"Fatal Attraction," the Washington version is playing on a television near you as Obama's bipartisan summit on healthcare approaches. Like a possessed, rejected maniac the president refuses to allow the idea of a massive restructuring of our healthcare system to fade.
You're just not that into his healthcare bill? Too bad. He won't be ignored.
Obama is hoping that by rebranding and reworking the old, rejected versions of the House and Senate bill into an even scarier narrative coupled with a televised meeting, the pressure will be so intense that he can kidnap the handful of Republican votes he needs to catapult this monstrosity over the finish line.
To get our attention, Democrats attempted legislative suicide. After laying low, they're back again, and like any prey dealing with a psycho, Republicans are nervous.
They understand that this is a carefully calculated public relations gimmick designed to force their hand. They know that if they don't show up, the images of empty chairs across the table from their caucus will be used, repeatedly, to paint them as unwilling to govern and to target them in campaign ads as obstructionists. Forget alerting the wife, the White House is going to out your bad behavior on C-SPAN. In other words: this is blackmail, Beltway style.
Like any concerned observer frightened for my friend's life, as well as my own, I urged Republicans to set some terms and not accept the invitation to the president's gathering unless he agreed to start over. Apparently, Mr. Obama was in favor of a second chance for the relationship and demonstrated his willingness by crafting a more expensive and politically explosive version of the first health care bill -- just on his own terms (so much for bipartisanship).
With each passing week that the president ignores jobs, choosing to focus on his obsession and an unprecedented legislative trick to stalk the public into a submitting to a relationship they don't want, the more he looks like a lunatic who has escaped the asylum, just waiting to surprise you outside your window, in the rain on your fire escape until you relent.
What has become evident to everyone except the Democratic leadership is that the American majority has no interest in a relationship so dysfunctional, so unstable, so completely unhealthy.
Obama has stumbled many times trying to get his way. Act Two of heath care reform might be his biggest mistake on the issue yet. In an effort to hit a button to reset the process, he might have hit the one that just blew it up. Like any good horror film, the element that's most despised just won't die. Let's hope we can finish health care off before anyone gets hurt.
Fox News has repeatedly promoted a video shot by Republican Congressional candidate Ari David's campaign of what they claim is Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) laughing at the recommendation that a meeting he was attending begin with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Fox News has frequently promoted other campaign videos by Republican candidates, and in some cases, let them raise funds on-air.
On February 23, FOXNews.com posted an article about the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) under the headline "Gay Discrimination Bill Will Stifle Free Speech, Advance 'Homosexual Agenda,' Critics Say":
Right-wing media figures seized on what ABC News' Jake Tapper has described as an "apparently erroneous" report of a statement allegedly made by President Obama's nominee for special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference Rashad Hussain to portray him as a "pro-jihadist," a "radical," and a "terrorist sympathizer." But, as Tapper points out, Hussain has argued that terrorism is "antithetical" to Islam had has written extensively on "[d]iscrediting the terrorist ideology...to stop al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups."
Earlier today, the Associated Press published an article on the resignation of Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' top climate change official. It's an interesting story, and the AP, as is their wont, presented it in a just-the-facts fashion:
De Boer is known to be deeply disappointed with outcome of the last summit in Copenhagen, which drew 120 world leaders but failed to reach more than a vague promise by several countries to limit carbon emissions - and even that deal fell short of consensus.
But he denied to the AP that his decision to quit was a result of frustration with Copenhagen.
"Copenhagen wasn't what I had hoped it would be," he acknowledged, but the summit nonetheless prompted governments to submit plans and targets for reining in the emissions primarily blamed for global warming. "I think that's a pretty solid foundation for the global response that many are looking for," he said.
De Boer told the AP he believes talks "are on track," although it was uncertain that a full treaty could be finalized at the next high-level conference in November.
The partial agreement reached in Copenhagen, brokered by President Barack Obama, "was very significant," he said. But he acknowledged frustration that the deal was merely "noted" rather than formally adopted by all countries.
For Fox News, however, news isn't news unless it is a) conservative, and b) wrong, so they added a little language to the AP report without acknowledging that they had done so (the byline reads simply "AP"). Compare the original AP article above to this screenshot of the Fox News version (emphasis added):
Fox News' additions, of course, are little more than stale retreads of the many falsehoods that comprise the "Climate-gate scandal." And the "bombshell" they refer to is actually a distortion of climate scientist Phil Jones' interview with the BBC, in which he said that it would be unlikely to observe a statistically significant trend over a 15 year interval, which, when it comes to climate science, is a very short period of time.
In an article about Sarah Palin's critical response to the Fox comedy, Family Guy, "after the show appeared to mock Palin's Down syndrome son," FoxNews.com claimed that Palin also "recently slammed ... radio talk host Rush Limbaugh for using the word 'retard.' " In fact, Palin excused Limbaugh's remarks as "satirical."
The right-wing media narrative that the Obama administration endangered security by giving Miranda rights to alleged attempted Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is falling apart. Contrary to claims based on unnamed sources in the right-wing media, Obama administration officials agree that Abdulmutallab gave valuable intelligence during his first interrogation and that Abdulmutallab has begun divulging intelligence again.
From the February 7 FoxNews.com article:
Much attention has been given to President Obama's persistent use of "I" when giving speeches to sell his administration's agenda. Is he taking responsibility -- or, as his critics say, is he still in campaign mode? FoxNews.com is tracking the president's speeches all this month and will report back after each to see whether The "I's" Have It.
In a FoxNews.com article, senior Capitol Hill producer Trish Turner repeatedly claimed that Democrats are considering using the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform legislation, and referred to that procedure as the "nuclear option." But the reconciliation process is not the nuclear option, which refers to a procedure that would be used to change Senate rules; reconciliation requires no such rule changes and has been used many times in the past.
FoxNews.com, Fox Nation, and Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft have cited a Mail on Sunday article suggesting that climate scientist Mojib Latif predicted a "mini ice age" over the next 20 or 30 years, with Hoft asserting that global warming is "junk science." But Latif has since challenged the Mail article's use of his research, and at the U.N. climate conference the Mail article references, Latif stated that while temperatures could "cool" temporarily "relative to the present level" due to natural climate variability, there is a clear "long-term warming trend" that is "manmade."
The following are some of the "creative" images posted on FoxNews.com's "Photo Op: The Trouble with Harry":
Fox News states that they're only "showcas[ing] the best submissions!"
Fox News spent a good portion of today running wild with the GOP talking point that the Congressional Budget Office undermined its December 19 and 20 estimates that the Senate's health care reform bill would reduce deficits by $132 billion during the first 10 years, with continued deficit reductions in the ensuing decades.
For example, FoxNews.com advanced the Republican spin under the headline, "Senators cite new budget letter to argue health care bill will hike deficit."
Problem for Fox News: The Congressional Budget Office actually reaffirmed its support for its estimate. Sen. Max Baucus noted on the Senate floor that day that he had received an email from CBO standing behind the earlier figure and explicitly stating that the memo pushed by Republicans and Fox News did not alter the earlier estimate:
BAUCUS: CBO says, CBO and the staff at the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that the legislation would reduce the federal budget deficit by $132 billion during the ensuing period. Next, CBO expects the legislation will reduce federal budget deficits during the decade beyond 2019 relative to those projected under current law with a total effect during that decade in a broad range of one-quarter percent and one-half percent of GDP. Of course, we know that's about $650 billion to $1.3 trillion. That's CBO. Today.
From the front page of FoxNews.com at 7:04 pm ET:
The conservative media seem to be having some difficulty figuring out what to make of Sen. Ben Nelson's support for health care reform.
Here's Fox's take:
Nelson Accused of Selling Vote on Health Bill for Nebraska Pay-Off
What started as Sen. Ben Nelson's personal stand against covering abortion with taxpayer money translated, somehow, into millions of dollars in federal aid for his home state.
Critics were calling it the "cornhusker kickback" and the "Nebraska windfall," lobbing accusations of political deal-making at Nelson.
And the Weekly Standard:
Ben Nelson, Cheap Date (Cont.)
According to the CBO, Nelson got $100 million for Nebraska in Medicaid funding--20 percent of what Massachusetts got
Maybe they should huddle up and decide whether they want to attack Nelson for selling his vote for a massive windfall, or for being a "cheap date" who got far less than Massachusetts. We'll wait.
Visitors to Fox News' web page today encountered this fair and balanced headline:
What? CBO says the Senate health care bill will reduce deficits. Why does Fox News headline the opposite?
Because the CBO now says the Senate health care bill will reduce deficits by slightly less than it had previously estimated. That, once Fox News runs it through their patented Lie-O-Mator 3000, turns into "CBO: Senate Health Bill Won't Reduce Deficits."
UPDATE: Or, um ... this.