Patterico's Pontifications

3/24/2012

Reclaiming Obamacare?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:41 am



[Posted by Karl]

As noted by the WSJ (and others):

The term “Obamacare” started out as a derogatory name that opponents of the 2010 health overhaul used when they criticized the law. But on Friday, President Barack Obama signaled he’s trying to reclaim the moniker for those who like the law.

“Happy birthday to Obamacare: two years in, the Affordable Care Act is making millions of Americans’ lives better every day,” read a message from the president’s Twitter feed on Friday, the two-year anniversary of his signing of the insurance-expansion law. Then he tweeted: “If you’re proud of Obamacare and tired of the other side using it as a dirty word, complete this sentence: #ILikeObamacare because…”

To lefty chagrin, the hashtag was quickly taken over by conservative mockery; most of the supportive tweets were Astroturf from elected Democrats (though not — afaik — Dems facing tough races this year).  But notice the internal contradiction in the WSJ lede — if Obamacare “started out” as a derogatory name, can it be reclaimed?  In reality, there was a school of thought on the left that embraced the term “Obamacare” at first, thinking it was great to use a president with approval ratings in the sixties as the face of the legislation.  It was only after the politically toxic initiative began to sink Obama — and many other Dems with him — that even the better White House reporters like Jake Tapper would cave to progressive complaints about the label.

Obamacare remains unpopular, so why the effort by Dems to reclaim the term now?  Obama originally planned to avoid marking the two-year anniversary of the law as they would have done if it was popular.  However, Democrats likely realized they could not abandon the field as the Supreme Court prepared to hear argument against Obamacare next week.  And if they persist past next week, the rebranding effort may give a clue about how Team Obama plans to campaign against most-likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

–Karl

3/23/2012

Tommy Christopher Fails to Vet Nadia Naffe, 1: Crowdsourcing

Filed under: General,Nadia Naffe — Patterico @ 7:31 am



I had hoped to do a monstrous post today noting all the very odd aspects about Nadia Naffe’s story that Tommy Christopher ignored in his credulous reporting yesterday. But there are just too many, and I was tired last night and didn’t have time to compile them all.

So I will probably do that post over the weekend or on Monday. In the meantime, I am looking for some crowdsourcing. What odd aspects did you notice?

My post yesterday is a good place to start; I don’t need to hear those things repeated.

In a stream of consciousness here, these are the questions Tommy should be asking but is not:

  • Why did you tell a judge this was all not harassment?
  • Why do you claim the barn is remote when it is provably in a populated suburban area close to the street?
  • Why didn’t you call a cab, since you had a phone and were calling people?
  • Why do you say O’Keefe’s companion was brought to intimidate you and also say he was hiding?
  • What does it mean when you say O’Keefe “downloaded and/or linked his Gmail account to my device”?
  • Does that morally justify your publishing his emails?
  • Where are the Andrew Breitbart allegations?
  • Where is the evidence of a “rape plot”?
  • Why did you retweet Andrew Breitbart favorably in late 2011 concerning Occupy after the barn incident?
  • What changed in mid-February 2011 that made you turn on Andrew?
  • If you turned your back, how do you know O’Keefe stopped by your beer?
  • Why are you hurting innocent women who were allegedly done wrong by O’Keefe?
  • If you were given roofies, how do you remember so much?
  • How much did you in fact have to drink?
  • What do you think this is doing to your job prospects and what does that say about what’s really going on here?
  • Why are you cozy with Internet thugs?
  • Why do you say you retweet things so the FBI can get people’s IP addresses?
  • Do you realize how stupid that sounds?
  • Why do some of your friends claim it’s not you running the account?
  • Why do you tweet things to noted Breitbart hater @NicoleGennette?
  • Why did you make a snarky remark about Andrew’s heart attack on the day he died?
  • Why did you smear Patterico as a racist on Twitter when you knew it wasn’t true?
  • Did you publish your entire email to O’Keefe’s board of directors?
  • If you didn’t, why not, and what did you leave out?
  • Why do you say O’Keefe “stole” pictures of you from Facebook but “gave” you his emails because he supposedly checked them from your phone?

Just to name a few.

Surely you have some of your own!

UPDATE: A court has granted a temporary restraining order against Naffe’s releasing any further emails and ordered her to bring all copies in her possession with her to court.

UPDATE x2: I have the injunction and will post it when I get home. I can’t upload it from a phone.

UPDATE x3: The injunction is available here. Here is a screenshot of the relevant portion of the order:

You may have noticed that Naffe is now threatening to report me to the State Bar for this post, which is, she claims, “legal advice.” Because I point out holes in her story, she says, that constitutes “legal advice” to James O’Keefe in a civil matter. She also falsely accuses me of updating the post during work hours.

I have seen this playbook before, folks.

By the way: given Naffe’s admission that she accessed O’Keefe’s emails, evidently without his permission, has she committed a crime? I offer no opinion on that, as this post (like all my posts!) is written in my private capacity, as an exercise of my rights as a private citizen under the First Amendment. I do wonder, however, whether the authorities are going to be investigating her for accessing O’Keefe’s email without his permission.

Sockpuppet Friday (Not Sockpuppet Friday, per se edition)

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:04 am



[Posted by Karl]

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sockpuppetry in this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads. I have made that mistake myself.

Sockpuppet comments about the Republican primary race are strictly prohibited. If you wish to use sockpuppets for that purpose, confine your comments to this thread. Same goes for any discussion that is not funny where people want to get angry at each other. Offending comments will be summarily deleted and the violators flogged.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.

Yesterday, Pres. Obama informed us that the stimulus sinkhole that funded his friends at now-bankrupt Solyndra was “not our program per se.” Many people, including Michelle Malkin and Iowahawk, had fun with that whopper on Twitter. If you asked him today, Obama might claim that Obamacare is not his program, per se. It got me thinking: Is Barack Obama’s middle name “Danger”?

–Karl

3/22/2012

Santorum: Obama Is Better Than the Etch-a-Sketch Candidate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 pm



This seems unlikely to be polarizing:

“You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future,” Santorum told a crowd at USAA.

So. A candidate who would, say, appoint a Supreme Court justice who would vote to take away your Second Amendment rights is better than Mitt Romney.

It’s quite a claim. And it will certainly be used by Obama in the general election.

The Correct Way to Fix Mistakes . . . and the Incorrect Way

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:58 pm



Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. But people carefully watch how you handle mistakes.

The right way to do it is to quickly, forthrightly, and thoroughly admit error — to move to correct the error, apologize, and explain how it happened.

The wrong way is to pretend it never happened, and to lawyer it up.

Recently, two outlets screwed up stories in a colossal way. One, PRI’s “This American Life,” handled the situation properly. The other, Breitbart.com (I am sad to say) did not.

Let’s start with “This American Life.” A few weeks ago, the program broadcast a portion of a theater presentation by a man named Mike Daisey, who had claimed to observe poor working conditions at manufacturing plants in China assembling Apple products. The show’s producers checked to ensure that the conditions Daisey had described — suicides, crippling repetitive motion injuries, employment of young teens, and the like — were actually occurring at these plants. That’s not the part they got wrong; such conditions do occur. What didn’t occur is Daisey’s observation of them.

Daisey had told the show’s producers that he had given a phony name for his translator, who had a prominent role in the story, because he wanted to protect her. He claimed to have no way to contact her. A reporter from another public radio show Googled the translator’s first name and location and easily found the translator, who disputed much of Daisey’s account. When confronted with this, Daisey admitted that he had lied about several aspects, and sounded mighty dodgy even about the parts that he was standing by.

Producer Ira Glass forthrightly admitted that he should have killed the story when Daisey could not provide contact information for the translator. Glass detailed the efforts that had been made to corroborate the story, where the show had failed, and what the true state of affairs in China is. This American Life devoted an entire hour to the retraction, took full responsibility, and generally made its fans (and I am one) feel that, while they screwed up, they could trust in the integrity of the show. No cover-ups here.

Such was not the case at another favorite outlet of mine, Breitbart.com, which recently had a disastrous post in which ambush interviewer Jason Mattera went after Bono with respect to certain financial dealings. Mattera confronted Bono, who incredibly denied having anything to do with his company’s business, or indeed even with U2. Bono looked evasive and surprisingly casual as he repeatedly issued denials: “I didn’t do that.”

The reason was: it wasn’t Bono. It was a Bono impersonator.

Whoops.

OK, look. These things happen. Breitbart.com was not the only one fooled. The night the story was published, I saw the story linked at the Blaze, for example. Everyone is fallible.

What I don’t like is the way it was handled. The post was simply removed without explanation, and editor Joel Pollak, instead of admitting error, went into lawyer mode:

“We went through a vetting process on this and appropriate questions were raised and appropriate answers were given,” Breitbart.com editor Joel Pollack assured us this afternoon by phone. “But the videographer then asked us to take it down, so we did.” But Pollak said he would “neither confirm nor deny” that mistaken identity was the reason for the scrubbing.

“Neither confirm nor deny”? Mattera has admitted that he got taken by a Bono impersonator.

I’ve met and spoken with Joel Pollak, and he seems like a smart man, and I’m sure he has the best interests of Breitbart.com at heart. But this is not how you handle it when you make a mistake. You gotta say: hey, we screwed up. At matters stand now, the biggest mistake in this affair was made, not by Mattera or his editor, but by Pollak.

I hate to say something like this, but sometimes you have to administer a little tough medicine to people who are on your side, for the greater good. In the Internet world, reputation is everything, and admitting mistakes in a cheerful and forthright manner is critical. With Andrew Breitbart gone, the people running the show need to learn that lesson fast, or they risk squandering the reputation for integrity that Andrew worked hard to build.

Don’t know much about 1980?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 2:26 pm



[Posted by Karl]

I probably should be finding some hot-button topic to blog, but my attention keeps drifting to what Erick Erickson calls his “Matt Lewis inspired ‘get off my lawn’ screed” about young pundits having no sense of history.  RTWT for some skewering of Juicebox Mafioso Matt Yglesias and others.  However, I would not limit the point to young pundits.  Older pundits and journos tend to have their own historical gaps and convenient memories, especially when it furthers their storylines (likely for reasons both ideological and dramatic).  Indeed, this — and the similar tendency to discount the economic fundamentals, campaign organization, campaign rules and calendars, etc.,  for similar reasons — is one of my motivations to blog in the first instance.

So I want to nitpick a later part of Erickson’s piece:

A few weeks ago I talked to a young conservative pundit who will go nameless (no offense for bringing this back up) who mouthed off the standard pablum that Ronald Reagain in 1980 was a shoo-in, everyone knew he would be the nominee, and it was nothing like this year’s primary. He did not know that there was an effort to get Gerald Ford to run in 1980. He did not know that Republican leaders in Washington pushed George H. W. Bush aggressively as a way to stop Reagan. He did not even know that John Anderson had been a Republican before bolting to run as an independent.

Mostly true, but not entirely accurate.  It is true that some in the GOP apparat urged Ford to run in 1980 — but after he declined, Reagan was the consensus choice of Republican voters.  Reagan collected almost 60% of the votes leading to his nomination.  He narrowly lost Iowa because he did not campaign there.  He then lost Puerto Rico, which people cared about then about as much as they care about it now.  In New Hampshire, Reagan collected as many votes as his six rivals combined.  On March 10, 1980,  TIME would report (in language familiar and yet Bizarro to anyone watching recent campaigns):

There is always a chance that the many Republicans who consider Reagan too conservative and simply too old to win the presidency will coalesce behind an alternative candidate. That could be Bush, Senate minority Leader Howard Baker, 54, or even ex-President Gerald Ford, 66, who appears sorely tempted to enter the race in an attempt to head off Reagan, his old nemesis from 1976. [Wishful thinking from the Left hasn’t changed much, has it? -K]

But Reagan at least deflated the balloon of Bush, his highest-flying early challenger…

Indeed he did.  Bush would go on to win in Massachusetts (narrowly), Connecticut (a Bush home), Pennsylvania, DC, Michigan and Maine (another Bush home).  The combined NotRomney vote — assuming it all went against Reagan — would have added only Vermont, Wisconsin, and Maryland.  Most of Reagan’s wins were in that overwhelming New Hampshire fashion.  In 1980, despite the liberal distaste for Reagan in both parties, he was indeed a shoo-in for the nomination.

To his credit, Erickson acknowledges he is guilty as any pundit when it comes to making mistakes.  But he ought to work extra-hard to avoid them when delivering the “get off my lawn” message.

–Karl

Questions About Nadia Naffe’s Story

Filed under: General,Nadia Naffe — Patterico @ 7:25 am



The big Nadia Naffe barn incident story is online. I don’t particularly feel like linking or quoting it; I’m sure you can find it if you want to. I don’t have a lot of time to discuss it, so I’ll just throw out a few quick questions to Nadia that I predict she and the partisan hacks writing about this story (hi Tommy Christopher!) will ignore:

  • Where is the evidence of a “rape plot”?
  • Where is the evidence that Andrew Breitbart ignored a “rape plot”?
  • If there was a “rape plot” then why did you testify that what happened that night was not harassment?
  • Why not call a cab? Why call Andrew Breitbart (who was all the way across the country) instead?
  • “James had downloaded and/or linked his Gmail account to my device.” What does “and/or” mean? Don’t you know which happened?
  • If someone accesses their Gmail from your phone or computer, and you are later able to re-enter their account, does that morally entitle you to access their account and download years’ worth of emails, as you insinuate you have done — or to publish all their emails online, as you have threatened to do?
  • Just how “remote” was this barn?
  • Why didn’t you mention your threat to destroy O’Keefe’s computers?
  • Is there anything missing from your republication of that email you sent to O’Keefe and his board of directors? If so, what does it say?
  • Why all the coziness with Anons and Internet thugs on Twitter?

The “and/or” thing is quite striking.

Countdown to Tommy Christopher uncritically repeating all this as if it’s a damning story with no holes in 5…4…3..

3/21/2012

Obamacare turns two

Filed under: 2012 Election,Health Care — Karl @ 8:12 am



[Posted by Karl]

Obamacare turns two this week.  After the March 2012 Obamacare cost estimate was released, it became apparent that some — and not all lefty pundits — are upset with those noting that the gross cost is exploding as it is phased in.  Apparently, it’s just plain mean to remind everyone how Democrats used the phase-in to get the initial cost estimate under $1 trillion for political cover.  And most of the same people are also upset with those talking about the exploding gross cost because the CBO is also projecting more deficit reduction from increased mandate penalties.  As Conn Carroll notes:

To recap, the CBO now predicts that Obamacare: 1) will force millions more Americans out of their current employer coverage than originally advertised; 2) will force millions more Americans onto Medicaid than originally advertised; 3) will force millions more Americans to pay fines for not obtaining health care; 4) will force businesses to pay billions more in mandate fines; and 5) will leave millions more Americans without insurance than originally advertised.

But to Obamacare’s defenders in the leftosphere, increased fines are a feature, not a bug.  They also overlook all of the dubious assumptions on which the claim of deficit reduction is based.

In contrast, Pres. Obama has no plans to mark the two-year anniversary of his signature piece of domestic legislation.  His White House dodges its prior claims Obamacare would spur the economy.  HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is unable to defend Obamacare’s impact on the debt, insurace costs, employer coverage, or the myriad waivers handed out to the politically-favored.  Unlike the dead-enders still defending Obamacare, Obama himself stands for reelection and can read the polls.  The “Terrible Twos” can be a painful thing for a Dad.

–Karl

3/20/2012

National Debt Increases More in Three Years of Obama Than in Eight Years of Bush

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 pm



Enough to make you run around the room screaming and yanking out large tufts of hair:

The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

I think we know whose fault this is.

Boooooooosh!

The Illinois Primary Thread

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 3:50 pm



[Posted by Karl]

The Land of Lincoln votes today, although if my experience was any indication, neither early nor often.  I proudly cast my presidential vote for David Burge, with some other votes for people I know.  It will not shock you to learn that Illinois runs a “loophole” primary in which your presidential vote is meaningless and the delegates are not actually bound to anyone.  Here’s your Google Map.  Mitt Romney is generally expected to win pretty easily; Karl Rove sets the over under at 29 of the 54 delegates to be selected tonight.  The more exciting races tonight are the challenges to House Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) and Don Manzullo (R).

The likely anemic turnout will likely fuel the ongoing stories about Romney’s uninspiring campaign.  FWIW, the last WaPo/ABC News poll showed 64% of the most conservative Republicans and independents expressing favorable views of Romney, up from a low of 43% three weeks ago.

Update: FNC calls it for Romney… and CNN as I type this.

Update 2: Turnout surprisingly a little higher than in 2008.  Also, looks like Romney is on track for the over on delegates.

–Karl

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