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February 25, 2010

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A few notes for today so far:

1. Only two heartbeats for the Presidency but in many ways she is arguably the most powerful member of this administration. Nancy Pelosi seems to be all but calling the shots on the liberal agenda of President Obama. It is Nancy who works with Harry Reid and seems to have a great influence on his strategy. This morning the President unveiled his plan with a few carrots thrown in to make it look like he was taking "advice" from Republicans. But, those ideas can be quickly dismissed as nothing but window dressing: undercover doctors to combat medicare fraud(where the hell is the FBI?), some trials of medical malpractice limits (a smoke and mirrors reference to tort reform), increased payments to Dr's on Medicaid services, and the useo f medical savings accounts. Operating on her own Pelosi seems to have the strategy of using reconcilliation to pass the senate version of the bill perhaps revised some to get more Democrats to support it (and ignore the political suicide consequnces). Reid would then have to get the bill through the Senate as amended using reconcilliation as well. Obama has called another TV op for this afternoon to explain his new program to America once again. Look for a major speech on his "hopes " for bipartisan support and the magnamity of his "compromise solution. You have to give these progressives props for stubborn determination. The Republicans can use something called filibuster by amendment to stall this but they risk looking very uncooperative. Interesting that the bill still includes the Nebraska special situation and Louisiana.

2. What a night for Republicans. Jay Leno returned to his time slot opposite David Letterman. Letterman had a special guest: Republican Mitt Romney. Interesting--the man who regularly insults Sarah Palin has her main contender on. And who does Jay offer? Sarah Palin. Not only was she the guest of honor but she also performed (very well) the monologue demonstarting her ever improving ability to wow the crowds. And, who won? Romney/Letterman's rating was 3+ dramatically lower than the Palin/Leno 6+. And, in another blow to Republican leadership Sarah's candidate , Perry, defeated the party elders' selection, Hutchison by a wide enough margin to eliminate a vote off despite a strong 19% showing by the Tea Party candidate. sarah palin cannot be underestimated in her role in American politics. In this case she endorsed neither the Republican party leadership's candidate nor the Tea Party's candidate but her own Republican candidate Perry. And he took 51% of the vote. Republican primary candidates should take a long look at getting Sarah's nod as the candidate of choice. And, looking toward the fall Democratic candidates who vote for the healthcare bill or the energy bill sure to come next should have nightmares of Sarah coming to their state and campaigning against them. McCain should be heartened by this as he and Sarah begin his campaign in Arizona this month.

The silence is scary isn't it? Last week we saw the frustration of the right and left trying to solve our problems using a moderator who represents the majority party only instead of the American people. The President should represent the people and work diligently for compromise to get to solutions. Unfortunately, this President, instead operates in a manner that tries to exploit his majority status to push through programs on behalf of about 20% of the people. The result of his work last week: His public support for his solution to healthcare went up from 41% to 44%. Hardly a blip considering he got 7 hours of air time. Opponents are still in the majority at 52%. So now we wait for the "I" man to issue "his" new version of the solution. His style is to dictate, lecture and then arrogantly come forward with "change we can believe in". Smoke and Mirrors that is. In the meantime the media specualtes on what it will be and what the Reid-Pelosi strategy will be to pass it.

While we once again freeze in anticipation of more healthcare battles the economy degenerates. Small businesses close. State and local governments cut jobs and costs. Even ABC news is laying off. Is there a recession of news? Obama once again ignores the issue of jobs while working on healthcare. Credit for small business still remains unaddressed. Supposedly Rob Emanuel has a list of Obama's top 10 priorities every day when he meets with his Senior staff. If a priority is not handled that day then it appears on the list again the next day. I wonder if jobs has ever been on the list? Or if it has, does it occupy the # 10 spot every day? 17% of American workers are union memebers. I think the problem is that job creation is listed under the word "UNION HELP" on the list. And, of course, those are not small business employees. They are the other 76% of Americans. So here we wait. One more time: "It's the economy-- Mr President".

The Healthcare Summit demonstrated two things:

1. There are considerable areas of agreement between Republicans and Democrats. They COULD write a bill addressing these issues and pass it. Preexisitng conditions. National competition. Insurance portability. Drug clearing house. Reduction of Medicare fraud. etc.

2. The reason the parties can't agree is becasue they have different objectives and it was clear yesterday. The Republicans want a step by step approach to LOWERING healthcare costs (rates). Democrats want to EXPAND COVERAGE and are using lowering costs as the red herring.

So, Obama is not going to start over and focus on cost reduction because that does not expand coverage to the uninsured. And Republicans are not interested in instituting another mandated entitlement program. Result: FACEOFF in Congress. Pelosi and Reid forging ahead to try and find a way to get their bill through either the House in the version the Senate passed. Or revised bills that are rewritten to qualify under reconcilliation rules and voted through with 51% in both houses. The Wars are about to begin once more. If this voting actually occurs the result will be to put a bullseye squarely on the back of each Congress person who supports it for the Tea Party target in the fall.

Obama looked like he was trying to be Bill Clinton the intellectual meeting moderator. Unfortunately, Obama is no Bill Clinton. He has no ability to listen. No ability to absorb. No ability to give credit. He looked bored when others spoke. He was anxious to "speak himself" and of the 7 hours of the meeting it was Obama who spoke about 2 1/2 hours. The most hypocritical exchange of the day was his comment to John McCain that the "election is over" so no more campaigning. Where was Obama on Friday? Las Vegas with his arm around Harry Reid announcing to the crowd that we are giving up the $38 Billion nuclear waste depository at Yucca mountain and starting over. Campaign is over? Please, Mr President. It is just beginning.
The debate over leadership is often: are leaders born or is leadership learned? In this case the "I" man definitely wasn't born to lead so let's hope he can learn. Rough first year. I would bet he has spoken more words in his first term than any other President in history and accomplished very little. By the way --now that we spent $15B on job creation --is that problem solved? It's the economy---Mr President.

Thanks for the info, Bo. Despite the charaterization of them as crazies and extremists the Tea party people, to me, have shown themselves to be common sense individuals who are looking for common sense leadership something akin to what they face every day when they run their household. The central issue they rally around is the massive debt being piled on future generations with continuoous deficit spending by both parties. Unlike politicians who continue to defer fiscal responsibility to future generations, these people wake up every day to balance their budgets. Now, facing higher taxes, reduced credit, rising interest rates, increased healthcare and energy costs, increased college tuition and job insecurity people relize they are moving backwards. Baby boomers are deferring their retirements. Young families are struggling to make their house payments and deferring their auto purchases. And, what is the calvary doing? Raising the cost of taxes, energy, healthcare and restricting credit as they propose record deficits for more entitlement programs.So the Tea Party represents the frustrated people who have simply given up on trusting one party or the other to act reponsibly. This, again, I believe, is the result of the parties being hijacked by and held hostage by the far right and far left freezing the ability of the nation to develop solutions that every family faces every day and deals with.

Sarah Palin's role in American politics could be to simply point the Tea Party members to the candidates she believes will work for common sense solutions no mattter what party they represent. To date she has done this about 3 or 4 times taking on the leadership of the Republican party in preference of other candidates. Texas is her latest example. In this simple role she could have a dramatic influence on America's future (elections) over the next 4 years without ever running for anything herself. Sarah Palin's strength to me is that she is grounded in common sense approaches to solutions in the same way the Tea Party moms see it. And, they relate to her. Leave the elite intellectuals to debate on CSPAN.

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