Patterico's Pontifications


White House Takes on the “Internet Left” (Updated)

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 11:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

“Tens of thousands” of gay rights activists marched on Washington today, less than 24 hours after President Obama gave a major address to the gay rights Human Rights Campaign. According to AmericaBlog:

“NBC just did a piece about today’s gay rights march in Washington. For the political context of the gay community’s ire, NBC went to Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood. Harwood was asked if the White House was worried about “the left as a whole,” and concerns they have that the White House isn’t doing things that “the left” expected them to do. Harwood said the following:

Barack Obama is doing well with 90% or more of Democrats so the White House views this opposition as really part of the Internet left fringe.

Harwood then went on to say:

For a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn’t take this opposition, one adviser told me those bloggers need to take off the pajamas, get dressed, and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.”

At least he didn’t call them teabaggers or say they were too stupid to raise kids.

Seriously, though, wasn’t it the “internet left” that funded Obama’s campaign and helped him become a serious contender? So much for gratitude.


UPDATE — John Harwood has clarified his report. The White House is concerned about all left-wing bloggers, not just LGBT ones:

“In an email to the Huffington Post on Monday, Harwood clarified that the quote was not meant to convey any displeasure on the part of the administration for the gay community’s public advocacy.

“My comments quoting an Obama adviser about liberal bloggers/pajamas weren’t about the LGBT community or the marchers,” he wrote. “They referred more broadly to those grumbling on the left about an array of issues in addition to gay rights, including the war in Afghanistan and health care and Guantanamo — and whether all that added up to trouble with Obama’s liberal base…”

The HuffPo blogger-reporter Sam Stein says the White House communications wing is pro-bloggers but the West Wing led by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel favors traditional media.

Health Care, the Jobless Recovery, and Rationed Care

Filed under: Economics,Health Care — DRJ @ 6:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

William A. Jacobson convincingly argues Democratic health care legislation will raise costs for private health insurance (he explains why at the link) and make a jobless recovery more likely:

“The Democratic proposals seem designed to raise the cost of private insurance. This will have two effects. The first is job destruction. The proposals mandate that employers, other than the smallest employers, provide “acceptable” health coverage. In this one fell swoop, the Democrats have increased the cost of hiring or keeping employees. Anyone who has run a business (I have, Obama has not) will understand that raising the cost of an employee results in fewer employees.
The second effect of raising private health insurance costs will be to force companies to make the economic choice of paying the health care tax rather than providing private health coverage. This will mean pushing the nation towards a single-payer system (Obama’s stated goal) subsidized not by general tax revenues but by employer health care taxes.”

Jacobson concludes this will create even “greater incentives to shift employment resources to other countries, where there are no such costs.”

In addition, in the short-term, there will be more health care consumers but no comparable increase in health care providers. As a result, providers will be forced to ration health care. Physicians will have more demands and less time to spend with patients, so they will focus more on health care management instead of treatment. Physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses will provide more screening, triage, and care. I’m not saying these are bad choices. My point is there won’t be a choice.

So Democratic health care means higher costs, fewer jobs and fewer choices, but we’ll all be in the same boat (except for some lawmakers). And that’s the point, isn’t it?


DNC Pulls Bob Dole Ad

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 3:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last week, health care supporters trumpeted comments by Bob Dole on health care as evidence Dole supports ObamaCare and was critical of GOP for refusing to consider reform in a bipartisan manner. The DNC even had a TV ad scheduled to air Monday that contrasts Dole with Republican leaders.

Dole objected to the ad’s suggestion that he opposed Republican leaders or endorsed specific legislation “when he’s tried to keep what he’s supporting ‘pretty generic’.” Thus, before it even aired, the DNC has pulled the ad at the request of Dole and the White House:

“Dole is quoted saying, “I want this to pass. … We’ve got to do something,” and the ad attempts to contrast that attitude with that of current GOP congressional leaders, which the DNC describes as “siding with the insurance companies and just saying no to insurance reform.”

“I wish they hadn’t done it,” Dole said of the DNC ad in a phone interview with ABC News on Sunday afternoon, saying that the ad’s depiction of current GOP leaders “is just not my view.”

He found it a bit ironic that “all I’ve been doing is urging bipartisanship” and that was used for partisan purposes.”

Dole reportedly reached out to Rahm Emanuel who told the DNC to pull the ad.


Voting Present on Afghanistan

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 2:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Taliban violence is escalating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the Taliban leaders almost certainly noticed President Obama’s delay in acting on General McChrystal’s request for more troops. They aren’t the only ones.

Today on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein says the mission is in serious jeopardy:

“I reviewed all of the intelligence and looked at the situation, and it was pretty clear to me that violence was up 100 percent, 950 attacks in August. The Taliban now controls 37 percent of the people in the areas where these people are. Attrition in police is running 67 percent, either killed or leaving the service.

And the mission is in serious jeopardy. I think General McChrystal, who is one of our very best, if not the best at this, has said a counterterrorism strategy will not work. The president said to us very clearly, just as you said, George, we will not pull out.

Now, if you’re going to stay, you have to have a way of winning. The question is, what is that way? And I think the counterinsurgency strategy, which means protecting the people, not shooting from afar, but securing, taking, holding, and providing security for a period of time is really critical.”

Later in the interview, Feinstein summed up the U.S. role in Afghanistan and why Obama should send more troops now:

“Now, should we stay there for 10, 12 years? General, I don’t think so. I don’t think the American people are up for that or want that. But I think — I don’t know how you put somebody in who was as crackerjack as General McChrystal, who gives the president very solid recommendations, and not take those recommendations if you’re not going to pull out.

If you don’t want to take the recommendations, then you — you — you put your people in such jeopardy, just like the base in Nuristan. We lost eight of our men. We didn’t have the ability to defend them, and now the base is closing, and effectively we’re — we’re retreating away from it. And so I think the decision has to be made sooner, rather than later.”

Obama announced his strategy for Afghanistan in March 2009. Just over six months later, he’s set to announce a new strategy that may be at odds with the recommendations by his hand-picked General. Obama was raised by a mother whose generation famously believed we should “Give peace a chance” but the reality is Obama needs to give war a chance.


Roman Polanski Is Depressed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:20 pm

Roman Polanski is depressed:

Roman Polanski is depressed and in an “unsettled state of mind” as he begins his third week in a Zurich jail, his attorney told two Swiss newspapers.

Attorney Herve Temime has visited Polanski in jail, where he faces extradition to Los Angeles for sentencing after having pleaded guilty three decades ago to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

“I found him to be tired and depressed,” Temime told the Sonntag newspaper.

He was quoted in the newspaper NZZ as saying Polanski “seemed very dejected when I visited him.”

I have only one question: who cares?

Criminal defendants who are incarcerated are often depressed — but if they are incarcerated because of their own actions, you don’t usually see newspaper articles about it.

What about the depression this rape and its aftermath caused the victim? A depression that is constantly blamed on my employer, the L.A. County D.A. (for whom I do not speak), but which is fairly blamed on the rapist: Mr. Polanski.

There is no mention of her feelings.

There should be.

But this is how Big Media operates: when the leftists writing the story sympathize with the prisoner — such as Polanski, or Gitmo detainees — we get to read about how sad they are while locked up. If the prisoner is unpopular — say, for example, someone accused of a hate crime against a gay victim — you’d never see such a story in a million years. “My client is depressed,” the lawyer would say. “Who cares?” reporters would say.

And that’s what they should say here. The fact that they don’t indicates a lingering feeling of sympathy towards this child rapist.

It’s time to get over that, Big Media. A Dog Bites Man Story is just that — even if the dog is a famous director.

Burma: “It is What It is”

Filed under: Government,International — DRJ @ 1:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Trivia from the Department of State’s Daily Press Briefing on October 9, 2009:

QUESTION: P.J., just for the record, why does the word Myanmar never cross your lips?

MR. CROWLEY: It is the policy of the United States that we refer to that country as Burma.

QUESTION: And why is that, just so I know?

MR. CROWLEY: It is what it is.

Heh. Diplomacy at its finest.

If you’re interested in the reason Mr. Crowley didn’t provide, the name change from Burma to Myanmar is not recognized by some nations (like the United States) because they do not recognize the military junta that changed it. However, the U.S. is considering a change in its policy, and perhaps that will end the State Department’s “it is what it is” Burma policy.


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