No One Seriously Thinks ObamaCare Is Unconstitutional
“About half the public apparently believes that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.... I’m here to tell you: that belief is simply wrong. The constitutional challenge to the law’s requirement for people to buy health insurance — specifically, the argument that the mandate exceeds Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause — is rhetorically powerful but analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection. There’s just no there there.”
— Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse in a March 21 blog posting.
Anchor Soledad O’Brien: “So the bottom line is, is making people buy health insurance a legitimate use of the power of Congress?”
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin: “Correct, and the challengers in these laws have said, ‘No, this is not something Congress can do.’ What I wrote in The New Yorker this week, what I think is that basically that is a really weak argument, in that the United States Congress has been regulating health care for years, has been involved in this market for years, and this is a perfectly ordinary use of Congress’s power.”
— CNN’s Starting Point, March 19. [Audio/video (0:47): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Blame Bush’s “Very, Very, Very Conservative” Justices
Anchor Chuck Todd: “There’s a lot of panic at the White House, to be frank. They really thought this wasn’t going to be that hard of a case....Now they’re biting their fingernails. Should they be biting their fingernails?”
NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg: “Yeah, they should be biting their fingernails....The White House was right not to worry about it way back when. The entire legal community, except for I would say the really hardcore... everybody, including conservatives, thought, ‘Oh, this case is a piece of cake.’...[But] because of the Bush appointments, which were very, very, very conservative, the Court has become so much more conservative. I would say on economic regulatory matters — and you are seeing a hint of this here — we haven’t seen a Court this conservative, perhaps, since the early, mid-1930s, the early New Deal era.”
— MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, March 30.
“This may as much be a referendum on the Supreme Court and whether or not the Roberts court is so conservatively politicized that it will make a decision to hurt the President, rather than sticking closely to precedent here.”
— MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on NBC’s Today, March 27.
Failure to Uphold ObamaCare = Death Sentence for Toddler
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen: “These nine Supreme Court Justices will forever affect the life of 3-year-old Violet McManus. [to Julie Walters, Violet’s mother] Are you worried about what the Supreme Court might do?”
Julie Walters: “I’m really scared. Very scared. Like, ‘I can’t sleep’ scared.”
Cohen: “Violet’s mother, Julie, knows if the Justices overturn health care reform, Violet will lose her health insurance. [to Walters] Tell me why it’s scary for you.”
Walters: “Our daughter could die and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
— CNN Newsroom, March 27.
MSNBC’s Useful Idiot for Castro’s Propaganda
Anchor Andrea Mitchell, in Havana: “Cuba is highly regarded for its health care, and especially one of Fidel Castro’s signature project, which is training doctors....We went back to the Latin American medical school here to talk to American medical students about what they’re learning about medicine, about Cuba, and about themselves.”
Medical student Cynthia Aguilera: “The idea is that we come from under-represented and under-served communities and that after graduating with no debt, no worries about paying off loans and having to get a high-paying job, we can return to our communities and work in them and try to uplift them the same way that Cuba uplifted us.”
— MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, March 27.
Ignorant Republicans Don’t Appreciate Europe’s Wonderful Socialism
Correspondent Allen Pizzey: “The candidates are dealing in caricatures of Europe that are about 90 percent wrong, in the view of American University of Rome Professor James Walston.”
Professor James Walston: “They are trying to smear the opponents by using the socialism word, when, what is actually present in Europe is something — it’s social democracy, and not even that....”
Pizzey: “Such talk certainly resonates with young European voters like Anica Petrovic, but not quite in the way the candidates have in mind.”
Anica Petrovic: “I just hope that most Americans are just more intelligent than those politicians....”
Pizzey: “Universal health care is a concept that Berlin artist Madeleine Krakor says she wouldn’t want to live without.”
Madeleine Krakor: “That’s a big part of, like, feeling secure, really secure, because you always know, whatever happens, if you don’t have any money to buy some noodles — but you are safe.”
— CBS Sunday Morning, March 25. [Audio/video (0:50): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Confusing Slower Growth With an Actual “Cut”
Fill-in host Norah O’Donnell: “You also include changes to Medicare, and cuts in Medicaid, $810 billion in cuts to Medicaid. How can you guarantee people that you’re not giving tax cuts to the wealthiest and taking away aid to the poor?...But you don’t deny that you’re cutting $810 billion from Medicaid?”
Representative Paul Ryan: “No, actually, we get $810 billion in savings. But we still grow Medicaid each and every year under our formula.”
— CBS’s Face the Nation, March 25.
Did “Evildoer” Dick Cheney Get a Heart He Didn’t Deserve?
“Did Dick do a dick thing and leapfrog a bunch of other worthies, people who aren’t viewed by some as war criminals and evildoers but rather are decent folk decades younger, likelier to contribute to society and to provide a better return on investment for our taxpayer health-care dollars?...Old man Cheney and his million-dollar heart serve to remind us just how ugly health care can be when it is a simple commodity given to someone with friends in high places, even if he (possibly) did get the organ through routine channels. He now and forever is the poster child for why health care must be a right, not the latest luxe trinket for those few who can afford it.”
— Kent Sepkowitz, a writer and infectious-disease specialist writing at the Newsweek/Daily Beast Web site, March 26.
If “Most Evil” Cheney Got Her Heart: “I’d Say, Give It Back”
Newsweek/Daily Beast assignment editor Allison Yarrow: “Can you imagine being that organ donor? I mean, it’s such a difficult decision to say ‘I want to give my body to someone else after I’m dead.’”
Newsweek senior writer Ramin Setoodeh: “To Dick Cheney? I would never give my heart to Dick Cheney. It would freeze over.”
Yarrow: “I would never do it. I’d say ‘give me my heart back.’ Exactly ...”
Host/columnist John Avlon: “Seriously, the ill will toward Dick Cheney getting a heart transplant is stunning.”
Yarrow: “He may be one of the most evil people in the world.”
— Exchange on Newsweek/Daily Beast’s daily “NewsBeast” Web show, March 26. [Audio/video (1:30): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
MSNBC Blames Rush Limbaugh for Death of Florida Teen
“So, when Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that, quote, ‘really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working...,’ or Rush Limbaugh calls a presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, a ‘Magic Negro,’ or Mitt Romney says nothing at all, the effect is dangerous, because they reinforce and validate old stereotypes that associate the poor and welfare as criminal behavior with African-Americans and people of color, calling us lazy, undeserving recipients of public assistance. In the case of Trayvon [Martin], those festering stereotypes had lethal consequences.”
— Fill-in host Karen Finney on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, March 22. The phrase “Magic Negro” to describe Barack Obama originated with an African-American columnist for the Los Angeles Times, not Rush Limbaugh. [Audio/video (1:29): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Dastardly GOP “Robber Barons” vs. “Clear-Eyed” News Media
“There will be a Republican running against Obama, and Senator McCain said under the Supreme Court decision all of the new 21st century robber barons, let’s call them what they are, can put tens of millions of dollars into the campaign. It’s negative, it’s poison, it’s venom, and we — NBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, the people in the media — are going to be under — I think we’re going to be tested to say can we present a clear-eyed view of who the candidates are...and not just have this negative atmosphere. I mean that is — I’ve never seen anything like it. And during the Nixon era they had a slush fund of $700,000. Now the slush fund is probably going to be $100 million. My God, what they’re going to do.”
— Washington Post editor and author Bob Woodward on Meet the Press, March 18.
Those Stupid, Stupid Voters
“To me, some of these poll results, they just seem stupid. So I asked Alex Burns, ‘Why don’t you do a piece that looks at the question of whether voters are stupid and a lot of the things that they say in these polls are just plain stupid?’ Alex warmed to the assignment and he wrote this. He actually found a number of good voices from pollsters who say, ‘Yeah, that’s the first thing you learn as a pollster, voters are stupid.’”
— Politico editor and former Washington Post correspondent John Harris during Politico Live broadcast of primary voting results, March 13. [Audio/video (1:50): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Bigots Can’t Stand Obama Being “Biggest Man in the World”
Host Piers Morgan: “Did you think America, Mike, has become more or less racist since Barack Obama, an African-American, became President?...That it’s become worse?”
Mike Tyson: “A hundred percent, yes. Because that’s how these groups surface, these red — Tea Party and everything. Listen, it’s new stuff, being a black man, having the image of the strongest man on the planet, the biggest man in the world.... That must be pretty tough to take in when you — I don’t know. It’s just the way this country is.”
— Exchange on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, March 29.
Lucky Republicans Have It So Easy
“You know, I’m an old Democrat but I grew up around a lot of Republicans and, you know, if I was a Republican, if Obama was a Republican, I would be selling all of the, you know, ‘You saved the auto industry,’ and ‘You got Osama bin Laden,’ and ‘You passed a health care bill that nobody could pass,’ — if that was a Republican issue. I would be able to sell his presidency as a very successful one. But Democrats are bad at that. We like to pick each other apart.”
— Actor George Clooney on Meet the Press, March 18. [Audio/video (1:06): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Sign up to receive Notable Quotables via e-mail.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
DEPUTY RESEARCH DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Dickens
TIMESWATCH: Clay Waters
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Brad Wilmouth, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Matt Hadro
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey