Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
On Thursday night, the president sat down in front the most sympathetic television journalist* he could find, to profess to be "sorry" for knowingly being a serial liar to the American people since taking office. Fallout from that interview is still being measured, but here are some of the initial results from talk radio and the Blogosphere. First up, sitting in for Hugh Hewitt yesterday, Carol Platt Liebau, who knew Mr. Obama from their days on the Harvard Law Review, interviewed NBC's Chuck Todd on how he landed the interview with the president, and what surprised him the most about Mr. Obama's faux-apology:
CPL: Chuck, just closing out, we’ve got about 40 seconds left, I mean, were you surprised that the President didn’t just flat-out apologize like Lanny Davis and a bunch of others have suggested he should, instead of sort of giving a lawyerly apology, a carefully, you could see it was carefully worded. Were you surprised?
CT: Look, I thought it was going to happen right of the top. So I was surprised that it didn’t come until the second or, I think it was my second question, the first follow up. But you know, who knows how he thought about it, about how it should come out, how it should look? So, but I will admit, I thought it was going to come right off the top.
CT: But it didn’t, so you know, it would have been shame on me if I didn’t ask for one.
CPL: Well you did, and that was great. So finally, and just briefly, the President has mentioned that he feels badly and he’s working to fix these problems. What, in your view, is it that he can actually do? I mean, is there a legal authority that’s actually going to allow him to do anything meaningful? We’ve got about 25 seconds.
CT: Well, I don’t know. They’re trying to see if they can do it without Congress. They don’t want to go through Congress.
CPL: Yeah, but what kind of regulations can you do at this point?
CT: So, well, it has to do, honestly, they don’t know, yet. They’re negotiating with, I just did a bunch of reporting for this tonight. They’re negotiating with the, you know, you basically have three entities you have to deal with here – the state insurance commissioners, for the state by state issues, the insurance companies, plus the federal, their own federal regulation. I think what they’re trying to come up with is can they basically do regulations that would allow, let’s say you got a cancellation notice, you can’t have the policy you like, but maybe they can get the insurance companies and the regulators to agree well, you know what? If you want to keep that policy, you can renew it through 2014.
As Allahpundit noted at Hot Air, Mr. Obama isn't really sorry for wrecking the insurance market:
He goes on and on and on from [his initial faux-pology to then boast] about how much “better” the new plans on the exchanges are. And you know what he means by that: “Better” = more comprehensive, period. Cost and access to a sizable provider network are almost entirely irrelevant to the calculus. No one seriously believes that, including him, but he needs to pretend in order to justify pushing healthy people into more expensive coverage. Comprehensiveness is mainly just the excuse to gouge them for higher premiums. He’s not sorry at all that people’s plans are being canceled.
"You know, he does not believe he lied on this," NBC's Todd added during his interview with Liebau. As John Nolte writes in response at Big Journalism:
If Obama has convinced himself he didn't lie, that borders on pathological. We now know that as far back as 2010 the president knew eight to nine million people would lose their health insurance. We have him on video admitting to that:The 8 to 9 million people you refer to that might have to change their coverage -- keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we are talking about -- would be folks who the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates would find the deal in the exchange better. Would be a better deal. So, yes, they would change coverage because they got more choice and competition.
The key phrase is Obama admitting that those 8 or 9 million "might have to change their coverage." And that video is the smoking gun equivalent of finding video of President George W. Bush admitting he knew all along that Iraq had no WMD.
And yet, straight through the 2012 election, Obama continued his campaign to reassure the American people that they could keep their insurance. Period.
And are still claiming on the White House Website:
The promise the president apologized for is STILL on the White House website. pic.twitter.com/NmvnEjrPnE
— Mike Enzi (@SenatorEnzi) November 8, 2013
On the other hand, at Mediaite, Noah Rothman writes that "Obama Burns Media Supporters with Apology." There's too much to quote from Rothman's piece, which notes that the New York Times, juicebox mafioso Ezra Klein (and by extension, presumably the rest of the JournoList), and others who support the eventual goal of what is Orwellianly described as single-payer healthcare** are being made fools of by the president in his attempt to salvage his ever-diminishing reputation, and protect those vulnerable Democrats next year who voted for Obamacare in 2010. As Noemie Emery writes in the Washington Examiner:
The employer mandate, set for next year, may cancel existing plans for as many as 93 million Americans just in time for 2014 midterms, and Obama is no longer the force that he was.
In 2009-2010, he was still the boy wonder, so crippling him at the start of his term was considered unthinkable and opposing his signature act was a sin.
In 2014, he’ll be battered and dinged, a lame duck on his way out, his personal approval ratings down around 40 percent for the first time ever. And this is before he was known to have lied about Americans being able to keep their coverage.
By 2014, opposing him may be tempting even for Democrats. “What we're seeing,” a New Hampshire political scientist told Richard Cowen of Reuters, is Shaheen “trying to limit her personal downside.” If going out on a limb for Obama starts getting risky, she'll go back to the trunk of the tree.
So may large numbers of dubious squirrels. For the future of health care, cast your eyes leftward. For the time being, cherchez les Dems.
We'll explore another revealing moment that occurred during the president's faux-pology interview a moment, but first, some backstory to lay the groundwork. After Obama prototype George McGovern lost his reelection bid to the Senate in 1980, he attempted to open, Bob Newhart-style, a Connecticut inn. After years of being in the Senate and routinely fleecing businesses to feed Washington’s ravenous coffers, he found out the hard way just how difficult running a private enterprise could be:
George McGovern laments that after his experience in the bed-and-breakfast business he realizes that laws and regulations pertaining to small business are actually hurting the lower-wage workers whom he had tried to help during his entire political career. With his Stratford Inn in bankruptcy, McGovern now says:In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business…. I wish that during the years I was in public office I had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better Senator and a more understanding presidential contender… To create job opportunities, we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.
As James Lileks noted last night on the Internet-only “Aftershow” segment of the Hugh Hewitt Show, Barack Obama was portrayed as being a high-tech wonk by the media in 2008, for little reason other than his MSM supporters also fancy themselves to be high-tech wonks, ergo, their favorite presidential candidate must be one himself.
Somewhat like permanent politician George McGovern discovering the challenges of the business world, Ann Althouse adds that during his interview with Todd, “Obama admits government — compared to the private sector — is far less capable of accomplishing anything on computers":
That is, many have pointed out that his campaign website was really good, so why didn't that mean that he'd be good at setting up a health insurance website? The answer is that the government is bad because the government is hampered by... government!And how we write -- specifications and -- and how the -- the whole things gets built out. So part of what I'm gonna be looking at is how do we across the board, across the federal government, leap into the 21st century.
I love the combination of: 1. Barely able to articulate what the hell happens inside these computer systems, and 2. Wanting to leap!Because when it comes to medical records for veterans, it's still done in paper. Medicaid is still largely done on paper.
When we buy I.T. services generally, it is so bureaucratic and so cumbersome that a whole bunch of it doesn't work or it ends up being way over cost.
This should have made him sympathetic to the way government burdens private enterprise, but he's focused on liberating government to take over more of what has been done privately. And yet there's no plan, no idea about what would suddenly enable government to displace private businesses competing to offer a product people want to buy.
All of which dovetails perfectly with a recent Kinsleyesque gaffe by another far left McGovernite, California's Jerry Brown:
PERFECT description of liberalism. RT @daveweigel Jerry Brown: "Government can best solve the problems that it, at first, creates." #CAP10
— jon gabriel (@exjon) October 24, 2013
Not to mention, what David Harsanyi of the Federalist describes as "Obamacare’s Ugly Authoritarian Problem," which boils down to: we're politicians, public servants. But we know better than the voters what's best for them. Purely because we're politicians who enjoy making once free markets no longer free.
And unlike businessmen in the real world when they're caught lying to the public and reneging on contractual agreements, at NRO, Andrew McCarthy frets that Mr. Obama will pay little price for his enormous malfeasance beyond his now permanently tarnished reputation:
Barack Obama is guilty of fraud — serial fraud — that is orders of magnitude more serious than frauds the Justice Department routinely prosecutes, and that courts punish harshly. The victims will be out billions of dollars, quite apart from other anxiety and disruption that will befall them.
The president will not be prosecuted, of course, but that is immaterial. As discussed here before, the remedy for profound presidential corruption is political, not legal. It is impeachment and removal. “High crimes and misdemeanors” — the Constitution’s predicate for impeachment — need not be indictable offenses under the criminal code. “They relate chiefly,” Hamilton explained in Federalist No. 65, “to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” They involve scandalous breaches of the public trust by officials in whom solemn fiduciary duties are reposed — like a president who looks Americans in the eye and declares, repeatedly, that they can keep their health insurance plans . . . even as he studiously orchestrates the regulatory termination of those plans; even as he shifts blame to the insurance companies for his malfeasance — just as he shifted blame to a hapless video producer for his shocking dereliction of duty during the Benghazi massacre.
It is highly unlikely that Barack Obama will ever be impeached. It is certain that he will never again be trusted. Republicans and sensible Democrats take heed: The nation may not have the stomach to remove a charlatan, but the nation knows he is a charlatan. The American people will not think twice about taking out their frustration and mounting anger on those who collaborate in his schemes.
But that includes the GOP as well. Linking to Rush Limbaugh's advice to the GOP to not let the Democrats delay Obamacare, Ace advises the GOP that "We can't be seen as trying to stick it to people. That's what's killing Obama now, that he's doing just that. If we join him, or trade places with him (him seeking a delay, us demanding on Maximum Compliance), we'll be savaged." Instead, he recommends "a delay, but with two important caveats." I'll send you over there to read them, to wrap up this post -- at least until the next details of Barackalypse Now emerge.
(As I was assembling this post, I noticed that Pejman Yousefzadeh of Ricochet already used the same headline -- as likely did others over the past couple of days. His post is also well worth your time.)
** As does Mr. Obama himself, of course.