Morning Must Reads -- John Boehner = Bull Connor? 

New York Times -- After Health Vote, Threats on Democrats

Writer Carl Hulse seems to have been stricken with some strange delirium.

His piece following the House vote for Obamacare was about the equivalency between creating a new cartel of health insurance companies and the struggle for black equality. In that one, he cast the protesters outside as a pack of racists attacking Speaker Pelosi and her mini Selma march.

Today, Hulse gives us 1,200 words on the rising tide of violence against House members across the nation. Or two broken windows and a suspiciously severed line on a propane grill at a congressman’s brother’s house. Whichever.

The piece is part of the overall push in the big press today to cast Republican objections to Obamacare as a dangerous incitement of a racist, violent kooks – that if someone throws a rock through Rep. Louise Slaughter’s office window in Niagara Falls, John Boehner is to blame.

We read this story last year when the tea parties first popped up in time for Tax Day, and in August when the a Georgia congressman accused tea partiers of spray painting a swastika on his congressional office.

Vandalism is bad and vandals should be punished, but saying that Republicans upbraiding Democrats for their chicanery incites vandalism and violence is a tough sell.

(My column on the dangers to Democrats of losing their grip on reality with the help of the press is here.)

Hulse’s goal seems to be making Democrats look noble for opposing an angry mob rather than just arrogant politicians who overruled public opinion. It’s very shoddy stuff and Hulse is too experienced a writer to get carried away with these kinds of histrionics.

“Still, the dark and personal tone of the final stages of the health fight could complicate Republican efforts to maintain their attacks on the legislation if they are seen as inciting an undue level of outrage and, conversely, could bolster Democrats if opponents of the measure are seen as breaching the boundaries of civility.”


New York Times -- G.O.P. Forces New House Vote on Fixes to Health Bill

The sidecar bill to expand President Obama’s health plan beyond the version signed into law Tuesday has to go back to the House because of procedural problems, notably with the language concerning the full nationalization of the student loan system – a late addition to provide some extra “deficit reduction” to the plan.

The question now is that if the legislation has to go back to the House anyway, are there any other changes that the GOP can get 10 Democrats to sign on to? It’s unlikely that Republicans could get that many, even for a benign proposal. All of the amendments so far, including the one that would prevent sex offenders from getting Viagara, have been soundly defeated.

Writers David Herszenhorn and Robert Pear were there at 2:55 a.m. when Harry Reid finally admitted that the end of Obamacare’s legislative journey would come with another missed deadline and a little more rancor.

“Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Budget Committee, said that one problem with the bill was the formula for determining the maximum Pell grant awards. The second issue was a technical matter that Mr. Conrad described as mostly insignificant.

Mr. Conrad said a third issue was under review by the Senate parliamentarian.”


Los Angeles Times -- U.S., Russia agree to slash nuclear arsenals

President Obama is celebrating his first big diplomatic victory the same week as his first big domestic victory.

Obama had offered to stop U.S. nuclear development, eliminate the Eastern European missile shield, and slash our existing arsenal but still hadn’t gotten the Pocket Putin, Dmitry Medvedev, to sign on to the plan. But new American concessions on verification and inspections seem to have carried the day.

“The two sides had previously agreed to reduce the number of long-range nuclear warheads deployed by each nation from a ceiling of 2,200 to between 1,500 and 1,675.

The deal would also require each side to downsize its stock of strategic bombers and land- and sea-based missiles to 800, from 1,600.”


New York Times -- Social Security to See Payout Exceed Pay-In This Year

We got to the tipping point six years early. Social Security, which gets fleeced again in the House health care sidecar, wasn’t supposed to start going into the red until 2016. But because we’ve had so many people retire or seek disability at a time of high unemployment and weak wages, the trust fund Congress has been raiding for 40 years now actually has to be used to pay benefits rather than just fund voter patronage.

The checks will keep rolling, but mark this moment well – this is the time that the long march to insolvency began.

Writer Mary Williams Walsh explains:

“[Actuary Stephen] Goss said Social Security’s annual report last year projected revenue would more than cover payouts until at least 2016 because economists expected a quicker, stronger recovery from the crisis. Officials foresaw an average unemployment rate of 8.2 percent in 2009 and 8.8 percent this year, though unemployment is hovering at nearly 10 percent.


Daniel Henninger -- Repeal the Democrats

Henninger continues to pluck the feathers of the new Democratic coalition – government employees and social welfare beneficiaries.

While Carl Hulse and Daid Frum are riffing on the ruination of the GOP, Henninger points out that in all of this health care drama the Republican Party has finally found its legs.

“Pristine opposition is being spun as a Republican liability. It looks to me like a Republican resurrection. The party hasn't yet discovered what it should be, but this clearly was a party discovering what it cannot be. Put it this way: If you produce a bill that Olympia Snowe of Maine cannot vote for, you have not produced legislation "for the generations." You have not even produced legislation that is liberal. You have produced legislation from the left. You have produced once-in-a-lifetime legislation that no Republican from any constituency across America could vote for.

Finally, we are achieving real political definition.”


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About The Author

Chris Stirewalt


Washington Examiner Political Editor Chris Stirewalt, who coordinates political coverage for the newspaper and in addition to writing a twice-weekly column and
regular blog posts.

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