It's Friday: Things I think about


Where were you on Nov. 22, 1963? I was playing "keepers" marbles on my elementary school playground. I remember teachers gathering us close after recess and telling us the news. The president was shot. The president was dead.

A moment of silence will be held today on Dealey Plaza in Dallas at the moment JFK was shot -- 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Wherever you are, take a moment.

Hypocrisy on Parade

Yesterday Sen. Harry Reid and the Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate changed a 200-plus-year-old rule. The majority party in the Senate can now move items through the Senate on a straight majority vote, instead of a super majority.

Democrats who were against doing this in 2005 when Republicans wanted to do it, are now A-OK with the change. Or, as Joe Biden then called it, a "naked power grab."

I have a feeling Sen. Reid and Democrats will live to regret the change. Anyway, there's never a shortage of hypocrisy in Washington, D.C., and never more so than today. Take a look at this video for a complete roundup of that hypocrisy. It is stunning.

Getting the story straight?

President Obama summoned to the White House MSNBC's talking heads Ed Schultz and Lawrence O'Donnell along with WashPo blogger Ezra Klein, Mother Jones bureau chief David Corn, Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall, ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum, Atlantic editor Garance Franke-Ruta, Solon political writer Brian Beutler and Fox News contributor Juan Williams.

It was an off-the-record meeting.

We can take a wild guess as to what was going on. The president wanted to meet with "his" friendly media folks to give them the straight scoop to they could then shovel it to their audiences.

Obamacare is a mess, so they needed to coordinate on that. The short-term political maneuver of employing the nuclear option in the Senate has been done, making the president look like a big hypocrite (again). He was against in 2005. So was Harry Reid and so was then-Sen. Joe Biden who called anyone who tries to do that guilty of raw power grab.

Ding, ding, ding ... give that man a stuffed Teddy Bear.

I don't blame the president for trying to snuggle up to the press. But good gawd almighty, Shultz, O'Donnell, Klein, Korn, Marshall, Legum, Franke-Ruta, Beutler and Williams look like political extensions of the president when they come at his beck and call and have these "off the record" skull sessions. And that makes their news organizations look bad.

Next time you read a puff piece on Obama in the Atlantic, for example, how do you know that piece came honestly to the magazine, or it came as a suggestion from the president through Garance Franke-Ruta? Tell us how that works, Garance.

Obamacare: Less for more?

I thought this Q&A last Sunday between Fox News' Chris Wallace and the Washington Posts Bob Woodward merited more attention. Woodward, I think, is on the right track. What if we wake up to find that Obamacare has had just the opposite effect on health care. That would be the ultimate unintended consequence.

CHRIS WALLACE: I hate when people come up to me and say, 'You know, you’ve been around this town a long time,' because I always know what that means. Bob, you’ve been around this town a long time, have you ever seen anything like this? A president with his, three years to roll out his signature accomplishment – literally, with his name on it – and it gets so botched.

BOB WOODWARD: Well, I have to think about what this is. It’s a mess, clearly, but what it isn't, and I think you have to look at the question of motive. And the President’s motive here, even though there deep problems with the implementation, he wants to do something good for 30 million people and get them health insurance. So this isn’t Watergate. This isn’t Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

WALLACE: I'm not saying it's a scandal. I’m just, what it seems to be is rank incompetence.

WOODWARD: Yeah, there’s no question about that, but you see all of these stories and this frenzy out there, the game over, the presidency is over, some people are saying. I think that's not the case. But here’s the other side of this which I would agree with George Will on. When you go down the road, it's going to get worse, because you talk to the experts and they will tell you that this is a money issue. It’s going to blow a hole in the budget. And when we go in two or three months from now and have more “Are we going to shut down the government? Are we going to pay for the debt we have?” All of a sudden, this is going to come on the table and people are going to say, "My God, it's going to cost much more money than we were spending on these things before."

I'm going to touch on this in my newspaper column on Sunday. People who worry about Obamacare, like myself, want the Obama Administration to get it together and get HealthCare.gov running smoothly. The sooner that happens, the sooner people will understand in a real, personal way how Obamacare effects them. It is possible that under Obamacare we're all going to get less for more.

Then, as the saying goes, the fit will hit the shan.

Frederick Fact: Thinking of God as an objective test-grader can make some people morally rigid and judgmental. (Jake Owensby)