- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FISHY DISH

“Was ‘Flag’ at whitehouse.gov a good idea?” was the question to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs during the Tuesday briefing - referring to an e-mail address at the site that was meant to track “fishy” information or rumors about heath care reform. It was deactivated Monday night once Republican critics complained that it was really meant to create an enemies list. But is it really, uh, kaput?

“So it’s just been put together, it’s not really gone?”

“Consolidated from two platforms into one,” Mr. Gibbs replied.

CHANGE HAS COME

Uh-oh. The Obama version of the White House has disturbed an observant source, who shares this narrative:

“As an employee who works on G Street near the White House personnel office and the White House complex, there certainly has been a lot of change in the people. During the Bush years, White House employees dressed professionally and exercised professional discretion. The conversations among Bush staffers in nearby coffee shops such as M.E. Swing were quiet, and they absolutely never discussed business.”

“The new Obama staffers, usually no older than 30 years of age, seem to have never heard that loose lips sink ships. Instead of tucking their blue or green White House badges discretely into a shirt pocket as Bush staffers did, the Obama staffers flaunt it in public. And their loud talk is always about shop. We recently listened to White house staffers in a pizza parlor on the 1700 block of G Street discussing details about forthcoming White House policy toward communist China. On another occasion, at Potbelly Sandwiches, we overheard White House staffers discussing details of the upcoming Russian summit and policy toward the Republic of Georgia.”

“The happening and hip Obama staffers look and act like they are on campus. On the afternoon of July 31, three White House staffers were at McReynolds Liquor at 1776 G St. The three loaded up boxes of wine bottles, hard liquor and several bags of ice and carried the party straight into the Old Executive Office Building. Another July day, other young White House staffers were seen carrying two cases of Bud Light out of the White House personnel office.”

“Flip-flops, tennis shoes, unbuttoned dress shirts with ties, and casual wear are now in style at the White House. Razors are out for men. Many male staffers seem to shave every couple of days. While it might seem cute and whimsical to have a young bunch take over the reigns of power, the world is more serious than these folks seem to realize.”

REFORM SCHOOL

An informed citizenry is keeping lawmakers honest, perhaps.

“Americans are reading the health care legislation, the summaries, the analysis. They’re monitoring YouTube, Twitter, the Internet - so many people have so much information now that it’s had a dramatic impact on lawmakers,” Rick Scott, chairman of Conservatives for Patient Rights, tells Inside the Beltway.

“They know they must stay on message. There are Democrats who don’t want a single-payer system or who are concerned about cost. They’ve been reluctant to be upfront about their concerns. The amount of information the public now has is forcing them to come forward,” Mr. Scott says.

More information is on the way. Former Rep. J.C. Watts will join American Society of Medical Doctors Chairman Dr. Alfred Bonati at the National Press Club on Wednesday to release a new poll revealing sentiments of “specialty physicians” on health care reform - and whether they’ll participate.

BATHTUB TONSILLECTOMY

Health care reform could produce hybrid outcomes - like “bootleg medicine,” explains California real estate entrepreneur Charles Salisbury.

“Prohibition didn’t work because it was overkill. People resisted, and did what they wanted under new management. A major health care reform will also fail because people will not give up the current system which works for them,” Mr. Salisbury tells Inside the Beltway.

“If need be, there will be a whole new industry sprung up called ‘bootleg medicine’ - and it will flourish,” he predicts. “Who will control it? Certainly not the government, if they mandate a government-run health care system. Private health care will be against the law. Instead of experimenting with people’s right to consume alcohol, we are now experimenting with people’s right to get the best health care. Does anyone wonder why people are mad?”

POLL DU JOUR

44 percent of Americans say owning a gun will “increase your safety.”

16 percent say it will decrease safety; 34 percent said a gun made no difference.

80 percent say current economic conditions will likely lead to increased crime.

69 percent say the Obama administration will implement stricter gun control laws.

45 percent own guns, 44 percent do not.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Aug. 12-13.

Buzz, squeaks, groans to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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