What The President Should Know And When He Should Know It

Barack Obama, I found out today, is a liar. Oh, yeah, that’s right. Here, see for yourself:

President Obama Lied, Millions Will Lose Insurance Under Obamacare He Promised They Could Keep, Says Report

Lest ye think the Republican talking point in that headline is confined only to right-wing websites like the one above, well, you should know that the basis of that headline is a report by NBC News. Yes, that NBC News. The one that is supposed to be in bed with Obama and the Democratic Party.

Here’s how that story began:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

I won’t here go into why that and similar stories are essentially ridiculous—most of the relatively small number of people affected will lose their “junk” insurance plans in favor of better ones—but I do want to go into another Republican talking point that is making the rounds, even the rounds outside of conservative media: Obama is either “detached” from his administration because he doesn’t know what is going on, or he actually knows what is going on but won’t admit it.

Thus, if you believe the Republican Party and its conservative pundit defenders (not to mention non-conservative pundits who should know better, like Dana Milbank), President Obama should, among other things:

♦ Know everything going on at HHS, and especially know how to write the code that makes the ObamaCare website work;

♦ Know everything that is going on at the IRS, and especially know when conservative groups think, mistakenly, that they are getting undue scrutiny;

♦ Know everything that is going on at the NSA, and especially know every phone call the agency is “listening” to or every email it is “reading”;

♦ Know everything going on at ATF, and especially know when the agency is about to double-down on a Bush-era “gunwalking” tactic designed to catch Mexican drug cartel kingpins;

♦ Know everything going on at the State Department, and especially know the status of diplomatic security in Benghazi;

♦ Know everything going on at the Justice Department, and especially know when the Attorney General is about to issue a subpoena against a reporter, especially a reporter from Fox “News”;

♦ Know everything going on in every agency of the government, at all times, to the minutest detail;

♦ And if he doesn’t know everything that is going on, at all times, to the minutest detail, that itself is a scandal, a big, big, scandal.

♦ On top of all those things he should know, he should also know that he is required to wine and dine Republicans regularly, so they can persuade him to “reform” Social Security and Medicare beyond recognition, all in exchange for not shutting down the government again or placing a large stick of dynamite under the economy and lighting it this time.

Yes, the President is expected to know all these things.

26 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  October 29, 2013

    That business about losing coverage that is now too crappy to be legal, is like no longer being able to buy maggot-ridden horse meat at the grocery store.

    And, it’s no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.

    Like

    • Couldn’t agree more, my friend. If only mainstream journalists would accurately report what is going on instead of publishing and broadcasting mostly Republican noise, the public would have a better sense of what’s at stake.

      Like

  2. Well it’s true folks may be required to get better coverage, but it also maybe more expensive as well. I think my sister may be in this boat.

    Clearly we do expect Presidents to be able to implement their broad vision, or the vision is kind of pointless. It’s not clear to me that President Obama is a bad leader, but I think he tends to make utopian promises: the healthcare negotiation will be on CSPAN; that could have never worked. Now that promise gets thrown in his face.

    Like

    • Bruce,

      As I have been reading, there are cases in which coverage is more expensive and cases where it is cheaper, much of the difference being whether one qualifies for subsidies. That was obviously always anticipated, when a standard for coverage was set in the law, and when insurance companies were no longer able to discriminate in so many ways.

      As far as Obama’s “utopian promises,” like all transformation-minded people he has sometimes overstated the potential of his policies. I would submit, though, that the way he has governed, particularly the way he has handled his legislative agenda, indicates he is completely realistic, perhaps to a fault. Just one example is the fight over the ACA. Many of us thought he gave up too easily on the public option. In fact, he didn’t fight for it at all. Some of us think that if it had been clearly and forcefully on the table, the present ACA law would actually have been supported by a few Republicans as a “compromise.”

      Finally, I don’t see how anyone can call Obama a bad leader. Just look at the ACA. For generations Democrats have been trying to get universal health care passed. And he got it done, albeit via a law that isn’t exactly what liberals envisioned. And look at the leadership displayed over the GM rescue. Public opinion was against it, Republicans were attacking him, yet he essentially saved the auto industry as we know it. You can also look at what he has accomplished as a world leader. He has mostly kept us out of the mess in Syria, when many Republicans insisted he get more heavily involved. He has dethroned the Libyan dictator, killed our number one enemy, Osama bin Laden, and decimated terrorist leadership in various places. He has done all that while facing a Republican Party at home that has demonized him as a foreign socialist, fought him at every turn, and twice now held the country and the economy hostage. I’d say he has been a helluva leader, all things considered.

      Duane

      Like

      • I noted I was wondering if my sister’s policy might be cancelled (it’s relatively high deductible – they effectively self-insure to a degree). For me personally, yes I still have my Kaiser, and this year’s premium will be a little less.

        So clearly folks are keeping their current insurance.

        Like

  3. ansonburlingame

     /  October 30, 2013

    Liberals and conservatives have been yelling at each other for almost 5 years over ACA and I am sick of it. I posted a blog in response to Henry Morgan’s Globe column on Sunday. Its title is “The Reality of Obamacare”. It is a classic standoff between liberals and conservatives.

    ACA offers tremendous improvements in HC benefits for many Americans today, no doubt about it and arguing over such improvements or repeatedly reminding everyone of what they might be is just more blathering, to me. I already KNOW it is a good idea to demand insurance even if pre-existing conditions are present, period. Great, let’s do it!

    But, but, but, damnit, let’s pay for it as well, period. If a law requires a private insurance company to cover pre-existing conditions, or keep people covered for a longer period of time, or …… then it is simple ecomonics that the premiums to purchase such insurance will go UP, an UP and …… Nothing is free and someone has to pay more money to cover bad health conditions. WHO pays becomes the challenge and how much will in fact it cost to pay for such coverage.

    Well we are still sorting that out, given a bill that no one really understood, in such details, when it was passed. Nancy’s statement was a TRUE statement, far more truthfull that “you can keep your doctor or your current policy” PREDICTION (not an intential lie) made by the President. He simply oversold his bill or program which politicians of all sorts do all the time.

    As for your short blog, what should a President “know”. Not a whole lot at the time things start happening, bad things for sure. But SOMEONE that works for him MUST KNOW, at the time things go south in a bad way. That is called holding people accountable.

    When a leader awakens in the morning and things have gone south during the night, his first reaction should not be “the video caused it”, or “we are working hard on a web site”. No, good leaders recognize they woke up farther south than they wanted to be and started immediately to get things redirected in the proper direction.

    Anson

    Like

    • Do you know why it is necessary to keep on “repeatedly reminding everyone” of the benefits of ObamaCare? Because some people just don’t get it. Just like you don’t get the idea, which I have tried to tell you repeatedly, that ObamaCare is paid for. Unlike what Repubicans did when they passed Medicare Part D, Democrats actually put funding mechanisms in the law. Yet, I know that a month from now you will repeat the same argument, “let’s pay for it.”

      Finally, you wrote,

      When a leader awakens in the morning and things have gone south during the night, his first reaction should not be “the video caused it”, or “we are working hard on a web site”. No, good leaders recognize they woke up farther south than they wanted to be and started immediately to get things redirected in the proper direction.

      Are you kidding? Obama’s “first reaction” to Benghazi wasn’t “the video caused it,” no matter how many times your Fox-loving buddies say so. Go read his first statement on what happened. Second, Obama has expressed exasperation at what is going with the ObamaCare website and has started to get things “redirected.” Geeze.

      Like

  4. henrygmorgan

     /  October 30, 2013

    Duane: Can you imagine my surprise to learn that Anson disagrees with me? It’s too bad, I guess, that I don’t read his blog, so I would have known earlier of his displeasure. Just imagine how he’s going to feel when he reads my next piece Sunday about how lies are born and proliferate. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Bud

    Like

    • Bud,

      After having read Anson’s recent comment addressed to you, I want to assure you of a few things:

      1. Educated people are allowed to make “snide remarks” too. In fact, I think educated people invented snideness, right? So, it is not at all “beneath you” to throw your academic weight around now and then.

      2. Speaking of “academia,” or, as Anson put it, “academia!!!” I also want to let you know that your time in college both as a student and as a teacher were “real” experiences. You weren’t having a bad dream.

      3. I don’t know anyone who has “original thoughts” except Anson. So, don’t feel too ashamed of your deficiency. I hope someday I will have an original thought, but then I wonder how I will know it is in fact original? How could I possibly confirm that no one, in the history of mankind, had ever thunk it before? Man, my head hurts just thinking about it!

      4. Because you obviously have no “expertise in defense matters,” I want to inform you that the Syrians simply woke up one day and decided to rid themselves of their chemical weapons. Obama had absolutely nothing to do with it. In fact, if he would have been a stronger leader, the Syrians would have voluntarily destroyed their chemical weapons a long time ago!

      5. Finally, please rest assured that you are under no obligation to produce “erudite columns.” Simply explainin’ to ordinary folks what is really goin’ on will do.

      Duane

      Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  October 31, 2013

    Duane first,

    If Obamacare is really already paid for then who is paying for it and how much is it costing “them”, I wonder? Slam dunk a private HC system with 30 Million more people to be insured, exclude pre-existing conditions as a means to deny coverage, etc. and you are putiing a huge additional financial burden on that system.

    Supposedly that financial burden will come from government subsidies and getting people that did not want to pay for HC insure in the past to now pay for it, individually. You can bet you bibby that the private HC industry will not bear much at all in additional costs, without themselves being paid the amount due to meet those new cost burdens!! Damned greedy capitalists, right!! Even YOU admit that is not the right way to go and call instead for GOVERNMENT to bear all those costs, ultimately, just like Europe, supposedly.

    I just read a clip in today’s Globe where private HC leaders are now planning on big returns from Obamacare. They seem to believe that government forcing people to buy insurance and subsidizing those without the money to do so will create a wonderful world of new profit for that industry. Damned greedy capitalists,again, right.

    “Everyone” loves Medicare. But we the people do not pay for Medicare to the tune of about a $250 Billion shortfall each year, paid for through more debt. That is for some 50 million old folks only. Now we are trying to add 30 million more young and poor folks to that system and you say it is already paid for. Are you kidding me.

    Now Henry,

    Snide remarks are beneath you or should be so given your level of education and experience. But then I forget that all that experience was in the world of academia!!! Boy that is sure “real”, right!!

    Sure I disagree with you, increasingly so as you now become snide, demeaning, etc. I also note that when I try to engage privately in emails you also ignore my ideas and thoughts. Is that not just typical partisan politics, Your column was nothing more than repeating crap found all over the web. You had no original thoughts worth a damn, to me at least and ignore the “reality” of creating, yet again, a system of great promise without a real clue how to pay for the promises.

    I at least give the President credit for not lying to us in in 2009. He oversold a program just as politicians always do, partisan politicians. And typically, Duane now denies he oversold the program because it is “already paid for”!!!!

    Rather than some erudite column providing an analysis of lying, why not write one explaining to all of us that Syrian chemical weapons are now being destroyed because and only because the President threatened a “PUNY” attack with about 200 cruise missiles!! Boy that will show your expertise in defense matters, for sure!!

    Why don’t you just stick to a critique of my spelling, punctuation and gramatical errors. Certainly I will acknowledge your expertise in such as a long time professor in English!! I also freely admit they are my own errors and do not blame them on a spell checker!!

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      I will answer you briefly:

      1. I did not say ObamaCare was “already” paid for. I said it is paid for through funding mechanisms built into it. Go here and see what they are. You were suggesting that the program had no funding and we had to come up with a way to “pay for it.” I was merely correcting you. We have a way to pay for it, but it isn’t paid for until the money from the sources comes in. Get it?

      2. In terms of the huge profits that the insurance industry stands to make if the ObamaCare experiment works, you make a good case for trashing it and going to single payer. Thanks. I’m with ya.

      Duane

      P.S.: I don’t really want to butt in on your dispute with Bud, but you are saying that since he is a “long time professor in English!!” he should just stick to what he knows, is that right? Hmm. Does that go for you, too? Does that mean we no longer have to endure, for instance, your criticism of the education system? Unions? Politics?

      Like

  6. henrygmorgan

     /  October 31, 2013

    Anson: Have you noticed that I have never initiated contact with you? All of our interaction has arisen when you take issue with something I said on someone else’s blog. As to emails, etc., you place far more importance on your opinions than I do. And speaking of “snide” and “demeaning” I especially like your attack on academia. If your argument is with me, why “snidely demean” an entire innocent profession? If I recall, the email I received from you dealt with my article on forming Presidenttial Search Committees, an article with which you seemed to disagree. Didn’t your email deal with the mistakes you think I made in creating such a committee? So your expertise now extends to the academia which you belittle? Is there no subject on which you are unwilling to spout your opinions? “You had no original thoughts that were worth a damn” is an interesting comment from someone who so detests “snide and demeaning.” However, these words completely sum up my feelings about the “crap” you write, and that is why I choose not to respond. Henry

    Like

  7. ansonburlingame

     /  November 1, 2013

    Just to show how inane such debate becomes, on blogs, I offer this brief example.

    A few weeks ago, on Jim Wheelers blog, Henry and I engaged in an exchange of sorts about the safety of nuclear weapons. Henry’s point was such weapons are very dangerous because they are built and controlled by men. He then went into a list of examples of past “accidents”. I had no idea where he had come up with them, and there we went.

    For some 35 years I was intimately involved in nuclear weapons, their safety and how they were supposed to be controlled, safely. Henry had some Korean War personal insights and had found other unknown sources on the topic to base his concerns. We ended in disagreement for sure as we almost always do so, disagree.

    Later I found a rather iconic book, published in 2013 on just that subject. Not knowing Henry’s email address, I sent him an email via Carol who told me she had forwarded it. Not unexpectedly, no response from Henry, related to a book that supported his own original arguments in Wheeler’s blog, at least to a degree.

    I almost wrote a rebutal to Henry’s Sunday column about “lies about Obamacare” but decided to not do so for Globe publication. I did it in only in a blog, knowing Henry would probably not even read it and certainly not comment on it. Doing so, reading or commenting on my blog is beneath himself for sure. Why bother with just another “jerk” I suspect was his view on the matter.

    Well if Henry or even Duane glanced at the ensuing comments on that blog they would find such exchanges rather interesting and not just right wing rants against ACA, Henry or anyone else.

    Well when a partisan writer chooses to publish about ten (or so) references to a bunch of old fact checker columns, leaving out any “facts” from such columns to support the “other side” (I call that cherry picking links by the way), well I usually have some thoughts on such matters and may choose to write about those thoughts.

    Henry knows as much about nuclear weapons safety as I know about teaching English in college. Neither one of us are experts of any sort on ACA as well. But we sure have opinions about ACA. The mistake made by me was trying to engage with Henry, a grumpy old Navy Captain, retired and a grumpy old English professor, retired. It is like trying to teach a pig to sing, It is a waste of time and only angers both old grumpy pigs.

    So Henry, I suggest we both go to our mutual “ignore lists”. I don’t do that very often with only the inane (my view) Jane being the only one on that list for the last 5 years. But you are now on mine and I suspect I should be on yours. Such is limited to blogs only, however. Spout off in a Globe column, Henry, and I will restrict my responses to other Globe columns as well, in the future.

    As for Duane, no way. He writes too often, does his research and makes clear cases for the liberal side of many things. I read Duane each day, just as I do with Reich, etc. when they are published at least in the Globe.

    Anson

    Like

  8. henrygmorgan

     /  November 1, 2013

    I refuse to take advice from a man who refuses to follow his own. He wants to restrict me to topics academic, while feeling free himself to write on any topic that happens to tickle his fancy. No Deal. As to the nuclear accident argument, nuclear accidents were only one of a number of military accidents covered in my original comments. Anson, of course, as he usually does, changes the argument to one he prefers, as he in fact did with my Sunday article. I said several times that I was not supporting ACA, that I knew little about medical insurance, and that I had no idea whether it would succeed or not. So what is he disagreeing about? That the lies are not lies? They are easy to substantiate with just a little effort. He seems to have great difficulty sticking to the subject.

    Anson advocates ignoring each other. I’ve been trying to do that, but when he invokes my name, he can be damned sure I’m going to respond, even if it sounds “snide and demeaning.” As I said, I have never initiated contact with him. Only when he takes issue with something i wrote do I respond. The email he sent to me was barely about any subject other than correcting my article on Presidential Search Committees, a topic I was unaware he had expertise in. If he doesn’t attack me or my articles, I have no reason to respond. Think he can grasp this simple principle?

    Like

  9. ansonburlingame

     /  November 3, 2013

    Well, if Henry doesn’t like my comments on blogs, he will go nuts when he reads my proposed column in the Globe, just submitted today. I have now invited Henry and Marilyn Beasley to my home for dinner to discuss Obamacare for an evening. I included Carol as well in the public invitation to allow her to report on the conversation, over dinner, about Obamacare!! If someone does not know Marilyn I suggest they read today’s Globe column written by her about Obamacare!!

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      How strange. I recently invited Carol to take notes while Ginger Grant, Professor Roy Hinkley, Jr. and I engage in weekly dinner conversation best described as pied. Perhaps you would be interested in filling in for the Skipper. His foghorn blasts of egocentric bombast provided loud compliment to Roy’s occasional bouts of silent contemplation.

      Like

      • John,

        Ahhh. So you’re a Ginger guy! Nope. My weekly dinner, and hopefully after-dinner, conversation would include the irresistibly wholesome Mary Ann.

        Duane

        Like

        • RDG,
          I have decided to replace the professor with Mary Ann. This makes dining au naturel a much more epicurean affair. After-dinner conversation would, of course, become a moveable feast.

          Like

  10. henrygmorgan

     /  November 3, 2013

    I don’t know how many times I have to say this, or how many different ways I can frame it, but I know very little about medical insurance, probably even less about Obamacare. My article in last Sunday’s Globe was not a defense of ACA; it was a listing of several of the lies circulating about the Law, with an identification, where possible, of those promoting those lies, with documentation by Politifact.

    I repeated several times that I was not defending the Law, that I had no idea if it would succeed or not. What is so hard to understand? Unlike Anson, I will not hold forth on any subject that I have little expertise in. If you and Ms. Beasley want to engage in a debate about the Law, ask someone knowledgeable about the subject, someone like John Cox from Freeman Hospital. I doubt that I will “go nuts” over anything Anson writes. I gracefully reject the dinner invitation.

    Like

    • Bud,

      I can say with relative confidence that it is possible to read what Anson writes and not go nuts. I just make sure I have my medication handy and that my personal physician, the always smooth Dr. Keith Stone, is on call.

      Duane

      Like

  11. Jane Reaction

     /  November 3, 2013

    Corporal Burlingame: Thank you so much for reminding Jane that another five years has passed and still nobody reads your blog.

    Like

  12. ansonburlingame

     /  November 4, 2013

    John McKnight,

    If in fact you have a frequent interaction to sit down and discuss current issues with people holding different views, I applaud such efforts, for sure. I try to do so frequently as well and rarely do I refer to such discussions, publicly.

    Now I will admit that my proposed guest column was partially tongue in cheek when I publicly suggested that Henry and Marilyn join me for a private discussion. I also added in that same submission, the if it worked with Henry and Marilyn, I would try the same thing with Mark Rohr and Bill Scearce!!!.

    I have now revised that proposed column however, given Henry’s suggestion that we can all find the truth in political matters by refering to fact checkers!! No way could I afford the space in one column inviting Henry (and Sandy) to dinner!! So I have dropped the invitation but still have a pending column, no tongue in cheek remarks therein now, for sure!!

    I must admit however, that I found it very strange for a man to highlight the lies made about Obamacare to ONLY the lies (spin?) from one side of the debate. And such exposure, one sided exposure is from a man that claims that he does not support Obamacare, or oppose it either, I suppose.

    And yes, I read John Cox whenever he is published in the Globe. But there are about 5 good doctors in my immediate family that have views on Obamacare as well and they give me a very good “medical perspective” on that program also. The former CEO of Freeman is a neighbor of mine and I discuss such matters with him as well, for time to time, to gain a better perspective upon which to base my opinions.

    Anson

    Like

  13. henrygmorgan

     /  November 5, 2013

    Duane: There you go practicing medicine without a license. The AMA is breathing down your neck. But it is good advice for emergencies. Do you take the medicine before or after reading Anson’s stuff? WWDSD? (What would Dr. Stone do?) Bud

    Like

  14. ansonburlingame

     /  November 5, 2013

    John McKnight again,

    Going head to head, in a social gathering, over dinner, standing perhaps in Spiva Park in a regulated debate is rare these days, particularly between people on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Americans tend to associate with people they agree with today, not opponents politically.

    You and I have exchanged sharp barbs over the last few years just on this blog. Yet I do not know you from Adam, other than what you write herein. I am sure there is far more depth to you than what I read herein as well.

    Early in my public writing “career” I met Duane on several occassions. The first as I recall was a coffee session arranged by Carol for her recently hired “bloggers”. Duane, Anson, Geoff and a young blogger attending MSSU, Jessica Schrendil (spl?) gathered for about an hour over coffee with Carol in attendance. I really enjoyed the chance to meet them all and the exchanges were friendly, polite yet with differences evident as well.

    Had we continued such interactions I am not sure if the rancor that came later would have resulted. Who knows. On a couple of other occassions, Duane and I met and interacted without yelling at each other as well. Actually we laughed at each other, as I recall. I was there the first time (I think) that Duane went one on one with Long and caught him on his cell phone video. I laughed at that one, for sure!

    Blog comments for sure allow everyone to get their oars in the water on many topics. But blogs in no way promote civility, professionalism, honest exchanges of ideas when ideas are rather dramatically in opposition. That’s too bad in my view as real human beings are behind all the mud slinging that goes on, herein and in other “information age” exchanges.

    Anson

    Like

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