Archive for Wed, Sep 2, 2009

H2: 09/02/09 David Allen White

09020902 Hugh Hewitt: Hour 2 – Hugh continues to talk to callers about Obama’s desperate back to back plea with schoolchildren and then Congress next week, then talks Shakespeare and arts with America’s professor, David Allen White.

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H1: 09/02/09 Mike Allen, Dan Danner

09020901 Hugh Hewitt: Hour 1 – Hugh talks politics with Politico reporter Mike Allen, and then health care reform with Dan Danner of the National Federation of Independent Business.

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The President’s Hail Mary

Sigh. Yet another hectoring on why we should want to dismantle American medicine and pay more to do so from the POTUS on the TOTUS. Breathless reports from CNN about Olympia Snowe’s willingness to deal aside, the White House looks desperate at this point, and with public opinion turning as rapidly as it has against Obamacare, that desperation is understandable.

People warned the president about overexposure, and now he’s already in reruns eight months into his presidency. Obamafatigue has set in, and ham-handed stunts like addressing the nation’s school children only add to the woes of a White House stuck with a thinly-disguised push to single payer built on the rationing of medical services to seniors.

The only question of interest now is how many Democratic incumbents are willing to lose their seats in service to President Obama. Pushing through any “reform” at this point could cost Democrats massively in November, 2010. I suppose there are a few Alinskyites who don’t mind being retired in order to advance the president’s agenda. Enough to pass Obamacare though?

Talking to AARP About Health Care Reform

The big news of the morning is the president’s partial retreat on the so-called “government option/public plan” (which could be just another in a series of head fakes on this subject), but even if this a real abandonment of the worst feature of Obamacare, my long interview with AARP’s legislative director David Cetner on yesterday’s program should encourage everyone to stay in the battle to defeat even the (very large) rump of Obamacare.

The transcript of the interview is here. The podcast is here. If you post an analysis of Mr. Certner’s responses, send me a link. Your comments on the interview can be posted at Hughniverse if you have subscribed.

I hope one of the Beltway analysts of the details of the various proposals gives Mr. Certner’s responses a thorough going-over, especially for their implications for Medicare services. Medicare seems to me to be in for a frightening-to-seniors top-to-bottom overhaul from which money will squeezed at every step not for the purpose of making Medicare fiscally sustainable, but in order to subsidize other experiments with our health cares systems, leaving Medicare truncated and still broke.

Mr. Certner says things like “preauthorization of MRIs for seniors” isn’t rationing, but if the preauthorization is declined or delayed, of course it is rationing. There’s a lot of slipperiness in his responses.

And of course there isn’t a lick of tort reform in the bill, no matter what Mr. Certner says to me.

Here is the Politico.com article alleging huge funding of the former Axelrod firm by a broad coalition of Obamacare advocates. AARP is not named in the article but Mr. Certner’s ambiguous answer left me wondering whether AARP is in fact part of that coalition referenced by Kenneth Vogel.

I appreciate Mr. Certner’s willingness to appear and answer questions, but I reacted just as my audience did: There was very little candor here and a lot of evasion and defensiveness about AARP’s agenda and the impact on seniors.

Draw your own conclusions, but if I was covered by Medicare, not only would I have long ago signed the petition opposing Obamacare, I’d be forwarding the petition to friends and I’d be jamming my Congressman’s and senators’ phones with demands that this mess be shelved and a new bill begun –in the open, with robust tort reform, and with the objective of fixing Medicare first, not using it to prop up the path to single payer.

A final note: Mr. Certner refused to disclose for whom he had worked when he worked on the Hill. I found it very odd, but if anyone happens to know the answer to that, please send it along to hugh@hughhewitt.com.

The President’s Command Performance For America’s Children

Here’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s letter to principles announcing President Obama’s speech to America’s schoolchildren on September 8.

Here’s the list of suggested classroom activities for before, during, and after the speech for grades pre-K to 6, and for grades 7 to 12.

In the section for pre-K to 6th graders titled “Extension of the Speech: Teachers can extend learning by having students” is this suggestion:

• Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.

Liberals will say critics of this “first ever” presidential speech to students are politicizing a nice gesture by the president about the importance of learning.

But the widespread and growing objection to the idea is that the president has no business injecting himself into every classroom or suggesting to teachers that they help students figure out how they can help the president. If W has tried such a stunt he would have been rightfully roasted for doing so. It is a terrible idea, and ought to be abandoned, but won’t be. Parents who object to the exercise are going to find themselves mocked, but many will do so nonetheless. Whether they will be listened to remains to be seen.

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