I'll address his healthcare claims in a moment, but first, consider the context of President Obama's remarks on Monday. With the Navy Yard on lock down, with the wounded still bleeding and dying, and with the nation transfixed by another horrific shooting, Obama pressed forward with a bitterly partisan speech attacking Republicans on healthcare and the economy. Luckily for him, pretty much no one saw it because if they had, most people would have been taken aback by his aggressive political tone in the midst of a national tragedy. This tin-eared partisanship did not go unnoticed by some in the media, however. National Journal gave his performance a thumbs-down, while Politico wrote a story noting Obama's "challenge" with tone in the wake of the shooting:
The president’s handling of the massacre at the Navy Yard Monday contrasted sharply with his response to past tragedies. After the Boston Marathon bombing and the Newtown school shooting, the president kept his messaging focused on the crises at hand, speaking out against the attacks but otherwise keeping a low profile. But on Monday, instead of calling for national unity — as he has in the wake of similar events — Obama spent most of his only public event slamming Republicans on budget matters. The White House, removed in proximity and mood from the rest of the Washington, didn’t react the way other institutions did. By early afternoon, soon after Obama spoke, the Senate canceled business and closed entry to and exit from its buildings; schools and daycare centers on Capitol Hill had locked down; and the Washington Nationals, whose stadium sits just a few blocks from the Navy Yard, canceled their Monday night game against the archrival Atlanta Braves. White House officials did delay the start time of Monday’s event so that Obama’s broadside wouldn’t be drowned out by a news conference held by city officials.
He proffered a handful of perfunctory remarks about the ongoing mass-murder, then proceeded as planned. The White House's big concession on a day or fear and sadness was to delay the start time of Obama's vituperative address. Not out of respect, mind you, but to ensure that his excoriation of Republicans on budgetary matters wouldn't get "drowned out" by a press conference about...the status of shooting victims. Such selfless compassion. Asked if the administration had even considered putting off the speech in light of unfolding developments, Jay Carney shrugged. Nah. In fact, we were informed, the timing and nature of Obama's speech was "entirely appropriate" -- including, apparently, the bit about Republicans wanting to "hurt people:"
"On the day while people were hiding, while people were bleeding, while people were dying, while the nation was locked in on this — he’s talking about harsh partisanship and Republicans wanting to hurt people...I just can’t imagine if any other president did this — the ramifications ... George W, can you imagine what certain people at this network in 2006, at this table … would have done? Mika would be killing George W. Everybody at this network would be killing George W. Everybody at The New York Times would be killing George W. Every journalist in Washington, D.C. would be killing George W.”
Scarborough was so obviously correct that no one bothered to push back in any meaningful sense. But this president is different. So he trotted out his cheering supporters and laid into Republicans on a host of issues. (I'm sure the GOP was trembling, given how masterfully effective Obama's economic messaging has been recently). Part of his screed included the whopper I included in the headline. Obama stated that no "serious evidence" suggests that his so-called "Affordable" Care Act has done any damage to the economy. Really? The vast majority of new job creation in America this year has come via part-time jobs, an unhappy trend for which many economists and business owners blame Obamacare. According to a national survey conducted by Gallup, more than 40 percent of small businesses have frozen hiring as a direct result of the new law, and an additional 19 percent have actually reduced the number of employees. Even Democrats who voted for the law are admitting that it's killing jobs. Earlier this year, the Fed released a report concluding that Obamacare is a reason behind "layoffs and a slowdown in hiring," confirming the CBO's projections. And that doesn't even touch the added deficits issue. The president looks at all of these data points and discounts all of them, blithely telling his ardent devotees that such evidence isn't "serious" or simply doesn't exist. In doing so, Obama comes across as a tendentious partisan, an out-of-touch plutocrat, and a dishonest broker. Perhaps he should stop hanging out with Paul Krugman.