You can look at the health care summit on Thursday in two ways. First, that it was a civil, patriotic exercise designed to deal with a problem vital to Americans. Or, it was politics as usual, bloviating beyond belief.
"Talking Points" is leaning toward the latter. For example, President Obama said his plan will bring down the health care cost. The Republicans, of course, say costs will go up.
Does your head hurt?
So let's get down to basics. Each side has one strong point.
The Democrats rightly say that medical costs are out of control and many Americans are getting hurt. That is absolutely true. And costs will continue to rise if nothing is done.
Republicans say the enormous federal intrusion into the health care system could bankrupt the country and will lead to even more chaos. That is very likely true as well.
According to public records, profits for the top five health insurance companies rose 56 percent last year. However, the profit margin in this industry is just 2.2 percent. Not big.
Another however: According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, some health care bigshots are doing very well. At WellPoint, for example, 39 executives are paid more than a million dollars a year. And last year the company spent $27 million on lavish retreats for top brass.
In a time when many folks are suffering, that is a tough pill to shallow, pardon the pun. So the president does have ammunition when he says the system must be reformed.
A third however: Mr. Obama has no explanation for his apathy about stopping irresponsible lawsuits against medical personnel or setting up a more competitive interstate insurance system. Also, Mr. Obama cannot explain his continuing opposition to expanding privately funded health care accounts.
Now, conservatives believe the president has little interest in those things because he wants a big federal power grab, and it is hard to refute that. I believe the free marketplace could reform some health care wrongs, but Mr. Obama doesn't even want to try.
So what it comes down to is money and philosophy. Committed liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want the nanny state to provide, therefore making Americans more dependent on government.
Staunch Republicans like John McCain and Lamar Alexander want competition to lead the way and shudder at a big government health care scenario.
So it looks like the two sides are not going to meet on this thing.
Finally, "Talking Points" believes the USA is now heading towards bankruptcy and that would make every citizen sick. There's no way America can afford another multi-trillion dollar entitlement.
So health care reform, yes, but it has to be smaller and more marketplace driven.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
So much propaganda, so little time.
If you perused the far-left Web site Huffington Post on Tuesday, you saw this headline: "Bill O'Reilly: Sarah Palin Needs to Go to College."
Sounds insulting, doesn't it? Well here's what I actually said on Tuesday on "Good Morning America" when George Stephanopoulos asked me about the governor:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Sarah Palin needs to go to college, political college, world affairs college, and she is. She's hired a bunch of advisers, and they're giving her a whole bunch of tracts to learn, because it is a sophisticated deal. But give me a break. Nancy Pelosi's a genius?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So once again — once again — the left-wing media distorts the conversation. The Huffington Post crossed into pinhead territory.
By the way, George Stephanopoulos is a patriot for conducting a fair interview.
— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org