By Doug Porter
It’s no secret the national Republican campaign strategy for 2014 revolves around the demonization of Obamacare. Given the party’s inherent structural advantage (gerrymandering + off year turnouts) in the upcoming midterm elections, problems with the healthcare insurance program could be spun as mandate for repeal.
Now, facing growing public acceptance and a run of good reviews, the GOP is getting desperate. The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report yesterday asserting only 67% of HealthCare.gov enrollees had paid their first premium. Reuters news is reporting today about Republican plans to use Senate confirmation hearings for Sylvia Burwell, Obama’s pick to replace Kathleen Sebelius, to “re-energize their election-year attacks on his signature healthcare initiative.”
Insurance company executives (go figure!) rushed to Obamacare’s defense, pointing out big flaws in the one page House report, like the facts that enrollment date and the date premiums were due don’t match up, some state exchanges were omitted and the actual numbers were closer to 90%. None-the-less, some national media outlets ran the story and I’m sure the “sixty seven percent” number will join GOP mythology along with death panels for seniors and the already refuted claims that premiums will skyrocket next year.
I don’t believe at this point in the game that the GOP Obamacare apocalypse strategy has any value other than keeping the Tea Party base energized. Expect to see a lot of vague language about “reforming” (always a useful GOP catch-phrase) the Affordable Care Act as we get closer to the general election.
NIMBYism Reigns in Bay Park Town Hall
Things got ugly last night at a community forum hosted by newly appointed city councilman Ed Harris to discuss the Morena Blvd Station Area Planning Study. Topics included proposals for increased density and making areas more friendly for transit users as construction plans for light rail through the area advance.
A proposal to increase the 30-foot limit on building height next to the future site of a trolley station at Clairemont Drive was walked back last week in the face of public opposition. The study, which is part of a $1.7 billion project to extend the San Diego trolley from Old Town to La Jolla, is in its early stages and will not be finalized until late 2015 or early 2016, according to an article in Voice of San Diego.
A young woman speaking in favor of improving lower cost transit options was booed off the stage and heckled by the audience as she fled the room, according to multiple reports on twitter. “Live somewhere else!” “Come back when you have a mortgage!” and “Move to North Park, why don’t you” were yelled at her.
VOSD reporter Andrew Keats tweeted “…last I heard was ‘go live somewhere else!’ and she quietly said ‘I guess I have to’ while pushing through the crowd.”
Councilman Harris took to the public address system to publicly apologize for the way a representative of MoveSD, a sustainable transportation advocacy group, was rudely treated by the crowd, which at times seemed more like an angry mob.
Another DeMaio Gaffe
After spending the last few days parading his faux tale of Democratic persecution to various right wing media outlets, congressional candidate Carl DeMaio lobbed a couple of lies in the direction of incumbent Scott Peters yesterday.
The GOP candidate whipped out the ol’ guilt by association tactic, claiming Peters had endorsed San Diego’s former mayor-who-cannot-be-named.
Bad move. Especially given DeMaio’s role in getting what’s-his-name through the primary.
Here’s just the first part of the righteous press release response from the Peters’ campaign:
Today, Carl DeMaio further exposed his obsession with the man who beat him in 2012 while trying to cover up the very real role his Mayoral campaign played in helping to elect Bob Filner.
In DeMaio’s latest attempt to invent ties between Filner and everyone he doesn’t like, Carl wrongly claimed that Scott Peters endorsed Bob Filner; Peters did not.
However, DeMaio conveniently left out the well-documented role his own campaign played in helping to get Filner elected. His top campaign consultant, Jason Roe, even bragged about it later to KPBS.
At least Carl’s consistent. When he opens his mouth, you can pretty much take it the bank that he’s lying.
Magazine Editor has a Fox News Experience
Scientific American editor Michael Moyer had a bad guest experience (and told the world about it) on the Fox & Friends program on Wednesday. And he got an earful this morning as the hosts of the show dubbed him a “coward” for his honesty.
Via Raw Story:
In a tweet after his visit with Fox News on Wednesday morning, Moyer explained that he wanted to talk about climate change during the “future trends” segment but the producers told him to “pick something else.”
Moyer’s tweet obviously hit a nerve because Fox & Friends lashed out at him in a second segment on Thursday that was about 20 percent longer than the original interview…
…A study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists earlier this year found that 72 percent of the statements about climate change made on Fox News in 2013 contained misleading information. That’s an improvement from 2012, when only 7 percent of the statements were entirely factual.
Moyer says he doesn’t expect to appear on the program again.
The Trials and Tribulations of VOSD
Voice of San Diego got some long-form attention from the Columbia Journalism Review today in a story detailing its history and focusing on their drive to become membership-centric.
Those who champion the mantras about VOSD’s reliance on a few wealthy donors influencing its coverage would do well to read this article carefully. It speaks to the real difficulties of trying to practice the craft of journalism in an era of financial uncertainty. Whether or not VOSD is a model for the future (or for other communities) is as unclear as the whole future of the news business.
I’ve had my share of quibbles with VOSD and have been critical of their coverage, usually for ideological reasons. But I cannot fault their efforts in trying to find a new model. As often as I have to quote them in this column, their value as a source can not be denied. (And, no–for the conspiracy minded–, they didn’t have to pay me to say this.)
It’s Iraq ‘Mission Accomplished” Day
Eleven years ago today President George W Bush stood on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of San Diego and made a televised address proclaiming victory following the US invasion of Iraq.
It was an event that should be taught forever in history courses. Bush was so wrong. The majority of the 4300 American casualties occurred after the speech.
Writter Greg Mitchell, whose book So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq thoroughly documents W’s failures, published a bunch of fawning quotes from the media’s coverage of that speech today. These should serve as a vivid reminder of how the mainstream media usually just plays along with whatever narratives are handed to them.
Via Pressing Issues:
Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a “hero” and boomed, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.” He added: “Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple.”
PBS’ Gwen Ifill said Bush was “part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan.” On NBC, Brian Williams gushed, “The pictures were beautiful. It was quite something to see the first-ever American president on a—on a carrier landing.”
Bob Schieffer on CBS said: “As far as I’m concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time.” His guest, Joe Klein, responded: “Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me.”
Mitchell, who I’ve been following since his days at Crawdaddy magazine, mentioned Neil Young’s “Shock and Awe” as his favorite antiwar song of this era. I thought it only appropriate to add the video to today’s column.
On This Day: 1867 – Reconstruction in the South began with black voter registration. 1992 – On the third day of the Los Angeles riots resulting from the Rodney King beating trial. King appeared in public to appeal for calm, he asked, “Can we all get along?” 1989 – Police in California were called to a jewelry store after employees reported a suspicious person. The person turned out to be Michael Jackson shopping in disguise.
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