President Obama joins in singing “Sweet Home Chicago” during the “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” concert in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 21, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern):
10:0: President Obama meets with the Dalai Lama
11:15: Attends the Democratic Governors Association Meeting, State Dining Room
If Republicans can keep discussion around the Affordable Care Act vague, they’ll win in the midterms. The party of health care should collect stories of success and confront the party of no.
The big electoral question hanging over Democrats, of course, is what to do about Obamacare this fall. The pundits say: It’s death! The Democrats are gonna get killed. The Democratic consultants advise their candidates to be as mealy-mouthed as they can possibly get away with being and change the topic as quickly as possible.
The pundits might end up being right after all the votes are counted. But I say the quickest way for Democrats to guarantee that the pundits end up being right is to take their consultants’ advice and pussy-foot around the issue. Democrats who do that will be hoping they sound “reasonable,” but what they’ll really be sounding, and everyone will hear it, is timorous, callow, and totally without conviction. If Democrats are going to say they support the ACA at all—and most of them are going to have to—they might as well do it in a full-throttle and in-your-face way. And they can. The material is there if they just have the onions to use it.
Steve Benen: A closer look at latest ACA ‘horror story’
It’s hard to miss the pattern: the right identifies an “Obamacare victim,” who receives a fair amount of attention and finds themselves featured in a misleading attack ad. Soon after, reality sets in – the ACA “horror story” draws closer scrutiny and the story turns out to be quite different than the one first presented to the public.
I tried to keep up with all of them for a while, but I’ve literally lost count of how many times this has happened.
The new one is an attack ad in Michigan’s U.S. Senate race, sponsored by the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity, featuring a woman named Julia Boonstra….
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones asks the obvious question about yet another overinflated or inaccurate Obamacare sob story from Republicans, in this case, from an advertisement produced by Americans for Prosperity:
So here’s my question: if this is the best AFP can do, does that mean that no one is truly being harmed by Obamacare? … If this is happening to a lot of people, finding a dozen or so of them shouldn’t be hard. But apparently it is. So maybe it’s not actually happening to very many people at all?
…. It’s not as if the occasional Obamacare horror story turns out to be exaggerated; every single one propagated by Republicans has fallen apart under scrutiny.
…. The lesson for the press? If you want a nice, easy, debunking story, focus on Republican claims about Obamacare.
Last spring, President Obama signaled to congressional Republicans that he was serious about a long-term debt-reduction deal. GOP leaders made it explicitly clear: if the White House really wants a deal, Obama will have to accept a change to how Social Security benefits are calculated – a policy called “chained CPI,” in reference to the Consumer Price Index.
To the severe disappointment of his progressive allies and Democratic base, the president agreed, including chained CPI in his budget as a demonstration of his commitment…
In theory, this was poised to be a breakthrough moment for a bipartisan debt-reduction agreement. But in practice, the president’s effort was for naught …. A year later, the president has decided there’s no point in offering Republicans what they want if they’re not prepared to take “yes” for an answer – Obama’s new budget plan drops chained CPI.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama cheer during their daughter Sasha Obama’s basketball game, Feb. 21, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama smile as they walk through the crowd at the Governors Ball in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Pete Souza: “The President and First Lady were dancing along to the music of the Harry Connick, Jr., Big Band at the Governors Ball. Mrs. Obama turned towards me and, for one split second, looked right at me. Usually I strive to capture moments when the subjects are unaware of the camera. But this an exception where I actually liked that she was looking at me.” Feb. 21, 2010
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama applaud the performance of Harry Connick Jr. and the Big Band during the Governors Ball in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama gestures during a meeting in the Oval Office, Feb. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama reads a document in the Oval Office, Feb. 21, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and VP Biden following remarks on the extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, Feb 21 2012
Mick Jagger performs “I Can’t Turn You Loose” during the “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” concert in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 21, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
MoooOOOooorning everyone, I ran out of news-gathering time again, will catch up later. Happy Friday!
Steve Benen: ….. I’d like the folks holding Obama responsible [for gun reform] to consider a look at the recent past. In 2009 and 2010, the White House and Congress successfully approved the Recovery Act, a health care reform law 100 years in the making, Wall Street reform, DADT repeal, student loan reform, New START ratification, credit card reforms, and food-safety reforms. Are those inclined to blame Obama for gun reform’s failure prepared to argue that the president simply forgot how to twist arms in 2011? That he knew how to persuade lawmakers before, but the skill suddenly vanished?
Or is it more likely that congressional Republicans changed the game after the 2010 midterms?
I also believe there’s an ongoing reluctance among many to appreciate the scope of Republican radicalization. For many, especially in media, there’s an assumption that there are two major, mainstream political parties — one center-left, the other center-right — and an effective president can govern through competent bipartisan outreach.