A friend tipped me off to The Hill Blog’s “Big Question” because this week’s was about Obama and health care:

Are President Obama’s healthcare plans realistic?

We weighed in. So did many of our allies and coalition partners. Here are some of the excellent answers:

Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now, said:

President Obama’s healthcare plan is not out of the blue. It’s realistic because he created the mandate for his plan when he ran for President. It was a central part of his campaign. Remember, 86 percent of his advertising in October talked about healthcare. Now he’s laid out a plan to pay for it, and Congressional leadership is lining up behind him. All the pieces are in place. It’s happening, and it’s happening this year.

Gerald McEntee, president of AFSCME, said:

President Obama’s healthcare plan is realistic and demonstrates that he understands what is needed to get America on the road to economic recovery. We need to expand healthcare coverage and lower costs for families and businesses. Working families stand ready to work with President Obama to make his plan a reality.

Jeff Blum, executive director of USAction, said:

The United States spends 6 percent more of GDP on healthcare than the next most expensive country, and yet we are less healthy than many countries and health care causes more tsuris than in many countries. President Obama is making a tremendous down payment on helping us – our health, our families, our economy. What’s unrealistic is pretending that we don’t need big progress, now.

Bertha Lewis, CEO and Chief Organizer, ACORN, said:

Not only is President Obama’s healthcare plan realistic, it is also urgently needed for both the physical well being of the American people and the economic well being of our economy. The plan is good. The time is right. Let’s address this challenge squarely, the way Americans know how, and create a stronger, healthier nation.

Maura Pond, web communications specialist, UFCW, said:

President Obama’s plan for healthcare is not only realistic but absolutely necessary. Our current system is too expensive and unreliable to be sustainable in our time of economic crisis. As the greatest country on earth, America has not only the capacity but the obligation to provide quality, affordable healthcare to every citizen. We can’t afford to wait any longer — not having a plan would be truly unrealistic.

Blogging is Exhausting

Obstruction as Strategy

Bill Kristol is at it again. Today in the WaPo:

Conservatives can’t win politically right now. But they can raise doubts, they can point out other issues that we can’t ignore (especially in national security and foreign policy), they can pick other fights — and they can try in any way possible to break Obama’s momentum. Only if this happens will conservatives be able to get a hearing for their (compelling, in my view) arguments against big-government, liberal-nanny-state social engineering — and for their preferred alternatives.

Bill Kristol in 1993:

December 2, 1993 – Leading conservative operative William Kristol privately circulates a strategy document to Republicans in Congress. Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to “kill” — not amend — the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party. Nearly a full year before Republicans will unite behind the “Contract With America,” Kristol has provided the rationale and the steel for them to achieve their aims of winning control of Congress and becoming America’s majority party. Killing health care will serve both ends. The timing of the memo dovetails with a growing private consensus among Republicans that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan is in their best political interest. Until the memo surfaces, most opponents prefer behind-the-scenes warfare largely shielded from public view. The boldness of Kristol’s strategy signals a new turn in the battle.


Posting’s bound to be slower than usual the next couple of days as I am off to another retreat. This one’s closer and less demanding of my personal involvement, but I’ll still be away from my computer more often than not.

If there’s something totally significant and/or juicy that pops up, I’ll weigh in from the road. Otherwise, expect crickets until the weekend.

It’s Too Easy

I’m not a big 30 Rock fan, but Gawker nails it this morning with the Bobby Jindal/Kenneth the Page comparison.

Also, Think Progress has got the lowlights of Jindal’s speech married with the Fox News panel’s less-than-glowing review:

Did You Catch That?



…And for that same reason, we must also address the crushing cost of health care.

This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds. By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes. In the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages. And in each of these years, 1 million more Americans have lost their health insurance. It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas. And it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget.

Given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold. We can’t afford to do it. It’s time. (Applause.)

Already, we’ve done more to advance the cause of health care reform in the last 30 days than we’ve done in the last decade. When it was days old, this Congress passed a law to provide and protect health insurance for 11 million American children whose parents work full-time. (Applause.) Our recovery plan will invest in electronic health records and new technology that will reduce errors, bring down costs, ensure privacy, and save lives. It will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every American, including me, by seeking a cure for cancer in our time. (Applause.) And — and it makes the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that’s one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control.

This budget builds on these reforms. It includes a historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform — a down payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American. (Applause.) It’s a commitment — it’s a commitment that’s paid for in part by efficiencies in our system that are long overdue. And it’s a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come.

Now, there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to achieve reform, and that’s why I’m bringing together businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans to begin work on this issue next week.

I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. Once again, it will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and our conscience long enough. So let there be no doubt: Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year. (Applause)…

Speech! Speech!

I’m working right now so I can’t really liveblog the Presidential Address, but I couldn’t resist the urge to share that I think Speaker Pelosi looks like a giant pea.

About Tonight

We’re looking forward to President Obama talking about health care reform tonight, and we expect to be able to say the issue’s no longer if we’re doing health care but how we’re doing health care – meaning what kind of health care reform we’re going to get. Do we keep letting private health insurance companies dominate the landscape and operate to minimize coverage and maximize profit, or do we create a new public health insurance option that forces private insurance to compete, controls costs, and guarantees quality?

Assuming the speech goes as expected, this is also where the game changes and the make-nice coalitions start to bicker about the details.

Game on.

Elevating the Issue

Our local HCAN partners released reports across the country yesterday, and a couple are still trickling out today. The reports are all pretty much the same (just with state-specific notes and numbers) because the message is uniform nationwide:

We must do health care next, and we can’t fix our economy without fixing health care. It’s just too big and just too broken.

Here’s a small handful of press hits so far:

Arkansas: Fox CBS Arkansas News Bureau

Delaware: Talk radio

Tennessee: Nashville Business Journal Nashville Public Radio

Nevada: Fox

Michigan: NBC ABC

Ohio: ABC

Oregon: CBS

Seek and Destroy

Here’s why Find and Replace is a dangerous Microsoft Word function when you are trying to release a report to the press on a very tight deadline:

Last I checked, Obama is not the President of the United NewJerseys.