Lies. Damned Lies. And Obamacare Statistics.

Carnac: The software that knows what you want to spend before you spend it.

Carnac: The software that knows what you want to spend before you spend it.

The latest batch of October statistics from the Obama White House credits me with buying a Mercedes, BMW and an Audi. And the best part is it didn’t cost me a dime! All I did was take three test drives and here I am: A GDP–generating fool.

This flexible interpretation of window–shopping and tire–kicking has great potential for the future. I’m thinking about taking credit for job creation when I get a haircut or have my car washed. With just a bit more attention to my personal appearance I could find states competing to offer me subsidies and tax breaks like Terry McAuliffe got from Mississippi.

And wouldn’t you know it, this conceptual breakthrough started with Obamacare and the HealthCare.dud website.

Some of my conservative colleagues complained when Obama minions began counting people who only visited the HealthCare.dud website and selected a plan, but didn’t pay for it as Official Obamacare Enrollees. These stalwarts contend that until the victim has actually paid for the plan there is no sale and consequently no enrollment, regardless of how much they need the insurance or how many hours they wasted on the website.

What’s more, if we let Obama get away with this, soon people who only thought about health insurance would be counted as part of the system.

The private sector equivalent of this new White House statistical interpretation would be Amazon.com counting items still on shopper’s ‘wish lists’ as being revenue generating sales; and then releasing the information to Wall Street so as to drive up the stock price.

Since he’s not president, the result would be Jeff Bezos facing charges, while Obama merely faces a hostile — make that mildly annoyed — press corps that is having trouble coming up with new excuses for the president’s failures.

The conservative objection, while true, misses the larger point. Based on the Phantom Obamacare Enrollee Precedent, when I buy my 2013 copy of TurboTax and fill out the form, I should be counted as having paid my taxes without sending the IRS a check!

I call it my own private sequester. And when you consider how the number of people who take more from the government than they pay in taxes is increasing, it finally puts me on the right side of history.

The Obamacare rollout — or ground out, if you prefer — does have implications for Obama’s future after the White House. If he’s as smart as the MSM assures us, Obama will steer clear of the private sector. That’s because if he tried the same marketing tactics outside of government, he would be subject to fines and possibly jail time.

As Orson Swindle, a Federal Trade Commission member from 1997 to 2005, pointed out in the National Review the HealthCare.dud website is deceptive, misleading and illegal. Jay Carney’s “wild west” indeed.

You may recall a recent furor over airline websites that were allegedly hiding baggage and other add–on fees until just before the consumer purchased the ticket. “Consumer advocates” and other busybodies complained that by waiting until the end of the purchase process to give the consumer a total price, airlines were trying to pull a fast one.

Airlines responded that where else would you give a total price unless it was at the end of the purchase process?

And besides the Carnac the Magnificent software was not ready for launch. Protests fell on deaf government ears and the FTC required the websites to be reprogrammed to sound a klaxon and flash red lights every time a consumer made a choice that would add more than a nickel to the ticket price.

Soon shopping for a big–ticket airfare came to resemble crash–diving in a submarine.

Yet the HealthCare.dud site is programmed to hide any cost information until after the consumer has created an account and been forced to divulge detailed financial information. And even then the information is purposely inaccurate.

As Swindle says, quoting CBS News, “HealthCare.gov contains a pricing feature that tends to “dramatically underestimate” the cost of insurance. The website’s “shop and browse” feature divides users into two broad age categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.” Price estimates for the first age group are based on what a 27-year-old could expect to pay, whereas as the latter group’s price estimates are based on what a 50-year-old would pay, a practice that inevitably produces wildly misleading results for individuals significantly older than the base age. In some cases, actual premiums are nearly double the projected amount.”

Swindle concludes, “The bottom line is that no private entity would be allowed to get away with what the Obama administration is trying to get away with.”

And we haven’t even mentioned the “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it” shuffle.

The bad news is we have conservative busybodies, too. Rep. Fred Upton (R–MI) — descendant of Civil War hero Gen. Emory Upton — passed a bill in the House to allow insurers to continue to sell policies that the feds have canceled. What’s more, Upton persuaded 39 Democrats to join him in supporting this “bi–partisan” legislation. (Unfortunately for comity in the House, the bill must have passed on the weekend, because I don’t remember any praise for Upton from the MSM for reaching across the aisle to garner Democrat support.)

Too bad this is exactly the wrong thing to do.

If we are to rid ourselves of this Obamacare monstrosity, it will only come after the pressure on Democrats is so great they beg for political mercy. And that will only happen after all those who didn’t take time to read the law, feel the impact of the law.

Interim fix–its to reduce the pain undermine what should be conservative’s long term goal, which is end it, not mend it.

A Successful Script for Prolife Republicans

'War on Women' attacks on GOP candidates aren't going away any time soon.

‘War on Women’ attacks on GOP candidates aren’t going away any time soon.

Virginia voters decided after much deliberation that they would rather be ruled by a sleazebag than a puritan. And if Ken Cuccinelli needed any more proof that he should have run for re–election as attorney general — something he promised initially — Tuesday’s election results should have provided it.

Cuccinelli had a number of problems that hampered his campaign (outlined here). But the biggest problems he had were caused by Ken Cuccinelli. First he fell into the “new best friend” trap and took gifts from Star Scientific’s Jonnie Williams, a man whose ethical profile is much like that of our new governor, Terry McAuliffe.

Second, Cuccinelli used the “duck and cover” method of responding to McAuliffe’s obsession with abortion and activities involving female private parts.

Marjorie Dannenfelser — President of the Susan B. Anthony Lists — calculates that McAuliffe blasted Cuccinelli with 5,600 negative commercials on abortion and contraception. Talk about a campaign obsessed with social issues!

The attacks ranged from “Cuccinelli will force you to have the baby after a crazed member of the TEA party rapes you” to “Crazy Ken wants to melt all your rubbers.”

Cuccinelli’s response was much like that of the Obama Administration last year on 9/11 in Libya: He pretended nothing was happening while the campaign burned down around him.

I’ve got news for Republicans. This ‘War on Women’ attack is going to be a staple of Democrat campaigns as long as Amnesty; Abortion & Alternate Lifestyles are the three main planks of the party platform. Duck and cover would not have worked during nuclear attack in the 60’s and it won’t work under pubic attack now.

GOP candidates must either meet and defeat this tactic or at the very least blunt its impact.

I’m a media consultant and I hate to write commercials for free — somehow it feels like I’m betraying capitalism — but this is a script Cuccinelli could have used to counter McAuliffe’s negative ads.

The production would be simple and straightforward, as befits a serious topic. Cuccinelli should deliver the message himself looking straight to camera (this time memorizing his lines, which he evidently didn’t do for most of his commercials). The set should not be distracting, but he needs a light package that doesn’t make him look like he needs a transfusion. His tone begins by dismissing one of the McAuliffe attacks and then concludes with a serious defense of life.

 

(KEN CUCCINELLI) HI, I’M KEN CUCCINELLI AND I’D LIKE TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT.

TERRY MCAULIFFE AND HIS SUPPORTERS ARE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH WHEN THEY SAY I WANT TO BAN CONTRACEPTION. MY WIFE, TEIRO AND I HAVE SEVEN CHILDREN. I’VE HEARD THERE ARE OTHER FAMILIES IN VIRGINIA WITH FEWER AND EVEN SOME WITH NO CHILDREN. AND THAT’S FINE WITH ME.

WHEN A COUPLE USES CONTRACEPTION IT’S THEIR CHOICE AND NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS.

BUT ABORTING A PREGNANCY IS ANOTHER MATTER. I BELIEVE THAT LIFE IS PRECIOUS AND JUST AS GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT INTERFERE WITH CONTRACEPTION, IT ALSO SHOULD NOT ENCOURAGE ABORTION.

BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW OFTEN MY OPPONENT TALKs ABOUT HEALTH AND DOCTORS AND ‘CHOICE,’ THE FACT IS ABORTION IS NOT ABOUT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH; IT’S ABOUT ENDING A LIFE BEFORE IT HAS A CHANCE TO BEGIN.

I THINK THAT’S A TRAGEDY FOR BOTH THE MOTHER AND THE UNBORN CHILD. YOU MAY NOT AGREE AND YOU ARE CERTAINLY FREE TO VOTE FOR MY OPPONENT. BUT PLEASE, DON’T DO IT BASED ON HIS DISTORTIONS AND EXAGGERATIONS.

 

It may not be the perfect :60 script, but I would nominate it for the perfect free script. After the shooting is done the campaign puts the commercial on cable TV, where the rates are lower and you can afford to run :60s. Then the spot runs until the campaign is over. It answers the McAuliffe mudslinging without being hysterical.

Responding in this manner does bring up a topic that a large portion of the electorate opposes. And some consultants are simply uncomfortable with the subject.

But the abortion–obsessed aren’t going to vote for Cuccinelli anyway, and answering the topic beats hoping it will go away. The commercial is designed to persuade the “moderates” and independents that Ken isn’t Cotton Mather in a poplin suit. Moving the opposition from “OMG he wants to take us back to colonial times!” to simply disagreeing with Cuccinelli is a giant step that was not taken this campaign.

And it certainly beats the Cuccinelli strategy of not answering the attack at all or using women in tangential ads to prove Republicans are as good at showcasing tokens as the Democrats.

If Christian conservatives are interested in winning they are going to have to address these attacks forcefully and change the debate. As Robert Knight wrote this week, “Ever since the GOP-controlled Virginia legislature in 2012 passed a law requiring abortionists to give women ultrasound imaging before an abortion, Democrats have had a field day accusing Republicans of being “extremists” who want to force women to have “transvaginal ultrasounds.” The Democrats are fine, of course, with “transvaginal abortions.”

If we don’t change the context we can’t hope to change the culture.

The Few, The Proud, The Unisex

Crisp Pullman Porters CapWhen Ronald Reagan was president he described members of the U.S. Marine Corps in a memorable phrase that is featured on the Marines’ Heritage Museum website: “Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

The generation of paper–pushers and PR–minded behind–kissers that inhabit the Pentagon and the Obama administration do not reflect that view of the Corps. In fact the levelers in the White House view the Marines’ independence and combative nature as a problem. All that aggression and testosterone looks out of place in the elite circles where citizens of the world reside.

Modern military management (they don’t deserve the term ‘leaders’) has been taken over by the “everybody gets a trophy” crowd. That’s why in the Army all soldiers now wear a beret, instead of just Rangers and Special Forces. Chelsea Manning’s feelings were hurt when he couldn’t wear a fashionable French–style chapeau. No need to recognize the additional motivation of troops that go the extra mile if it discriminates against those who don’t or can’t. Now it’s Bless Them All the “big and the fat and the small.”

But while other branches of the armed forces are marching in lockstep to the administration’s tune of women on the front lines, the Marines are fighting a rear guard action. The Corps has been reluctant to lower physical standards for combat soldiers (in bureaucrat–speak this degradation of standards is called “gender norming,” too bad wars are not also “gender normed”).

In fact, every woman that has ever been allowed to attend the Marine’s infantry school has washed out. In the long run, unless there is an outbreak of sanity, this means Marine commanders will have to justify why their standards are keeping women out of the front lines. The fact women have no business there is irrelevant to Pentagon sociologists who have never had a bullet whizz past their ear. It’s inevitable that eventually women will fill combat slots in the Marines.

That’s a long–term project though. In the short term the empire strikes back where it’s been successful before. As the New York Post puts it, “Obama wants Marines to wear ‘girly’ hats.”

According to the Post, the Obama administration wants to “create a ‘unisex’ look for the Corps.” The plan is for the Corps to discontinue the current caps — known as “covers” and in use since 1922 — and go to a new cap that bears a remarkable resemblance to a Pullman Porter’s cap.

This is not to disparage Pullman Porters. They set a standard for service and dedication, but they didn’t do it under fire.

This similarity between hats could be an unexpected advantage for the taxpayer. Since changing to the new headgear will cost $8 million, its possible some of the expense could be covered by civilians who mistakenly tip Marines after asking for help with their luggage.

As poster Carol Robinson on the Post site commented, “Now the Marines look like WACS [WWII Women’s Army Corps]. This is stupid and a waste of money.”

This imperial hat edict is actually the second time the Marines have been asked to alter their appearance so they would appear less warlike to outsiders.

Marine Corps lore has it that during the early weeks of the Korean War, Communist troops received the following command: “Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army.”

Immediately Marines were ordered to no longer wear their khaki leggings, which was the cause of the “yellowlegs” description, so the Army would not have to bear the brunt of the fighting alone. The Korean War proceeded with the Marines getting their fair share of attacks.

It must be comforting for America’s enemies to know how worried the Obama Administration is about the difference in appearance between male and female Marines. I fear Obama may also start agitating for the Marines to remove the ‘blood stripe’ from their uniform pants, since it may have unfortunate associations for him due to his own “red line” problem.

But who knows, maybe it’s time for the tradition–bound Corps to embrace change and become a softer, gentler Marine Corps.

In a spirit of cooperation (or fighting withdrawal, if you will) the Corps could even alter the lyrics of the Marine Hymn to something like:

From the halls of Montezuma,

To Barack’s haberdashery.

We will fight our country’s battles,

In this cute accessory.

First to fight for right and freedom,

We will keep this cover clean.

Even though it’s true Obama,

Could have never made Marine.