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Chat Wrap: Political Races, Health Care and More

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Welcome to the chat everyone! I'm really looking forward to taking your questions and having some live interaction with our readers.

I'm going to take a question that was in the comment section to start out.

Will: You went to the Gay March on Washington this weekend and focussed only on the looney flamboyant protestors.

My question is: why did you never focus on the loons and goons at the Tea Party protests? Holding Hitler/Obama signs, spouting nonsense, swastika emblems, the obvious Obama haters. There were plenty of fringe looney protesters there to focus on and create a "video" -- just like you did for the Gay March.

Double standards like this make you look like a "reporter" (quotes needed) who'll do anything for money - and a shill. Do you consider yourself a reporter who is fair-minded and balanced in regards to liberals?

Please explain. National Political Reporter Jillian Bandes: Will -- there were a lot of crazies at the Tea Party protests. I’m remembering the libertarian anarchists and a couple of really hateful religious protesters off the top of my head – my friend said he saw a cardboard cut out of Obama in a noose, but I didn’t see that. The thing is, the left-wing media does a great job of covering these sorts of things. If you read the New York Times or Huffington Post, all you’ll see is “crazy Republican puts Obama in a noose,” and “conservative hatemongers hate the poor” – and the Obama administration didn’t recognize that the protests even existed! The fact is, most tea party protesters were there for completely benign, totally authentic reasons – smaller government, lower taxes, and privatized health care. So I decided to tell that story and poke fun at the mainstream coverage.

With the gay pride parade, however, you’ll get the opposite coverage. Here’s The New York Times: “The rally was primarily the undertaking of a new generation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocates who have grown disillusioned with the movement’s leadership.” Radical fairies received approximately zero column inches. So did the girl with the giant male appendage. That stuff needs to be told.

Furthermore, and this is important – you didn’t see any naked protesters at the 9/12 March. ZERO. You also don’t see naked people at school choice rallies, campaign events, union marches, or pretty much anywhere besides homosexual rights and PETA protests. These people deserve to be made fun of for making their point this way.

Andrew Potter: I didnt see the cuddle pile in the NYTs, i might have missed it.

Steve: Hi Jillian! I love your work. I was hoping to get a comment on Sotomayor and how she will immediately make an impact on the Bench. Thanks!

Jillian Bandes: I don't think Sotomayor will have that much of an impact, yet. From what I've read, she's fitting in smoothly with the other Justices and there been no real issue yet.

She didn't shift the ideological balance, though some pro-life advocates think she could be a weight around their neck...

Johnny K.: Have you been following the Virginia race between Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds closely? What's the latest word?

Jillian Bandes: Deeds has never polled ahead of McDonnell and decided to launch a last-minute carpet-bomb campaign to paint McDonnell as anti-woman.

It's true that Deeds has gained ground in the polls recently, but he's got, what -- 9 points? -- to make up before the election. Fat chance.

Toothfairy: Hi Jillian, do you think Obama is doing better than expected during his short time in office?

Jillian Bandes: I sense some sarcasm from the Toothfairy. Didn't he just get mocked for winning the Nobel based on zero accomplishments?

Erica: Yeah I've been confused by that race. There are attack ads all over the place with contradictory Washington Post articles. I don't trust the Washington Post, and these candidates are being disingenuous.

Jillian Bandes: Erica is talking about the VA governor's race --

The Washington Post has certainly had a heavy hand in the course of Deeds' campaign. I guess he'd better think twice before using the Post as an extension of his campaign efforts next time!

AdamC: I really enjoy seeing your videos on TH, it really brings alot of humour to serious topics. Are you doing 1 a week?

Jillian Bandes: Once a week is the goal. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for what I should cover. Anything in DC-MD-VA is fair game! Or, y'know, Hawaii.... business trip anyone?

BFBC: If not Obama, who should have won the Nobel prize?

Jillian Bandes: Just for comparison, Mother Teresa was another recipient of the Nobel, so...

Rex V.: (who knew the would send the comment, rather than advance down one line?) Anyway... There's been a lot of talk about the White House's attack on Fox. Do you think it was effective, and what do you think the long-term impact will be?

Jillian Bandes: The long-term impact will be approximately zero. Fox has the highest ratings in the busines. My favorite example is when the President gave Sunday morning interviews to everyone except Fox. If you can get the same coverage on five different stations, and different coverage on the sixth, which one are you more likely to watch?

ron: there are plants at the teaparties to discredit them. we had a situation out here and know one was prosecuted. it was a plant by move on to blame repubs. they caught the guy.

Robb S.: Is it true that Obama can make the sun rise and set at will?

Jillian Bandes: Robb S. - yes. I've seen it.

AdamC: And is it possible for you to make the videos longer and more often?

Jillian Bandes: I hate long videos.

From Mike O.: In the health care debate, those of us who pay our bills and feel sorry for -- and want to help -- others who might be struggling don't want to be OBLIGATED to help. How do we make the argument without the Left labeling us an "uncaring"?

Jillian Bandes: This is a great question. You make the point that volunteerism and helping others is pointless when it's not done by your own volition. You shouldn't be obligated to volunteering and give - you should do it yourself. Even a little bit helps. For example, I have a friend who gives $100 to a classroom every fall -- just cuts them a check for whatever they need.

Jay Thomas: Jillian, what is the biggest argument against the Baucus health care bill?

Jillian Bandes: The biggest and easiest argument to make is that the bill will raise the cost of health insurance to the average American. The bill will cover more people, sure, but at a very high cost, due to the combined effect of the mandate to buy health insurance and forcing health insurance companies to provide care to everyone without discriminating on price.

September: Jillian, what are the liberals currently doing to pass EFCA or have they given up on the legislation?

Jillian Bandes: The EFCA battle was hotter earlier this year, and the most controversial portion of the bill (the card check component) has been excised, last I heard. But there are plenty of other battles to be fought, including the new mandates for employer-union mediation, which could easily be just as threatening as the card-check issue.

Chris from Syracuse: Is swine flu really something I need to worry about? I've been following the news and some people say that it's really a serious thing to worry about, while some people say that it's overblown, like SARS or bird flu. What's the deal?

Jillian Bandes: I think these fears are overblown. You should probably just follow the same procedure as you would under ordinary circumstances: if you think you or a loved one is getting sick, go to the doctor to get it checked out. These diseases aren't harmless, but they are easily treated if you act with prudence.

Dan Michalek: Ms. Bandes, I live in Alexandria, VA, which is most certainly enemy territory. Can you reccomend a group, or event perhaps, in the area where conservatives can meet and discuss current issues? I avoid anything with a Republican Party stamp on it because they have proved to NOT be conservative.

Jillian Bandes: You should stop by the 'ole Townhall offices!

Thomas J.: At what point will we know if the stimulus bill has been effective? Do we know now?

Jillian Bandes: I try to follow a few econ-blogs and try and keep up on what the most fashionable opinions are about what the government did or did not do to bail us all out. The only conclusion I can draw is that everything is still very undecided. I think the best plan from here on out is to simply point out the waste and inefficiencies in government intervention, and try and make an accurate assessment of whether or not it's worth it.

Jay: Isn't this servitude? If the law requires one to pay a fine simply by virtue of his posessing life, isn't he indentured to his insurance policy?

Jillian Bandes: Jay is asking about health insurance.... his question was from the Comments section.

If that’s your standard for “servitude,” then you’re currently indentured by lot more than that, wouldn’t you? You have to pay fines if you don’t register your car, declare your income, and all sorts of things. This is the way government works. If you want to change it – make a lot of money and donate to a political campaign, or run for office yourself (the former being way easier than the latter). But all it really comes down to is that money, and public service, are the only two ways to effect change.

Richard In Michigan: Jillian, why is it so many on our side care about how the left labels us, but they could care less when we tell the truth about them?

Jillian Bandes: I think it always seems like that from the other side. I firmly believe that conservatives suffer from horrible media bias. My liberal friends believe precisely the opposite. Head over to Media Matter's website, and it's clear they all believe there's some rampant conservative conspiracy to take down the whole world.

Michelle Obama: I heard that you wanted to dress as me for Halloween, but your arms aren't quite toned enough. Any truth to this?

Jillian Bandes: Have you SEEN my arms? Kthx.

Hanlon: Does al gore have an agenda?

Jillian Bandes: Al Gore obviously has a lot of stake in the global warming debate. If he's wrong, he's discredited forever and no one will ever listen to him again. He has an agenda because he has staked his professional livelihood to the global warming fight.

John H: If you could recommend one conservative pundit to a political newbie, who would it be?

Jillian Bandes: Jillian Bandes.

Ok -- my favorite political writer is Matt Labash at The Weekly Standard. I consider Charles Krauthammer somewhat of a God. Mike Adams is fantastic. For a satirical approach to the left, Coulter is great. Thomas Sowell shouldn't be missed for economics, and my favorite libertarian is John Stossel.

Josh: You've done some writing on this, and I'm wondering if there is an update. What are the chances of Marco Rubio winning a primary against Crist?

Jillian Bandes: It's getting better and better every day. The thing is, he's got to raise a LOT more cash. I think he can do it. I WANT him to do it. But it's a very steep uphill battle.

Colgate Kevin: Any chance will get a good Halloween video from you? It's on the weekend and everyone knows how weird Georgetown and DuPont can be on Halloween.

Jillian Bandes: I'm going trick-or-treating in the halls of Congress and asking for stimulus money from different Congressional offices.... I'm not sure what my costume will be yet. Am open to suggestions.

Rex V.: An old saying goes that Liberals think Conservatives are evil, while Conservatives think Liberals are just wrong. In your experience how accurate is this axiom, and do you have an example when it happened to you?

Jillian Bandes: Liberals think conservatives are evil because they are incapable of seeing anything at all without putting on their own moral lens. Even buying bread in the supermarket is a moral question for liberals. They ask themselves: where did it come from? Were poor people exploited to make this bread? While conservatives can simply buy what they think the best-tasting bread is without passing judgment on everyone.

I've had a lot of people think I'm evil for saying that no one has a "right" to anything -- including health care, food, and higher education.

I'm completely fine with that.

Bill in Kansas: Do the Republicans have any chance of taking back the House and/or the Senate in 2010? What does 2010 look like?

Jillian Bandes: I think it looks good, considering the public opinion polls that have been coming out recently showing decreasing support for the President and the Democratic Congress. But as I said before, everything comes down to money -- DNC has raised more than the RNC at this point, and the Tea Party protests have unfortunately not translated into increased cash for the GOP's candidates. I think it's too early to tell. The real donations and political momentum start cranking up next year.

marilyn: hey jillian! marilyn from alabama here! my daughter is a "jillian" also!

Jillian Bandes: Hollaback.

Calvin: What are your expectations for Sarah Palin's new book?

Jillian Bandes: I'd like to reserve judgement until I read it.

TH fan: I'm ordering a subscription to TH magazine for my husband but can't decide which free book to choose. Any suggestions?

Jillian Bandes: The Sarah Palin book : )

TH: Who are the likely GOP candidates in 2012? Will any leading GOP figures sit out 2012 so that they can have a better chance in 2016?

Jillian Bandes: Romney and Huckabee are gearing up as the "big names." Pawlenty is rumored for a go.

Lizell: Will President Obama sign a health care bill before Christmas this year?

Jillian Bandes: Obama will sign something before the end of this year. Whether or not it radically reforms health care in the way that he hopes is still an open question. You have to remember that there is no health care bill right now. There are different bills that need to be merged in order to create the final bill.

Ok -- I think that'll be it for now. We're planning on another one of these chats soon -- feel free to email me at with suggestions or other questions.

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