It’s Wednesday, or as it’s getting to be known in the White House, “Foot-in-Mouth Day.” Last Wednesday it was the President’s ill-advised and factually-challenged foray into a local police matter. But this Wednesday the President’s oral podiatry takes the cake.
One-third of the entire recovery act is for tax relief for you, for families and small businesses. One-third of it. . . . That’s money for you to buy cupcakes and other necessities of life.
It gets worse. Left out of the Politico’s video coverage of the President’s remarks was what he said about the tax relief that “95%” of Americans received. Within those ellipses deleted in the clip, he said that “You might not have noticed” the stimulus, because it was in your paychecks. Another reason you might not have noticed it was because the tax “relief” works out to a grand total of about $8 to $12 a week. And it expires at the end of this year. That is, of course, only if you’re not among the more than 15 million jobless Americans who aren’t currently paying any income taxes because they don’t have any income.
The President’s $787 billion stimulus package spent the equivalent of $10 thousand dollars for every family of four, and what do you get out of that? $8 to $12 dollars more a week. And that’s something to brag about?
Let them eat cupcakes indeed.
Bonus question: Imagine if Bush had said it.
| Category: Government
| Posted at: Friday, 24 July 2009
I don’t think we’re going to see another prime-time presidential press conference for a while.
Tom Daschle, the original pick for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, reportedly advised President Obama to stay away from the specifics as he pushed his health care plan. It was Daschle’s belief that when discussion turned to details in 1993, it doomed President Clinton’s attempt at government-run health care. That is why this time around the President has tried to ram the thousand-plus-page proposal through without much discussion. It was a surprise–and an indication of just how badly his health care proposal was failing–when the President wanted a press conference.
This isn’t his best format. Without the crutch of his teleprompter, President Obama is a less than accomplished extemporaneous speaker. He rambles. His many verbal pauses detract from his polished baritone. It’s a big dropoff for listeners used to hearing him speak a prepared speech. But even worse than that, in a press conference you’ve got to get the details right. And that’s a hard thing to do when you don’t know the questions beforehand. It requires a mastery of the facts. Instead, on Wednesday the President badly flubbed his facts.
The first flawed fact was the assertion that doctors are routinely committing fraud when, for example, they perform tonsillectomies instead of other less expensive treatments because the surgeries offer better reimbursements. Never mind the fact that it is often pediatricians who recommend tonsillectomies, which are then performed by surgeons–a different doctor. And therefore unless the President wishes to allege that in addition to fraud, family doctors are also guilty of conspiracy by colluding through illegal kickbacks, he cited a wrong example.
But the President’s example was wrong for another simpler reason: the truth is the exact opposite of what he alleges. This is from a 2004 study (emphasis added):
Today, approximately 259,000 tonsillectomies are performed annually in the United States–one-fourth the number that were performed just 30 years ago. (5) The decline of tonsillectomy despite a growing population appears to be attributable to advances in antimicrobial therapy, more definitive criteria for surgical intervention, and a heightened respect on the part of physicians for cost-risk-benefit considerations.
The President, as a father of young children himself, should have known that his children are much less likely to experience at least two two rites of medical passage that he probably saw in his own childhood: chicken pox and tonsillectomies. But he didn’t know his facts. So instead of citing an example of how he would prevent unnecessary medical procedures that are rampant without his plan, he gave an example of the exact opposite.
When you get into the details make sure your details are right.
Which brings us to the President’s second major flub: his assault on a Cambridge policeman. After first announcing that he didn’t know the facts (we still don’t), the President pronounced judgment: the police acted “stupidly.”
It was a stupid thing to say, but very enlightening into how the President thinks. Just as with his medical plan, even without knowing the details, he’s already made up his mind.
We didn’t get the chance to know him well as a candidate. But what I think we learned Wednesday night was that the Cowboy President’s replacement prefers to shoot first before knowing the facts. It’s not a good quality in a leader.
| Category: Economy
| Posted at: Thursday, 16 July 2009
In Washington a gaffe occurs when a politician accidentally tells the truth. This Bidenism, then, may qualify as the Mother Of All Gaffes:
” . . . we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt.”
Some will argue that Vice President Joe Biden misspoke. But he did not. Listen to the audio yourself. This is the most succint summation of the Administration’s economic plans you will ever hear. And if you’re dumbstruck by the sheer stupidity of it, then welcome to the club.
Spending money to ward off bankruptcy is the shill of daytime tv shysters who prey on the fears of those deeply in debt that if they just pay them to clean up their credit, then all will be well. It is so nonsensical that even the most innumerate and economically inept among us can plainly see that the Administration’s economic, health care, and energy plans are disasters.
Thank God for Biden’s propensity to gaffe, because America really needs to hear the truth.