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Obamacare had a pretty good week, with signups passing the eight million mark and the Congressional Budget Office giving the health care program a more optimistic cost estimate than previously. The President went so far as to declare that the debate as to whether his signature program, which had only recently been counted a complete disaster because problems with its website, should be repealed “is and should be over.”
As you would imagine, rightbloggers disagreed. They do seem to have figured out, though, that just calling the program a train wreck and so forth would no longer do. So they exercised themselves a bit and found some new insults.
Now, despite the good news and the President’s claim, the Affordable Care Act remains a live political issue. The Rube Goldberg system, laden with insurer payoffs, is still more disliked than liked by the American people — 54% to 43% per the last Gallup Poll. If that doesn’t improve significantly, Republicans will certainly leverage that dissatisfaction in the midterm elections.
Those elections are seven months away, so rightbloggers have time to cook up new anti-Obamacare angles. Judging with what they’ve come up with so far, we’re not sure this will improve them.
Some still contented themselves with the concatenation of slurs. “Despite the fact that 6 out of 10 Americans believe President Obama is a liar, he was out today taking another victory lap because he was able to compel 8 million Americans to sign up for Obamacare,” grumbled The Lonely Conservative as a bartender pretended to listen. “We still don’t know how many have paid, or how many signed up after their old insurance was dumped. In his speech he delivered several whoppers…”
“I’m hoping Americans will wake up and see Obamacare for the nightmare it is,” said Star Parker at Right Wing News, despite the “victory dances” at the White House. The new numbers and their meaning she dismissed, because “sometimes too much data and analysis gets you lost in in the forest.” But Parker had some data and analysis of her own: “The headline that should be flashing in front of us is that today, well into the sixth year of the Obama presidency, the American economy, once a dynamic engine of growth, is still is a wheezing, struggling, underperforming clunker of an economy.”
But we were talking about Obamacare, weren’t we? Okay, said Parker, in February the CBO said “Obamacare will shrink the American economy by 2.5 million jobs.” What the CBO actually said was, about that many people would be able to quit jobs they had been keeping for the health insurance that went with them. Nonetheless, Parker hurried us along: “We don’t have to sit and wonder about the reasonableness of CBO’s estimates. We’re already seeing these factors at work today.” That is, the economy sucks, and what else can there be to blame but Obamacare? “Bureaucratization of health care is dragging down our whole economy,” claimed Parker. “Better, cheaper, more innovative health care won’t be delivered by government and politicians. It will be delivered by the American people if politicians will get out of the way and let them do it.” You know, like they’d have been doing for years if something hadn’t been preventing them. Maybe HillaryCare?
In the near term, many of the brethren responded hotly to President Obama’s declaration that the debate was over, which they seemed to take personally.
“Silence, subject! The debate is over,” characterized Guy Benson at TownHall, denouncing Obama’s “effort to minimize the financial and medical hardships his signature law is inflicting on millions of people.” “Shut Up, He Explained Again,” headlined James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal.
Despite Obama “imperiously proclaiming” the debate over, said Jeffrey H. Anderson at the Weekly Standard, Obamacare “will be repealed and replaced with a conservative alternative within days of Obama’s departure from the White House.” Prediction beats proclamation!
At his press conference, Obama also cracked that Republicans had “gone through the stages of grief” and “we’re not at acceptance yet.” “Why the Kübler-Ross model?” demanded Ann Althouse. “It’s that meme that the Republicans are dying! They need to deal with their death, eh?!” Althouse also informed us that, “by the way, the Kübler-Ross model isn’t too scientific.”
“ObamaCare, according to President TrollsAlot, has now hit an amazingly fantastic eight million ‘enrollees,'” wrote Nice Deb. “…ObamaCare continues to be intensely unpopular, but that didn’t stop the Troll-in-Chief from lashing out at Republicans who want to repeal it.” “This churlish man who was elected president thinks everything is about him,” hissed Keith Koffler at White House Dossier. “To the extent it’s about him destroying our health care system, I suppose, he’s right.”
A few of the brethren compared Obama’s debate crack to President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner back in the day. “Obamacare has ‘won’ just like we ‘won’ the Iraq war,” said W. James Antle III at Rare.us. Antle also chronicled the decay of the Iraq victory (“Al Qaeda today has a larger profile in Iraq than before the invasion. Iran is more powerful. The death toll is once again rising…”). Antle’s colleague Jeremy Lott called departing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “Obama’s Rumsfeld.” It’s a good thing for Antle and Lott that normal people don’t generally read their columns, as they might have the unfortunate effect of reminding voters of what happened the last time Republicans were in power.
“Obama offers new insults, then laments gridlock,” headlined The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro, who is best known for heckling the President during a press conference. In fairness, partway through his insults Munro did note something many of the brethren missed: that Obama’s “conciliatory pitch… sandwiched between Obama’s diverse attacks on the GOP’s sincerity, solidarity and sanity… was likely carefully crafted to rally progressives and also to goad GOP activists and legislators to make rash responses that can later be portrayed as divisive during the 2014 campaign.” What’s the opposite of self-refuting?
Some rightbloggers said the Obama Administration numbers were bogus. Donald Trump was only the best-known and most conspiracy-inclined of these. The guy who said that all the 2012 polls showing Obama ahead in the Presidential race were fake also thinks these numbers are “completely fraudulent, fake, and phony,” for whatever that’s worth, i.e. a laugh.
Slightly more reasonable was Cal Thomas, who thought the numbers were “bogus” because “one-fifth of those who are counted as ‘enrolled’ have not paid their premiums,” and if all of them never pay and lose their plans, and all of the states that are still enrolling people suddenly stop, that eight million becomes a pathetic five and a half million. And anyway, added Thomas, Obamacare is physically impossible, because it is “based on a weak foundation and the notion that government can do anything.”
Others said that while the numbers look good, there were angles from which they look worse. For example, “in the summer of 2012… the C.B.O. projected that 14 million Americans would get coverage under Obamacare in the first year,” reported Ross Douthat at the New York Times. “…The latest estimate, out this month, drops the 2014 projection down to 12 million…” And that just leaves eight months for late signups, which means according to Zeno’s paradox they’ll never reach the target. Also, other things could go wrong. It’s a train wreck!
Another variation was outrage over new changes to the U.S. Census’ questions on health care coverage. Some observers noted the changes correct longstanding methodological problems, but might also interfere with long-term trend analysis, which rightbloggers considered Benghazi.
“Obama Hijacks Census To Whitewash ObamaCare’s Failure,” roared B. Christopher Agee at Western Journalism. “As the ObamaCare law continues to limp along despite the concerted effort of administration flaks to hype its apparent benefits, it is apparent that only some heavy-handed manipulation will ever reshape the public’s opinion.”
“Obama’s Census Bureau Officially Plans To Cook Obamacare’s Books,” said The Federalist. Showing extra chutzpah, they quoted the New York Times to the effect that “the questionnaire traditionally used by the Census Bureau provides an ‘inflated estimate of the uninsured’ and is prone to ‘measurement errors,'” and that the Bureau had been trying to fix it “for more than a decade”; this The Federalist portrayed as further proof Obama was pulling a fast one: “it turns out the old numbers — which the White House used to cram the law down America’s throat — were bogus as well.” How Obama put those old bogus numbers in place before he was President so he could use them for the ACA remains a mystery.
When Sarah Kliff of Vox reported, “the Obama administration will use the new survey questions to collect data for 2013, the year prior to Obamacare’s health insurance expansion, a senior administration official says,” NewsBusters P.J. Gladnick declared it a con: Kliff had previously “tweeted some actual Obamacare criticism of the administration over the suspicious changes,” said Gladnick, but then Kliff “got her ‘mind right'” after “a Ministry of Truth talk with an administration offical.” Henceforth this will be our preferred alternative phrase for “updated with new information.”
“I’m speechless. Shocked. Stunned. Horrified. Befuddled. Aghast, appalled, thunderstruck, perplexed, baffled, bewildered and dumbfounded,” reported Megan McArdle. “It’s not that I am opposed to the changes…” You can go read the rest if you like.
For lagniappe, some of the further-out brethren took this three-rail bank shot at Obamacare: “Have an abortion, get a tax deduction thanks to ObamaCARE,” gurgled Fire Andrea Mitchell. Actually there’s no reason legal abortion would not be, like other medical expenses, tax-deductible if you meet the IRS spending threshold, and conservatives have been trying to disallow the abortion exemption since the 1980s at least (though they’ve become more vicious about it lately). But why not throw this on the Obamacare bonfire? Others followed suit: “OBAMANATION: Abortion’s now tax deductible says IRS,” “EVERYONE’S THREE FAVORITE THINGS: OBAMACARE, TAXES, AND ABORTION,” etc.
Oh, and the lame stream media are in on it, too, with their corrupt public opinion polls. Get this, said Brian C Joondeph of The American Thinker: “An ABC News/Washington Post poll told us that ‘[p]ublic support for the Affordable Care Act narrowly notched a new high.'” But observe the slight of hand! “This survey didn’t even ask about ObamaCare specifically,” reported Joondeph — “only whether ‘[y]ou support or oppose the federal law making changes to the healthcare system.'” You’d need an interpreter to figure that one out. Also: “This poll’s results were released in conjunction with the president’s announcement of 7.1 million new enrollees, further challenging the credibility of the poll based on the timing of release.” WAKE UP SHEEPLE.
How this will all play out in November, we can’t be sure. We imagine propaganda from either side may have some effect on some swing voters. But, as we’ve observed before, the brethren never seem to tumble to the fact that people are more inclined to listen to you if you don’t sound barking mad.