Desperate Dems Cling to Human Kiddie Shield
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Have you noticed something about the audiences that President Obama has cherry-picked to cheer his government health care takeover roadshow? They're getting younger and younger.
On Wednesday, Obama brings the traveling campaign to St. Charles High School in St. Louis, Mo., for a closed-door, invitation-only speech. If he doesn't end the endless "No More Time For Talk" talks soon, he'll be peddling Democratic reconciliation tactics on "Dora the Explorer" and "SpongeBob SquarePants."
But desperate times call for demagogic measures. True to form, the Obama White House is wielding the human kiddie shield as its last-stand defense for Demcare.
On Monday, Obama surrounded himself with a ticketed-only crowd of Arcadia University college students in Pennsylvania (sprinkled with purple-shirted officials from the Service Employees International Union, natch). The Washington-based commander in chief traveled outside his Beltway bubble to a campus bubble to trash the political climate, which he leads.
"That's just how Washington is. They can't help it," he pontificated as the idealistic young students nodded like empty bobbleheads. "They"?
You won't be surprised by Obama's biggest applause line of the speech: peddling a Big Nanny provision in the Senate-passed health care bill that requires insurance plans that cover dependents to provide benefits to children up to age 26. Vowed Santa Obama: "If you're a young adult, which many of you are, you'll be able to stay on your parents' insurance policy until you're 26 years old." Whoops and huzzahs erupted from the eager wards of the permanent, ever-expanding Nanny State.
As I've reported before, there are now an estimated 20 states that have already passed legislation requiring insurers to cover adult children. The slacker mandates cover "kids" ranging in age from 24 to 31. And it's these very government health care mandates that contribute to rising health care costs.
But there was no time for higher learning at Arcadia University. Out: education. In: adulation. "I love you!" screamed a cult follower in the stands. "Love you back," Obama responded.
Now comes word from The Hill that Senate Democratic leaders want to graft Obama's single-payer plan to nationalize the student loan market onto the Senate health care reconciliation bill. That way, Obama's college-age foot soldiers can argue that a vote against Demcare is a vote against The Children.
How low can they go? One of Obama's youngest lobbyists -- 11-year-old Marcelas Owens of Washington State -- traveled to D.C. on Tuesday on the dime of astroturf group HCAN (Health Care for America Now). His 27-year-old mother, Tiffany, died of pulmonary hypertension. According to the family, Ms. Owens -- a single mother of three -- lost her job as a fast-food manager and lost her insurance. She received emergency care and treatment throughout her illness, but died in 2007.
Young Marcelas -- goaded by his left-wing activist grandmother and promoted by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray -- is now a regular on the pro-Obamacare circuit and is leading a congressional sit-in until the Democratic plan passes. He admits he doesn't understand the complexities of health insurance reform and doesn't "think it's anyone's fault" that his mom passed away. "But they could have done more" for her, he says.
It's a heart-wrenching story, but the tale raises more questions than it answers. Washington State offers a plethora of existing government assistance programs to laid-off and unemployed workers like Marcelas' mom. Why didn't she enroll? Second, she died nine months after she reportedly lost her health insurance. By the time she lost her coverage through her employer, she was apparently already in dire health straits. It's not clear that additional doctors' visits in the subsequent months would have prevented her death.
All that said, the Owens' case demonstrates the flaws of the employer-based system of health insurance. It needs real reform. Unfortunately, the current crop of Democratic plans would leave the employer-based system fully intact. What we need are grownups to start over from scratch and leave the kids on the playground.
The Democrats' Pickett's Charge
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
And now the House Democrats line up at the instruction of their blind commanders for a final charge into glory as they battle to foist a health care system on a country that neither wants it nor can afford it. The charge may or may not reach its objective. But one thing is certain: The carnage among those who vote for health care will remind Civil War buffs of Pickett's Charge on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
As a French general who witnessed the spectacle said, "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre." (It is magnificent, but it's not war.) The sight of so many Democrats throwing away their political careers may be arresting, but it is not politics.
Before this last, demented attempt to pass health care, the Democrats would have lost control of the House anyway. But with it, they face the loss of a historically high number of seats -- perhaps more than 80.
The final fight over health care boils down to a simple formulation: The People vs. Pelosi. In district after district, the next 10 days will feature an aroused citizenry demanding a no vote while an ideologically motivated speaker demands assent. The echo of this push/pull will take place in the minds of the Democratic House members. Each will ask himself whether he is really prepared to throw away his career for this vote. Is this it? Is this legislation worth the end of line?
To arouse public opinion, anti-Obamacare groups are drilling down to the congressional district level and running ads in each swing congressman's backyard pressuring their member to vote no. The League of American Voters is now running ads in the following districts: Baron Hill, D-Ind., Mark Schauer, D-Mich., Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y., Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pa., Chris Carney, D-Pa., Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., Tom Perriello, D-Va., Steve Kagen, D-Wis., Alan Mollohan, D-W.V., and Nick Rahall, D-W.V.
It will shortly start running ads in these districts: Earl Pomeroy, N.D.-Ala., Alan Boyd, D-Fla., Bill Owens, D-N.Y., Jim Matheson, D-Utah, Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., and Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
The ads all feature the telephone numbers of the representatives. They will be hearing -- at some length, we suspect -- from their constituents. Will the din of those who vote on their re-election drown out the pushing of the speaker who doles out their privileges?
For his part, President Obama is, pathetically, again switching his rationale for his program. Having started as an effort to cover the uninsured and then morphed into an attempt to lower health costs and then metastasized into a deficit-reduction measure, it has now become a vehicle for insurance regulation. Of course, voters realize that the regulatory features of this bill could easily stand alone and pass in a heartbeat. The only thing that is holding up their enactment is that Obama won't sign a bill that doesn't have his socialized medicine designs in it.
The dilemma each marginal Democrat faces is akin to that which confronted Republicans in 1974, when they wondered if they would go down with the ship opposing Richard Nixon's impeachment, or that which faced Democrats in 1968, when they dreaded defending the War in Vietnam one more election cycle. But those who refuse to follow the marching orders of their deranged leadership and who opt, instead, for the survival of their party -- to say nothing of their own -- will do themselves and their party a major service in voting no.