Patterico's Pontifications

8/20/2009

Did Obama Really Say That? (Updated)

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 7:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I thought Barack Obama is supposed to be Mr. Cool. This sounds like Mr. Geek:

“US President Barack Obama launched a mocking counter-attack Thursday at pundits who believe the euphoric early promise of his presidency is evaporating amid bitter political warfare.
***
Obama drew parallels to the media frenzy that greeted the nomination of firebrand Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in 2008.

“The media was obsessed with it, cable was 24 hours a day,” Obama told a friendly audience of grass-roots Democratic activists at a Washington forum broadcast live over the web.

“‘Obama’s lost his mojo,’ you remember all that?

There is something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee weed up!

Did Obama really say that? Yes, he did:

Someone should tell Obama the media is obsessed with making Palin look bad and him look good. They should also tell him to never, ever say “wee weed up” again.

UPDATE 8/21/2009 — Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explains what “wee weed up” means:

“Q Robert, can you shed any more light — you mentioned a couple of days ago that there might be some events during the scheduled Vineyard vacation, some conference calls. And second part, what is “wee-weed up”?

MR. GIBBS: I don’t know if I should do that from the podium. (Laughter.) It’s a phrase I use, but —

Q I’m not asking for a demonstration. I just —

MR. GIBBS: Well, I was going to have Bill do that. (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS: Let’s do this in a way that is family friendly. I think wee-weed up is when people just get all nervous for no particular reason, when they — look, I think the way the President used it was — and I’ve talked to a few of you guys about this — in August of 2007, right, the rap on the President and the campaign was they can’t — first of all, they’re doing poorly in Iowa; they can’t possibly win the nomination, let alone the presidency, right, so I’ll leave those predications aside. August of 2008, everybody was nervous about whether the entire presidential campaign was slipping out from underneath the hands of the President, who they previously didn’t think would actually be the nominee.

So this is just — this is sort of an August pundit pattern between people getting overly nervous for something that still has a long way to go. Bed-wetting is — would be probably the more consumer-friendly term for — (laughter.)”

It sounds like Obama was saying August and September is the time when people in Washington “pee or piss” on ideas? He should have said so, albeit in a more professional way. What’s even more surprising, Gibbs says it’s a phrase he uses, too. I’d love to hear their behind-the-scenes discussions at the White House.

— DRJ

DNC: White House did Collect Data Via Flag@Whitehouse.gov

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 11:41 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Erick Erickson at RedState says the DNC admits Barack Obama was collecting information on people via Flag@Whitehouse.gov:

“Trying to deflect attention from the White House invading people’s privacy, the Democratic National Committee is making real news by admitting flag@whitehouse.gov was used to collect data on people being turned in by third parties.”

The problem isn’t that the White House was collecting data on people who knowingly leave their names and contact information, typically because they want to be contacted. Most websites do that and anyone who leaves personal information is aware of it. The problem is that the White House was collecting information about people who, without their knowledge, were being reported by someone else.

H/T Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

— DRJ

Scotland Releases Lockerbie Bomber

Filed under: Crime,International — DRJ @ 10:46 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Scotland has freed Lockerbie bomber and former Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on compassionate release grounds. Al-Megrahi served only 8 years of a minimum 27 year sentence but he is terminally ill with prostate cancer and has been given less than 3 months to live.

The United States government objected to al-Megrahi’s release, noting he did not show compassion to his victims. Many were college students on their way home for the Christmas holidays.

Al-Megrahi has expressed no remorse for the bombing but he did ask the Scottish government for mercy … for himself:

“I am a family man: first and foremost I am a son, husband, father and grandfather,” al-Megrahi wrote. “I have been separated from my family as a result of what I consider and unjust conviction. I have tried to bear that with a degree of equanimity and dignity.”

The article notes al-Megrahi is “visited often by his wife and children, who lived in Scotland for several years.” He is considered an innocent victim by some in Britain and many Libyans:

“Al-Megrahi’s return will be a landmark event in Libya and a cause for celebration. His countrymen see him as an innocent victim scapegoated by the West in a campaign to turn their country into an international pariah. Many will also view his release as a moral victory for their country.”

According to the article, “[f]reeing al-Megrahi divided the Lockerbie victims’ families, with many in Britain in favor and many in the U.S. adamantly opposed.” This evidences an interesting divergence between English culture and common law, on which American law is based, and American laws and values. Americans typically expect remorse from wrongdoers before they are willing to be compassionate. Compassionate release is a feature of British law but I wonder to what extent the growing British Muslim population has contributed to the divergence in this case.

EDIT: In the comments, EricPWJohnson notes the positive impact al-Megahri’s release may have on British oil interests in Libya. Here’s the British Petroleum press release regarding its Libyan agreement.

— DRJ

Obama’s real ObamaCare agenda

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:19 am

[Posted by Karl]

Lefty blogger Mike Lux is a trifle miffed:

My question now is why are certain anonymous White House officials trying to undermine the President? I ask this question in all seriousness, because this is exactly what happened in the Clinton fight for health care reform. We would do these terrific, thoughtful, complex policy meetings where we go over various options on the health care bill but make no firm decisions. The next day in the New York Times or The Washington Post, some particularly controversial aspect of the bill would be headlined as in “High-ranking administration officials say Clinton is considering X.” It was without question one of the things that eventually killed health care reform.

The cause of his angst is the Washington Post’s coverage of debate over a government-run health insurance plan:

Administration officials insisted that they have not shied away from their support for a public option to compete with private insurance companies, an idea they said Obama still prefers to see in a final bill.

But at a time when the president had hoped to be selling middle-class voters on how insurance reforms would benefit them, the White House instead finds itself mired in a Democratic Party feud over an issue it never intended to spotlight.

“I don’t understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo,” said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We’ve gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don’t understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform.”

“It’s a mystifying thing,” he added. “We’re forgetting why we are in this.”

Another top aide expressed chagrin that a single element in the president’s sprawling health-care initiative has become a litmus test for whether the administration is serious about the issue.

“It took on a life of its own,” he said.

Lux suggests that the problem is people working in the Obama White House whose primary loyalty is not to the President but to themselves. But is that really why White House flack Robert Gibbs was back singing a bipartisan tune yesterday? A quick read from Marc Ambinder suggests the answer is “No”:

The White House and Senate Democrats won’t buckle to demands from liberals that they revise their health care strategy, officials said today.

***

A White House official conceded today that Obama would have to weather anger from liberals for a while.

More worrisome, officials said, was the growing belief that Obama’s brand is being tarnished. A new Pew poll shows that voters don’t think Obama is working with Republican leaders, and that a plurality blame Republican leaders. They believe that Obama’s favorability rating declines, largely from independents (and within that group, women), can be reversed if he reminds these voters of the bipartisan instincts in his bones.

***

…Privately, White House aides have communicated to the House leadership that the onus on changing minds about the public plan is on Congress, not on the president. (Emphasis added.)

Clearly, Lux failed to consider that the first interest of people working in the Obama White House is boosting the popularity of Pres. Obama. However, that is not Obama’s only interest, as Ambinder reveals the president’s real priorities and tactics:

The president continues to operate under the belief that liberals will warm to the bill when presented with a goodybag that includes includes an individual mandate, community rating, guaranteed issue, and a minimum required package. There’s no chance, really, that a bill WON’T feature these reforms. Quietly, to secure and keep Democrats on board, the White House is going to bargain, providing inducements, like more money for favored projects, etc., in order to secure individual votes.

Somehow, it keeps coming back to that individual mandate, doesn’t it? A law requiring people to buy health insurance requires Congress to define what health insurance is, which creates that minimum required backage (not a minimal required package). Without the individual mandate, guaranteed issue does not work. Pres. Obama used to be against an individual mandate. Now it is his bottom line. The good news is that if Senate Democrats try to split the bill, trying to pass the most controversial parts through reconciliation, they might lose all GOP support for the individual mandate they absolutely must have to take over the US healthcare system, and quite possibly lose on a filibuster.

–Karl


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