Obama News Conference Thoughts

I missed the first 15 minutes or so because of dinner. It wouldn’t have been a problem except for the fact that some kitchen construction is ongoing at home, so I don’t have access to a TV while I eat like I have had in the past.

And it doesn’t really seem like I missed that much either before or after I tuned in. President Obama said some interesting things about paying for healthcare reform, as well as his belief that deficit reduction is contingent on healthcare reform, and even that a millionaire’s tax might be help pay the freight. What I wish I heard was something about what exactly he envisions in health reform. About all I think we got was a sense that he wants a system where doctors and people make decisions- not insurance companies or government bureaucrats- and that’s really not something anyone debates. Also, he likes the idea of healthcare mirroring noted hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, which apparently have policies in place to provide top-notch care for less cost than you might expect. Plus, he’s for a public option because he believes it would keep private ensurers honest (as do quite a few Democrats in Congress). Not much on how it would achieve that goal though, although we did get a hint that it might legitimately offer similar benefits to what federal government employees can receive (including the President and members of Congress). Could the federal government really deliver on that? Could subsidies be restricted so that private competitors aren’t driven out of business?

Even without much of his own vision, I think the President would have been more effective if he’d commented on some of the things which are actually going through Congress right now. In fact, so does at least one Democratic aide in Congress. He could still say that he is open-minded on what’s out there, but we’d all have a better sense of parameters.

Just my take. But the exceptionally perceptive Chris Cillizza couldn’t find much to draw from the President’s remarks besides the idea that “The country has major problems that everyone has a stake in.” It’s also clear that it’s not going to happen before the August recess. Fellow WaPo reporter Alec MacGillis finds that despite pledges that no sacrifices would be needed in President Obama’s remarks, many healthcare experts say that reform will require some very tough decisions even after implementation.

Here are the President’s words in full.

Michael Maslansky, a noted communications/research strategist, says his friend sees an interesting comparison between Obama with healthcare and Bush with Iraq. Decide for yourself.

Three Fish Limit finds a piece from Forbes by Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University Medical Center which claims rationing is among the only ways for a government to cut healthcare costs. Plus, innovation would ultimately be stifled. Instead, he suggests empowering the consumer with money and choice- which he really should have fleshed out a bit more. Another blogger also thinks some unsavory elements of reform aren’t being discussed.

On the other hand, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub finds a piece defending the value of universal coverage- including the public option- namely, when you actually need it.

Plenty of other stuff out there in the blogosphere on this hot button issue.

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Day Old, But…

You must be joking.

Probably not the type of audience she was expecting.

Probably not the type of audience she was expecting.

While I don’t have an issue with Rep. Cantor or anyone else in Congress not watching Obama’s press conference– I did watch and thought he did alright, but also recognize that not too much of substance came out- I just can’t see what someone like him would be doing at a Britney Spears concert. Certainly can’t imagine he’d be accomplishing too much business with clients with the loud music and crowd screaming. Taking one of his children would be a bit different, but we haven’t heard any indication that he did that either.

Since one of his staffers made a comparison to President Obama (and in theory, others in both parties) enjoying a night at Washington’s Verizon Center, I will say that seeing a basketball game or certain other singers/bands seems socially acceptable for someone like members of Congress or the President. Britney? It would take pretty unusual circumstances…

Honestly, I really don’t think it’s “being cool” in this case. It just gives me the creeps, especially coming from one of the leaders of a party which talks a lot about traditional social values (and I’m not a liberal on some of those culture wars).

End tangent, back to more enjoyable matters.

Update: CNN posts an explanation from Cantor.