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Inside the Beltway: Republican diagnosis on Obamacare

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Obamacare has a big date with destiny, drama and, oh yes, the Supreme Court on Thursday. The odds are good that Democrats will repeat their "false claim" that Republicans have no alternatives to President Obama's health care law. So says the Republican Study Committee, which intends to make its case not with a 2,700-page bill, but a 27-page summary. The terse outline showcases 200 pieces of health care legislation introduced in the past 18 months by members of the committee, chaired, incidentally, by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

His impression of the White House version of health care? "Unworkable, unpopular, and - I believe - unconstitutional," he says.

"Once Obamacare is repealed or struck down, we owe it to Americans to take the time to get health care reform right. The simple, common sense ideas proposed by RSC members should guide the way," communications director Brian Straessle tells Inside the Beltway,

See the compact summary, titled "RSC Members' Health Care Initiatives in the 112th Congress" at the group's website (http://rsc.jordan.house.gov); check the Policy Analysis heading, under 2012 Policy Briefs.

DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS

Why create a practical policy paper when a public petition is so much more fun? Here's one issued Tuesday by Mike Ryan, policy director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:

"Tell Barack: I support Obamacare. The Supreme Court is set to rule on President Obama's Health Care Reform law this week. Your support helped us pass historic reform that is already benefiting millions of Americans. Regardless of the Supreme Court's decision this week, we need to show that we're with the President on this. If you agree that access to health care should always be a right - not a privilege - sign this petition to stand with President Obama."

HISTORIC MUDSLINGING

"All Socialists are either dumb or romantic."

(William F. Buckley Jr., during an episode of "Firing Line" on PBS, July 7, 1990)

A LOT OF DOUGH

The cookie wars have commenced again. First lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have submitted their respective recipes to Family Circle magazine's official Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, a contest that has been around since 1992, when Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton were the initial competitors . Political ingredients to consider? The bake-off winner is decided by popular vote, and all but one winner has ended up in the White House.

Mrs. Romney's recipe for M&M cookies will be in Thursday's Beltway column. Here's Mrs. Obama's recipe for Mama Kaye's White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, courtesy of Family Circle:

Ingredients: 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened; 1 stick Crisco butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening, ¾ cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1 cup each white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and mint chocolate chips (or Andes mint pieces); 2 cups chopped walnuts.

Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, beat in flour mixture.

By hand, stir in white and milk chocolate chips, mint chips and walnuts. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yields 5 dozen.

HOLLYWOOD WATCH

The young and beautiful of Tinseltown still love President Obama, apparently. More than 40 celebrities and entertainment industry executives will appear at a "Gen44" fundraiser on Friday at the Soho House on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, an exclusive venue co-owned by former President Bill Clinton and his pal Ron Burkle. Among the glittering guests, according to Hollywood Reporter correspondent Tina Daunt: "The Avengers" star Clark Gregg, actor Donovan Leitch and "One Tree Hill" actress Sophia Bush.

"The president's people will be pitching young Hollywood on the importance of its support as the campaign moves into its most intensely competitive months," Ms. Daunt reports, noting that organizers insist Mr. Obama is not slated to attend and that the $2,500-per-person soiree is a "grass-roots effort."

UNANSWERABLE

A lead topic trending on Twitter: "Questions That Stump Obama." The query follows another recent Twitter trend called "Questions That Stump Romney." Waggish Tweeters have scores of suggestions on what to ask President Obama, meanwhile. Among them:

"Can you create a deficit so big that even you cannot spend your way out of it?" (David Burge, founder of Iowa Hawk Blog) "When does life begin?" (Steven Ertelt, founder of LifeNews.com), "What does 'liberty' mean? Not to you, but in the dictionary." (Townhall columnist Derek Hunter).

POLL DU JOUR

• 55 percent of Americans say it would make "no difference" if the Supreme Court rules the health care law's individual mandate unconstitutional.

• 25 percent say such a ruling would "hurt" them or their family; 18 percent say it would help them.

• 41 percent of Americans say the health care law is a "bad idea," 35 percent say it's a good idea; 22 percent have no opinion.

• 39 percent would have "mixed feelings" if the Supreme Court rules the health care law unconstitutional on Thursday.

• 27 percent would be "very pleased," 17 percent would be "very disappointed," 10 percent would be "somewhat pleased" and 5 percent "somewhat disappointed."

• 34 percent would have "mixed feelings" if the Supreme Court rules the health care law constitutional.

• 29 percent would be "very disappointed," 21 percent "very pleased," 7 percent "somewhat pleased" and 6 percent "somewhat disappointed."

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted June 20 to 24.

Policy papers, recipes to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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