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Talking heads bite Barack Obama (when he's lost John Stewart, he's got a problem)
The Politico ^ | August 18, 2009 | Mike Allen

Posted on 08/19/2009 2:34:29 PM PDT by presidio9

When you’re Barack Obama and you’ve lost Jon Stewart, you’ve got a problem.

“Mr. President,” the “Daily Show” host said Monday night, “I can’t tell if you’re a Jedi — 10 steps ahead of everything — or if this whole health-care thing is kickin’ your [rear.]”

White House officials, by acknowledging that a public option (or government plan) is not essential to achieving health care reform, may have improved their chances of ultimately getting a bill.

In the meantime, though, they have touched off the most ferocious backlash among liberal talking heads since President Obama took office.

The president and his team insist they focus on big, long-term goals — and don’t obsess about cable chatter or newspaper chin-stroking. If they did, they’d be worried to watch reliable allies turn on them in the midst of battle.

In The New York Times, columnist Bob Herbert scolded the president under the withering headline, “This Is Reform? Why the insurers and the drug industry are smiling”: “[I]f we manage to get health care ‘reform’ this time around it will be the kind of reform that benefits the very people who have given us a failed system, and thus made reform so necessary. … If the oldest and sickest are on Medicare, and the poorest are on Medicaid, and the young and the healthy are required to purchase private insurance without the option of a competing government-run plan — well, that’s reform the insurance companies can believe in. … If the drug companies and the insurance industry are smiling, it can only mean that the public interest is being left behind.”

And so it went, on the air and online, with the Huffington Post bannering a backlash story: “CODE BLUE: Rockefeller, Feingold, Pelosi Call Public Option Essential.”

Ezra Klein, the economic and domestic policy wunderkind at The Washington Post, finds the ire somewhat misplaced. He wrote in a Tuesday morning blog post titled, “The Liberal Revolt”: “Monday was the day of the liberal revolt on health-care reform. … What's been striking, however, is the implicit argument that this is somehow a simple failure of liberal will. … The unifying idea here is that someone can just go into a back room and torture (the Senate Finance Committee’s) Max Baucus and Kent Conrad. But how? … [H]ealth-care reform is not a negotiation. It's a campaign. … Winning it will require persuading the key votes to change their mind, either by offering them other inducements in the bill or applying direct and aggressive political pressure (identifying a lot of viable primary challengers and creating a credible promise of funds, for instance). Trying to say ‘no’ for longer than they can will simply result in reformers losing everything they want, and opponents getting exactly what they demanded.”

In the meantime, conservatives could enjoy watching MSNBC on Monday night. A parade of Obama-friendly anchors opening their shows with essays of dismay:

— Rachel Maddow: “[W]hen you have a weekend like that, it’s no real surprise when Monday turns out to be a great day for health insurance stock prices. … We got here through a collapse of political ambition, and the resultant downgrading of expectations for this once-in-a-lifetime, stars-aligned political shot at fixing this system … [W]hy is the public option dying now? It’s dying because of a collapse of political ambition. The Democrats are too scared of their own shadow to use the majority the American people elected them to in November to actually pass something they said they favored.”

— Ed Schultz: “[T]he White House, I think, is dazed and confused … They don’t know what page they’re on. I mean, they don’t have a playbook. You can’t go over to the White House and say, can we have your plan for health care, and boom, there’s a 200-pager right there. They don’t have that. Now, what they have is a bunch of bullet points and a bunch of ideas, but the bottom line here is that the president I think needs to be more direct and start doing some arm-twisting with some folks that aren’t listening to him.”

—Keith Olbermann: “The White House is claiming almost simultaneously that the public option is not essential and that nothing has changed. These would seem to be mutually exclusive.”

On the op-ed page of The Washington Post on Tuesday, three of the five articles contained harsh Obama-bashing from the left:

—Columnist Eugene Robinson, under the headline, “Where's Mr. Transformer?": "Giving up the public option would send many of Obama's progressive supporters into apoplexy, yet the administration has sent clear signals that this is the path of less resistance it's prepared to take. ... What the president hasn't done is the obvious: Tell Congress and the American public, clearly and forcefully, what has to be done and why. Take control of the debate. Consult less and insist more. Remind the Blue Dogs who's president and who's not. Giving up on the public option might be expedient. But we didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one."

—Columnist Richard Cohen: “Health-care reform provides [Sarah] Palin … [an] opportunity. The klutziness of Obama's effort — people think they know what they can lose but have no idea of what they can gain — again raises the specter of invisible forces that will take but not give, dictate but not listen, tax but not provide.”

— Robert Kuttner, co-editor of the American Prospect, a senior fellow at Demos and the author of "Obama's Challenge”: “Even now, he won't make clear that the private insurance industry is the problem. Recent administration statements on the ‘public’ insurance option have been classics of mixed messaging. Obama's economic team is far too cozy with Wall Street, fanning populist suspicions.”

On “The Daily Show,” Stewart went on to deliver a double whammy: He complimented the Bush administration for comparative political acumen, and questioned Obama’s idealism. “Remember the Bush team?” Stewart said. “Little bit of discipline, little bit of repetition. They sold us a WAR nobody wanted and nobody needed. … Salesmanship! Those guys could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. The Democrats, I don’t even think could sell Eskimos BEEP they need — insulation, heating apparatus. … Yes, we can! [pause] Unless you don’t think we should!”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bho44; jonstewart; popculture

1 posted on 08/19/2009 2:34:29 PM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9

I wish Jon Stewart would take a long walk on a short pier.


2 posted on 08/19/2009 2:37:58 PM PDT by albie
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To: presidio9

It’s gone beyond left verses right to the left verses the American tax payer


3 posted on 08/19/2009 2:39:14 PM PDT by lakertaker (Democratic Party Economic plan: Declare all those who hate higher taxes as unpatriotic)
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To: albie

I’m sure Jon Stewart will be issuing his on-air apology within the week once it’s pointed out how racially charged his remarks were.


4 posted on 08/19/2009 2:40:20 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: presidio9
Pretty much all of this criticism is that he's not being socialist enough. Yeah, that's the ticket, j0ker, be MORE socialist! Surely that'll convince the ignorant mobs!

And I love this gem:

Remind the Blue Dogs who's president and who's not.

Yeah! "I won!" That worked so well the last time he did it!

With friends like these, Obama doesn't need enemies.

5 posted on 08/19/2009 2:45:37 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: Future Snake Eater

“Remind the Blue Dogs who’s president and who’s not.”

So the talking heads are under the impression that the President has greater powers and authority over Congress?


6 posted on 08/19/2009 2:50:53 PM PDT by autumnraine (You can't fix stupid, but you can vote it out!)
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To: presidio9
Like Obama most of these people have never read the user's manual for the United States of America.

Presidents, Congress and the Courts have been spitting on that user's manual for a 100 years or so.

What the founders invented for us died many years ago. It was replaced with a bunch of bleating goats all making noise so they can be noticed. So they can be seen, so that they can see themselves. Obama, Hillary, Bill, Pelosi, Barney Frank, any Kennedy, etc. have no talent other than masturbation. Nothing is more important than their own self-gratification, they need to be the center of everything. They are so narcissistic it's sickening. There is no "representation" going on. They don't work for their neighbors that voted for them. They are pot bellied pigs feeding off others because they cannot do anything themselves. They are empty heads. They are comical and have nothing about them to admire. Morons with power who think they are people of genius who know the answers to many questions, as long as some staffer tells them what that answer is.

7 posted on 08/19/2009 2:51:03 PM PDT by isthisnickcool (GIVE ME YOUR MONEY BITCH! - President Obama)
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To: autumnraine

Hell, if you listen to the talking heads, you’d swear he was a king!

Such a comparison was made in last week’s service at my church! I don’t really think it was intentional, but it got my blood boiling, that’s for sure!


8 posted on 08/19/2009 2:52:21 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: presidio9

“for this once-in-a-lifetime, stars-aligned political shot at fixing this system … “

that’s what I’ve been saying all along. the left is tired of incrementalism and they feel obama is their best chance to get all their socialism in now without being watered down by moderates and conservatives.


9 posted on 08/19/2009 2:59:00 PM PDT by ari-freedom (Obama acted stupidly...and that's after knowing all the facts.)
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To: albie

Stewart sucked as an actor and he sucks as a comedian/news reporter.


10 posted on 08/19/2009 3:00:45 PM PDT by peeps36 (Democrats Don't Need No Stinking Input From You Little People)
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To: Future Snake Eater

they thought they really won. everyone hates bush and loves obama so here we go!
no. it’s not that easy in America. People hated Bush because he spent too much $ and bailed out all those companies. Not because he spent too little.


11 posted on 08/19/2009 3:03:14 PM PDT by ari-freedom (Obama acted stupidly...and that's after knowing all the facts.)
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To: lakertaker
It’s gone beyond left verses right to the left verses the American tax payer

It's also the Left against America as we know it, to convert America of all into a fiefdom of a few.
12 posted on 08/19/2009 3:08:42 PM PDT by alecqss
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To: presidio9

LBJ: “When I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America”

Obama: “When I’ve lost Jon Stewart, I’ve lost Mental America”


13 posted on 08/19/2009 3:11:21 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat
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To: presidio9
“Even now, he won't make clear that the private insurance industry is the problem...."

And that, FRiends, is the entire basis of the Democrats' love affair with the Public Option.

Somehow, they believe that the government can "do" insurance better than the private sector can -- not just in so-called hard cases, but apparently in all cases.

That's an incredibly bold assumption, especially given the on-going disarray that characterizes the government's own Medicare and Medicaid programs.

OTOH, to point out the government's failing is NOT the same as saying that the private sector insurance companies don't need to clean up their own act, because they do: they're incredibly bureaucratic organizations whose contact with real market forces is somewhat tenuous.

A viable counter-strategy for dealing with this health care Obamanation has to address both aspects of the problem -- and most importantly, to REDEFINE THE PROBLEM so that we can address what's really going on.

First, we have to challenge those bold assumptions. "Government-provided insurance is required ... why????" A rational discussion of the topic would show that in almost all cases additional government options are not required -- and the hard cases could be addressed by adjusting existing regulations governing access to Medicare and Medicaid.

Second, however, we need to seriously address why medical costs are so very, very high -- they really are ruinous, even if insurance makes those costs somewhat invisible to most individuals.

There are a lot of reasons why costs are so high ... and it's quite telling that those reasons are NOT part of this debate.

In a very real sense, the Democrats' health care initiative is insane, in the sense that their actions apparently have little if any contact with the real roots of the problem they purport to be solving.

14 posted on 08/19/2009 3:28:37 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: albie

What motivates guys like Stewart? A lucky one in a million bastard who gets to make a good living being a showbiz retard. I understand the social liberalism, wanting to bang whoever and all, but why the devotion of a relatively self-made guy to this socialist fantasy. You know he’s rich and must see huge portions of his income go to the IRS.
Does he really think some bureaucratic debacle monument to mediocrity that busts our budget and turns the dollar into toilet paper is an efficient way to help people? Why doesn’t take some of that Daily Show cash and open a damn free clinic himself.


15 posted on 08/19/2009 3:42:18 PM PDT by Callahan
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To: presidio9

Just damn. Heartbreaking isn’t it?


16 posted on 08/19/2009 3:58:40 PM PDT by em2vn
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To: presidio9

Who else do the Libs have to blame. Tried to tell them this guy was a neophite dufus, but NOOOO, he’s thoughtful.


17 posted on 08/19/2009 4:05:43 PM PDT by ImJustAnotherOkie
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To: presidio9

Please pass the popcorn!


18 posted on 08/19/2009 4:21:22 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: isthisnickcool

Just reading between the lines of your subtle post it almost seems as though maybe you don’t really like politicians a lot 80)


19 posted on 08/19/2009 4:42:53 PM PDT by RipSawyer (Change has come to America and all hope is gone.)
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To: albie

John Stewart looks so much like Twinkletoes.


20 posted on 08/19/2009 5:27:19 PM PDT by Mamzelle (Who is Kenneth Gladney?)
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To: Callahan
why the devotion of a relatively self-made guy to this socialist fantasy.

Stewart is only successful as long as the cool kids think he's cool. You can't be cool and bash Obama. At least, not yet.

At some point, it could be just as fashionable to bash Obama as it was to bash Hillary Clinton in the late primaries or Michael Jackson after the mid-to-late 1980's. But Obama has to do something to earn this.

Most folks on FR would agree that Obama isn't particularly likable, but people like Stewart so far have dismissed this as right-wing racism and whatnot. Once Obama throws EVERYBODY under the bus (and he will), it could be open season on the guy.
21 posted on 08/19/2009 5:57:27 PM PDT by VisualizeSmallerGovernment
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To: Callahan
As it is, insurance companies can be negotiated with, with the government plan is if don't like what we offer you can go pound sand.
22 posted on 08/19/2009 6:29:55 PM PDT by oyez ( damnant quod non intelligunt)
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To: Joe 6-pack; albie; em2vn; Callahan; Mamzelle
True story that took place in my office a couple of weeks back: Two particularly vocal an annoying (and liberal) women were discussing a recent John Stewart segment that they didn't like. In this segment, Stewart was criticizing something they believed in (it was an industry thing, not a political thing), and he posed an actor as an "expert" to make a fool out of himself defending a position. The women were, of course, outraged that this could happen. The asked me if I'd seen it. It replied politely that I'd rather drink poison than spen one more second of my life watching a lowest common denominating twerp Jon Stewart. On of the women then responded "That's right, he's a Republican. Don't pay any attention to him. Here in NYC, Republicans are like lepers, but I didn't bother to mention that I have never been a registered Republican in my life. Instead, I pointed out the irony that they would be so offended when Stewart used deception to attacked something they believed in, even though they thought it was funny when he attacked things they disagreed with for years. On of these women responded "I don't agree with you" (I'm not even sure how to interpret that line), and they both walked away.

Something like 75% of first time voters use the Daily Show as their primary source of current events information.

23 posted on 08/21/2009 12:27:58 PM PDT by presidio9 ("Don't shoot. Let 'em burn.")
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