Morning Must Reads -- Now that I think about it, Kathleen Sebelius does kind of look like Ayn Rand 

Wall Street Journal -- White House Confronts Insurers on Premiums

Congress will pass a health care plan in the next two weeks. Or at least that’s the official position of the White House, where the wrong lesson seems to have been taken from the string of blown health deadlines stretching back to July.

There is no bill to vote on. There is no plan to proceed. There is no score from the Congressional Budget Office. We’re back to the old hidden-ball trick the administration likes so much. They want agreements in principle before details emerge.

But the idea of irrational deadlines shouldn’t surprise too much. After all, the Obama administration digs price controls, so why not time controls?

Writers Janet Adamy and Avery Johnson tell us about the administration’s effort to impose health insurance premiums by fiat and a meeting with health insurers summoned to the White House for a whipping that was so over the top that it could have been a scene in Atlas Shrugged.

“Mr. Obama dropped by and read them a letter from a 50-year-old cancer survivor from Ohio whose premiums rose 40% this year. He told the group that such rate increases are ‘unjustifiable,’ White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.”


New York Times -- Rash of Scandals Tests Democrats at Sensitive Time

Democrats say they have learned their lesson from the 2005-2008 GOP meltdown in Congress – when scandal starts, or at least the public’s awareness of a scandal starts, take action.

While the arrogant mismanagement of the DeLay-Hastert era House GOP may provide an object lesson, it doesn’t provide a roadmap for dealing with difficult situations

And now, at the very moment that the president is asking his party to close ranks and pass his health care plan (suicide missions require great discipline) the same kind of repetitive ethical lapses that once made the GOP too gross to reelect.

Consider Rep. Eric Massa, the New York Democrat who employees in his office say made unwanted sexual advances to a male staffer. While Politico makes it seem that rumors about Massa’s mashing were common knowledge on the Hill, at what point does a member of the leadership take the 20-year Navy veteran and father of three and ask him if he’s trying to get it on with the lads in his office? That’s a tough one, especially for Democrats, who generally embrace gayness, even on the down low.

Massa is still on the job, though he won’t run again. Will Democrats ask that he be suspended until the investigation concludes? Unlikely.

Charlie Rangel should have been a little easier. The ethical lapses with which he was charged were pretty obvious, but Rangel was good at moving legislation and House Speaker had no good successor for him at hand (witness the one-day reign of moonbat Rep. Pete Stark as chairman). Most importantly, though, the Congressional Black Caucus is mostly interested in the advancement and preservation of its own members. If Pelosi had shelved Rangel earlier she would have risked being called racist, which among Democrats is even worse than being accused of being anti-gay.

Writer Jeff Zeleny looks back at a run of Democratic scandals that started with Eliot Spitzer’s penchant for expensive prostitutes two years ago and now includes the more pitiful ethical lapses charged against his successor (Free baseball tickets? C’mon!) Also in the passing parade: John Edwards and Blago.

“Ms. Pelosi dismissed the criticism on Thursday that Democrats had not lived up to their promise to sweep away a culture of corruption on Capitol Hill. She also noted that she had established an outside group to receive complaints about members of Congress, which could be easily referred to the House ethics committee.

‘My commitment to the American people is that the public trust will always be honored,’ Ms. Pelosi said.”


Washington Post -- Obama advisers set to recommend military tribunals for alleged 9/11 plotters

So the president is doing on terror trials exactly what he warns Democrats in Congress not to do on health care – abandon an unpopular decision after already taking the hit for supporting it in the first place.

The idea of civilian trials for the worst of the Guantanamo detainees was obviously a non-starter politically – just as the whole errand of closing the prison camp within his first year in office.

Once Congress declined to give Obama the money needed for the task and Democrats made it clear that they wouldn’t stand for having terrorist masterminds tried and housed in their districts, Obama pressed on.

Now, as writers Anne Kornblut and Peter Finn explain, the administration is getting ready to give up on the idea of civilian trials. We don’t know where and we don’t know when, but it will be military justice at a military facility.

So now Obama has shown conservatives that he has silly ideas about terrorism and shown liberals that he lacks the guts to stick up for his ideals. Bad show.

“‘If President Obama reverses Holder's decision to try the 9/11 defendants in criminal court and retreats to using the Bush military commissions, he deals a death blow to his own Justice Department, breaks a clear campaign promise to restore the rule of law and demonstrates that the promises to his constituents are all up for grabs,’ said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘The military commissions have not worked, they are doomed to failure, and Obama will invariably find himself running for office again while not achieving justice for the 9/11 attacks.’”


USA Today -- Federal pay ahead of private industry

Kudos to writer Dennis Cauchon who tells us that the average disparity between pay for federal workers and their private sector counterparts doing the same work is 20 percent higher -- an $11,000 difference per worker, per year.

The era of public sector union dominance is proving to be very expensive.

“Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.

These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”


Wall Street Journal -- Shaky Start for Iraq Vote

This weekend is the big test for Iraq and writer Charles Levinson gives us a picture of how hard the test will be.

Bitter enders are making it bad on those who seek liberty and those sworn to protect them. The Iraqis have shown tremendous courage many times in this process. Pray that they do so again.

“The performance of Ayad Allawi—a former prime minister relying on an unusual coalition of Sunnis and Shiites to challenge incumbent Nouri al-Maliki—has emerged as a barometer of whether Iraqi voters will overcome the country's deep sectarian divisions.

Win or lose, a recent rise in support for Mr. Allawi, viewed by U.S. officials as a potential bridge-builder between the Sunni and Shiite sects, is likely to make him an important player in the fractured government.”

--To get Morning Must Reads in your inbox every weekday click here.

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.

Pin It

More by Chris Stirewalt

Latest in Nation

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation