Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cruising the Web

Now they can tell us.
Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said that lack of transparency was a major part of getting Obamacare passed because “the stupidity of the American voter” would have killed the law if more people knew what was in it.

Gruber, the MIT professor who served as a technical consultant to the Obama administration during Obamacare’s design, also made clear during a panel quietly captured on video that the individual mandate, which was only upheld by the Supreme Court because it was a tax, was not actually a tax.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
Hey, Mr. Gruber, crafting Obamacare was not like the Constitutional Convention where secrecy was necessary to craft the compromises necessary to forge the Constitution. The lack of open legislation in pushing through Obamacare prevented corrections of mistakes that are now coming back to bite the Democrats. And now Gruber is bragging about how they gamed the CBO. And he could add in how John Roberts was also gamed. And a whole lot of Democratic senators who are no longer in the Senate. Jim Treacher and Josh Jordan tweet what Gruber is really saying.

Jonah Goldberg notes what a lot of people have started noting - the only thing Barack Obama has ever been good at is promoting himself.
know Barack Obama is good at least one thing -- getting Barack Obama elected president of the United States. How good he is at being president of the United States is a subject of considerable debate. A less debatable proposition: He is just plain awful at running a political party.

People often forget that among the many formal roles the president has -- commander in chief, first diplomat, etc. -- he is also the leader of his own party. And in that role, he stinks.
And he's stunk as president also. But just think of what an opportunity he would have had for a true partisan realignment if he'd governed as he promised he'd govern instead of as a partisan leader who had no interest in compromise.
In Tuesday's wake, any talk of an Obama-fueled realignment seems delusional. Young voters have soured on the president. Hispanics didn't show up. Contrary to a lot of spinning early election night, this wasn't an "anti-incumbent wave"; it was an anti-Democratic, or more properly, an anti-Obama wave. The GOP captured Senate seats in Iowa and Colorado, each of which voted for Obama twice. The governor's race in deep-blue Maryland, where Mr. Obama campaigned, went to the Republican as did Mr. Obama's home state of Illinois and liberal Massachusetts. Incumbent Republicans triumphed almost everywhere while incumbent Democrats lost almost everywhere.

When the next Senate convenes, 25 more Democrats who voted for Obamacare will be gone, and the GOP's majority in the House will be so big and solid that NBC's Chuck Todd says Democrats won't be able to recapture it until at least 2022.

But Obama is still the president, which is apparently all he ever cared about.

Ryan Lizza writes in The New Yorker about the history in Democratic nomination politics of a dark horse running to challenge the supposed front-runner for the nomination. That challenger doesn't win, but does force the front-runner to have to answer some salient attacks from his or her own party. Lizza then looks at the most likely challengers to Hillary's inevitability: Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, or Bernie Sanders. None of them would seem to have a chance, but Hillary would probably benefit from having to defend herself in the primaries instead of coasting to a coronation.

Politico sets up the question of whether Democrats will ram through remaining Obama appointees during the lame duck session or whether he'll frustrate the administration's desires to get as many nominees approved as possible before the Republicans take over. Oh, come on. When has Harry Reid ever let future comity get in the way of the administration's partisan demands?

Michael Wolff writes in MSNBC in USA Today about how the election also signaled a major loss for MSNBC. And what do they have to look forward to?
In character terms, the problem is making Obama sympathetic and compelling when he appears not to want to be either of those things. In dramatic terms, the problem is that he seems inclined to shrink in the face conflict rather than rise to it. Who really is eager to watch the Obama show?

Then, in a major setback for MSNBC, the upcoming presidential election, ordinarily a reliable narrative of shifting alliance and oddball characters and, ideally, uncertain outcome, is frozen in place by Hillary Clinton. There is no story as far as the Democrats are concerned. There is nothing to unfold.

Who, but a dedicated masochist, will diligently watch that show? Clinton is a purposeful non-character. And what she stands for, largely some grand establishment return, is the opposite of the sense of insurgency that makes for political storytelling. Such storytelling is what Ailes has so successfully, and for so long, convinced Republicans was good for them. (Of course, good for him, as well.)

Jon Stewart makes a rather ugly, and false, slam at George W. Bush's painting hobby compared to Jimmy Carter's charity efforts. As Mediate's Joe Concha points out, George W. Bush has done a lot for charity - he just doesn't do as much of it in front of cameras as Stewart might prefer.
Whether it’s in Africa or back here at home via his active support of the Wounded Warriors Foundation (as well as nine other charities), for Stewart to call into question Bush, or any president in this regard just looks and sounds petty. Fact is, all of our former living presidents do tremendous charity work. All make efforts to make the world a better place through their power and influence.

And oftentimes, they even team up. For example, after his tenure in the White House, Mr. Bush also traveled to Haiti following a devastating earthquake that killed up to 160,000 people. Joining Bush was former President Clinton, who similarly has made a huge impact via his massive Clinton Global Initiative, a mega-charity started from scratch at the turn of the century. Before Bush 43, Mr. Clinton also worked for over a decade with the man he defeated in 1992, former President George H.W. Bush, most recently launching the Presidential Leadership Scholars program in September. Then there’s the aforementioned Mr. Carter–who even at age 90–continues to work tirelessly both at home (Habitat for Humanity, The Carter Center, among others) and overseas for those in need, which is something he’s always done since leaving office a scant 33 years ago.

Add it all up, and any American who sees and reads about these good deeds being carried out by the 39th, 41st, 42nd and 43rd presidents should feel proud these guys are using their influence, determination and inherent instinct to serve to help make millions of lives better while saving millions more in the process.

Jon Stewart earns $30 million annually. And he donates to various charities. Good for him.

But for him to create some kind of contest between former presidents in portraying one as aloof and uncaring illustrates just how divisive Mr. Stewart can get, perhaps when a teleprompter is no longer at his disposal.
Right now, just in time for Veterans' Day, George W. Bush is publicizing his personal biograpy about his father, 41: A Portrait of My Father.

How the Democratic Party's plans to run a Hispanic in a New Mexico district bordering Mexico didn't quite work out the way they envisioned.