Ed Driscoll

Up From The Memory Hole

At the Corner, Daniel Foster on the incredible disappearing, reappearing GOP health care proposal:

Perhaps the most widely repeated Democratic talking point in advance of tomorrow’s health-care summit is that the Republicans have yet to offer an alternative plan of their own. The point is not that Republican alternatives are misguided or underdeveloped, mind you, but that they don’t exist. By any and every measure, this is false.

And yet it persists with a kind of Orwellian rigor, as if every Republican health-care proposal on offer could be “disappeared” by the brute-force insistence that they never were.

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that if the Republicans posted an alternative to Obama’s plan, he’d be happy to post it on the White House web site:

“The president posted ideas of his on the White House website today. We hope Republicans will post their ideas either on their website, or we’d be happy to post them on ours, so that the American people could come to one location and find out the parameters of what will largely be discussed on Thursday,” Gibbs said.

But as Politico quickly discovered, Gibbs “may need to read the White House website more closely.”

Turns out the House Republicans’ plan has been online since October and already has its own link on the White House website. The White House encourages readers to “read more about House and Senate ideas from both parties on their websites.” The link sends readers to a House GOP website that includes a one-page summary sheet and the legislative text of their proposals.

Congressional Republicans were also quick to answer with a post of their own: “Where is the Republican health-care plan? Right here, CBO scored.” And, unlike the president’s plan, which can’t be scored by the CBO due to its lack of detail, the Republican plan will lower health-care premiums by 10 percent.

And yet for all that, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer went right back into denial this morning, asking on the White House blog, “Will the Republicans Post Their Health Plan . . . and When?”

Of course, Pfeiffer moves the goal posts on Republicans — calling for a grand, unified plan instead of “a collection of piecemeal & sometimes conflicting ideas.” But that doesn’t scan. At issue is precisely whether health-care cost and access problems are best addressed by a massive new entitlement structure that would socialize costs and guarantee access by mandate and price controls, or by a series of smaller, targeted reforms and incentives. It won’t do for Pfeiffer to say the Republican plan isn’t a plan at all because it isn’t more like Obamacare.

To their credit, the mainstream media couldn’t pass up reporting on Pfeiffer’s glaring disingenousness, and Twitter was alive this morning with D.C. correspondents forwarding links to the GOP plan. Ironically, this is perhaps the most exposure the Republican plan has so far received, and all it took was the Democrats saying that it didn’t exist.

So what will happen with the Democrats’ plan, the one that’s working its way through Congress? Allahpundit believes that the votes aren’t there:

Stupak called Obama’s abortion language “unacceptable” this morning. Assuming he’s not bluffing about those 10 to 12 pro-life Dems, Pelosi now needs roughly a dozen more yeses while not losing a single moderate or progressive, many of whom are doubtless irritated that The One didn’t use his own bill for an eleventh-hour push at the public option. One way Obama could have helped her was by introducing a stripped-down bill instead of the comprehensive leviathan he dropped yesterday — Blue Dog leader Heath Shuler wondered aloud this morning why he didn’t do precisely that — but the White House insists that, because the problems with health-care policy are interlocking, you can’t address one without addressing all of them. Which is awfully conscientious of them, but doesn’t quite jibe with the “we’ll pass anything we can pass to claim a political victory” vibe of the past, oh, six months. An alternative explanation from former Bush economist Keith Hennessey: They know they don’t have the votes and this is all just a blame-shifting exit strategy.

On the other hand, as Melissa Clouthier writes, “This battle ain’t over ’til it’s over. And the Congress leaders on the left and President Obama know November will be a bloodbath anyway. They want something to show for it. Don’t underestimate their determination.”