Just before midnight Saturday, the House rammed through the 2,000 page monstrosity laughingly known as the health care bill. I’d say they did it under cover of night, reneging on a promise of a 72-hour waiting period. Again, who read this thing? How much arm twisting was involved to prevail in this close vote of 220-215? All across the net there is a rather horrifying picture of a delusional Nancy Pelosi with a victorious grin on her face, overjoyed at an accomplishment that ignores the concerns of a plurality of the American people, who are now opposed to, or at the very least, dubious about the measures she sought so feverishly to pass.

Ironic that yesterday, NY Times columnist Charles Blow, certainly an Obama cheerleader from way back, penned a column entitled Obama’s to Fix, in which he cautions the President to stop blaming George Bush for the “mess” he inherited. Clearly, our President, far from undoing such a mess, is daily making a bigger one of his own. Mr. Blow begins with this ominous phrase:

What a difference a year makes.

In October 2008, the candidate Barack Obama delivered a major economic speech in Toledo, Ohio. In it he said: “Right now, we face an immediate economic emergency, and that requires urgent action. We can’t wait to help workers and families and communities who are struggling right now — who don’t know if their job or their retirement will be there tomorrow; who don’t know if next week’s paycheck will cover this month’s bills. … We need to pass an economic rescue plan for the middle-class, and we need to do it not five years from now, not next year, we need to do it right now.

“So today I’m proposing a number of steps that we should take immediately to stabilize our financial system, provide relief to families and communities and help struggling homeowners. It’s a plan that begins with one word that’s on everybody’s mind, and it’s easy to spell: J-O-B-S.”

“Right now,” “immediate economic emergency,” “requires urgent action,” “can’t wait.” Wow! He gave the impression that job creation would be his top priority, that action would be swift and effective, that his solutions would not only stanch the hemorrhaging, but reverse the trend.

He has not made jobs his top priority. This health care debacle, bailing out Wall Street, getting into the car business and generally putting money into the pockets of everyone except those who need it have all taken priority over putting Americans back to work. And, no, putting an extra $13 a week into people’s paychecks is not going to do the trick when as Mr. Blow points out the new official labor statistics have us at 10.2 unemployment, which is an increase of “more than 50 percent from the time Obama gave that speech.”

“(By the way, the underemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who want to work full time and those who’ve given up searching, is a staggering 17.5 percent.)”

I am still at a loss to understand why there was such a great urgency to pass health care legislation that is not supposed to go into effect for more than three years. Someone on another blog made the observation that Obama and Pelosi et al are using the economic crisis and joblessness as a weapon to pass their agenda. As people are panicked at losing their jobs and their healthcare, they are more likely to look to government to bail them out – and more amenable. As Rahm Emanuel said, “never waste a good crisis.” What better time to ram this through. Mr. Blow continues:

Job creation has dropped from top priority to one of many, and President Obama has been remanded to pandering for patience and offering excuses. On the one hand, he argues the tortured rationale that there is good news in the awful numbers: Things are still getting worse but at a slower pace. On the other, he incessantly reminds us that he inherited the crisis. The implication: Don’t blame me, blame Bush.

But this president can’t keep deflecting to the last one. Pain is presently felt. The crisis that took form on Bush’s watch is being experienced on Obama’s. Fair or not, finger-pointing is not effective policy.

This is now Obama’s crisis, and it carries political consequences. During Tuesday’s gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, nearly 9 in 10 voters said that they were worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year. And the majority of those who held that view voted for the Republican candidates. This could portend a flashback to 1994.

It isn’t President Obama’s fault that he inherited this mess, but it is his to fix, and he must make haste. To paraphrase his Toledo prelection: you need to do it not five years from now, not next year, you need to do it right now. J-O-B-S.

There were many options to put people back to work this year if that was really the priority. Clearly it was not. This President spent almost a billion dollars to get his job. I don’t want to hear complaints now. Obviously, he inherited a mess, which he has made worse with reckless spending. No one expects him to fix everything in the space of a year, but I thought his “good judgment” meant he knew how to prioritize. We need leadership and part of that involves sacrificing one’s ego to help those who need it most. That is far more important than pushing legislation just for the purpose of putting a check mark next to one’s name. You don’t not spend billions, even trillions, you don’t have at a time like this. Since this bunch so miscalculated on their $787 billion stimulus package, I am not inclined to trust them now by handing over 1/6 of the economy to their stewardship.

It is interesting that Mr. Blow, who played the race card on Mr. Obama’s behalf last year, is now joining the ever increasing number of his pundit supporters who are having problems with his endless campaigning, blaming and wrongheaded focus.

As to the health care debate, I called my Congressman’s office Friday morning to complain about the bill and his assistant debated the merits with me. At least she took the time to do so. It was a shame she was wrong on the facts. I told her to go back and read the thing. Now we have a 2,000 page beast that the Senate must contend with and we are told it will never pass in its current form. So why the rush? Why wouldn’t this Administration be in the same kind of rush to help get people back to work?

There are 237 millionaires in Congress. Perhaps that explains why they have difficulty relating to the urgent need to put millions of Americans back of work, instead manufacturing an urgent need to pass labrynthian legislation for the mere purpose of saying “Mission Accomplished.”

Hmm. Where have we heard that phrase before?

  • LDW

    I am still not in favour of Obama’s Healthcare legislation, because I don’t think it addresses the single most important issue facing Americans: the for-profit system in America is twice as expensive as the average for OECD nations. Even by spending twice as much, Americans only rate 37th in outcomes, according to the World Health Organization, and 47 Americans are uninsured.

    If the United States were to adopt a healthcare system modelled after countries like France, Germany, Britain, Canada, or even Switzerland, all Americans would be insured for at least 20% less than Americans are presently spending.

    If fair, universal healthcare were instituted in the US, businesses, entrepeneurs, and individuals would reap the benefits. Healthcare costs would become a ‘level playing field’, and companies would be better able to compete nationally and internationally. Entrepreneurs would be able to start companies knowing in advance what the company contribution to healthcare was, regardless of the health or pre-existing conditions in their employees. Individuals would be free to change jobs, or return to studies without losing even a day of coverage. The unemployed would also be covered.

    And basic healthcare in other OECD countries is very comprehensive, including doctor’s visits for checkups and preventive care, diagnostic tests of all kinds, treatment for cancer, and elective and emergency surgery, including transplant surgery. People in other OECD countries have comprehensive healthcare for life, and can’t lose it because of a pre-existing condition or ‘lifetime cap’ on a policy.

    Total spending on health care, per person, 2007
    United States: $7290
    France: $3601
    Germany: $3588
    United Kingdom: $2992
    Italy: $2686
    Spain: $2671
    Japan: $2581 (2006)

    The American healthcare system is being looted, and American taxpayers are left holding the empty bag.

    • IndianaDem

      It isn’t the government that’s doing the looting, either. Which is certainly something behind much of the healthcare and insurance industries’ focused resistance. They’re not spending millions of corporate dollars on lobbying efforts and television advertising out of genuine concern for the consumer and the taxpayer.

  • Cathy in Ks.

    Thanks for the article. I agree. The American people need jobs first. The American voters are not deaf, dumb, and blind. Surely the dual wins of republicans in governors’ races in Va. and N. J. last week are warning signs to the democrats that their majority in congress will be for only a short time, if they don’t do something to help put people back to work and strengthen our economy. Pelosi’s ram-rodding through of a health care reform bill in the House, that many Americans don’t want, only angers voters. 2010 is around the corner and I think, we are going to see a lot of democrats’ political careers (both the guilty and the innocent) go down in flames come November of next year.

  • Doc99

    The statist oligarchy isn’t interested in the people or the economy. The object of the statist is control. Will the groundswell of popular outrage be enough? Only time will tell.

  • Fifth Dimension

    Does Nancy Pelosi hate black women?

    One thing I noticed about the Stupak Amendment is that it will disproportionately affect black women, as they have abortions at 2.9x the expected national abortion rate.

    I would say then, yes…Nancy does hate them. 😉

    • Onofre’s arm

      Maybe she LOVES black babies!

      (I seriously doubt she does, but isn’t this the logical rebuttle to your ridiculous calculus?)

      Disclaimer: In no way should any of my comments, past, present, or future; whether factually declarative of hypothetical; be remotely indicative of even the slightest support from me for the she-beast Nazi Pelosi. Any such apparent support, no matter how small, is either derived from a gross misinterpretation of my intent, or is a hideous mistake.

      • Onofre’s arm

        Should read “OR hypothetical”.

        • Fifth Dimension

          I worked very hard to get Nancy elected when I was living in SF, and even I recognize now that was a hideous mistake.

          • Ani

            Is she still popular as ever there? Or are people waking up?

  • Unabashed Galt

    “Health care reform” (oxymoron #1) passed in order to give “the president” (oxymoron #2) a badly needed win after he put his “prestige” (oxymoron #3) on the line in NJ and VA governor’s races and lost big-time. #2 oxymoron is still in campaign mode. Maybe he should pull another endorsement out of his ass? How about Bozo or Ronald McDonald? 🙂

    Its my theory they had already lined up the votes prior to #2 oxymoron showing up to allegedly arm-twist members of the House on Saturday.

    We don’t need no bloody staged campaign-style political theater for #2 oxymoron’s precious bruised gargantuan ego. We need JOBS!

    #2 oxymoron is setting himself up for a huge defeat in 2012 if he continues to put his ego as priority and not the nation’s real critically immediate needs.

    #2 oxymoron is a lightweight attempting to fight in a super heavy weight bout. The outcome being self-evident.

    • Ferd Berfle

      I think I like unabashed a little more than Kindler and Gentler–spot on. Of course, he might resort to his ability at oratory (oxymoron #4), which will cause his intellectual followers (oxymoron #5) to swoon.

      • Unabashed Galt

        Perhaps “Galt the Impaler” might be more apropos? 😉

        I am your Drill Thrall! 🙂

  • BVD

    I posted the essence of what i’m about to say earlier today on another blog; pls forgive if you’ve already read: Obama reminds me of a coo-coo clock; each month he pops out when the jobs numbers are reported and he says a few words usually to the effect of “it’s getting better but we’re not there yet”, or “it’s not my fault”; and “i’m mopping as fast as i can”, “we need innovative ideas”…HE. DRIVES. ME. NUTS! What happen to all the flourishes about “next week’s paycheck”, “struggling families”, “cutting the middle class some slack”?? What happen to all that, where’d the focus on that go? Oh yeah, the fierce urgency of…wait for it…healthcare. Right. I hope to heck someone out there makes a spot about Obama supported by a clock. And each month that he’s showed his face on tv to talk about JOBS that all can see that all this time he’s never really said/done anything about it. His middle names’s not Hussein, it’s Healthcare. It ought to be JOBS!! His middle name ought to be j-o-b-s.

  • Peggy Sue

    Fifth Dimension, I appreciate your chemistry analogy, but frankly once the damage is done, it’s done. GW and Obama are/were both non-leaders and the damage exacted is horrific, a cumulative effect. We could not afford another quasi-leader after the last 8 years.

    But here we are.

    As for the Healthcare Bill? I think it’s interesting to note that Nancy Pelosi got this monstrosity passed on the backs of women. She and the Dems folded to the amendment that prohibits legal abortion under the newly fashioned healthcare proposals.

    We can argue back and forth on the merits of choice vs life. But I can tell you as a lifelong member of the Democratic party, the right of choice is the backbone issue for women.

    No excuses. No backtracking. And Taylor Marsh [who I received an email yesterday] can sit on it. So quick to bail on HRC. So quick to say Obama and this Dem Congress is all for women [who’ve they taken for granted for decades].

    And the first ones they sell out? Women.

    Shame. Shame on this party. Shame on all the parties.

    I cannot tell you how disgusted I am.

    And yes, trolls, please tell me how HRC would have agreed to “this” compromise.

    Disgusting!!!!

    • Ferd Berfle

      The trolls won’t respond to your comment but will only point out some irrelevant and implausible statistic concerning healthcare and they’ll spin faster than a quasar while doing it; we’re speaking here of matter so dense nary a coherent thought can escape.

      And the abortion issue will be completely sidestepped because it doesn’t appear among their talking points.

      • Peggy Sue

        I’d like to see Prime O and FF defend how this bill was passed, explain how “choice” was so easily tossed overboard or explain to me again how the Dems are a “woman’s best and only friend.”

        The email from Taylor Marsh was laughable. She turned on a dime and did the rah-rah for The One. No hesitation. No second thoughts.

        As for the healthcare bill pressed against jobs, jobs, jobs?

        If this healthcare monstrosity is passed and the job numbers remain in the 10.5 [17.5%] territory or higher? And then, add another Stim Bill to boot?

        The pitchforks and torches are at hand!

        The Dems have lost their frigging minds.

    • Fifth Dimension

      Peggy Sue,

      I agree with you completely about the cumulative effect of damage. My analogy was not intended to minimize anything GWB did, and I hope it wasn’t interpreted that way — but instead, only to deconstruct the excuse “Well with GWB…” that so many use to absolve Obama’s shortcomings. I never thought I would say this about GWB — once upon a time I was a notorious GWB hater 😉 — but while with GWB, we got the horrible, with Obama we are on our way to the horrific.

      As for Taylor — she is just sad. I think it’s obvious by now that she suffers from sort of identity crisis disorder. She should either get some therapy or some meds to help with that. But she better not whine to me — I stayed by Hillary’s side when she didn’t.

      The Health Care plan is a monstrosity, especially when it comes to women’s rights. That a Dem Congress and Administration could do this to women if appalling.

      Congress has another thing coming if they think pro-Choice women and their allies will stand for it.

      And if by some travesty, women’s health coverage in this way is limited, in the final bill, others better believe they will also get a bloody nose.

      For instance, as an example — take fat people (no offense to anyone, just a hypothetical).

      They better be ready to run a few miles a day to get to a healthy weight, if they want to be on government subsidized plans.

      Otherwise, pony up and buy extra coverage for your “fat”-related health issues on your own dime.

      You allow this to happen to women, have their health rights constrained, and you will be next.

      Same goes for any other group.

      Pro-choice women and their allies will not stand for women’s rights to be set back in this way.

      • Peggy Sue

        We are on the same wavelength, Fifth!

    • IndianaDem

      I liked someone else’s succinct response to that thought over in “How Obama Sold Women Out” so much that I’ll copy and paste it here, verbatum:

      Comment by Pablo Cruz | 2009-11-11 13:59:00

      Wow — 100% of the Republicans in the house team up with 60-some cowardly Democrats to pass this draconian anti-abortion measure that liberals generally hate. Obama then goes on to criticize the language, and it’s OBAMA’s fault?

      Get a clue!

      Please feel free to start flaming me for posting facts

      So that’s gone unrebutted. He hasn’t even been flamed yet.

  • tek

    I believe presidents shouldn’t keep blaming their predecessors for problems after they take office, but George W. Bush just about single-handedly destroyed this country and I hate to see Americans shifting the blame for Bush’s policies onto his successor.

    Obama’s not good, but George W. Bush set out to destroy democracy and he pretty well did it.

    • Please tell me what is so “democratic” about pushing through a draconian health care bill that the MAJORITY of Americans don’t want? What’s democratic about silencing critics as “Nazis” like Pelosi did? What is constitutional about mandating health insurance on a federal level?

      Bush did a bad job, yes, but Obama is also setting out to destroy democracy and doing a darn good job at it as well.

      • Ferd Berfle

        Bush did a bad job, yes, but Obama is also setting out to destroy democracy and doing a darn good job at it as well.

        Isn’t that the truth. I never liked Bush and never voted for him but our current Dodo in the WH is going to make the Bush presidency look stellar by comparison, which means we’re in *really* dire straits.

        His ONLY domestic concern should be jobs, jobs, and jobs. Healthcare is the last thing I’m concerned about. Besides, it is rather difficult to pay for healthcare when you don’t have a job.

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen a President as tone deaf and inattentive as That One.

        • felizarte

          I don’t think I’ve ever seen a President as tone deaf and inattentive as That One.

          DARN RIGHT!

          Does anyone here know for a fact whether or not he could sing? His sentiments seem to be all out of tune.

          • Ferd Berfle

            Does anyone here know for a fact whether or not he could sing?

            I don’t think he could carry a tune in a wheelbarrow.

      • morris1030

        How about the Stupak Amendment which is nothing but a stealth attack on Roe vs Wade by Catholic Dem Stupack who inserted this at last minute with Obama’s approval?

        So tens of millions of women who fought for decads to achieve the right to choose, are now derailed by the draconian amendment that makes abortion all but impossible. Approved by hypocrite Pelosi and betrayer Obama.

        The entire bill delivers more victims to Insurance Monopoly. Obama needs to say he did a HCR bill for his presidency.

        This is big time betrayal of Democratic.Reoublican/Ind women’s rights.

    • Barbara

      I MUST disagree, totally! Bush and the republicans tried three times to investigate the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing problems, and ALL three times, the demon rats yelled NO! This prompted the whole financial crisis and they continue to blame everything on Bush- this shows how truly out of touch they are with reality. Bush kept us safe after 9/11 happened, and now we are stuck with a person who hates this country, and is determined to undermind what makes it great- free enterprise and human ingenuity. He is determined to gobble up any amount of freedom and liberty we have, and make us all dependent upon the government for everything- Bush loves his country, and Obama is the most sorry excuse for a leader that this country has ever witnessed. His goal is to bring this country to it’s knees, so we are like every other country in the world, and if it means we lose all out liberty and become socialist, that will make him quite happy- I firmly believe that he would love to be a self-described “dictator” of a North American Union, and perhaps of even the world- he is the most ingenuine, ego-maniac ever to walk the halls of the white house. America has always been the beacon of light in the world; a place where people have gravitated to, yearning for freedom and the ability to do something with their lives, and Obama doesn’t like that- he thinks the US should be somehow chastised for being a place of refuge for those from Asia, Europe, South America and all other areas of the world- by the time Obamass is finished, we could all be living in poverty, like Cuba.

      • Ferd Berfle

        Bush kept us safe after 9/11 happened, and now we are stuck with a person who hates this country, and is determined to undermind what makes it great- free enterprise and human ingenuity.

        While I agree with most of the second part about That One, Bush did nothing to keep us safe. In fact, he made things worse by not going after bin Laden full-bore and with the unnecessary invasion of Iraq so we’re left with the current squatter in the WH to do go after him, which isn’t going to happen, and to also try to maintain the status quo in Iraq. Sorry, but there is lots of blame to be shoveled here and Bush gets his share.

    • Fifth Dimension

      Tek,

      I agree with you that GWB did many things that are indefensible.

      However, I think a top-line comparison between Obama and GWB is flawed because — given that Obama has only been in office for ~1 year vs GWB who was in office for 8 years — this sort of comparison always favors Obama because the length of time in office is in Obama’s favor.

      How do we mitigate this then? Well, it reminds me of a distinction we have to make in Chemistry (my training is as a scientist). We don’t just look at the length of time it takes for a reaction to happen, we also look at the rate of a reaction.

      Bringing this back to politics then, the only way to fairly compare, IMO, GWB and Obama, is to look at the rate of country’s decline under both. That metric is what’s meaningful, as it corrects for the length in office differential.

      And what is it that we see? That the rate of the US’s decline under Obama is far worse than it was under GWB.

      Put another way — GWB crashed the country against a wall at 20 m/hour.

      With Obama, we’re heading toward a wall at 80 m/hour.

      Physics tells us…that when we hit the wall, the latter will very much be more devastating.

      • Ferd Berfle

        How do we mitigate this then? Well, it reminds me of a distinction we have to make in Chemistry (my training is as a scientist). We don’t just look at the length of time it takes for a reaction to happen, we also look at the rate of a reaction.

        Then there are catalysts to also, in essence, speed up the reaction. The obamabots represent that so we’re really heading into the wall at 150 mph.

    • Ani

      I am no fan of George Bush but by continually stating the obvious and placing blame, Obama makes himself look weak and petty. The media painted a narrative that he always takes the high road. Clearly, that is not the case. No one in their right mind would put all the blame on someone who is in office less than a year, however, his ridiculous spending and skewed priorities are coming home to roost. He cannot blame Pr. Bush for that.

      As C. Blow points out in his article, Obama campaigned on putting people back to work, he did not campaign on passing health care before anything else even though that would not take effect till after the next Presidential election (also convenient — he is counting on being re-elected before anyone sees what a disaster this is).

      • Unabashed Galt

        Actually it is my understanding most of the law takes effect in 3 years, except $5 Billion in immediate funding for the uninsured.

        • Ani

          yep — that puts us just about at 2013.

          • Fifth Dimension

            It’s slated to take effect in 2013, because he will need it in 2012 to stir people up into a frenzy.

            O — “If you don’t re-elect me, you will lose out on your health care reform!!!”

            And the Dim fools, just like in 2008, will allow themselves to be punked again..

            • Ani

              Right you are.

  • Thank you for this excellent article. I, too, am wondering why they are so hell-bent on passing a health care bill the majority of Americans don’t want, and yet are ignoring the job situation.

    Incompetence? Arrogance? Something more sinister?

    It is absolutely mind-blowing to me. I don’t get it.

    • felizarte

      Obama isn’t done running against Hillary–he wants to prove that he could have Hillary’s pet project done while she couldn’t. I don’t think he’ll ever have his “mama” issues resolved in his mind.

      • felizarte

        I wonder what he’ll do to overcome Mama Pelosi in his mind.

      • lorac

        felizarte – I think you have a good point!

    • HARP

      It`s all about control.