- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2010

UNHEALTHY SCORECARD

Proclamations, commentary, hisses, applause, threats and cries for money are flying, and will continue to fly, now that the giant dirigible of health care reform legislation has eased through the halls of Congress with just inches to spare, and the squeal of escaping helium. Among the many, many weighing in:

Hated it: U.S. Chamber of Commerce; National Taxpayers Union; Family Research Council; Association of American Physicians and Surgeons; Heritage Foundation; 60 Plus Association; America’s Health Insurance Plans; Competitive Enterprise Institute; Concord Coalition; American Legislative Exchange Council; Campaign for Working Families; American Center for Law and Justice.

Loved it: American Academy of Pediatrics; Federation of American Hospitals; League of Women Voters; American Medical Association; AFL-CIO; American Psychological Association; AARP; Medicare Rights Center; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

The Fire Nancy Pelosi fund: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele reports that in 15 hours his group raised almost half of an $842,010 goal to fund grass-roots support to, uh, vote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from office. He notes, “Democrats chose not to listen to Americans in March, but you can be sure they will be listening in November.”

Republicans calling for “repeal” legislation: Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota; House Minority Leader John A. Boehner; Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jim DeMint of South Carolina; Mitt Romney; Florida senatorial candidate Marco Rubio.

Maybe this morning: “Will President Obama blame the GOP for faults in his health care plan?” asks Heritage Foundation fellow Ernest Istook.

VETTING THE VETS

“I have been assured personally by the president, secretary of defense, VA secretary, speaker of the House, majority leaders and numerous other senators and representatives … that nothing in the national health care reform legislation will change current [Department of Defense] and VA health care eligibility or practices,” says the American Legion’s national commander Clarence E. Hill.

“The legislation involved is so complex that it will take years to iron out and implement. It is going to be a long, drawn-out legislative process, but America’s veterans can rest assured that their benefits will be protected. That I personally guarantee,” Mr. Hill adds.

CLEAN LIVIN’

“I guess you can no longer say something stinks in the halls of the State Department, or with our foreign policy,” notes a source close to the federal agency.

Indeed, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton snipped the green ribbons strung between bicycles to herald the opening of the agency’s new “garage showers” a must for diplomats, apparently, in this day and age.

“Free showers located in the garage, just outside the Foggy Bottom barbershop/ nail salon, are now open. There are three for men and three for women and are for use by anyone with a DOS badge. In the near future, card readers will be installed and patrons will need to register with [security] to have their individual badge number programmed for shower access.”

A TEA GROWS IN BROOKLYN

What now in a post-health care world? Well, November, naturally. After attending a “tax day tea party” in Manhattan, N.Y., last year, financial journalist David W. Alvey decided to articulate the “core discontent” among those vexed by Congress. The result is I Vote You Out 2010 - a project created in his Brooklyn home that includes both blog and Web site to parse out issues. Mr. Alvey wants the sites to get noisy.

“There is raw emotion on these issues and most importantly people share our convictions that Congress is hostile to letting people run their own businesses and their own lives, and are unwilling to listen to their constituencies. Or they’re just arrogant and only interested in power and in getting re-elected,” Mr. Alvey tells Inside the Beltway.

“Our simple message resonates: If our elected representatives and U.S. senators are not voting to support our issues and our principles, then ‘I vote you out 2010,’ ” he adds.

See their ground-floor efforts at www.IVoteYouOut2010 .wordpress.com and www. IVoteYouOut2010.org.

POLL DU JOUR

• 70 percent of Americans say the federal budget deficit will go up with health care reform.

• 62 percent say they will pay more for health care under new reforms.

• 59 percent oppose the final form of health care legislation, 39 percent favor it.

• 56 percent say the reform will create “too much government involvement.”

• 47 percent say their family will be “worse off,” 33 percent say “about the same,” 19 percent will be “better off.”

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research Poll of 1,030 adults conducted March 19-21.

Raves, mutterings, ice packs to jharper@washington times.com.

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