Mediaite Sunday Show Round-Up: ‘Obama’s Katrina’ Edition


In conjunction with the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact and their new project, PunditFact, Mediaite will now be fact-checking one or more guests on the Sunday political shows. See below for Nancy Pelosi’s turn.

American political discourse has a weakness for grabbing at whatever analogy readily presents itself—a fallacy known to the wonk in your dorm as “availability bias”—which explains why every political figure in the past week has called the incompetent rollout of the Affordable Care Act federal exchange website “Obama’s Katrina.” Howevs! Every once in a while, we as a nation can muster our considerable energies and overcome a particularly facile analogical misalignment. It’s the political equivalent of standing up to change the channel.

So we gathered on Sunday morn ’round ABC’s mock-Enterprise table and watched former George W. Bush advisor Matthew Dowd pluck the following wisdom flower from his brain-meadow:

“There’s a qualitative difference between people dying in New Orleans and people not able to get health care.”

We did it!




Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiterally three seconds later:

“But from a political standpoint it’s eerily similar to President Bush in the fall of 2005.”

Ah, well. Not the first time political self-awareness has had a lifespan that makes a housefly seem eternal.

Hey, who showed up Sunday morning with their Valiant Effort-brand Turd Polish, best in the business? Looking at you, Nancy Pelosi:

“Thirty-nine voted for this resolution the other day,” Pelosi said, referring to Representative Fred Upton’s (R-MI) bill allowing customers to maintain cancelled health insurance polices. “The number has been in the thirties when it was to agree with them with the mandate for businesses, the mandate for individuals. So this is approximately the same number…The experience in states where it is working, in Kentucky, California, the rest where we have our own state marketplace, it’s working very well. I have full confidence, as do my members, however they voted on this—this was political, they responded politically.”

“This was never thought to be easy,” Pelosi continued. “It doesn’t matter what we’re saying here. What matters is what happens at the kitchen table of the American people, and how they will more affordability, more accessibility, better quality care, prevention, wellness, and a healthier nation.”

Shiny! PolitiFact was less than impressed, zinging her with a mostly false for blaming the insurance companies for canceling policies (to comply with ACA regulations), and half-true for saying that the thirty-nine Democrats was similar to previous anti-Obamacare votes.

How do you follow that? Apparently with the Kelly Ayotte Phrase Generator, which has only three inputs: drawing board, timeout, bipartisan.

“It’s time for a timeout, so that we can go back to the drawing board and talk about bipartisan solutions.”

“We would like to get to some bipartisan solutions.”

“Rising costs for health care—that’s a timeout for this thing. It’s time to go back to the drawing board.”

“There are many ideas Republicans are willing to work on a bipartisan basis on.”

“Let’s get to the table on a bipartisan basis.”

In fairness, the Kelly Ayotte Phrase Generator is working better than

Speaking of things not working, Bill O’Reilly was not working very hard at answering what was (finally) a decent question from Howard Kurtz about whether Fox News ignored 60 Minutes’ erroneous Benghazi report because, you know, Benghazi:

“Maybe that’s a valid criticism against Fox News. I don’t run Fox News….Everybody makes [mistakes]. And it doesn’t really have anything to do with people’s lives. People’s perception of Benghazi wasn’t changed by Lara Logan’s report. They brought in a guy who was a charlatan. He faked them out, he wanted to sell a book, he wanted money. Happens. I feel sorry for 60 Minutes. I think they’re a noble enterprise. If I thought they weren’t I’d go after them. But I’ll cut ‘em some slack on the mistake.”

Huh? Where am I? How’d I get here? What’s a Benghazi? Especially galling about that statement: the claim that 60 Minutes’ report didn’t affect anybody’s life. So far as this humble scribe knows, Senator Beauregard (R-SC) is still putting a hold on all Senate nominations until someone fluffs his Benghazi pillow, all thanks to that 60 Minutes report. But Bill just works there.

Yet in all of this sludge, for pure, unadulterated cynicism, you gotta go Huntin’ With the Cheneys.

Père Cheney has already thrown his “fishing buddy” under the bus. Liz topped him on Sunday, blaming Mike Enzi for Obamacare because he’d participated in a bipartisan committee to reform health care that had folded before “Obamacare” was a word; trying and failing to talk as if she were in an Annie Proulx novel to hide the fact that she couldn’t find Wyoming on a map; and once again telling her gay sister to get lost.

Oh, and she said it was time for a “new generation” of Republicans, which is sort of like a Bush running against a Kennedy because he’s “sick of dynasties.” Yeesh with these people.

[Image via screengrab]

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