Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR2) gave his thoughts to THV on the healthcare ruling. Here it is in video form.
Rather than make you watch the video, however, how about we just fisk the transcript of it? That should be all kinds of fun! (Note: Fun not guaranteed.)
0:22. Well, this is the No Spin Zone, my friend.
Here’s a handy rule to live by: if you don’t want people to think you are spinning your answer, don’t rip off someone who has made a career of championing the No Spin Zone while maniacally twisting the “facts” in his talking points to fit the narrative he wants to give.
0:25. I will tell you that I’m disappointed in the opinion. I agree with the dissent; I thought the dissent did a great job. I’ve gotta take some time and read the entire opinion, but I agree with the dissent that the law is invalid.
Also a handy rule: actually read the entire opinion before you go on TV to talk about the opinion. It’s great that you agree with the dissent, which reached the conclusion that you wanted the court to reach. But until you’ve read the whole thing, you really have no frame of reference for why the dissent might be wrong. You’re like a person who, wanting to believe that President Obama is a Muslim, reads something online that says he is a Muslim, then crows about how you agree with that position. You have no frame of reference here, Donny.
0:41. And, uh, you know, President Obama in 2009 was asked whether the penalty for not buying health insurance was a tax. He said, “no, it’s not a tax! Of course it’s not a tax!” Well, then when his law was challenged in the Supreme Court, his lawyers changed 180 degrees and said, “yeah, you oughta uphold it ’cause it is a tax.”
Actually, President Obama was asked whether the mandate represented a tax increase on the middle class, and he said it did not. Rather, he said that, for people who can afford insurance but would otherwise choose not to get it, the mandate is the government “saying ‘we’re not gonna have other people carrying your burdens for you.” If that sounds somewhat familiar, maybe it’s because you remember Mitt Romney explaining that the healthcare mandate in Massachusetts was “the ultimate conservative plan” because it “said that people have to take responsibility for getting insurance, if they can afford it, or paying their own way.”
1:06. Well, we lost on that argument, and what this decision does is it paves the way for one of the largest tax increases in the history of the country. So what we’ve got to do is continue to do what we’ve been doing . . .
Be needlessly obstructionist and treat Grover Norquist like the second coming of Jesus Christ? (Also, this “one of the largest tax increase in history” canard is laughable; the increase is $27MM over 10 years, which is smaller in real dollars than the tax increases by George H.W. Bush in 1990 and Ronald Reagan in 1982.)
. . . which is fight to repeal this healthcare law through the political process.
Oh. You mean hold another meaningless vote, knowing that you can’t possibly repeal the bill in 2012 and hoping that your Quixotic tilting will win you favor with the unwashed masses. Got it.
I believe in healthcare reform; we need it more than ever. We didn’t really get healthcare reform with this bill. We got a top-down, big-government law.
Modeled on the law that the presumptive Republican nominee passed while governor of Massachusetts. You know, the law that is wildly popular in Massachusetts — so popular, in fact, that an attempt to repeal the individual mandate there last year could not garner enough signatures to get to a vote.
I think we need healthcare reform that encourages innovation . . .
. . . reduces costs . . .
Again, agreed. Though that’s the point of the individual mandate, of course, as well as the insurance exchanges required under the PPACA.
. . . and helps us keep this quality that we’re — this great quality of healthcare that we’re so accustomed to in the United States.
What the hell? Seriously? America’s healthcare is nowhere near “great.” America ranked last among 19 similar countries in “rate of deaths from conditions that could have been prevented or treated successfully.” The overwhelming bulk of comparisons between Canadian and US healthcare find that the Canadian system is better in most measurable ways. Perhaps most damning, a recent survey of chronically ill or intensively ill patients in eight similar countries found that the United States had the highest reported rates of problems such as being given the wrong medication or dosage, experiencing a medical error, receiving incorrect test results, or facing delays in hearing about abnormal test results.
Point being, if your goal is a system that maintains the current standard of care, you have zero credibility on this topic.
1:50. But we’ve gotta do that through the ballot box in November. We passed a repeal in the House; it went to the Senate and died.
Damn that Senate not rubberstamping the House’s actions, even when those actions are partisan hatchet jobs designed to embarrass the lawmakers who passed the PPACA and the President. Where do they get off, think that they, as a co-equal part of the legislature, can disagree with the House?!
1:56. So that fight continues, and I think it emphasizes to Arkansans and Americans [that] we can’t rely on the Court; we lost there. We’ve got to work in November to elect more, uh, public officials like the ones, many of the ones we have in Arkansas, that opposed this law.
Prescribing more David Meekses and Mark Darrs as a cure for what ails the American political process is like prescribing leeches to cure hemophilia.
2:19. You know, all of our members of Congress from Arkansas, Democrat and Republican, opposed this law.
There are no Democrats in the House of Representatives from Arkansas. The fact that Rep. Mike Ross (“D”-AR4) opposed this law says less about bipartisan opposition and more about what a farce of a Democrat Mike Ross really is.
2:24. And, uh, so, we’ve gotta make sure that we speak out and fight for people on the ballot in November who will help repeal this and, uh, with a new President hopefully, and then get real, patient-centered reform enacted that gives people more choices and allows people to make their own decisions about their healthcare.
I love this way this went from “Tim Griffin’s response to the ruling” to “Tim Griffin’s campaign ad for Republicans generally.” Of course, this is airing only on a local, Little Rock channel, and the only people on the ballot in Arkansas in November who would be in a position to help repeal the PPACA are President Obama and the four Arkansas representatives who already voted against it.
Sure, local Republicans can (and will) use the same inane approach that worked for Messrs. Darr, Meeks, and the rest, stating that they “oppose Obamacare” or whatever. That doesn’t change the fact that, like Rep. Meeks, they have as much impact on whether the PPACA is repealed as they do on whether the sun will come up tomorrow.
2:50. [Craig O’Neill: Congressman, one of the things that Republicans maintain is the uncertainty in the marketplace, the uncertainty for businessmen, the uncertainty for business leaders. The Supreme Court now comes out with a ruling with certainty. Are you saying that you’re going to undo this healthcare bill politically, providing even more uncertainty in the marketplace when this is a call for certainty?]
Sure. Well, let me tell ya the uncertainty about the healthcare has had less to do with what the Court would do. It has had primarily to do with the Nancy Pelosi line that we need to pass it to see what’s in it. Because what job creators will tell you when you talk to them about uncertainty is what they’re uncertain about is what the rules and the regulations are going to be because many of them aren’t written yet and won’t be written for years to come because the implementation of this is going to continue to take years. That’s the main uncertainty.
This is a ridiculous red herring. Of course many of the rules and regulations for implementing the law are not written yet. That’s how most laws work; Congress passes a law that dictates certain things, then the nuts-and-bolts implementation of the law is left to the various government agencies impacted by the law. Complaining that many of the “rules and regulations” aren’t written overlooks that the substance of the law, which those rules and regulations will be enforcing, is in place. You might not know exactly how the paperwork for compliance will be structured, but you (or your attorney) can get a very, very clear picture of what you’ll have to do to be in compliance with the letter of the law. Griffin’s complaint is akin to saying that a law establishing a new speed limit is too uncertain because it doesn’t explain how that speed limit will be enforced.
If this video teaches us anything, it’s that Rep. Griffin has little use for things like facts and figures and logic and intellectual honesty. Not that you would expect one of Karl Rove’s old lapdogs to behave otherwise, right?