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May 22, 2009


If I understand Brendan's point, WaPo said that benefits could not be realized from a plan with both government and private companies providing health insurance and competing on a level playing field. OTOH the Rove quote taken out of context seems to say that benefits could not be realized from any government run health plan.

This seems like a fair accusation, although Rove might argue that he provided context when he wrote, "Even the Washington Post questions IT, saying..." The word "it" indicates that the quote applied to Obama's plan, which does have the characteristic to which the full WaPo quote applies. And, as Brendan pointed out, Rove accurately represented WaPo as opposed to Obama's approach to health care.

Getting away from the picayune point of whether Rove's context was sufficiently clear, I think it might work fine to have government and private industry competing on a level playing field. That's how workers compensation insurance is structured in California and many other states. That system works quite well for workers comp. The key is that businesses pay different WC premiums. based on estimates of their loss potential. I think a competetive system could work for health care, provided that the goverment and private companies are allowed to vary their premiums based on their assemssment of each individual's or group's loss expectation.

"Not surprisingly, you can't trust Karl Rove to use quotations in an honest manner."

Despite the fact that we know that Karl Rove is a man who would give you three quarters' change for a dollar then sneer when you complain, i think that given that one of your goals here is to explode bias and spin, you would do well by trying to curtail your own in your writing. Let his own words hang him.

When is someone in the media going to step up and call public deceivers like Rove out?

I can’t believe the media puts up with this kind of deceit OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER -- for years. LITERALLY YEARS. I can’t believe no one in the media finally says enough is enough and shows the public why Rove and others like him (Gingrich, e.g.) should not be listened to and should not be given a public platform by the mainstream media. And I can’t believe that a major, serious, respected newspaper like the WSJ publishes publicly misleading material like this.

And honestly, I’m surprised Brendan would go through the trouble of pointing out Rove’s minor, inconsequential deception about that Washington Post quote in Rove’s column and yet ignore all the other more significant deceits in the column -- not to mention the breathtaking and massive hypocrisy in it. LITERALLY, nearly every sentence is misleading in some way. It’s pure political propaganda from start to finish. Take just two examples:

1. Rove writes: “Barack Obama inherited a set of national-security policies that he rejected during the campaign but now embraces as president. This is a stunning and welcome about-face. For example, President Obama kept George W. Bush's military tribunals for terror detainees after calling them an ‘enormous failure’ and a ‘legal black hole.’”

Is it true that the same policies -- the VERY SAME policies, as they were under Bush and which Obama criticized -- are now being embraced by Obama? No. That’s a lie. To take the example of the military tribunals: Obama IS reinstating the military tribunals, but he’s CHANGING CERTAIN OF THE POLICIES GOVERNING THEM. One of the biggest criticisms of the tribunals under Bush was that they ALLOWED EVIDENCE OBTAINED FROM COERCION. Obama is CHANGING that policy so that such evidence will NOT be allowed. Rove knows this. He’s lying. And the WSJ editors/owners are allowing him to use their paper to do so.

2. Rove: “On health care, Mr. Obama's election ads decried ‘government-run health care’ as ‘extreme,’ saying it would lead to ‘higher costs.’ Now he is promoting a plan that would result in a de facto government-run health-care system.”

Everyone in the political media and everyone who followed the presidential campaign knows that the “government-run health care” system Obama dismissed (then and now) was a SINGLE-PAYER health insurance system like Canada and some European countries have; that is NOT the “de facto government-run health-care system” Obama is now promoting. Rove knows this. He’s deliberately misleading people with the above quote. And the WSJ is letting him use their paper to do so.

[And by the way, following is the full text of the ad that I assume Rove is referring to. Rove claims that the ad says the government-run health care system the ad refers to will lead to higher costs -- and he puts the words “higher costs” in quotes. Where in the following text does it say or imply that? It does say “higher taxes,” but that is not the same thing as “higher costs." Any unsuspecting reader would of course think that “higher costs” means higher health-care costs, not “higher taxes.” This is just one more example of Rove misleading readers. Here’s the ad that I assume Rove is referring to:

"On health care reform -- two extremes. On one end, government run health care, higher taxes.
On the other, insurance companies without rules, denying coverage. Barack Obama says both extremes are wrong.
His plan: Keep your employer-paid coverage. Keep your own doctor. Take on insurance companies to bring down costs. Cover pre-existing conditions, and preventive care.
Common sense for the change we need."
Obama: "I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message."]

And Rove’s hypocrisy is so blatant in this column that it’s almost impossible to think that he’s not fully aware of it and just doesn’t give a damn -- he’s probably laughing about it. For someone from the Bush administration -- the BUSH ADMINISTRATION! -- to now feign moral outrage over a supposed “orgy of spending and a bacchanal of debt,” over “the projection of appealing images” that don’t reflect reality, over the use of “words meant to mislead the public,” and over Obama's supposedly being "a president quite different from the person who advertised himself for the job” -- is a f*cking joke. All of these things are the hallmarks of the Bush administration. Again, everyone in the political media knows this. This level of hypocrisy is just laughable and it shows how utterly politically motivated and disingenuous Rove is -- and therefore untrustworthy as a public commentator. And yet the media continues to listen to him and give him a platform from which he can mislead thousands of people who don’t know any better. Unbelievable.

I've never understood the extreme focus on (and in some cases - not Brendan - demonization of) Karl Rove. As he is admittedly a political operative, I take his comments with a grain of salt - even if I agree - but for the most part ignore him.

It's been hilarious to watch Brendan post on seemingly every single WSJ Rove column - I see the column on WSJ.com and just know that soon a post will appear on this site.

That in itself is entertaining. Thanks!

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