Month Archives: March 2009

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 9, 2009

News

Here’s what we are reading today.

Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 7, 2009

Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere today.

Health Care: Civility Cannot Mask Bad Ideas

by Tony Perkins

March 6, 2009

President Obama’s “Health Care Summit” continued at the White House today.  From Ted Kennedy to the National Federation of Independent Business, a diverse group was assembled to provide input in the large public forum and in smaller “breakout” sessions.

It is beyond dispute all Americans want consistent access to high-quality and cost-effective medical insurance and care.  No one who has ever seen a loved one suffer or who has personally experienced a serious disease or injury wants anything less.  How we arrive at this goal is where the division lies.  President Obama has asserted that health care is a “right.”  Is healthcare itself a “right” or is access to health care a right?  These are important distinctions.  If it is a fundamental right it must be provided for and that would fall to the government.  A government-run monopoly would result in sharp increases in health care costs, rationing of healthcare and a decline in quality.

The President is calling for comprehensive health care reform by year’s end and certainly is and will be getting myriad ideas for how to do this.  Of course, none of these ideas are new nor must they be ferreted-out from obscure places.  The options for health care reform boil-down to a relatively few essential proposals.  Reforming America’s system of providing medical care is not a matter of finding some mysterious new formula, but of choosing between some basic options - options the President and his advisors know well.  No “summit” can ameliorate the stark and rather sharp differences between the options themselves and which the President must, ultimately, propose. 

Given his demonstrable commitment to a Herculean federal state, there is little doubt about what direction he will take.  But the President’s personal courtesy, his inclusion of occasional ideas from conservatives and even his willingness to engage in tactical compromise will not resolve four intractable concerns:

  • The Culture of Life: President Obama has said he wants to reverse the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding of abortion for lower-income women under the Medicaid program.  He is calling for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and already has reversed the Reagan-Bush policy that disallows federal funding for international organizations that promote or provide abortion.  President Obama’s “abortion reduction agenda” is premised on the wider-spread distribution of contraceptives to teenage Americans.  At the Health Care Summit, Planned Parenthood had a prominent role - yet not a single pro-life organization was invited.  When it comes to protecting the unborn, it seems clear that whatever medical reform plan is offered, it will not prioritize their well-being and could well, instead, destroy it.
  • The Goal of Government-Run Health Care is Back:  In the early 1990s, the Clinton health care plan envisioned a massive federal takeover of one-seventh of the American economy.  Today, the Left is much more artful in its efforts.  Gone is talk of a new federal health care behemoth governing individual healthcare choices.  Instead, federally directed health care is taking a much more incremental approach, one in which the components of a national health care system are more ‘bite-sized” but which, taken together, still would constitute a Washington-run system of health insurance, research, information collection and decision-making.  Myriad state-run models around the world teach us one thing: Nationalized health care is bad policy and produces inferior medical care.  Period.
  • The Nature of Constitutional Governance: The Constitution of the United States prescribes for the federal government a relative handful of duties.  Health care for its citizens is not one of them.  Recognizing that we cannot undo a wide swath of public health care programs in a day, and also that many of them perform vital services on which the nation now depends, should not conservatives at least be arguing that as we consider the future, private sector-driven solutions at the state and local level are not only the most effective with respect to quality, affordable medical treatment but also the most consistent with the Constitution itself?  No argument is ever won unless it’s made.  We fail our Founders - and our children - if we simply jettison the need for deferring to our nation’s charter text in this or in any other discussion of major national issues.
  • Being Civil Will Not Bring Greater Agreement on Foundational Principles.  President Obama is personally winsome and is an ingratiating public host.  He listens well, empathizes and often reflects carefully what even his opponents express.  Yet being cordial, while welcome in itself, fails to ameliorate the reality of entrenched and unflinching philosophical disagreement.  As liberal Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has noted, “I believe that (President Obama) overestimates his ability to get people to put aside fundamental differences.”  On health care as on much else, simply being nice is not enough: While all Americans should be personally respectful, we are in the midst of grim political combat over the direction of our country.

The private sector, including the pharmaceutical industry, large industrial and technology companies, hospitals, health care providers and small businesses, needs to engage constructively, to the extent possible, in helping to craft the President’s plan.  Yet they should also be willing to stand and say “no” when that plan strays from the principles of personal responsibility, market discipline and provider-patient decision-making.  And the pro-life community must, at all costs, remain a fixed and immovable force for the voiceless little ones whose very lives depend on us.

The 25 Movies President Obama Gave Prime Minister Brown

by Chris Gacek

March 6, 2009

The British press is a-flutter over President Obama’s gift of 25 DVDs to Prime Minister Brown. In response to criticism that the gift was cheap and vulgar, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded that the DVDs represent an American Film Institute selection of classic cinema that accurately portrays aspects of the United Kingdom’s history. Downing Street reportedly will not divulge the titles of the DVDs. The U.K.’s Daily Mail has published a list of the movies, but luckily, we at Family Research Council have obtained the real list of DVDs given to Prime Minister Brown.

Here is President Obama’s selection:

1

Braveheart

2

The Patriot

3

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

4

Ghandi

5

Zulu Dawn

6

A Bridge Too Far

7

John Adams (HBO Series)

8

Bloody Sunday

9

Patton

10

Khartoum!

11

A Man for All Seasons

12

Gallipoli

13

1776 (film)

14

The Buccaneer

15

The Crossing (A&E)

16

Rob Roy

17

The Bounty (1984)

18

Churchill: The Hollywood Years

19

Bottleshock

20

Beckett

21

Unforgiven

22

A Passage to India

23

Austin Powers

24

In the Name of the Father

25

Joan of Arc (1948)

Now,what subject of the Crown wouldn’t enjoy watching these films?

[Special thanks to my colleagues Michael Fragoso and Michael Leaser, who contributed to the above mischief.]

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 6, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

An Open Letter to Larry Kudlow, the Nation’s Irreplaceable CNBC Host

by Chris Gacek

March 5, 2009

Dear Larry:

The Politico reported yesterday “it’s rumored that [Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)] could face a challenge [in his 2010 Senate re-election race] from CNBC host Larry Kudlow, an opponent who would focus the coming election squarely on the economy.”

Say it ain’t so, Kudlow.

For those not familiar with you, Larry, I provide two links with some fair and balanced info: CNBC, Wikipedia. In short, you are a supply-side economist who served in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Reagan Administration’s Treasury Department, and various Wall Street firms with distinction. You are a happy guy; an optimist. You are a conservative, and, as I have observed over the years, a much-needed media friend of the pro-life cause - something we at FRC appreciate greatly. And, since the financial meltdown you have been hosting a M-F 7:00 p.m. hour-long market analysis program on CNBC - now called The Kudlow Report.

In my opinion, The Kudlow Report has become the most important news program in America since the financial crash hit in September 2008. Given the deep recession we are experiencing it is understandable that an economy-focused program would reach such prominence. However, I am sure your ratings do not come close to measuring your impact on American politics, but I believe that I am correct.

As a conservative moderator you have exposed the Bush (bad) and the Obama (failing) economic responses to the financial crash to systematic analysis by many of the best thinkers on Wall Street. You provide this invaluable service on a daily basis with great intellectual rigor. What is crucial here is that a supply-side (non-Keynesian) supporter of free markets has this prominent role on America’s foremost business channel. As long as the current economic recession remains unabated, The Kudlow Report will remain the most important source of news on the economy.

This brings me to the alarming rumors of your potential Senate race. I write to urge you to reject any attempts to entice you to run for the Senate in Connecticut.

First, let’s assume that you run and defeat Senator Dodd. Under that scenario, it is fair to say that as a junior senator from Connecticut - in the minority (the GOP cannot take back the Senate in 2010) - you would have no chance of attaining the level of influence you now enjoy on CNBC. Being well down the pecking order in a body of 100, you may be able to get a seat on the banking committee, and you would be able to accomplish some good in the Senate: perhaps an amendment here and there; some oversight questions on TV. Not much to compare with being able to teach the nation about core conservative economic principles every evening while assessing the events of the day and interviewing newsmakers.

Second, the chances are not great that you will defeat Senator Dodd. Yes, he has some vulnerabilities on housing and mortgage policies. That said, he is in his fifth term, and his father was a two-term U.S. Senator from Connecticut. The state is very liberal. Connecticut is unlikely to elect someone who would now have difficulty winning a seat in New Hampshire. In sum, you will most likely lose the race, but the costs would be greater than those associated with a failed campaign - lost time, treasure, and effort.

The greatest cost would come from your absence from CNBC. This would be a heavy price to pay because the nation needs daily access to someone guided by sound doctrine analyzing economic and financial developments. This is the job for which your lifetime of work and training has prepared you - not sitting in the Senate. It is no small responsibility to provide accurate economic news to the people of the United States in the worst recession since the 1930s. Unless you stay focused on the task at hand there is little chance that the American people will receive via cable or television the high-quality analysis of Obama Administration policies that they deserve for 2010 and 2012.

Best wishes,

Chris Gacek
Family Research Council

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 5, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Playing Hardball with Mainstream America

by Tony Perkins

March 5, 2009

What do you call an American citizen who objects to one of President Obama’s most radical nominees? “Verbal terrorists,” according to “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews. The MSNBC host, who last night addressed the controversy surrounding Kathleen Sebelius, took a gratuitous swipe at the pro-life community for opposing the Governor’s radical positions. “Is she going to get through the anti-abortion people?” Matthews asked. “Yes. I think she’s going to do that. I mean, verbal terrorism? Yeah, she’ll get through that.”

Give me a break! Educating Americans on Sebelius’s record isn’t “terrorism,” it’s activism, no, it’s realism! As a candidate for one of the most influential posts in Obama’s Cabinet, Sebelius’s public positions matter—particularly if they’re as far outside the mainstream as hers have proven to be. Before Sebelius is confirmed, Americans deserve to know where she stands. They should know that the Kansas governor supports late-term abortions, filthy, roach-infested abortion clinics, government as the final authority on children’s health, the killing of innocent abortion survivors, and socialized medicine. Despite what Chris Matthews believes, standing up for the defenseless and the vulnerable is what public officials are supposed to do. This is just an attempt to shift the focus off the extremism of Sebelius’ record.

Revoking the Conscience Protection Clause—not a good idea

by Krystle Gabele

March 5, 2009

Maybe, it is time for some around Washington to realize that discriminating against medical providers who decline to perform or refer for abortions is not a good idea. After all, they are standing for their beliefs.  The Obama Administration is trying to remove this rule from the books, to which Rep. John Boehner posted this response.

If the Conscience Protection regulations are revoked, this means that many doctors and nurses could be forced to go against their beliefs to provide or refer abortions. It would mean that you would either have to leave your principles at the door or face disciplinary actions, such as unemployment. This type of behavior is limiting the liberties of those who choose life over death.

FRC is also defending the Conscience Protection regulations. In a recent press release, FRC’s President Tony Perkins said,

For President Obama to do this would be a huge blow to religious freedom and First Amendment rights. No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to be an abortionist in violation of their religious or ethical convictions. However, President Obama intends to stop regulations to enforce conscience protection statutes. In doing so, he will open the door to discrimination against the choice of healthcare workers who do not want to be complicit in abortion or other controversial practices. These regulations would have ensured that healthcare workers are not forced to participate in the performance or promotion of abortion against their will.

“Despite current law that has protected conscience rights for over 30 years, the lack of regulations resulted in confusion and a lack of awareness within the health care community, leaving health care personnel vulnerable to discrimination and forcing them to drop their specialties at a crucial time of health care scarcity. Protecting the right of all health care providers to make professional judgments based on moral convictions and ethical standards is foundational to federal law and is necessary to ensure that access to healthcare is not diminished, which will occur if healthcare workers are forced out of their jobs because of their ethical stances. President Obama’s intention to change the language of these protections would result in the government becoming the conscience and not the individual. It is a person’s right to exercise their moral judgment, not the government’s to decide it for them.

“It is unfortunate that President Obama is planning to bow down to pro-abortion forces and stop enforcement of laws enacted to protect the choice of healthcare providers not to participate in abortion or other controversial practices. Family Research Council urges President Obama to change course and defend the conscience laws for healthcare workers by keeping these much-needed regulations in place.”

Keep the Conscience Protection regulations.   Doctors and nurses, who believe in the sanctity of human life, should be able to decline participating in a practice that violates their conscience.  President Obama, in your campaign promises, you said that your administration would represent change.  However, the change we need does not represent threatening human life.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 4, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

February 2009 «

» April 2009

Archives