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Al Franken v. John Thune

Monday, December 14, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Al Franken wanders on to the Senate floor and doesn’t understand the end of a speech John Thune is giving, and then rtakes the floor and misstates Thune’s point. Thune attempts to respond and Franken won’t let him. Sherrod brown jumps up to divert attention from Franken’s mistake, and will not yield to Thune either. Thune leaves the floor, and Al continues to embarrass himself by arguing that the “large majority” of the Obamacare benefits kick in immediately –a preposterous position.

I suggest that you visit JohnThune.com, the senator’s re-election campaign website, and send him a contribution just because he has to deal with Al Franken when he goes to work.

Obamacare’s public option/Medicare buy-in went down this afternoon, but you should still be very worried about any bill in part crafted by and supported by Al Franken.

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“Obama’s Great Temptation at Copenhagen”

Monday, December 14, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here’s an op-ed from Vince Haley, vice president for policy at AmericanSolutions.com. Haley will be on the program in the third hour today to discuss.

Jonathan Chait on Joe Lieberman and Obamacare

Monday, December 14, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The New Republic writer has a new piece up on Joe Lieberman and the Connecticut senator’s opposition to expanding Medicare:

I think one answer here is that Lieberman isn’t actually all that smart. He speaks, and seems to think, exclusively in terms of generalities and broad statements of principle. But there’s little evidence that he’s a sharp or clear thinker, and certainly no evidence that he knows or cares about the details of health care reform. At one point during the 2000 recount, the Gore campaign explained to Lieberman why lowering standards for military ballots would be totally unfair and illegal, and Lieberman proceeded to go on television and subvert the campaign’s position. Gore loyalists interpreted this as a sellout, but perhaps the more plausible explanation was that Lieberman — who, after all, badly wanted to be vice-President — just didn’t understand the details of the Gore position well enough to defend it. The guy was taken apart by Dick Cheney in the 2000 veep debate.

I suspect that Lieberman is the beneficiary, or possibly the victim, of a cultural stereotype that Jews are smart and good with numbers. Trust me, it’s not true. If Senator Smith from Idaho was angering Democrats by spewing uninformed platitudes, most liberals would deride him as an idiot. With Lieberman, we all suspect it’s part of a plan. I think he just has no idea what he’s talking about and doesn’t care to learn. Lieberman thinks about politics in terms of broad ideological labels. He’s the heroic centrist voice pushing legislation to the center. No, Lieberman doesn’t have any particular sense of what the Medicare buy-in option would do to the national debt. If the liberals like it, then he figures it’s big government and he should oppose it. I think it’s basically that simple.

Fat Cats, Obamacare, and Clueless Beltway Lobbyists

Monday, December 14, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The president’s verbal assault on “fat cat bankers” contained no standards for identifying who those “fat cats” are –a dangerous thing, really, as it allows an enemies list to develop but also to omit everyone near you with the appropriate net worth or background connections. (How many folks on the White House staff have net worth in the “fat cat” range, I wonder?) This is the rhetoric of Alinsky, and it is reckless and demagogic. It also serves to chill economic activity as people with money sense the coming assault and begin to squirrel it away. After the assault on private jets earlier this year, I was approached by a steward for a private plane service who asked me to thank everyone in D.C. for arranging for her hours to fall to 20% of what they had been. The folks who rely on the fat cats for their livelihoods –realtors, retailers, not-for-profits etc– must have similar feelings today.

The president’s bad temper may be because of his poll numbers (see Clark Judge’s column below) or because Obamacare has hit a series of obstacles that may grow even larger in the next couple of days. No matter. This sort of attack is bad news for the country and for the president who, despite his nose-dive in the polls, has remained a likeable figure. That won’t last much longer if he continues his attacks on Americans doing what Americans have always tried to do, which is to make profits and businesses grow. There is certainly a part of the president’s party that will cheer attacks on economic success generally and bankers specifically, but most Americans reject class warfare and the ugly politics that flow from it.

Obamacare is indeed in a showdown week, and here are the five things you can do to make sure the Senate leaves for its Christmas break without having moved us one step closer to a disaster for American medicine.

If you are just checking in after a weekend of tree decoration and shopping, here’s

1. my new Washington Examiner column,

2. the latest from Bear in the Woods, and

3. the latest from Banker Guy.

What I need as well are e-mails anonymous lobbyists and association executives, especially those connected with the Obamacare fiasco. How many heads are going to roll in the D.C. offices of Big Pharma and the hospital/AMA worlds when the reality of Obamacare sinks in? Have the fingers begun to point yet? It should never have come this far, but many of the Beltway “professionals” talked their members into believing that the president was an unstoppable force with whom a separate peace was needed. And once on that road, the “professionals” didn’t even get a decent deal, like some sort of tort reform.

The lure of accommodation in the Capitol is always strong, but hopefully the professionals and the GOP have learned the only way to win is to fight every step of the way. ReverseTheVote.org is the first effort made by the NRCC or the NRSC to use a specific policy debate to drive political fundraising, and if Obamacare gets out of the Senate, ReverseTheVote.org should be the focus for public support against passage.

The first thing to do, though, is to register your own opposition with your own senators and congressman, which the “Take Further Action” button in the “Free Our Health Care” box to your right will quickly assist you in doing.

But if you are a well placed source, send me a note at hugh@hughhewitt.com. As Bear in the Woods and Banker Guy can attest, I will keep your identity safe –I do have to know that you are who you say you are– and will publish responsible posts without edits. The worlds of advertising and banking are just as remote as those of lobbying, and inquiring minds want to know: What were you thinking?

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