One of the things I tried to explain in my print story about the Obamacare wars is the degree to which Republicans have whipped themselves into a frenzy over the law through a process of self-deception. The conservative-media world is both completely obsessed with Obamacare and creating a news cocoon in which the most important news about the law — the lower-than-expected premiums and sharply falling health-care inflation — doesn’t exist at all, and the fate of the law can instead be tracked through a procession of exaggerated or completely imaginary events all showing its rapid collapse. Conservative news sites churn out new Obamacare collapse stories every single day, creating the impression of the law’s continued and unmistakable destruction.
A perfect example comes via a National Review report from the House Republican meeting today. Influential Republican Jim Jordan waxes enthusiastic about the agreed-to plan to threaten to default on the national debt in order to force President Obama to destroy his own health-care plan:
“All the momentum is in our direction. Warren Buffett said yesterday, ‘Scrap the bill.’ The AFL-CIO said last week, ‘Repeal the bill if you’re not going to fix it.’ Everyone knows this thing isn’t ready. Everyone knows,” said Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a former Republican Study Committee chairman, referring to the health-care law.
Wait. Warren Buffett said scrap the bill? Really? That sounds like news I should have heard.
It turns out a right-wing site called Money Morning quoted Buffett saying the following:
Buffett insists that without changes to Obamacare average citizens will suffer.
"'What we have now is untenable over time,' said Buffett, an early supporter of President Obama. 'That kind of a cost compared to the rest of the world is really like a tapeworm eating, you know, at our economic body
The quote was picked up by Jeffrey H. Anderson of the Weekly Standard — “You know things are bad for President Obama when even Warren Buffett has soured on Obamacare and says that ‘we need something else’” — and ricocheted around the conservative-news world, implanting itself in Jordan’s mind as yet the latest evidence that even supporters of Obamacare recognize it is doomed to failure.
In fact, the Buffett quote came from comments he made in 2010, when the health-care law was being cobbled together in Congress. His denunciation of “what we have right now” refers to the pre-Obamacare status quo. Buffett said in that interview he would prefer a better health-care bill than the one that was before Congress, but also preferred the one before Congress to doing nothing and would vote for it: “If it was a choice today between plan A, which is what we've got, or plan B, what is in front of — the Senate bill, I would vote for the Senate bill,” Buffett said. “But I would much rather see a plan C that really attacks costs.”
Buffett today told the Omaha World-Herald he has no idea where these stories came from and strongly supports Obamacare:
Stories saying that Warren Buffett wants to “scrap Obamacare” are false, the Omaha investor said Tuesday.
“This is outrageous,” Buffett said in a World-Herald interview Tuesday. “It's 100 percent wrong ... totally false.” …
“I've never suggested nor thought Obamacare should be scrapped,” said Buffett, who has supported Obama's political campaigns. “I support it. It relates to providing medical care for all Americans. That's something I've thought should be done for a long, long time.”
Anderson hilariously issued an “update” to his completely false item, in which he notes: “It appears that Buffett made his anti-Obamacare comments in 2010, thereby showing that he, like most of the American people, has opposed Obamacare since even before it was passed.” This is also completely untrue, since Buffett endorsed the passage of the bill in that interview and others.
But the Jim Jordans of the world are probably never going to read untrustworthy lame-stream media organs like the Omaha World-Herald. Trusted sources like Jeffrey H. Anderson have told them once again what they know to be true: Obamacare is collapsing, and even its staunchest supporters know it.