President Obama showed "masterful political skill" as he danced around Brett Baier's "deem as passed rule" question on FNC's Special Report Wednesday. He said he supported it, without actually saying it. Mr. Baier did a good job getting that much out of him, though it is actually a view expressed almost every night on Special Report (and other FNC shows) by AB Stoddard, one of the frequent panelists on Mr. Baier's show. It boils down to this: the vote on the rule is politically the same as a vote on the whole health care bill.
It sounds like a good point, but how many Dems who previously voted "no" will try to run on that vote in November, instead of this "rule" vote, whether it passes or fails? Technically, they will be telling the truth. They voted "no" to Obamacare. When they are confronted with their "rule" vote, they will explain, as Pelosi is currently fond of doing, that the GOP has used this gimmick hundreds of times. They'll also use Obama's current talking point of "process" over "substance," saying this was a "procedural" vote, as if it wasn't critical to passing the bill. I can hear them now: "When it came to the substance of the bill, I voted against it." See the Kerry precedent: "I was for the war, before I was against it." Don't think it won't happen.
The rule change has to come from the Rules Committee, headed by Rep. Louise Slaughter of NY. So the President is on the record as supporting the "Slaughter House Deem as Passed" Rule. Sounds scary to me, but it maybe the President won some converts after this interview...or not. This is just an analysis of Baier's first question, and Pres. Obama's response. Here's a link to FNC's "rush" transcript. Look at the transcript, to see how long and evasive his responses were, to put this in context. If you saw the interview, you know that Baier was trying to be probing, and stick to getting answers to his questions, but was hitting a wall. Still, he scored by getting the President to tacitly admit he supported the congressional process.
There are a few things that I have to take issue with, in the President's meandering response:
"You now have a proposal from me that will be in legislation, that has the toughest insurance reforms in history, makes sure that people are able to get insurance even if they've got preexisting conditions, makes sure that we are reducing costs for families and small businesses, by allowing them to buy into a pool, the same kind of pool that members of Congress have."
No, sir, right now, we don't have anything from you, other than vague outlines, which change on a daily basis.
"We know that this is going to reduce the deficit by over a trillion dollars."
No, we don't. Some very smart people think it may increase the deficit by that amount, at least. With the precedent of multi-trillion deficits in existing health care programs, how do you expect us to believe this?
(In response to Baier's interjection of some emailed questions) "I've got the exact same e-mails, that I could show you, that talk about why haven't we done something to make sure that I, a small business person, am getting as good a deal as members of Congress are getting, and don't have my insurance rates jacked up 40 percent?"
This was the second time he seemingly "said" that under Obamacare, all Americans would get the same "deal," or "kind of pool" that "members of Congress" get. He didn't actually say all Americans would be able to afford the same health care options as Congress. He certainly didn't promise anything, because he doesn't have an actual bill that can be read, and translated into normal language, as noted above. He seemed to have "skirted Demon Pass," while "throwing some smoke bombs," to use colorful metaphors.
The President continued this pattern, through most of the interview. I missed the last segment, and haven't read the transcript yet. I'll get to the rest of the questions this weekend, since there won't be any vote in Congress. The President promised it would be online for 72 hours before the vote, so it can't happen until Monday. Wait, he said that on all of the other "votes" since he's been in office, and not one of them were even available online (or offline-neither House nor Senate knew what the bills said) when they were voted on. Damn! I almost believed him...not! Fool me twice, and I'm the fool!
Well done, Brett! You made news with an incisive interview! I look forward to weighing in on the rest, because it gets alot more interesting. You've got alot of statements by the President that are blatant BS, and I'm surely just one of many people pointing it out. Think of this as what I was yelling at the TV during this part of the interview!