Misplaced Priorities

- October 30, 2012

Editorial Boards Across America Agree That Obama's Focus Should've Been The Economy, Not ObamaCare


Obama Insisted On Pursuing Health Care Reform Despite Warnings From Advisors "That Such An Initiative Would Distract Attention From The Urgent Need To Focus On The Economy And Jobs." "When it comes to Mr. Obama himself Mr. Scheiber draws a portrait of a president with a messianic streak, whose 'determination to change the course of history' made him reluctant to accept Mr. Geithner's suggestion that his signature achievement would be preventing another Great Depression. Instead the president insisted on pursuing his vision of health care reform in his first year in office even though many of his advisers were warning that such an initiative would distract attention from the urgent need to focus on the economy and jobs." (Michiko Kakutani, "Obama's Economists, Not Stimulating Enough," The New York Times, 2/27/12)

  • Rather Than Pivoting To Jobs, By The Fall Of 2009, The White House "Would Have To Take Every Element Of The Administration And Dedicate It To Health Care Both Publically And Privately …" "Beginning the week of Labor Day, the White House embarked on the counteroffensive it had always intended to avoid, beginning with a presidential speech before a joint session of Congress. ... But having bumped the economy off the agenda for the summer, health care would now repeat the feat for the fall. 'No one thought we would have to take every element of the administration and dedicate it to health care both publically and privately,' said the White House aide. 'Which is what we ended up having to do [starting in] September.'" (Noam Scheiber, The Escape Artists, 2012, p. 147)

Editorial Boards Noted Obama Rammed Through ObamaCare Instead Of Focusing On Jobs

The Columbus Dispatch: Obama's "First Order Of Business Was To Ram Through A Massive, One-Party Overhaul Of Health Care." "Indeed, the president's first order of business was to ram through a massive, one-party overhaul of health care, thrusting the government into the driver's seat for a sixth of the U.S. economy. This ham-fisted power play - accomplished with bald political bribery and backroom deals - was rebuked by voters just a few months later, when they fired dozens of Democratic members of Congress and handed the U.S. House back to the GOP. This put an end to further Democratic policy adventures." (Editorial, "For President," The Columbus Dispatch, 10/21/12)

Tampa Tribune: "With The Economy Still Gasping And Americans Desperate For Work, Obama Turned His Attention To A Monstrous Health Care Plan Full Of Hidden Taxes And Government Commands." "The stimulus, however flawed, was nothing compared to what would follow. As Romney pointed out to devastating effect in the opening debate, with the economy still gasping and Americans desperate for work, Obama turned his attention to a monstrous health care plan full of hidden taxes and government commands. The result outraged citizens, terrified business owners and caused an even harsher partisan divide in Washington." (Editorial, "Mitt Romney For President," Tampa Tribune, 10/21/12)

Sun Sentinel: Obama "Failed To Focus On Job One: Jobs," While Passing ObamaCare That "Left This Nation Bitterly Divided And Shook Our Confidence In His Ability To Solve Tough Problems." "The president had enormous opportunity when he took office, with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress. But he failed to focus on Job One: Jobs. Instead, he tackled the nation's health care system, something most people agree needs fixing. No one wants to see people with pre-existing conditions denied health coverage. Insurance costs are taking too big a bite out of family incomes. And employers want their work family to have access to health care beyond the emergency room. But the way this president went about solving the problem - throwing the ball to Congress with little direction, refusing reasonable compromises, settling on a solution that satisfied few - left this nation bitterly divided and shook our confidence in his ability to solve tough problems." (Editorial, "Sun Sentinel Endorses Mitt Romney For President," Sun Sentinel, 10/26/12)

Naples Daily News : "A Better Leader Could Have Made More Progress On Reducing The Deficit And A Health-Care Plan That Enjoyed Bipartisan Buy-In." "President Obama did as well as he could against tall odds, with some Republican leaders and media voices vowing from his inauguration to make sure he does not have another swearing-in ceremony. Still, despite those strident messages - which at times subjected him to more and wilder conspiracy theories than any public figure in history - a better leader could have made more progress on reducing the deficit and a health-care plan that enjoyed bipartisan buy-in." (Editorial, "President Of The United States," Naples Daily News, 10/28/12)

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Obama Focused On The Passage Of "A Massive Overhaul Of The Health Care System … But Where The Nation Was Most In Need - Restarting The Economy … The President And His Administration Have Come Up Short." "President Barack Obama has made his mark during his historic first term. The Affordable Care Act of 2010, a massive overhaul of the health care system that has some features we support. A stimulus measure that the majority of economists said was necessary to avoid an even deeper recession. Some flawed, but needed financial sector reforms. Efforts to expand green energy development. But where the nation was most in need - restarting the economy and making significant progress on reducing our enormous national debt that recently soared past $16 trillion and dangerously threatens our future well-being - the president and his administration have come up short." (Editorial, "Gazette Endorsement For President: Romney," Cedar Rapids Gazette, 10/28/12)

Quad-City Times: Obama Came Up "Woefully Short" On The Economy As He Placed "Health-Care Reform Ahead Of Economic Recovery" "The change that we'd hoped would elevate our economy wound up woefully short. The presidential gambit to place health-care reform ahead of economic recovery jeopardized both. President Barack Obama expended all of the presidential leadership on muscling through health care reform, leaving little for implementation and none for significant economic recovery." (Editorial, "Our Presidential Endorsement: Ready For Change," Quad-City Times, 10/28/12)

Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Turns Out, An Economic Crisis Is No Time To Insist On An Overwhelming And Incoherent Government Program That Does Little To Solve Problems But Much To Suppress Job-Creation." "Romney also promises to repeal ObamaCare - a singularly necessary step to restore America's entrepreneurial spirit - and replace it with reforms that will not bust the budget, not trample individual rights, not undermine the independence of patients and medical professionals. Turns out, an economic crisis is no time to insist on an overwhelming and incoherent government program that does little to solve problems but much to suppress job-creation. Repeal may be the most effective stimulus package passed in nearly a decade." (Editorial, "Prudent Change: Romney Promises Hope For Recovery," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/28/12)

Hampton Roads Daily Press: Obama "Squandered His Political Capital" On ObamaCare While Ignoring "Our Economic Threats." "Instead of focusing on our economic threats, he squandered his political capital by forcing an incomprehensible medical care act granting government ultimate control over our most private health decisions. Then he used accounting gimmicks to push off the true cost of his plan until years after he leaves office." (Editorial, "Time To Change Course," Hampton Roads Daily Press, 10/27/12)

Williamsport Sun Gazette: Obama's "Economic Plan … Clearly Isn't Working," And He "Frittered" The First Two Years Of His Term "With An Obsessive, Big-Government Takeover Of Health Care." "The nation's debt grows daily and the economic plan - or whatever it is Obama has been doing - clearly isn't working. The warranty on blaming the Bush administration for the economy and almost anything else that hasn't been fixed has long since expired. In fact, Obama had a Democrat majority in Congress to work with the first two years and frittered that time away with an obsessive, big-government takeover of health care." (Editorial, "Romney Is Clear Choice In Pivotal Presidential Election," Williamsport Sun Gazette, 10/28/12)

Reno Gazette Journal: "Fear Of The Impact Of That Reform And The Costs Associated With It Continue To Play A Major Role In Preventing Businesses From Hiring New Employees At A Time When Nearly Everyone Agrees That Jobs Must Be The President's Foremost Goal." "Foremost among them was his early focus on an overreaching health-care reform plan that wasted 12 very valuable months of his and Congress' time and cost him precious political capital. The manner in which the legislation was drafted violated Obama's pledge to govern openly, and its passage - leveraged through a supermajority - served to further galvanize the partisan divide in Congress. Fear of the impact of that reform and the costs associated with it continue to play a major role in preventing businesses from hiring new employees at a time when nearly everyone agrees that jobs must be the president's foremost goal." (Editorial, "Nevada Needs A Change Now; Elect Mitt Romney President," Reno Gazette Journal, 10/20/12)

Grand Rapids Press: "Obama Did Not Set A Laser Focus On Jobs As Promised." "Blessed with majorities in the House and Senate, President Obama did not set a laser focus on jobs as promised. The priority instead was a nation healthcare plan that had has noble intentions and sought to bring relief to millions of us who are uninsured." (Editorial, "Mitt Romney's Experience And Leadership Can Rebuild America's Economy,"Grand Rapids Press, 10/24/12)

Arizona Republic: "Obama's Very First Proposal To Revive The Economy … Was Highlighted In Large Part By His Plans For Government-Centric Health-Care Reform." "Obama's very first proposal to revive the economy -- initiated in February 2009 when the economy was shedding more than 600,000 jobs a month -- in fact was highlighted in large part by his plans for government-centric health-care reform. That, remember, was when we learned how crises were too valuable to waste." (Editorial, "Romney Can Lead Economy Forward," Arizona Republic, 10/20/12)

The New York Observer: "Job Creation … Must Be Washington's Priority" Which Stands In "Remarkable Contrast To Mr. Obama's Priorities When He Took Office, As He Used His Mandate To Ran Through ObamaCare." "At the macro level, Mr. Romney could not be more clear: Job creation-not what he memorably called 'trickle-down government'-must be Washington's priority. That position stands in remarkable contrast to Mr. Obama's priorities when he took office, as he used his mandate to ram through ObamaCare, the largest expansion of government since the Great Society." (Editorial, "Romney For President," The New York Observer, 10/16/12)

Lowell Sun: "When The U.S. Economy Was Bleeding Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs A Month, Obama Strong-Armed A Democratic-Controlled Congress Into Approving The $1 Trillion, 2,700-Page Affordable Care Act." "When the U.S. economy was bleeding hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, Obama strong-armed a Democratic-controlled Congress into approving the $1 trillion, 2,700-page Affordable Care Act that, for the first time in U.S. history, forces Americans to purchase a government product or else pay a penalty tax. The one-size-fits-all legislation contains 18 new taxes - 12 of which target the middle-class to whom Obama was sworn to save by lowering their health care costs." (Editorial, "Mitt Romney For President," Lowell Sun, 10/20/12)

Bluefield Daily Telegraph: "When We Needed A President And A Congress Who Would Fight To Lift Us Out Of A Painful Recession, They Were Too Busy Working To Pass A Health Care Law That Many Americans Still Oppose Or Simply Don't Understand." "As the economic crisis continued to grow - and millions more were still without work - Obama chose to ignore the emergency at hand and instead came to a Kroger store right here in Southwest Virginia to stump for his controversial health care reform package. Soon, the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act - later dubbed by critics as ObamaCare - became the sole objective of Obama and the Democratic controlled House and Senate. The debate divided America, and at the worse possible time. When we needed a president and a Congress who would fight to lift us out of a painful recession, they were too busy working to pass a health care law that many Americans still oppose or simply don't understand." (Editorial, "Endorsement: President Of The United States, Republican Mitt Romney," Bluefield Daily Telegraph, 10/23/12)

Shreveport Times: "Rather Than Give Our Economy The Focus Of His Full Attention," Obama Focused "On A Health Care Reform Bill … Preventing Businesses From Hiring New Workers At A Time When Most Voters Believe Jobs Must Be The President's Key Priority." "On the domestic front, rather than give our economy the focus of his full attention, the president spent 12 months of his time, and that of Congress, focusing on a health care reform bill which ended up costing him valuable political capital. While there were noble intentions behind it, the Affordable Care Act in reality hardened the partisan divide in Congress, and fear of the effects of the reforms and costs associated continue to play a role in preventing businesses from hiring new workers at a time when most voters believe jobs must be the president's key priority." (Editorial, "Mitt Romney: Our Choice For President," Shreveport Times, 10/28/12)

The Press-Enterprise: "Under Obama's Stewardship, The Economy Has Stagnated, … His Costly Health-Care Legislation, And His General Hostility To Business Have Deterred Hiring And Stalled The Economy." "Strong economic growth would ease some of the burden of debt and entitlements. But under Obama's stewardship, the economy has stagnated. According to public comments from an array of business owners and CEOs, Obama's tax and regulatory policies, his costly health-care legislation, and his general hostility to business have deterred hiring and stalled the economy. But the second-term agenda the president published last week vows more of the same." (Editorial, "Election: 1 For President," The Press-Enterprise, 10/28/12)

Savannah Morning News: Obama Shoved "ObamaCare Through Congress … When The Economy Was Reeling." "Mr. Obama is perfectly able to take the nation on the wrong path on his own. He did this early in his tenure, when Democrats controlled both chambers on Capitol Hill, when he transformed one sixth of the U.S. economy by shoving ObamaCare through Congress. This was a premeditated move by the president when the economy was reeling because of the 2007-09 recession." (Editorial, "Romney For President," Savannah Morning News, 10/28/12)

New York Post: "Americans Need Jobs" But "Are About To Be Saddled With An Unworkable Health-Care Boondoggle That Will Suck Hundreds Of Billions From A Private-Sector Economy." "Americans need jobs - jobs for those trying to raise a family, jobs for those who are leaving school, jobs period! Instead, they are about to be saddled with an unworkable health-care boondoggle that will suck hundreds of billions from a private-sector economy that could better use the cash to create - yes - more jobs!" (Editorial, "For America's Future, The Post Endorses Mitt Romney For President," New York Post, 10/25/12)

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