White House reads a different message than MSM regarding Massachusetts

Said Axe on This Week:


Terry, again, I think you're misreading the Massachusetts poll. I think people want action on health care. In fact, the bill that the House and the Senate passed, which are largely the same in the main, were patterned in many ways on the Massachusetts health care plan, which is a unique plan in that state. And 68 percent of the people who voted last week said they liked the Massachusetts plan. Senator Brown said he wouldn't change it.


On Fox News Sunday, Robert Gibbs was similarly reading positivity out of the Post's poll, saying,


[T]hat kind of anger and dissatisfaction at the fact that Washington far too many times puts the special interests ahead of their interests -- that anger still persists. That's what people said in Massachusetts."


On MTP, Valerie Jarrett objected to host David Gregory's suggestion that Obama is now going the angry populist route, following a feisty  appearance in Ohio on Friday.  Gregory asked if more of the same will be featured in Obama's State of The Union address scheduled for this Wednesday night?


MS.  JARRETT:  You know, I would ask you to go back and, and look at the speech that the president gave in September of 2007 on the floor of Nasdaq, where he's--he called for accountability.  He said that there are excesses that are running out of control.  He called for checks and balances that would stop the excessive risk taking that was going on.  That same tone is what he has had for as long as I have known him.  So no, I don't see any difference. I do see...


MR.  GREGORY:  But he, he acknowledged...


MS.  JARRETT:  ...a heightened frustration.


MR.  GREGORY:  But he acknowledged a, a failure of communications of sort to communicate to the concerns of the American people.  He said this this past week.


MS.  JARRETT:  What he--what I saw him express on Friday was the growing frustration with Washington and the fact that what you continue to see here is an entrenched status quo where the special interest groups and the lobbyists dominate the day, and where people have lost sight of the American people that they are here to serve.  And so what you saw was some frustration and some anger because of what's happened over the course of the last year.  We are working so hard to put our country back on the right track, and what we want is partners in the Republican Party.  And we're hoping that with Senator Brown we have that.


The Sunday show hosts then tried to put pressure on Senate Republicans, who have been rejoicing that Scott Brown's election puts the kibosh on Democratic hopes for health care reform.


NBC's David Gregory tried to tighten the screws on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.   Gregory pressed McConnell if any Republicans had any interest in really working with President Obama on health care:


MR.  GREGORY:  So let me just be clear.  There is not one Republican that would vote for any Democratic healthcare reform initiative that's out there now?


SEN.  McCONNELL:  Well, this comprehensive bill?  Of course not.  You know, the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to it.


MR.  GREGORY:  So it sounds like...


SEN.  McCONNELL:  What we need to do...


MR.  GREGORY:  ...the party of no charge is well deserved.


SEN.  McCONNELL:  No, no.  What I said we need to do--I just said it.  We need to, we need to stop and start over and go step-by-step...


MR.  GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.


SEN.  McCONNELL:  ...to fix the cost problem.


MR.  GREGORY:  So what elements of the president's reform plan would you keep as part of comprehensive healthcare reform?


SEN.  McCONNELL:  We'd have to sit down and discuss that.  But it's...


MR.  GREGORY:  Well, we've been discussing it for months now.


SEN.  McCONNELL:  Well, the problem is we haven't been a part of the discussion.  We've had a number of different ideas, none of which are in the bill.


MR.  GREGORY:  How many Republicans were negotiating on the Finance Committee?


SEN.  McCONNELL:  Well, several.


MR.  GREGORY:  Right.  So weren't they part of the process from the start?


SEN.  McCONNELL:  Yeah.  But it's not just about talking, it's about what you end up with.


MR.  GREGORY:  Right.


South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, who became famous last year for predicting that the downfall of health care would be Obama's "Waterloo", appeared on This Week.  He blasted the Democrats in Congress for being in power for three years now and still criticizing Republicans and George W. Bush for the problems the country faces.


The Republicans want to work with the Democrats on improving health care, focusing on jobs. There are a number of other priorities. But for this first year, the president really believed that he could steamroll the Republicans, not even have us in the same room, and in the process, he was steamrolling the American people, not listening to what they were saying.


That's where the anger comes from. People feel like the president, the Democrats, and even some Republicans have not been listening to him.


People are sick of politics. They're sick of both parties in a lot of ways. I've been proud that the Republicans have been coming together to try to stop the spending and debt. And now what we need to do is work together.


Perhaps the most salient words coming from Congressional Democrats was the response of Illinois Senator Dick Durban on CBS' Face The Nation.  When asked when the Democrats will bring a possibly new and scaled down health care bill to the floor of the Senate, Durbin said he wouldn't give a deadline,  since the Democrats have previously issued out several such deadlines over the past 8 months, none of which has met with success.

Sandwiched in between last Tuesday night's smashing victory for Republicans in Massachusetts and President Obama's State of the Union address this Wednesday night, were the Sunday morning public affairs shows, which featured members of the Obama administration maintaining that the President will not reset his agenda, despite increasing calls from Republicans and some Democrats (and a shitload of pundits) that he do so.

On ABC's This Week (guest hosted by Terry Moran), top political strategist David Axelrod was undeterred by Moran brandishing a copy of the new Newsweek, which features on the cover a picture of Obama with the heading  "The Inspiration Gap."  Axelrod said the only regrets in the eight month discussion on trying to get a health care bill passed was one of "process," saying:

But process, eight months of debate, were less than satisfying. And that was clear. And if you look at the polls out of Massachusetts, people reacted as much to the process as anything else. Were there things we could have done there? Perhaps. We have to think that through.

But this president's never going to stop fighting to create jobs, to raise incomes, and to push back on the special interests' dominance in Washington and this withering partisanship that keeps us from solving problems.

And Axelrod, as well as Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Fox News Sunday and Advisor Valerie Jarrett on Meet The Press, all were taking solace in a Washington Post poll taken over the weekend that they insisted showed the Massachusetts vote for Scott Brown as not a repudiation of their health care reform proposals.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]