Fox News’ Chris Wallace Gently Pwns GOP Rep Mike Pence

The Republicans are in deep trouble if this is the best they can do.  Chris Wallace completely destroys Mike Pence with the airiest of follow-up questions on the stimulus and the cash for clunkers program.  Pence thinks he sees a light at the end of the tunnel with some “America’s starting to trust us” happy talk, but Wallace drops some devastating poll numbers on him.

The President’s approval rating is slipping from its previous highs, as many right wing blogs have noted.  However, it also appears that, despite Mike Pence’s delusions, the country isn’t ready, after 7 months, to toss the keys back to the guys who drove us into a ditch for 8 years.

Bonus fun: Pence on Healthcare

Updated:Duh! Healthcare Bill Doesn’t ‘Outlaw Private Insurance’

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Earlier today, Twitter was all a-Itself with news, courtesy of Investor’s Business Daily, that the House healthcare reform bill “outlaws private insurance.”  I knew, without knowing, that they were misreading the thing, but haven’t had the chance to run through it yet.  Luckily, the Heritage Foundation debunks them, while ladling on their own false alarmism.

To sum it up, IBD reads a passage, from page 16 of the bill, that describes a grandfather provision which they interpret as “making private health insurance illegal,” but fail to read a paragraph on page 19 that explains it further.  Non-grandfathered policies would be required to compete in health exchanges, alongside the public option.

The Heritage article still thinks this is going to ruin everything because of “teh regulations!”

In order to qualify as an “Exchange-participating health benefits plan,” all health insurance plans must confirm to a slew of new regulations, including community rating and guaranteed issue. These will all drive up the cost of health insurance. Furthermore, all these new regs would not apply just to individual insurance plans, but to all insurance plans.

The irony here is that the health exchange fixes a major flaw in John McCain’s plan from the 2008 campaign.  McCain wanted people to be able to purchased insurance across state lines, but that would have meant trashing or weakening important protections for consumers.  Without them, there would simply be a race to the bottom to provide the cheapest, crummiest insurance to those who can’t afford more.  From my story on the subject:

Saying that all McCain wants to do is “erase artificial boundaries” between states is like saying, “I don’t want criminals to roam the countryside, I just want to unlock their cells so they can compete for the best one.”

In order to allow such “competition,” companies would need to be exempt from state regulations, regulations that protect consumers from being denied coverage, or being canceled if they get sick, or from being sold worthless insurance that doesn’t cover anything once you read the fine print.

The notion that insurance companies can’t compete while consumers are protected is a frightening one.  There may be some that can’t hack it, but maybe they’re the ones who need to go out of business.

Update: I finally found a complete copy of the bill that my crummy connection would let me download, and it turns out that the IBD headline is even dumber than I thought.  On page 15, immediately prior to their “Oh, noes!” paragraph, is a clearly labeled intro that states that the section is simply a definition of “grandfathered coverage,” which is then referenced on page 19:

GRANDFATHERED HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE DEFINED.—Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term ‘‘grandfathered health insurance coverage’’ means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 (as defined in section 100(c)) if the following conditions are met:

That’s where IBD started reading, and stopped before they got to page 19.

More on this later.

Help Al Franken Get Ready to Go to Work

Al Franken says he’s ready to get to work:

WASHINGTON — Democrat Al Franken has arrived in Washington offering no jokes _ just a promise that he is “ready to get to work.”

This immediately put me in mind of Kool Moe Dee’s awesome track, “I Go to Work,” and the hilarious idea of adding a Franken-inspired verse.  Y’know, like,

“I go to work, like a Senator.

The floor’s a battlefield, and I’m Pat Benatar…”

But then, I got a load of the video for Moe’s track, and now, I can never listen to it the same way again.  Your dual mission:  To write Franken a verse to the song, and to shoot, edit, and publish an acceptably cool video for the original song.

Gibbs: President Obama Opposed to Slavery

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At today’s White House Press Briefing, Robert Gibbs was asked, by AURN’s April Ryan, about a bill apologizing for slavery:

April Ryan: (T)he Senate has unanimously passed a symbolic resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation, and sent the measure to the House. This being the first black President — Bill Clinton did not apologize for slavery; George W. Bush said he would not do it as Africans were also involved in the slave trade. Does this President think that that’s something that should indeed happen?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I have not spoken with him specifically about the Senate resolution and I’d want to get his view on that.

April Ryan: Okay, well, what is the President’s thought about slavery, especially since he invoked —
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Disgraced Senator John Ensign is a Big Honking Hypocrite!1!!

I know, I’m late to the party on this one, but I have to get my piece in on Sen. John Ensign’s (R-Nevada) resignation amid his admission of an extra-marital affair.  I only have 2 things to say about it.

First, I don’t begrudge my fellow liberals the glee of reveling in Ensign’s pontification-at-length on the importance and superiority of opposite marriage (stipulating that the affair didn’t make his comments any stupider or meritless-er).  The comeuppance certainly yummy, and worth savoring.

But what I will say is that, just once, I’d like for one of these screwing-around-like-drunken-rabbits politicians to get caught, and for HuffPo or Hot Air to dig up something like this:

The Senator, caught with several cocktail waitresses in what witnesses described as a “Fredo-esque display,” has a long record of supporting promiscuity and opposing traditional family values.  He even opposed 1997’s landmark “Eating isn’t Cheating Act of 1997” (HR 0u812) on grounds that it did not go far enough.

The other hilarious part of this is that Ensign apparently harbored some Presidential hopes.  Sure, the GOP field is pretty wide open, but who is going to vote to elect President Ensign?  Isn’t that like reporting to General Sergeant?

One more thing.  Ensign had to resign as the 4th most powerful Republican in the Senate, and for that, I have words of consolation.  That is not a very steep hill to climb.

Does President Obama Still Smoke? Gibbs Isn’t Saying

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At today’s White House Press Briefing, the subject of President Obama’s smoking habit came up a couple of times, as related to the signing of a new anti-smoking law.  Gibbs was his usual forthcoming self.  Here’s the first shot at it:

Q    Today when the President made some comments around the smoking and tobacco act, I noticed the President didn’t refer back to any of his personal experiences at all with smoking struggles.  I’m wondering if smoking continues to be a struggle for the President.

MR. GIBBS:  I think the President would likely tell you, as I think many — anybody would that has smoked or been addicted to smoking, that it is a life-long struggle.

Q    Is it a daily struggle for him?

MR. GIBBS:  Well, since days are comprised within your lifetime, I would — I think that’s covered.

White House reporters are a stubborn lot. Hence, the laser-like follow: Continue reading