“Before presenting tennis legend Billie Jean King with the Medal of Freedom Wednesday, President Obama ticked off some of her accomplishments: 12 Grand Slam titles, 101 doubles titles, 67 singles titles.
“Pretty good, Billie Jean,” he quipped.
But he didn’t get any of it right, according to King herself.
Asked what Obama got wrong, she said, “Well the Grand Slam’s at 39 not at 12.”
Billie Jean laughed it off but information like how many Grand Slams King has won is readily available at her website. If Obama’s staff can’t get little things like this right, what about big things like health care?
[UPDATE 8-14-09: Mayer has admitted to me that she was invited to the town hall meeting via a listserv message sent by a radical Obama supporter who ran an Obama campaign office that displayed a Che Guevara poster. More details here.]
[This post follows up on a previous post in which I questioned the credentials of a woman at a Texas town hall meeting who claimed to be a doctor, but turned out to be anything but. She is a graduate student in social work — oh, and an Obama delegate. Read on for more.]
It took some work to get the admission, but I got it.
I wrote Roxana Mayer at her University of Houston e-mail address today and said:
Hi, I run a blog at patterico.com and I wanted to ask you some questions regarding your recent attendance at a town hall meeting for Sheila Jackson Lee. Could you write me back when you get a chance?
Mayer responded, from a different e-mail address that was associated with her name:
I like your article. How can I help?
Promising, I thought — so I decided to level a series of questions:
1) Are you the person who attended Jackson Lee’s town hall meeting?
2) Are you a doctor?
3) If not, why did you claim to be one?
4) Were you a Texas delegate for Obama?
5) Why did you go to the town hall meeting?
6) Who encouraged you to go?
7) Did Sheila Jackson Lee’s husband have anything to do with your going?
Thanks for your time.
I suspect you don’t need me to answer the first four…but I’ll say for what it’s worth, I went to get a question answered for myself and two other people close to me who are doctors. Too bad she didn’t answer it. I also went to lend support to the reform effort. It’s easier to be against something especially since anger is such a great motivator.
Also, I have never met the Congresslady or her husband–it’s a big school. I do think this is all very funny because I just assume that if my going had been part of a conspiracy, it would have been more seemlessly executed.
While I’m sure I lack your creativity and passion, I have possessed some spontaneity from time to time.
Let me know if I can help you further,
If I understand what’s going on here, you’re not a doctor, but you play one at town hall meetings.
Is that about it?
And she replied:
Do you mean play a doctor like you play a journalist? Then the answer is no. But who knows, that was only my first town hall meeting–even though I was a delegate. If I go to another one, which I seriously doubt because my husband is already extremely annoyed, then maybe I’ll play a plumber.
More updates to come.
UPDATE: The reporter who wrote the Houston Chronicle story apparently knew that Mayer was an Obama delegate, but didn’t include that detail in her story. Commenter mike in houston says that he wrote reporter Cindy Horswell and received the following response:
This is the name and occupation that she gave when she spoke at the public meeting. She also told me that she was an Obama state delegate and been notified of the meeting by email and did not live in Lee’s district. I have since been trying to see if she misrepresented herself. There is someone by the same name who lists herself as a graduate student and sociologist intern at a Houston council on drugs and alcohol…but that person no longer works there. And do not know if this is the sme person. She may also be a visiting doctor from another state…..Am interested in any information that anyone might have. Best regards, Cindy Horswell
Sorry, Ms. Horswell, she’s not a visiting doctor from another state. And you should have told us she was an Obama delegate.
UPDATE x2: Just to be clear, Mayer specifically represented herself as a “pediatric primary care physician” to the Houston Chronicle, which didn’t bother to check it out, and gave her comments extra weight as a supposed “physician”:
Roxana Mayer at Jackson Lee’s town hall meeting
Here she is on her MySpace page:
I’d say that’s the same person.
UPDATE x3: My previous post on this is here, in case you missed it.
UPDATE x4: Further confirmation (as if it were needed!) from the Lone Star Times:
Our own David Jennings secured a phone interview, in which Mayer admitted to impersonating a physician, saying — get this — she thought it would help her credibility. (It didn’t.)
Weird; her hero Barack Obama also thinks that lying enhances his credibility . . .
You really should read their entire post. The idea that this was all Mayer’s idea seems rather outlandish once you’ve taken it all in.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Nigeria’s corruption and electoral problems with the 2000 Florida presidential election recount during a town hall meeting today in Abuja, Nigeria.
Answering a question about Nigeria’s recent election, Clinton said, “In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for President was the governor of the state. So we have our problems too.”
That is a tasty combo of the Obama administration’s “America sucks” foreign policy, coated in some rich, gooey Bush Deragement Syndrome. Sure, the “media recounts” of the 2000 election showed that the recounts requested by Al Gore or ordered by the Florida Supreme Court would have still resulted in a victory for George W. Bush. Why would that stop our country’s chief diplomat from suggesting that her predecessors in government were there illegitimately? Certainly not Pres. Obama’s faux insistence that we let go of the politics of the past.
The sad thing is that this story will be heard by few Americans, and will register with even fewer. The silver lining? If the US Secretary of State can bestride the globe this drenched in BDS — almost nine years after the fact — without notice, what are the odds that a few anti-ObamaCare protesters are going to scare anyone today? (hint: Long odds.)
[UPDATE: Mayer has admitted to me that she is not a doctor. Details here.]
Yesterday, DRJ posted on a comical town hall meeting that Sheila Jackson Lee held in Houston on Tuesday, in which Jackson Lee talked on her cell phone as a constituent asked a question.
A reader writes to raise questions about whether there was a Barack Obama plant at Jackson Lee’s town hall meeting, in the form of one “Dr. Roxana Mayer,” who was mentioned in this Houston Chronicle article:
Some attendees at the meeting spoke in favor of the plan, go so far as to want a system where the government had complete control.
One supporter, Dr. Roxana Mayer, a physician who does not live in Jackson Lee’s district, praised the reform plan for overhauling a broken system.
“I don’t know what there is in the bill that creates such panic,” she said.
But I can’t find any evidence that she’s a doctor. Instead, I find evidence of a Roxana Mayer who appears to be a graduate student studying social work at the University of Houston, where Jackson Lee’s husband is a vice president for student affairs.
Now, this is not conclusive. It is not clear whether all doctors are members, and I suppose that it’s possible that some kinds of doctors may not be listed there. (For example, I’m not sure about the licensing or registration requirements for osteopaths.)
And oddly, there is a connection between Jackson Lee and Roxana Mayer’s University of Houston. Namely, Jackson Lee is married to one Elwyn C. Lee, who has a dual appointment as the “University of Houston System vice chancellor for student affairs and University of Houston vice president for student affairs.”
What does it all mean? I’m not quite sure at this point. But it’s enough to make me go:
P.S. I have whited out the e-mail address in the screenshot of Roxana Mayer’s University of Houston listing, although you can see it at the link. I have written the Roxana Mayer at the e-mail address to see if she will answer some of my questions.
I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter because frankly, we historically have had a employer-based system in this country, with private insurers, and for us to tran — transition to a system like that, I believe would be too disruptive.
Barack Obama, 2003:
I happen to be a proponent of single payer universal health care plan. . . . A single payer health care plan, universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see.
Watch the dissembling with your own eyes. The first quote is 49 seconds into this clip:
And the second quote — you know, that thing that Obama never said — is 4 seconds into this clip:
The second half is 36 seconds in.
For added amusement, cue them up to play at the same time. I did. The effect of listening to him deny ever having said it in clip 1, at the very same time as he says it in clip 2, is very nice.
I encourage some video editor to make a video that splices the two parts in bold above and just put it on a loop. “I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter. I happen to be a proponent of single payer universal health care plan. I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter. I happen to be a proponent of single payer universal health care plan.” And so forth. You make it and I’ll link it.
[UPDATE: No sooner requested than done:]
Go ahead and reconcile that, Obama defenders. I already know what you’re going to say, and your defense rests on the idea that your famously articulate president didn’t mean what he said.
The political arguments over congressional town halls, anti-ObamaCare protests and HCAN/SEIU thuggery began as focused on the relative authenticity of the protests. Now, Juicebox Mafioso Matt Yglesias and Democratic Strategist Ed Kilgore take the step of questioning the point of town hall meetings (which is amusing in light of the lefty charge that raucous protests at these meetings is killing democracy, but I digress).
The immediate, non-theoretical answer is that the Democrats hoped to use town halls as one way of selling ObamaCare to an increasingly skeptical public and generate favorable media coverage. The anti-ObamaCare protests introduced an element of judo, turning the town halls into a story about how controversial ObamaCare remains, exposing how staged the pro-ObamaCare events have been, and causing skittish Democrats to avoid staging more of them.
Marc Ambinder would like to believe that ObamaCare critics have discredited themselves and that the media reported on the town hall meetings in ways damaging to Republicans. (On the Right, Charles Krauthammer and Andrew McCarthy took opposing views on this question.) Ambinder assumes that Blue Dogs will write off the protesters as partisans rather than swing voters. However, it is equally possible that Dick Armey has correctly identified Tea Partiers as Perot-esque populists not so easily pigeon-holed. Moreover, people this passionate in opposition are the sort who will continue their activism in the 2010 campaign cycle; a Member of Congress would prefer that they be mollified to the extent possible.
Ambinder is on even shakier ground when it comes to his media analysis, falling into the all too common trap of analyzing from the viewpoint of a political junkie. (As did Krauthammer.) The town hall meetings kept healthcare atop the news agenda last week, but the distribution of that news coverage is telling:
From August 3-9 health care accounted for only 5% of the newshole in newspapers, online and network news. But it dominated cable news (37%) and radio (33%), the two sectors that include the debate-oriented programming that hammers away on polarizing issues.
Accordingly, it is far from clear that the media coverage was much help to the Democrats. Public support for ObamaCare fell to a new low in the Rasmussen poll, and has dropped 21 percent in four weeks in the Gallup poll. Gallup did not break out unaffiliated adults, but Rasmussen reported increased opposition from unaffiliated voters. The attention given to the town hall protests does not have seem to reversed ObamaCare’s downward slide.
That being said, it is also far from clear that the protests are a significant cause of ObamaCare’s slide, either. Peter Kirsanow makes a decent point:
Perhaps the behavior of some of the attendees will eventually reverse Obamacare’s eroding support. But that would be a peculiar dynamic. The drop in support is a result of more and more people focusing on the probabilities that the plan will decrease the quality and availability of care while blowing a titanic hole in the federal budget. Seeing video of a few energetic people shouting at congressmen is unlikely to cause the average voter to say, “Okay, that does it. Because of that loud guy I now support high taxes, mediocre health care, and an irreparable budget deficit.” Rather, it’s more likely that ordinary Americans who see a video of their fellow citizens confronting out-of-touch, spendthrift politicians will be reinforced in their suspicions that something is seriously wrong with the bill.
I would add that bad economic news was also driving down support for Pres. Obama and moreso his policies before the August recess, and that trend will likely continue as long as job losses continue to mount. This is not run to down anti-ObamaCare activism. As noted earlier, the protests affect the media narrative, have yet to become a liability in public opinion, and may help sway some members of Congress at the margin. But political junkies (myself included) should always be careful not to assume that everyone is obsessing over the protests the way we are, or drawing any particular conclusion from them. Most of the time, it is the bigger picture that matters.
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