start campaigning against Obama for imposing this horrible new tax.  It is a tax.  It is, it is!  We are going to call it a tax every minute of every day from now till November.

So eight Supreme Court justices from both the left and the right agree that the mandate was purposefully written as a penalty and is not a tax.  The GOP and Fox say these justices have interpreted the Constitution correctly, but when President Obama says it’s not a tax, he’s no legal scholar, he’s a liar.

You can say it’s not a tax if your name is Antonin Scalia, but not if your name is Barack Hussein Obama.

They’re Baaaaaack!

Tea Party groups across the country are rallying for demonstrations on July 4th to protest the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Obamacare.  So we can’t even celebrate our country’s birthday in peace.

As you head off to picnics and parades, watch out for obese people bursting the buttons of their breeches, unironically hoisting signs that read “Keep your government hands off my Medicare.”

Maybe He Should Write It on His Hand

Mitt doesn’t know what his own immigration policy is.  In an interview with far-right web site Newsmax, Mittens said illegals who come here as children should be able to gain permanent status if they serve in the military or have advanced degrees.  This “advanced degrees” criterion was new and initially seemed to signal a more illegal-friendly policy change.  But his campaign quickly yanked back the leash and said ix-nay on the advanced degrees deal.

Let’s cut him some slack.  When you flip flop as much as he does on just about every issue, it’s not easy to keep track of what’s the policy du jour.

Crocodile Tears Over Our Lost “Freedom”

Peggy Noonan’s latest column — “Obama Has a Good Day (But liberty has a bad one)” — complains that “The ruling strikes me as very bad for the atmosphere of freedom in our country.”

You know, that wonderful freedom to choose not to have health insurance, crash your motorcycle into a truck, and stick your fellow Americans with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for your care.  I’m sure that’s what the Founding Fathers saw as the essence of freedom, a God-given right to be a burden and a free-loader.

The GOP’s betrayal of the individual mandate they loved for two decades is worthy of John Edwards.

If the individual mandate had become law under President Bush or a President McCain, we all know Noonan would have been cheer-leading in a column that read “The ruling strikes me as very good for the atmosphere of personal responsibility in our country.”

Nurse Merkel Offers More Bandaids

At the European Summit, Italy, France, and Spain did their best to gang up on Germany, but didn’t get much in return.  Merkel is still vehemently opposed to euro bonds, and I don’t see that changing, no matter what.

Italy and Spain will find it easier to get aid from the European bailout fund (the European Stability Mechanism or ESM), but the ESM didn’t get any more money.  Its maximum is still about $633 billion, when Italy and Spain owe about five times that amount.

The ESM will put money directly into Spanish banks rather than using the Spanish government as a pass-through.  And private bondholders of Spanish banks won’t be subordinate to government bond holders.

Such tiny steps have failed to satisfy the markets in the past.

By refusing to “go big,” Europe’s leaders are setting up the euro zone to go bust.


From Incentive to Tyranny

Mitt Romney, “Mr. President, what’s the rush?,” USA Today, July 30, 2009:

“No other state has made as much progress in covering their uninsured as Massachusetts.

“Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank.  First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance.  Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.  This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.”  Emphasis added.

So now Mitt sees the mandate as tyranny, the end to liberty as we know it.  But three years ago, it was just an ‘incentive’ to encourage personal responsibility, something Republicans are always yelling and screaming about as they seek to cut Medicaid and Schip and food stamps and extended unemployment benefits.

The GOP and Fox News are now ranting that Obamacare is a tax increase on every American.  In Massachusetts, only about 1% have chosen to pay the Romneycare tax for not having health insurance.  The CBO has estimated that about 4 million Americans will owe the tax, so less than 1% of the population.

Exactly how is a tax that 99% of the population won’t pay a tax increase on every American?


You Got Nothin’, GOP

According to focus groups, the GOP’s best argument against President Obama has been that he is weak and ineffective and simply not up to the job.  I don’t see how you have that argument against the guy who killed bin Laden and many other Al Qaeda leaders abroad and got health reform passed at home.

As I’ve written, I don’t like Obamacare and would have reformed health care differently, but I also recognize that the GOP has had many opportunities since the end of World War II to get rid of the absurd employer-based model, which we got not because it was a brilliant way to deliver health care, but simply as a way to get around wartime wage and price controls.

Also, if you’re going to argue the incumbent president is weak, you must offer a sharp contrast — a bold, decisive leader who takes strong stands.  Mitt is not that guy.  His lips may be moving, but he’s not saying anything.  If he were a statute, he’d be “void for vagueness.”  Aside from his inability to connect with average people, he’s a mealy-mouthed milquetoast.