Tag Archives: healthcare

National Healthcare Insurers on Path to Merge from Five to a SINGLE PAYER

Many, including CDN, projected that consumer choice would become greatly limited after the imposition of Obamacare – this month is proving all of themhospital room right – and more.

The Economist published an article detailing the turmoil healthcare insurers are experiencing. The remedy they seek is to eliminate competition in an impossible marketplace:

A similar consolidation among health insurers was also predicted. But since the new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare only went into operation last year, it has taken until now for it to be clear how big the merger wave may be. The largest insurer, UnitedHealth, has approached the number three, Aetna. The second-largest, Anthem, is trying to buy the number five, Cigna—which on June 21st rejected Anthem’s $47.5 billion bid. And the number four, Humana, has been looking at selling itself to either Aetna or Cigna.

Reduced competition is terrible for consumers. Prices inflate wildly and products/services become harder to get.

Once the healthcare marketplace is reduced to UnitedHealth, Anthem and Aetna, United and Anthem will fight over Aetna until just the two remain. With certain politicians in place, United will be allowed to acquire Anthem and there will just be one – a single payer.

It will be so much easier for progressives to regulate a single insurer into oblivion instead of dealing with a herd of cats all doing their own things. A behemoth like UnitedHealth needs the money the government gives it just to survive the weight of Obamacare. If UH doesn’t do what the government wants, that money is gone. And then – it will be gone anyway.

Once UnitedHealth becomes a figment of history, someone has to step in to save the imaginary “working class.” Gosh, who will that be?

Welcome to government healthcare. The crazy predictions from years ago are coming true and there will be no push back. People will just be happy to be getting “free” healthcare – no matter how unavailable or substandard it is.

The BO Behind the Obamacare Numbers

If there was one thing that then presidential candidate Barack Obama had right it was his assertion that words matter. That understood, it has always seemed a bit odd to me that a man who presents and proudly proclaims himself a full blown Progressive – if not the quintessential Fabian Progressive – would have alerted the electorate to this fact. Why, you ask? Well, because Progressives are notorious for manipulating the meanings of words to suit their objective needs. Remember, Progressives are the ones who insist that the United States Constitution is a “living document,” meant to facilitate the needs of the times (read: allow government to morph into any authority that the elites believe is needed at any given time).

So, it is with a gigantic grain of salt – a Guinness Book sized grain – that I consume the declarations being made by the Obama Administration on the “numbers of people who have signed up” for health insurance through the federal health exchange. There is a stark difference between “signing up” for the website and purchasing health insurance. Even then, there is a lot of ground between applying for health insurance through the exchange and actually paying the premiums each month.

The truth is, we won’t know how many people have successfully attained health insurance coverage through the “Obamacare Exchange” until after the first month of coverage has completed. This is because for coverage to be in effect it must be paid for. To that end The National Journal reports:

“One of the biggest players in Obamacare’s exchanges says 15 to 20 percent of its new customers aren’t paying their first premium – which means they’re not actually covered.

The latest data come from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members – known collectively as “Blues” plans – are participating in the exchanges in almost every state. Roughly 80 to 85 percent of people who selected a Blues plan through the exchanges went on to pay their first month’s premium, a BCBSA spokeswoman said Wednesday.”

It would seem that some – oh, maybe 15 to 20 percent – of those who “signed up” for health insurance through Healthcare.gov have figured out that as long as it appears as though they have signed up for health insurance through the exchange they might be able to circumvent the inaugural Obamacare fine (read: tax, per SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts) for not actually having health insurance. Of course, this remains to be seen, but given that the Obamacare website is the laughingstock of the tech world, maybe – just maybe – they might get away with it.

And another facet of this totalitarian Progressive overreach of government – this unconstitutional encroachment into our private lives – is the question surrounding the employer mandate. To date, there have seen so many exemptions given to both organizations and corporations alike, the idea that this is actually a “mandate” is becoming laughable. Let’s face it, when a mandate becomes something only applicable to select factions and demographics, it is less a mandate and more a punishment, and a punishment for “not thinking correctly.”

This Progressive line of thinking is typical of an elitist faction that truly believes – truly believes – they know what is best for everyone, even if the overwhelming majority views the “opinion(s)” of said Progressive elitists as undesirable and oppressive. It is for this reason – the elitist narcissism of the Progressive Left – that a recent declaration by former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs shouldn’t surprise anyone.

TheHill.com reports:

“Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs predicted Wednesday that the oft-delayed Obamacare employer mandate will never go into effect.

“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go,” Gibbs told a crowd in Colorado, according to BenefitsPro.com.

“The website described the audience as being surprised by Gibbs’s comments…

“Gibbs argued that most employers with more than 100 workers already offer health insurance, and only a relatively small number of companies have between 50 and 99 employees.”

Putting aside, for a moment, Mr. Gibbs’ contention that only a small number of companies have employees numbering between 50 and 99 employees, this is another example of the “words matter” bait and switch, and with ramifications.

We the People, were told – in no uncertain terms – that the employer mandate was essential to the success of Obamacare. The Obama Administration has been so obstinate about this point that they were willing to fight the Hobby Lobby Corporation all the way to the US Supreme Court in an effort to force them to provide “end-of-life-causing” contraception options to their employees – against the moral and religiously-based objections of the company owners. The Obama Administration even tried to strong arm Catholic charities operated by nuns to do the same. Yet now we have one of the “soldiers of the Obamacare Movement” shrugging his shoulders insisting that the employer mandate is no big deal? If that’s true, why coerce nuns and those objecting to the mandate on religious grounds?

Looking further down the list of forced mandates, what could we expect next? Should we get ready for the individual mandate to become expendable, but for, of course, the demographics that are “not thinking correctly”?

If words matter, as now President Obama claimed in the days before his presidency, why don’t they matter now, now that he is president? He promised that Americans could keep their doctors and the insurance plans they enjoyed “period.” Yet that turned out to be a lie, bald-faced. He and his cronies said that the mandates were non-negotiable. But now one of the primary mouthpieces who trumpeted the need for these mandates during this blatant coercion of the American people says the need to mandate employer participation is “not so much.”

Truth be told, there are some provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are beneficial to the American people (dealing with the purchase of health insurance across state lines and addressing pre-existing conditions being two). But the negatives of this legislation far, far out-weigh the positives. Additionally, if federally elected politicians weren’t playing the whore for the behemoth insurance companies and their heartless lobbyists on K Street (let’s remember who was “all in” on getting Obamacare passed) purchasing health insurance would have been open to a national market, thus lowering prices through competition and creating viable options to address the issue of pre-existing conditions.

Don’t look now, but Capitalism is the answer to high health insurance prices and accessibility.

Yes, worlds matter. And where Obamacare is concerned, the only applicable words that matter are these, spoken by then candidate Obama:

“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

How Obamacare Screws the Working Class…Hard

Now that it is becoming clear that the establishment House Republicans are about to capitulate to the Senate Democrats and Obama Progressives, it is clear that, short of Republicans taking the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016, Obamacare is set to sink into the flesh of the American entitlement system not unlike a bear’s claws sink into the flesh of its prey. Regardless of whether or not the federal healthcare exchange website functions adequately or not (get used to it, it’s government inferiority at work), the bureaucracy has just expanded and your wallets are about to do the opposite.

One of the things that people are going to have to come to understand is how the Internal Revenue Service – yes, the same Internal Revenue Service currently under investigation for targeting Conservative political groups – will be assessing the penalties (read: enforcing Obamacare) on those who choose not to “participate.” The fact of the matter is that it is both less ominous, yet more disturbing, than people think.

The penalties levied under the Affordable Care Act, under the usually heavy hand of the IRS, is not so much under the ACA. In fact, the pathway for extracting the Obamacare penalty from non-participants is exclusive to the garnishment of any federal tax refunds due. If one chooses not to acquire qualifying health insurance, the IRS will withhold the amount of the penalty that must be paid from any federal tax return refund that is owed an individual in violation of the statute.

According to BusinessInsider.com:

The IRS will not have the power to charge you criminally or seize your assets if you refuse to pay. The IRS will only have the ability to sue you. And the most the IRS can collect from you if it wins the suit is 2 times the amount you owe. So if you want to thumb your nose at the penalty-tax, the IRS won’t be able to do as much to you as they could if you refused to pay, say, income tax.

So, unlike when an individual fails to pay their federal income taxes, there won’t be a cadre of black uniformed federal agents armed with fully-automatic weapons kicking in your door in the middle of the night. You won’t be “frog-marched” out of your house in irons, past your disenchanted neighbors, to face the swift righteousness of redistributive social justice (I am being sarcastic, but less so than I would have been just a few years back).

But one question that eludes the thoughts of most people where this matter is concerned is this. What happens if you don’t “participate” in Obamacare but you aren’t due any federal tax refund? What if you are one of the 47 percent who does not pay federal income tax? What if you are über-wealthy and can afford a wizard tax attorney who can figure out how you can “zero out” on your federal taxes each year?

Well, the short answer is this. If you don’t pay federal income tax, technically, you don’t have to pay the fines under the Affordable Care Act. If you are one of the hard-working Americans who has federal taxes withheld from your paycheck – oh, you know, like Middle-Class, blue-collar and union workers not covered by the Executive Branch union carve-outs of the law – you will have to pay the penalty out of your tax refunds. If you are one of the 47 percent of the American public who doesn’t pay federal income taxes, you get to “skate” the Obamacare penalty. Ditto for the “One Percenters.”

One has to wonder whether H&R Block is going to be flooded with new clients trying to figure out how to pay their federal income taxes to the penny throughout the year so that they “zero out.”

And let’s be honesty, the IRS is not going to come after every person who “skates” the $95 dollar (or 1 percent of earnings) penalty being assessed in 2014, even if they did seek to hire upwards of 16,000 new IRS agents since the passage of this freedom-crushing law.

So, when one comes to understand this very stark reality, the obvious question is this. If the indestructible demographic (the 21 to 32 year-old demo) doesn’t sign-up for the Obamacare exchanges in droves – and droves upwards of 80% of their demographic, and 47 percent of the country doesn’t pay federal income taxes, who actually pays for the expanded coverage mandated under the Affordable Care Act? Who is on the hook for Obamacare?

The answer – again – is the Middle-Class, blue-collar and union workers not covered by the Executive Branch union carve-outs of the law…and new taxes on everyone. Again, BusinessInsider.com reports:

Here are some of the new taxes you’re going to have to pay to pay for Obamacare:

A 3.8% surtax on “investment income”( dividends, interest, rent, capital gains, annuities, house sales, partnerships, etc.) when your adjusted gross income is more than $200,000, $250,000 for joint-filers. What is “investment income?” (WSJ)

A 0.9% surtax on Medicare taxes for those making $200,000 or more, $250,000 joint. (WSJ)

Flexible Spending Account contributions will be capped at $2,500. Currently, there is no tax-related limit on how much you can set aside pre-tax to pay for medical expenses. (ATR.org)

The itemized-deduction hurdle for medical expenses is going up to 10% of adjusted gross income. (ATR.org)

The penalty on non-medical withdrawals from Healthcare Savings Accounts is now 20% instead of 10%. (ATR.org)

A tax of 10% on indoor tanning services. This has been in place for two years, since the summer of 2010. (ATR.org)

A 40% tax on “Cadillac Health Care Plans” starting in 2018.Those whose employers pay for all or most of comprehensive healthcare plans (costing $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for families) will have to pay a 40% tax on the amount their employer pays. (ATR.org)

A”Medicine Cabinet Tax” that eliminates the ability to pay for over-the-counter medicines from a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account. (ATR.org)

A “penalty” tax for those who don’t buy health insurance.

A 2.3% excise tax on medical devices costing more than $100. (Breitbart.com)

So those are some of the new taxes you’ll be paying that will help pay for Obamacare…

Note that these taxes are both “progressive” (aimed at rich people) and “regressive” (aimed at the middle class and poor people).

The cost of this program will not be affordable for the individuals – almost every story but for those who get taxpayer-funded subsidies is one of tripled premiums and deductibles, and it won’t be affordable for the country, especially when the bureaucrats and elitist political class put the price tag of the whole Obamacare ball of infected earwax at approximately $2 trillion dollars.

Now, President Obama is quoted as having said, in an interview with the Spanish-Speaking television network Univision, that:

Once [the budget impasse is rectified], you know, the day after – I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform…And if I have to join with other advocates and continue to speak out on that, and keep pushing, I’m going to do so because I think it’s really important for the country. And now is the time to do it.

And as the “indestructible” demographic (21-32 years of age) fails to sign-up for the Obamacare exchanges, pro-amnesty Progressives will begin insisting that illegal immigrants (I’m sorry, I mean undocumented uninvited guests) be added to those eligible for Obamacare. Understanding that the 47 percent of those who do not pay federal income tax cannot be fined, and that the One Percenters can affords to have their taxes “zero out,” how long will it be until Progressives scream “crisis” and demand massive, Middle-Class killing. economy destroying, Cloward-Piven-styled tax increases?

Who is John Galt?

Federal Government: Embarrassing to the Point of Painful

As the so-called “government shutdown” drags on, one thing is hard not to admit: the Obama Administration is acting in a manner that is attempting to extract the maximum amount of pain on the American people. While many are wondering how it came to this point, those of us who actually paid attention in Social Studies, Civics and American History classes – school subjects that are, today, given little, if any, attention –
understand it’s because the US Constitution and the purity of the original governmental process has been raped by the opportunistic political class.

Our nation has always had a robust political discourse, commencing from before we were even a documented nation. We have always been represented by a passionate, spirited political class; strong in their beliefs, but educated and knowledgeable enough to legislate and govern for the good of all the people. Today, this is not the case.

Today, we have a political class that insists on the importance of ideologically motivated political “achievements” over the honest representation of the American people; loyalty to political faction – of which each and every Framer and Founder warned – over loyalty to those who delivered them to power via the ballot box.

Today, we literally have people in the political class that have an inferior command of the English language, an inferior and under-performing understanding of the principles of the Constitution and the Charters of Freedom, and a devotion to Progressivism; a non-indigenous, Marxist-based ideology that believes the State is the Alpha and the Omega; the giver of rights and the final arbiter of freedom and liberty.

Today, we have a government that does not – does not – serve the American people, evidenced – in a singular point – by the overwhelming and sustained majority of Americans who do not want the Affordable Care Act implemented on any level.

FOX News reports:

Is the Obama administration employing a make-it-hurt strategy to gain political leverage in the budget battle on Capitol Hill?

Republicans are making that charge as the stalemate drags on, and point to the Pentagon furlough of 400,000 civilian staffers — even though Congress passed and the president signed a bill to supposedly keep them on the job…

Republicans argue that the intent of the law was to keep them on the job, and that the Obama administration “narrowly interpreted” it against congressional intent in order to furlough more employees.

It’s one example of how, Republicans say, the administration is making the partial shutdown of government services worse than it needs to be. Many have complained about the National Park Service cordoning off even open-air monuments in Washington, DC, such as the World War II Memorial.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), responded to criticisms by saying, “It is time for Speaker Boehner to stop the games.”

Shamefully, FOX also reported that correspondence on this situation has stalled because, as Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), stated, “Unfortunately, most of the staff who draft congressional correspondence are furloughed.”

A few notes on this shameful situation.

First, and to be equally critical to both sides, if “staffers that draft congressional correspondence” have been furloughed, perhaps those elected to Congress should learn to (and actually) write their own correspondence.

Second, to the Progressives, Democrats and our embarrassing President, it is never “game-playing” when the taxpayer’s money is being spent. It is “game-playing” when members of our military who have been maimed and permanently injured can’t get medical care because the politically opportune refuse to entertain appropriations passed through a traditional method (not every spending bill has to be an omnibus package, in fact traditionally, the 12 appropriation bills have been passed separately).

House Republicans “screwed the pooch” when they didn’t advance ACA funding as a separate, stand-alone appropriations bill from the start. When House Speaker Boehner stated that this Congress would operate under “regular order” he should have stated that the House would be de-bundling all legislation into stand-alone pieces, shining the light of truth and accountability on everything that passed across the House floor. Sadly, traditional, inside-the-beltway pork politics prevailed and the practice of bundling legislation to appease the politically greedy has delivered us to this point.

Truth be told, had the political class not blindly followed the Progressive Movement into ratifying the 17th Amendment, none of this would have ever come to pass. But, then, the Commerce Clause wouldn’t have even come close to allowing much of what the Federal government has done that encroaches into our daily lives.

Additionally, if Harry Reid would have operated lawfully, the omnibus appropriations package would have already been legislated, as he is – is – bound by law to have produced a budget by April 15 of each year. He has not done so since before Republicans took control of the House.

The sad, but glaringly true, fact is this. Our government has become too big and too bureaucratic. Our government has manipulated and strayed from the boundaries of the US Constitution, which is a mandated blueprint for limiting government.

Until We the People insist on repealing the 17th Amendment so as to re-employ constitutional protections for the States, and until Congress re-visits the Federal government’s grotesquely over-reaching interpretation of the Commerce Clause, it will be up to the States to save the nation, either by Constitutional Convention (which in and of itself is very dangerous were the original words of the Constitution to be manipulated by the opportunistic) or by, God forbid, secession.

And it is with tears in my eyes for our country; for freedom; for liberty itself, that I acquiesce to the notion. Buy, my God, are we to allow the greatest achievement of freedom in the history of the world be extinguished at the hand of ideological bullies?

The words of Patriot Patrick Henry said so very seriously then, are just as cogent today:

“Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! — I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

The Fomentation of a Government Shut Down

Well, it is upon us, the dreaded government shutdown. And yet the Earth still spins, the water still runs, the electric is on and Harry Reid is still tossing verbal grenades at anyone who dares represent an opposing view to the lock-step Progressive agenda. Imagine that! Our daily lives didn’t come to a grinding, catastrophic halt because the big government nanny state was sidelined by the fruits of their own discontent. In fact, to paraphrase an often heard chant at any Leftist-leaning protest march, “This is what not spending looks like!”

Truth be told, if our nation would have stayed true to our Founding Documents, the crisis that delivered unto us this dastardly government shutdown would never had existed. Indeed, if we would have executed government with fidelity to the Constitution, to governmental process and to the legislated laws instead of capitulating to the Progressive’s fundamental transformation of the United States of America (a transformation launched at the turn of the 20th Century), World War II veterans wouldn’t have had to push aside hastily erected barriers meant to shut down the World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC, Tuesday simply to experience the memorial erected in their honor.

I mention a lack of fidelity to the US Constitution and the rule of law because had two specific established protocols – Article I, Section 3 of the US Constitution and The Budget Control Act of 1974 – been honored, not only would the environment in Washington, DC, been devoid of gridlock, but regular order would have mandated the annual delivery of appropriations to the various departments and agencies.

When our Framers crafted the US Constitution they included Article I, Section 3, which reads:

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” (Emphasis added)

Where the members of the House of Representatives were to serve as the “voice of the people,” the Senate was supposed to act as the protector of States’ Rights. The check-and-balance between the co-equal branches of government was to have a check-and-balance within the Legislative Branch to assure that both the voice of the people and the rights of the States were balanced in any legislation that would emanate from that branch of government. By constructing this internal check-and-balance, the Framers enshrined the power to both force compromise with the Executive Branch and protect the rights of the minority (Read: States’ Rights) in the Legislative Branch.

But with the Progressive Era’s 1912-1913 achievement of the 17th Amendment, that check-and-balance, along with the protection of States’ Rights was obliterated, and a gigantic move toward a centralization of government power at the Federal level was achieved.

The 17th Amendment reads, in part,

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.” (Emphasis added.)

So, by effectively transforming the US Senate from a protector of States’ Rights to a redundant chamber catering to the voice of the people, Progressives created two chambers vulnerable to political faction; two competing political entities that could gridlock because their tasks were the same – their authorities derived from the same source.

Today, had the 17th Amendment not existed, the US House of Representatives would have advanced their bill to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Senate – given that 38 States have indicated they do not support the ACA – would have concurred, sending a Continuing Resolution to fund the whole of government but defunding the ACA to President Obama. The President would have almost certainly vetoed the legislation which, by virtue of the Senates’ loyalty to their respective State Legislatures, would have been overturned by the whole of the Legislative Branch. Of course, this is predicated on the ACA ever having had become law in the first place, which, under the original intent of the US Constitution, would be questionable.

Additionally, had the United States Senate, under the disingenuous and corrupt political hand of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), not insisted on existing in defiance of a federal law – The Budget Control Act of 1974, the entire Continuing Resolution process wouldn’t have taken place.

The Budget Control Act of 1974 mandates that,

“…Congress pass two annual budget resolutions (it later was decreased to one) and set timetables for finishing budget work. The budget resolution specifies spending levels in broad areas and may direct congressional committees to find ways to save money. Initially the date for completing the budget resolution was May 15, but later the deadline was changed to April 15.

“It’s a deadline Congress seldom has met. Since 1974, Congress has only succeeded in meeting its statutory deadline for passing a budget resolution six times. Sometimes it’s months late. Sometimes, as in Fiscal 2011, Congress doesn’t pass a budget resolution at all.

“Another section of the Budget Act of 1974 states that Congress cannot consider any annual appropriations bills until it adopts an overall budget blueprint…In Fiscal 2011 there should have been 12 appropriations bills.”

So, had Senate Majority Leader Reid actually adhered to the law by advancing a budget resolution to be reconciled, this “showdown” might never have come to pass. But, because there are automatic increases built into each annual budget to account for inflation, etc., it was to the benefit of the spendthrifts in Congress to refuse to advance – or even negotiate – a budget resolution. By using a Continuing Resolution they didn’t have to cut any spending in the face of repeated requests from President Obama to raise the debt ceiling even as the citizenry – and the elected GOP – screamed for fiscal responsibility and debt reduction.

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that Mr. Reid had an underhanded and completely partisan reason for not following the law. We should have come to understand that the Progressives of the 21st Century are vicious, win-at-all-cost, slash-and-burners when then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (P-CA), dismissed the idea of legitimately legislating the ACA by saying,

“We will go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get health care reform passed for the American people for their own personal health and economic security and for the important role that it will play in reducing the deficit.”

And we should have known that 21st Century Progressives would scald their own Mothers to submission to advance their cause when we were subjected to the over-the-top and venomous assaults they made on duly elected officials who dared to disagree with their political agenda:

“It is embarrassing that these people who are elected to represent the country are representing the TEA Party, the anarchists of the country…” – Sen. Harry Reid, (D-NV)

“Obama will not – he cannot – negotiate with a roving band of anarchists who say, ‘Build our oil pipeline or the troops don’t get paid.’” – Former Obama Speechwriter Jon Favreau

“I have never seen such an extreme group of people adopt such an insane policy.” – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

“These people have come unhinged.” – Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (P-FL)

“I believe it’s terrorism…This is an attempt to destroy all we know of the republican form of government in this country.” – Chris Matthews, MSNBC

“What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest.” – Dan Pfeiffer, White House Senior Adviser

“I call them ‘legislative arsonists.’ They’re there to burn down what we should be building up…” – Nancy Pelosi (P-CA)

I could go on but you get the picture.

The bottom line here is this. Progressives will do anything and say anything; they will lie, cheat and steal, to achieve their goals; their agendas. They will alter the Constitution, create new behemoth entitlement programs, spend, raise taxes and amass debt from which there is no return, in any and all efforts to advance their nanny-state, centralized government vision for our country. And if those who believe in Constitutional law, States’ Rights, individualism, personal responsibility the free market and liberty don’t take a stand – now…well, it will all be over very, very soon…at the hands of the Progressives’ ideological death panel.

Of course, these are just the ravings of an “unhinged, roving legislative arsonist touting an insane terrorist policy, a bomb strapped to my chest,” don’t you know…

Durbin Thinks the Gov’t Has Profits to Spend

In a perfect example of Progressive thinking, Sen. Dick Durbin (P-IL), has taken issue with the idea of lawmakers and congressional staff having to be subjected to the mandates of Affordable Care Act, a.k.a., Obamacare. As people like Durbin, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid throw around rhetoric like “hostage,” “extortion,” “legislative arson,” etc., they are – at the very same time – carving out incredible perks for themselves and their staffs, paid for them on the backs of the taxpayers, while creating a super-privileged class.

Since the US Supreme Court, under the direction of SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts, over-stepped their function in literally re-framing the
law as a tax — even as Progressive lawmakers debating the law stated without doubt that is was not a tax, it is fair to assume that this “tax” is covered by the authority of Article I, Section 8, of the US Constitution, which mandates all taxes, “… shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

Specifically:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;…”

Before the rhetorically challenged chime in, an “impost” is, by definition, a “tax.” But I am getting off track on the issue of tax inequity…\

In attempting to create – or, to be more accurate, further the privilege of the elitist political class, Mr. Durbin has suggested that government be treated on an even plane at the private sector.

The Washington Times reports:

“‘If Obamacare is going to force Americans all over this country to lose their employer-provided health insurance, be forced onto the exchange with no subsidies, then the men and women who serve in this body should feel that pain exactly the same,’ said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who on Tuesday staged a filibuster to block the chamber floor and draw attention to his fight to defund the health law.

“Sen. Richard J. Durbin (P-IL), though, said if members of Congress lost their taxpayer subsidies for health insurance, would Mr. Cruz want all workers to be stripped of support from their companies.

“‘You better think twice about this. If you want to stop the employer contribution to health insurance, that is the headline for tomorrow,’ Mr. Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the chamber, said.”

When Sen. “Dickie” Durbin (P-IL), took to the floor during Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX), elongated floor speech to advance this ridiculous notion, he tried to slough off the underwriting of Congress’s health insurance, making a subsidy of 72% sound like Congressmen and their staffs were shouldering some sort of burden. Then he equated it to what large corporations do for their employees.

Note to Mr. Durbin: Corporations make profits out of which they pay for the benefits they provide their employees, or at least they used to before Obamacare, which is making them abandon their employees.

The Federal Government doesn’t make a product by which to create a “profit.” Government “profits” are taxes extracted from taxpayers. So, because government doesn’t create profits they can’t use those profits to pay for your health insurance benefits, or those of your staffs.

That said, there should be no federal health insurance benefits with the advent of Obamacare. All federal – all – should be in the Obamacare exchanges; each and every federal employee – union or not, regardless of branch – should be forced onto the exchanges.

Suddenly Obamacare doesn’t sound so hot, eh, Mr. Durbin?

Dispensing with the ‘It’s the Law’ Rhetoric

Over the past few months, Progressives and Democrats who favor the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – both elected and not – have insisted that the new and expanding entitlement will go forward as planned because, after all, it is “the law of the land.” When I ponder this statement I find myself less inclined to laugh and more inclined to succumb to sadness. That a faction that holds the Constitution in such disregard would so disingenuously foist the hypocrisy of this statement in defense of what is arguably an unconstitutional law, defies humor.

A cursory recollection of how this horrific, economy-killing piece of legislation came to be, not only illustrates a fundamental transgression of the spirit of American government, it shows how the Progressive movement executes an “ends justifies the means” political game plan. Because Progressives believe that the United States should provide socialized healthcare to every living being existing legally in the United States (and some who do not), they purposefully circumvented the legislative process, crafting the legislation with special interest groups – including labor unions, Progressive think tank operatives and foreign aligned special interest groups, behind closed doors and excluding members of the minority party. They then moved the legislation forward – at times threatening to “deem it passed” – along party lines, ignoring the protests of the minority party and howls of discontent from the American citizenry, and into law.

Today, as Republicans in the US House, which has the constitutionally mandated power of the purse, threaten to exclude any aspect of Obamacare from the funding of government operations – which is their constitutional right to do, Progressives and toady Democrats protest that the ACA is “the law of the land.” The proclamation would have even the slightest bit of weight if these same hypocrites always acquiesced to “the law of the land.” The fact is that they transgress the “law of the land” as a matter of policy; to advance an agenda that is often times anathema to the American system of government and the rule of law.

One can look back to the first Obama Administration’s abdication of the rule of law when newly installed Attorney General Eric Holder approved of political appointees at the Justice Department quashing the prosecution of New Black Panther Party members who executed one of the most egregious instances of voter intimidation in modern history. The “law of the land” mandated that the DoJ prosecute these constitutional transgressors to “the fullest extent” of the law. If “the law of the land” was so precious to these Obama-ite Progressives and Democrats, they would have been exploring ways to include charges of racial discrimination (as the perpetrators were Black and targeting White voters) and hate crimes. But, “the law of the land” wasn’t so important as to be followed in this instance.

One could look into the non-enforcement of immigration laws by the Obama Administration to evidence their selective support of “the law of the land.” For the entire tenure of Mr. Obama’s presidency we have witnessed border patrol members and their union representatives catalog a litany of directives emanating from DHS obfuscating efforts to secure our nation’s borders and hold to justice those who have broken our laws to exist here. Yet, in a post-911 world, when we hold proof-positive in our hands that Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda are working with Mexican and South American drug cartels, the “law of the land” isn’t so important to the Progressives and their sycophant Democrats so as to be honored.

The several Congressional investigations into operational and political malfeasance executed under the Obama Administration provide ample evidence that the Executive Branch Progressives have little use for “the law of the land” when it does not suit their need or the advancement of their ideological, globalist or social justice agendas. The US Constitution gives the power of oversight – including subpoena powers – to Congress. Yet today the Obama Administration routinely obstructs congressional investigators, usurping “the law of the land”:

▪ Fast & Furious saw the Holder Justice Department illegally facilitating the movement of banned weapons across the Mexican border. And even in the face of the deaths of US Border Patrol Agents, the Obama Administration – to this day – thwarts efforts to fully investigate the program.

▪ The politically motivated use of the Internal Revenue Service to target what can only be described as opposition groups, i.e. TEA Party, Conservative and Libertarian advocacy groups, stands as one of the more serious misuses of a federal agency to affect politics in the history of the country. In fact, it was the second count in the impeachment indictment leveled against former-Pres. Richard Nixon. Yet, the Obama Administration shows little interest in assisting congressional investigators in their pursuit of protecting the American citizenry from their own government’s unlawful actions. (Note to Mr. Obama…President Nixon at least had the nobility to resign).

▪ The expansion – not just the continuation – of the NSA domestic surveillance program arguably usurps the Fourth Amendment protections provided the citizenry, but under the guise of protecting the country, even some members of Congress who have Top Secret clearances are kept in the dark on the program by members of the Obama Administration.

▪ And as four brave Americans – Amb. Christopher Stevens, Ty Woods, Sean Smith & Glen Doherty – lay cold in their graves, exclusively because Mr. Obama and his Progressive crew couldn’t be exposed for their putting politics ahead of protecting American assets overseas; American soil in the form of Embassy grounds, the “most transparent” administration in American history hides behind anything that will give them cover so as not to act in the spirit of “the law of the land”; so as not to afford the justice “the law of the land” is owed those four dead Americans (Note to former-Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: Yes, it does matter, to every American but the Progressive elected class, evidently).

But getting back to Obamacare being “the law of the land,” and the fact that these Progressive ideologues intend to inflict this economy-killing, divisive, wealth-redistributing program onto the American people, regardless of the fact that it has never – never – been popular with over half of the nation, and that it now falls well short of providing health insurance to “every American,” I have two questions:

1) If “the law of the land” is so very important to follow, then how is it that these same people ignore the fact that “the law of the land” allows the House of Representatives to refuse to fund the entitlement program?

2) If the “law of the land” is so sacrosanct then how can these Progressive elitist oligarchs decry any part of the US Constitution – the literal “law of the land” – as malleable; as subject to dictates of the day?

The truth be told, the only time “the law of the land” means anything to Progressives is when it serves their purpose. In any other case it is an edict to be scorned, rebuked, castigated and/or ignored. That Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the White House Communications Office and President Obama himself shamelessly hide behind the “It’s the law of the land” declaration in their defense of the legitimate House effort to save the country from this legislative mistake would be laughable if it weren’t so deadly serious.

So, let’s dispense with this rhetoric, shall we?

Laser-like focus on the economy?

In January, the Obama Administration announced a renewed laser-like focus on jobs and the economy. Where is it?

President Obama has been pushing gun control, talking about sequestration as if it were doomsday and has now pivoted to immigration reform while the economy struggles to recover under the weight of an overgrown government.

Recent Gallup polling shows that Americans top three concerns are the economy, federal spending and healthcare – all items upon which the White House is failing to lead.

68% of respondents said that the economy are most concerned about the economy, 61% felt that federal spending was a concern and 59% were very concerned about healthcare with gas prices and unemployement closely behind.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index also took a dive from it’s January high of -8 to a current reading of -16.

Americans continue to assess current economic conditions more negatively than positively, with 18% saying they are excellent or good and 37% rating them as poor. This equates to a net current conditions score of -19, down from -17 the week prior. – Gallup

On the subject of jobs, a Gallup poll show a steady drop in American’s hope for finding quality jobs. At the beginning of Obama’s first term, 90% felt that they could find a job they wanted. As of March 20th, only 74% feel the same way.

A Rasmussen survey found that only 31% of Americans feel the economy is getting better.

With American’s perceptions of the economy faultering, where is the President’s laser-like focus on Jobs?

President Obama has taken some actions on jobs and the economy. The President has disbanded the jobs council he formed in his first term and had ignored every since. Obama also pushed for the tax increases that hit business owners, middle-income and low-income earners. The administration has also taken several actions to hinder the growth of the natural gas industry.

ObamaCare – Punishing Success and Responsibility

By now we have all heard the “You Didn’t Build That” speech. President Obama does not often make his true feelings known, but that speech was telling.

As he tries to back-peddle from having the man behind the curtain revealed, it is important to point out a few little ways the Affordable Care Act re-enforces his proclamation that success is to be punished.

Time and time again the ObamaTax on people who choose not to purchase health insurance has been referred to as the “freeloader” tax. It is to be imposed on folks who are young and healthy, can afford to buy health insurance but choose not to.

This is actually MORE insulting than the “you didn’t build that” speech. Many people who are young, healthy and CAN afford to buy health insurance, but choose not to, actually pay their doctor bills when they get them. If the bill is expensive, they arrange terms and abide by them. These responsible people are the ones who will feel the worst sting of the ObamaCare Tax.

According to the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA) in 2010 29% of the adult population (19-64) had medical debt, but only 16% had been contacted by a collection agency. That indicates that 13% were paying their bills on-time. Those people will soon have the pleasure of paying a penalty tax, for which they receive neither reward nor benefit simply because they have been responsible free market citizens.

So if you CAN afford health insurance but exercise your freedom to choose not to buy it, even though you DO pay your medical bills (incidentally you pay more for the same service than an insurance company does), you are now a freeloader and are penalized for being responsible!

Yet another provision in the onerous law, of which this author has heard no one speak, allows your employer to charge you more for the same insurance than another worker who makes less money than you do. So as a reward for loyal longtime service you get to pay more money for the same insurance than does a new hire. In case you are skeptical, here is the language, straight from the bill.

‘‘SEC. 2716. PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—The plan sponsor of a group health plan
(other than a self-insured plan) may not establish rules relating to the health insurance coverage eligibility (including continued eligibility) of any full-time employee under the terms of the plan that are based on the total hourly or annual salary of the employee or otherwise establish eligibility rules that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees.
‘‘(b) LIMITATION.—Subsection (a) shall not be construed to prohibit a plan sponsor from establishing contribution requirements for enrollment in the plan or coverage that provide for the payment by employees with lower hourly or annual compensation of a lower dollar or percentage contribution than the payment required of similarly situated employees with a higher hourly or annual compensation.

Notice you cannot discriminate in favor of a high-wage employee, but you CAN discriminate in favor of a low wage one.

Just two more ways the current administration has found to punish success and reward failure.

ObamaCare Must be Repealed

Charles Krauthammer makes an excellent case against ObamaCare – a must read.

The point he leaves off on is certainly one to ponder:

In 2010, when all this lay hazily in the future, the sheer arrogance of Obamacare energized a popular resistance powerful enough to deliver an electoral shellacking to Obama. Yet two years later, as the consequences of that overreach materialize before our eyes, the issue is fading. This constitutes a huge failing of the opposition party whose responsibility it is to make the opposition argument.

Every presidential challenger says that he will repeal Obamacare on Day One. Well, yes. But is any of them making the case for why?

This is the biggest problem facing us right now. Since the economy is perceived to be improving despite a 15% unemployment rate (includes those who gave up looking for a job), and the underemployed. Since the perception, rather than the reality, that the economy is improving is taking the air out of the sails of the Republican candidates – it should force them to deal with the real destruction that is coming our way… ObamaCare. It’s like an avalanche slowly making it’s way down the mountain, picking up steam and enough power to crush us all.

Many liberals in the States point to Canada’s health care system as one we should emulate. It’s not true. As an American living in Canada it’s been a learning experience.

To begin with we should remember that Canada has about 30 million citizens versus the United States’ 300 million. That number in itself should give us pause. We should also be aware of the conversation taking place within Canada trying to figure out ways to save their system – which is in serious trouble – not the least that it is financially unsustainable. We’re talking about months-long waits to see specialists and to get treatment we routinely get quickly in the States.

I asked a lady in her 80s here what she thinks of the Canadian health care system. She explained that it’s great until you get old. In other words – it’s fine when you’re young, healthy, and basically don’t need more than basic care and prevention. After that, it’s trouble.

I know another man, in his early 70s, who had tremendous pain in his arm. He was able to see his general practitioner and get pain medication but had to wait months to see a specialist. Thankfully, his pain subsided – but what if it hadn’t? What if there had been something really wrong? As it was, his quality of life was severely curtailed and he was unable to do the things he normally did during the course of his day.

On the flip side of the age spectrum, I know of a baby that was in need of eye surgery. It was determined by the government insurance that it was not a critical situation. What ended up happening fell in the category of unintended consequences – what began as something relatively minor became a bigger deal. This baby, needing eye surgery, was unable to keep her balance as she began learning to walk – she then not only needed surgery, but also needed to relearn how to balance and walk properly – I’m sure needing some sort of therapy to fix the situation.

I myself, before moving to Canada, during a basketball game, tore my ACL – I had an appointment with a top specialist within the week and surgery the next month… without a referral. Here in Canada you always need a referral. I wonder how my injury would have played out here in the Canadian system.

In addition to long waits for basic medical care we must discuss the financial burden ObamaCare would place on the United States’ weak monetary situation. We currently find ourselves 15 trillion dollars in debt. ObamaCare will cost us trillions more.

To see the bill’s true first-decade costs, we need to start the clock when the costs would actually start in any meaningful way: in 2014. The CBO says that Obamacare would cost $2.0 trillion in the bill’s real first decade (from 2014 to 2023) — and much more in the decades to come.

But $2.0 trillion wouldn’t be the total ten-year costs. Instead, that would merely be the “gross cost of coverage provisions.” Based on earlier incarnations of the proposed overhaul, the total costs would be about a third higher (the exact number can’t be gleaned from the CBO’s analysis, which is only preliminary and is not a full scoring) — making the total price-tag between $2.5 and $3 trillion over the bill’s real first decade….

We’d also pay for this through increased deficits. Under strict instructions from the Democrats, the CBO gave Obamacare credit for over $400 billion (from 2014 to 2023) in phony “savings” that would allegedly result from cutting doctor’s payments under Medicare by over 20 percent and never raising them back up. As the CBO notes, one of two things could happen: Congress could either follow through on these severe pay cuts — in which case doctors would view all Medicare patients as if they have the plague — or, Congress could eliminate these pay cuts — as everyone in Washington expects to have happen under the so-called “doc fix” — in which case the CBO projects that this bill would raise deficits by over $100 billion from 2017 to 2019 alone.

Can we afford ObamaCare medically or financially?

We must all focus on the 2012 election as the one that will determine the direction our country is headed. Is it going to be one where the government controls our private lives – telling us what procedures they can afford to ‘give’ us, and which ones they can’t – or one where we, as individuals, have control over our own lives?

After all is said and done, after ObamaCare comes into effect 23 million Americans will continue to be uninsured. The argument that all of us will have insurance is simply not true.

We cannot deny that our health-care insurance industry needs to be fixed – but our health care system itself is one that many across the world depend on when their own socialized systems fail them. Our health care is second to none.

To destroy our health care system as a by-product of fixing the health-care insurance industry is foolish and puts us all at risk – those put most at risk are our elderly, whose care will be rationed first. Don’t believe me – ask my 80 year old friend how she likes it.

The Ugly Truth about Canadian Health Care

Supreme Court To Decide On Arizona Immigration Law

photo: illegalimmigrationstatistics.org


Today the nations highest court decided to make a decision on Arizona’s Immigration Law. SB 1070, officially called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, has had most of it’s provisions blocked by federal courts up to this point.

The courts, for the most part, have sided with the Justice Departments argument that the law will hamper current federal law enforcements efforts to curb illegal immigration. An argument some opponents say makes no sense, given the current Administration’s latest decision to only pursue illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes.

SB 1070 requires Arizona law enforcement to detain individuals during stops they suspect of being in the country illegally. Arizona leadership contend that the law is to aid, not hinder, in the current battle against illegal immigration.

Most likely, the Court will hear the case in April, leading to a decision before July. This will possibly coincide with the Court’s decision regarding the President’s health care overhaul, which conservatives and Republicans say oversteps the limits of the federal government.

The scheduling and decision of both cases can have a dramatic impact on the upcoming presidential and congressional elections.

Obama Says ALL His Decisions Were Correct


Last night (October 18, 2011) President Barack Obama had an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper, aired on Nightline. The interview lasted just over six minutes. During that interview, at about the 2/3 point, Obama said, “I guarantee it’s going to be a close election because the economy is not where it wants to be and, even though I believe all the choices we’ve made have been the right ones, we’re still going through difficult circumstances.”   [emphasis mine]

WOW! Talk abort chutzpah! No mistakes, no mulligans needed (reference to his golf), no do-overs. It must be really nice to be this self-assured.

Let’s see. Can we bring up the Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), better known as Obamacare? “The health care bill that we passed is absolutely the right thing to do, but it’s going to take a while before it’s even fully implemented, much less taken full effect,” Obama said during the interview. “… absolutely the right thing to do …?” Richard S. Foster, chief actuary for Medicare, said that PPACA will result in cuts to hospitals that will jeopardize access for seniors, as well as costs that will increase from 2010 -2019, but after that may be savings later. Not mentioned in Foster’s report is another factor that will impact senior’s health care – decrease of access to primary care physicians (PCPs) as the many newly-insured patients complete for an already short supply of PCPs.

Actuaries for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) said that under PPACA the uninsured would decrease from the current 57 million to 23 million by 2019, with 21 million newly insured being insurance company exchanges, most of whom will receive healthcare and/or insurance coverage subsidies. These 21 million newly insured patients will be competing with the Medicare patients for what already is a shortage of PCPs. Reimbursements are generally about 30% lower for Medicare than private insurance. Diminished access to care for Medicare patients is a very likely outcome of PPACA.

And as of last Friday (October 14, 2011) Health and Human Services gave up on a major part of Obamacare, Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS), that was supposed to reduce the deficit by $86 billion.

Now let’s turn our attention to the economy. Unemployment is currently 9.1%. After an initial “stimulus” of $787 billion in 2009 (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA]), government spending had no effect on the economy. We were told that the unemployment rate, if ARRA was passed, would not go above 8%. It has gone as high as 10%. The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the most often used measure of economic activity. In terms of real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) per capita (i.e. population-adjusted) GDP, the U.S. economy has declined at an annual rate of 0.29% since 2008, as compared to an annual growth rate of 1.15% during the eight prior years. Obama’s latest stimulus, the American Jobs Act (AJA), a $447 billion fiasco that even the Senate would not pass. He is now trying to sell it in small pieces. His track record on the first stimulus wasn’t very good, so why does he expect the second one to be any better?

Have I mentioned foreign policy? While he has made numerous faux pas, let’s limit this discussion to Israel. Obama called for a Palestinian state that should be focused on Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Not content with that, he was “less than gracious” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama, upset over Israel’s decision to approve Jewish construction in east Jerusalem, snubbed Netanyahu during his visit to the White House. The White House denied Netanyahu the red carpet treatment generally afforded to visiting heads of state. The Israeli prime minister and Obama didn’t pose for photos together, and Netanyahu was excluded from dinner with the president. When Netanyahu wouldn’t agree to concessions, Obama left a meeting with him, though he invited Netanyahu to stay at the White House, talk to Obama advisers and “let me know if there is anything new.”

I am quite sure that you can think of some additions. But for Obama to make the claim that ALL of his choices were correct shows him to be a completely arrogant narcissist.

But that’s just my opinion.

CNN/Tea Party Express Debate:Gardasil, Social Security & the Rise of the Tea Party

The CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Florida ended with a whimper, but otherwise will surely go down as the most lively and impassioned debate thus far.  With more questions from the regular Americans of the tea party movement, candidates were given the opportunity to directly address the concerns of average Americans, and that fact alone seemed energizing.

As predicted, CNN did its best to present the debate as the “Rick Perry Show w/Mitt Romney and special guests”.  Blitzer directed or redirected nearly every question to Perry and gave Romney ample time to counter.  Perry came out strong right away.  The first question regarding social security required Perry to defend his Ponzi scheme comment.  He did so, was unapologetic, and the audience responded with great appreciation.  The first half of the debate unequivocally belonged to Perry.  Bolstered by an inarguable record in Texas (Romney tried the argument, but failed), the Governor looked confident, easy and the crowd responded very positively.  Unfortunately, during the second half, Perry struggled quite a bit.  When the Gardasil question was raised, he provided a satisfactory answer and admitted he had made a mistake with that decision.  However Perry didn’t seem prepared for the pounding that question would get.  As Blitzer posed and then re-posed the question, several candidates took the opportunity to take the fight straight to Perry, and he did not seem prepared for that.  The final nail in the coffin came on immigration.  He defended his support of the Texas “Dream Act” and the accompanying “states rights” argument to the boos of much of the tea party packed audience.  After going a long long way to endear himself to tea party patriots across the country, Perry gave up a lot of ground with that answer.  The audience’s displeasure obviously threw Perry off his game, as he began to stammer and stumble through his defense.  It hurt him badly, and being at the end of the debate, left the viewer with that subpar image.  Perry comes off as a man of great stature and composure, and he has the ‘80’s Friday night soap opera eyebrows to back that up – he surely hasn’t lost the nomination in this one debate, but he didn’t win it either.

Romney looked tired, and has been looking that way for a couple of weeks now.  He may not have been properly prepared for the fight this process had turned out to be.  He held his own quite well and had several thoughtful and audience-rousing responses, but seemed out of his element in front of the blatantly conservative crowd.  He certainly did not score points by suggesting that Perry just got lucky in Texas with jobs creation.  His refusal to consider repeal of monstrous bills such as healthcare certainly did nothing to endear him to tea party voters, and his criticism of Obamacare rang quite hollow, considering his own healthcare boondoggle in Massachusetts.  That  will not be lost on conservative voters.  Mitt’s hair also failed to impress tonight.  He’ll pay for that.

Rick Santorum was the pleasant surprise of the evening.  Although he still received considerable less time than the other candidates, his responses were impassioned and straight forward.  He did well to highlight his history of sounding the alarm on Social Security and the debate format played very positively to his everyman appeal.  Santorum proved tonight that he is an intelligent, conservative voice in this race, but his lack of aggression threatens to be his downfall. That being said, his performance was good and he cannot be counted out of this race just yet.  Also, Santorum obviously received the message regarding his pink tie from the last debate.  When you’re struggling to assert yourself as a front runner, vague shades of pink are not exactly the colors that scream “I’m your man!”… or A man, for that matter.

Bachmann was under the most pressure to perform tonight.  She is a tea party favorite and has been struggling in the polls since Perry announced his candidacy.  After a fairly wooden performance last week, she was expected to come out a little stronger in front of her tea party compatriots.  All in all she lived up to the expectations.  She seemed infinitely more relaxed and at home in this format.  Even her hair seemed to have more bounce than usual.  Bachmann was in her element as she explained that Obamacare was raiding Medicare for 500 billion dollars and hammered home all the appropriate tea party points of smaller government and full repeal of Obamacare and financial reform.  Her most forced moments came when she chose to take Perry head on, but as he seems to be siphoning off a good bit of her support, she likely had no other choice.  A loss for Bachmann in this debate would spell a certain end to her Presidential hopes.  She avoided that doom for now, but with every comment about her fights in the House, Bachmann seems only to solidify more and more the very reasons she should remain in Congress and fight for conservative values.  She seemed at home tonight, but it may be her true home is in the House.

Huntsman had his eyebrow greased and calibrated and ready to go from the start.  He seemed to have studied his Tea Party primer well, and was able to fire off a few conservative sounding responses, but as usual he was short on detail and long on eyebrow.  He also had some very awkward attempts at humor, most notably a weird reference to Kurt Cobain.  Who was he hoping to tweak with that remark?  Even the audience seemed embarrassed for him as he paused for the laughter that never came.  Obviously his comedy software program had not been installed correctly.  The amount of time CNN devoted to Huntsman tonight did not work to his advantage at all.  When the network that originally devised the “tea bagger” slur  devotes that much time to a questionable Republican such as Huntsman, it is a clear indicator to conservative voters that this is not who they want as their nominee.  The good thing is, Huntsman avoided the “my record in Utah” script; the bad thing is, without his record in Utah, Huntsman is nothing more than an empty suit with a lot of plugs and wires running down the back.  He doesn’t come off as “real” and if there’s anything tea party voters are looking for, its authenticity.

Cain did well.  The audience was clearly in his corner and his no-nonsense businessman approach was a guaranteed tea party favorite.  He wasn’t offered much time, but he used his opportunities wisely to highlight his 9-9-9 plan and his corporate experience.  Cain did not seem to advance much in this debate, nor did he lose any ground.  It was a solid showing, but surely not the breakout his team must have hoped for considering the forum.

Ron Paul turned in the usual Paul performance.  His highlight came when Blitzer posed a question about a 30 year old man who chose not to buy health insurance but then suffered a horrible health crisis: who should pay for that man’s health benefits?  Should we let him die?  Over the shouts of tea partiers (sure to illicit all kinds of hysterical coverage in the MSM tomorrow), Paul talked about the idea of personal responsibility and taking risks.  He reminded Blitzer that in the days before government entitlements, people in crisis turned to churches and community charity for help.  He  reiterated what every tea partier knows by heart: if the government stopped stepping in to provide every need imaginable, that man would find a way to save his own life.  Of course, Ron Paul got all Ron Paul-y on the military and foreign policy and elicited many hearty boos from the audience as he tried to justify extricating the United States from the Middle East.  The kooky meter was spiking a lot tonight for Paul.  What more can be said?  Some call him the Father of the Tea Party, but tonight it looked like the kids were ready to move dad to the old folks home.

Undoubtedly the one candidate who came out on top was Newt Gingrich. This was by far his best performance to date.  Having a tenuous relationship with the tea party, Newt faced the challenge of remaining true to his core political style while not alienating viewers with what can sometimes be his condescending tone.  He was up to the challenge and had the best, most provocative answers of any candidate on stage.  Newt was the only one who stayed focused on Obama and his disastrous policies.  Blizter, obviously still carrying a chip on his shoulder from the Clinton years, did his best to pose the bulk of the “gotcha” questions to Newt, but Gingrich slapped every one down with poise, passion and searing intelligence.  The crowd was with him the whole way.  Newt may not be able to convince a majority of the right that he should be President, but one would be hard pressed to find a single Republican voter who would not jump at the chance to see him in any influential cabinet position, or even as the White House spokesperson.  No one in Washington is smarter than Newt Gingrich. No one.  He proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt in this debate.

The debate format was an interesting marriage of far left media and the newly influential tea party movement.  Perhaps it was the specter of directly addressing the people as opposed to a table of stuffy moderators that allowed the candidates to appear more at ease.  Whatever it was, and despite the glitches, this format was the most notable and rousing of the debates so far.  CNN could have counted this as one of their most interesting programs to date, but for the last 10 minutes.  Perhaps it is just the dynamics of television producing, but the powers that be at CNN could not resist the pointless fluff question.  “If you were to win the White House, what would you bring with you?”  Newt looked the most fittingly annoyed with the question.  No one had anything particularly fetching to say.  Bachmann gave the pre-approved tea party answer of her copy of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.  I sincerely hoped Herman Cain would bring his grill and a few slabs of baby-back ribs, but he said he’d bring a sense of humor instead.  Santorum made a cute joke about adding an extra bedroom for his 7 kids (hey, Rick, it’s a mansion!).  Ron Paul provided the dowdiest answer, responding he would bring a “bushel basket of common sense” and a book about Austrian economics.  Sounds exciting.  Romney had a long answer that ended in him returning Churchill’s bust to the Oval Office.  I think.  It was  long answer.  Huntsman joked that his wife would kill him for saying he’d like to bring his motorbikes to the White House.  It shouldn’t be surprising that Huntsman has a fondness for motorcycles – they share the same parts.  Perry earned  the wife points of the night by saying all he needed was his lovely wife.  But it most likely wasn’t enough to erase his dismal ending to promising start.

Those are the highlights and low-lights.  Clear winners were CNN, which probably garnered more views for this one night than their whole year put together; and Newt Gingrich.  Santorum gets an honorable mention for finally being able to express his positions and doing it quite well.  Holding the line were Bachmann and Cain.  Romney and Perry were the clear losers tonight – Romney for being caught out of his element, and Perry for disintegrating in the second half.  However, above all, the tea party were the true winners tonight, proving definitively that the influence of this grass roots, American movement extends far beyond mid-term elections.  Politicians take note.