healthcare

FDA Set To Cut Off 17,000 Women Annually From Lifesaving Drug

-By Warner Todd Huston

Obama's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is due to take up the case of Avastin, a cancer drug that successfully treats some 17,000 women annually. With a coming December 17 decision, the FDA seems poised to take this drug away from these patients quite despite the fact that their doctors find the drug effective.

The most dangerous period of time in Washington D.C. is that time we call the lame duck session (I call it the zombie congress; dead men walking). It is that time when those elected officials that are about to be ingloriously shipped off home for the last time due to losing election results make a mad scramble to grab for as much as they can get.

In the case of regulatory agencies like the FDA the lame duck session is not treated in exactly the same manner, but it is sure that when congress is about to have its majority party change over with the president's party on the losing side of the switch, regulatory agencies often try to push through favored policies before the new congress is seated and before that new congress is in a position to put any pressure on those agencies to prevent them from pushing the president's agenda.

We are currently seeing this lame duck scramble happening in Obama's regulatory agencies. The FCC was pushing its ruinous Net Neutrality ideas, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been changing labor rules to favor unions, and the FDA is about to eliminate Avastin putting at risk the lives and cancer treatment regimens of thousands of women suffering from metastatic breast cancer.

Recently five members of congress sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg presenting their "serious concerns" over the hasty decision to take Avastin away from these breast cancer sufferers. The letter was signed by Representatives Kay Granger (R, TX); Rodney Alexander (R, LA); Jo Bonner (R, AL); Tom Latham (R, IA); and Dennis Rehberg (R, MT). (Download letter HERE)

These congressmen feel that if the FDA takes Avastin off the market for treating cancer it will be engaging in yet another "large-scale intrusion into Americans' lives and their personal health care decisions that have previously been left up to a patient and their health care provider."

It's hard to beat that logic, for sure.

The quintet of representatives related that Avastin has proven to be a viable treatment that helps over 17,000 patients manage their disease and "live more productive lives." Further the congressmen feel that the decision to eliminate Avastin is merely based on cost cutting and rationing instead of on any real medical basis. (My bold)

In addition to these facts, patients from all over the country have been sharing their stories in response to the very real threat o being denied further access to this treatment. Many patients have had miraculous results form Avastin and have been living disease-free for years. While there are certain risks associated with taking Avastin, most patients would agree that the biggest risk is the one associated with dying from their disease. We fail to see why this Administration would want to remove a viable treatment option that has the support of thousands of doctors and patients around the country. Limiting access to this treatment is unthinkable and we are struggling to see any justification other than cost.

The United States health care system is unrivaled anywhere else on the globe. Unlike other countries, where agencies like the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) [NICE is the British health care regulatory system - WTH] frequently deny patients access to treatments deemed not to be cost-effective, our system has provided patients with unparalleled access to innovative, cutting edge medical technologies that have improved the lives of millions of individuals. Perhaps most important, the decision about what course of treatment is best kept between the patient and their health care provider, not a group of bureaucrats whose mission is to contain costs. Nowhere has this been more prevalent than in the area of cancer, where the United States leads the world in survival rates because of a historical commitment to early diagnosis, introduction of innovative treatments, and strong government programs that provide coverage and access to these services. We are concerned that this decision is the beginning of eroding this successful system in a manner that will harm patients in order to save money i a health care system fraught with other inefficiencies that can be addressed without limiting patient choice.

The congressmen are worried that this move will be at the van of a wave of Obamacare-like decisions by government agencies that will threaten the "fundamental pillars of access, physician choice, and innovation that have led us to prominence" in our current health care system. The five wrap up their letter saying, "we express our strong concern that the current Administration is overreaching into the personal health care options of Americans."

It seems that the Avastin decision is the first major example of Obamacare rationing and cost-cutting measures all based on bean counting instead of medicine.

Feds Deciding When Healthcare Science Costs Too Much To Save Lives

-By Warner Todd Huston

If anyone wants a current example of what is looming ahead for medical science at the hands of Obamacare, the Avastin controversy is a perfect one. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to de-list the cancer drug Avastin one reason being that it is a drug too expensive for government to fund. It is scary to think that the federal government can summarily dismiss cancer drugs merely because of expense, but that is what happens when government starts counting the beans. It becomes an issue of cost instead of effectiveness.

There were other reasons that the FDA wants to dump Avastin, but cost was one of them. One of those that sat in judgment of Avastin admitted that cost was a factor in the decision to delegitimize the treatment. Natalie Compagni Portis, a member of one of the panels that the FDA convened to investigate the drug, said, "We aren't supposed to talk about cost, but that's another issue."

In some cases it costs as much as $88,000 annually for an Avastin breast cancer regimen, certainly not a cheap deal. But who is the government to decide that a lifesaving (or life extending or life changing) drug is too expensive for us to be allowed to use?

Imagine what this might mean for future experimental drug treatments? How many drug companies will continue pursuing new treatments when they begin to see the expense involved? How many promising drugs will be abandoned as companies become fearful that the costs of development will never be returned in sales because of government proscriptions?

Let's put it in different terms. Remember when flat screen TVs first came out? They often cost over $20,000 a set. Certainly only the very rich could afford such a ridiculously extravagant price for a mere television, right? But as more people clamored for them companies began to experiment on production techniques and the technology began to come down in price. More people bought flat screens when prices fell to $10,000, then $5,000, then $2,000 per set. Thanks to the profit motive more and more customers could finally afford flat screen TVs until today that is practically all you can buy, often they are under $1,000.

Now, imagine where our TV technology would be if the federal government stepped in and summarily decided that $20,000 was too much for a TV and prevented companies from selling products that were initially so highly priced? TV manufacturers would have instantly ceased experimenting and manufacturing the over priced products, prices would never have come down through competition and innovation, and today few people would have the benefit of a flat screen TV.

This example may seem trivial, but the drug manufacturing industry is not that much different than the example above. The fact is drug companies are companies first and foremost. They manufacture products for sale. They aren't charities. And if these companies see no profit at all in the effort they will not bother pursuing it. That is simply a fact of life.

That fact of life, that quashing of the entrepreneurial spirit, the destruction of the profit motive, all at the hands of government, will also quash new drugs that might bring lifesaving cures in the future. Avastin is one example of the heavy hand of government putting us all at risk.

Obama's Promissory "No Fed-Funding for Abortions" EO - Just Another Dover Photo-Op

... proof that he will use all means available to him to force America to bend to his will.

 

Today, while political posturing and procedural pish-posh occurs on the Hill and sacrificially America throws herself into full-throttle opposition against the socialist healthcare vote, Obama issued an Executive Order to "reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion" .. to ease nervous Stupakers who would otherwise vote against Obama's massive government take-over of 1/6th of the economy. 

To get those outstanding democratic (wimp) votes in line, in other words.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                           March 21, 2010

STATEMENT FROM COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR DAN PFEIFFER

Today, the President announced that he will be issuing an executive order after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion. 

While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented

The President has said from the start that this health insurance reform should not be the forum to upset longstanding precedent.  The health care legislation and this executive order are consistent with this principle. 

The President is grateful for the tireless efforts of leaders on both sides of this issue to craft a consensus approach that allows the bill to move forward.

The draft of the proposed Executive Order -- again, that's all there is at this point, just a promise of an EO which is WHOLELY UNENFORCEABLE -- is at the end of this post, included for posterity, on this the day that America fights for her independence.

I'm no constitutional lawyer, but anyone who's been watching the gestapo-like rule of Obama since last year will know -- sense, even -- how and when Obama uses trickery for political gain. This is just another example. 

2 points on why this is a LIE:

1st: Among Obama's Executive Orders (EOs) and Memorandii issued during his first days in office was a memorandum restoring the funding of the UN Population (Abortions R Us) Fund. Get that? Among his first presidential actions in the beginning of 2009. Abortion. 

Do you seriously believe Obama is intent on restricting  federal funding for abortions?

 

2nd: Toward the end of 2009, while America was preparing for Christmas and their well-deserved vacations, and in the dead of night, Obama signed an EO amending EO 12425 which excluded INTERPOL from certain immunities and "dignitary" protections. Okay? An EO amending an EO. 

It is impoosible that Obama would not issue another EO amending this No Fed-Funding for Abortions EO?

So, this guy holds no water. 

Boehner says so. So does Andrew McCarthy from National Review Online, a lawyer who prosecuted the '93 WTC bombings and publicly called out Holder on the Obama Administration's decision to hold the 911 trails in NYC.  

This Promissory EO is more political posturing, similar to Obama's photo-op at Dover.

**

A text of the pending executive order follows:

Executive Order

ENSURING ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ABORTION RESTRICTIONS IN THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (approved March ­­__, 2010), I hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.

Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment.   The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors—Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers—are aware of their responsibilities, new and old.

The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges.  Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

 

Section 2.  Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges. The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014.  The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office.

I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act's segregation requirements, established in Section 1303 of the Act, for enrollees receiving Federal financial assistance.  The guidelines shall also offer technical information that states should follow to conduct independent regular audits of insurance companies that participate in the health insurance exchanges.  In developing these model guidelines, the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS shall consult with executive agencies and offices that have relevant expertise in accounting principles, including, but not limited to, the Department of the Treasury, and with the Government Accountability Office.  Upon completion of those model guidelines, the Secretary of HHS should promptly initiate a rulemaking to issue regulations, which will have the force of law, to interpret the Act's segregation requirements, and shall provide guidance to state health insurance commissioners on how to comply with the model guidelines.

Section 3.  Community Health Center Program.

The Act establishes a new Community Health Center (CHC) Fund within HHS, which provides additional Federal funds for the community health center program.  Existing law prohibits these centers from using federal funds to provide abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), as a result of both the Hyde Amendment and longstanding regulations containing the Hyde language.  Under the Act, the Hyde language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers under section 10503 and all other relevant provisions.  I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of Federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law.  Such actions should include, but are not limited to, updating Grant Policy Statements that accompany CHC grants and issuing new interpretive rules.

Section 4.  General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:  (i) authority granted by law or presidential directive to an agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This Executive Order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.

THE WHITE HOUSE

 

 

"N-Word" on the Hill? Where's Tipper?

Washington Times reporting via AP about lawmakers badgered by racial epithets by teaparters on the Hill yesterday, the day before the government takeover of healthcare.

House Democrats heard it all Saturday — words of inspiration from President Barack Obama and raucous chants of protests from demonstrators. And at times it was flat-out ugly, including some racial epithets aimed at black members of Congress.

A nice juxtapostion of the Holy One v. your typical, white teapartier in the AP’s opener paragraph. 

One would think the crowds were entirely made up of people just like Obama’s Grandma

Plainly, this is meant to discredit and characterize healthcare opposition as racist, as though “most of the day’s important work leading up to Sunday’s historic vote on health care was being done behind closed doors” (2nd paragraph) to expressly avoid dangerous, spitting, ”anger-fueled demonstrators” who chant the n-word while lynching an Obama effigy to dictums of “KILL the bill.” 

At a time when we’re so obviously still racist, I’ve wondered where Tipper and her dem crew have been on the use of N.I.G.G.E.R. in rap songs for the past year. Al Gore’s time would have been better spent in support of his wife’s old cause than chasing the ghosts of global warming. Protect the first black President voted into office by a blind America, after all. 

Tom Hanks, the great race scholar can help them. 

Obama isn’t the only black person in America and blacks are still using it on their own “people” since he got elected. 

Address the use of the “n-word” among blacks, address the anger of the American public against government take over of healthcare. 

Our opposition to socialized healthcare has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with shackling future American to debt and socialist control for generations.

Democrat Success Story

by Lance Thompson

 Even though “Democrat Achievements of 2009” would fall into the category of titles of the world’s shortest books, such a book would not be entirely empty.  In fact, Democrats can legitimately claim that in the last year, they have accomplished something that the GOP has repeatedly failed to do for at least two decades.  The Democrats have managed thoroughly to discredit liberal political philosophy and governance.  This is no small achievement. In the years after Reagan, Republican politicians warned against liberals; run against liberals; chastised, ridiculed and accused liberals in order to gain political advantage.  Liberals even changed their name–to “progressives”–to avoid the feared liberal label.  But the charges began to ring hollow as big-government Republicans raised taxes, increased spending, expanded entitlements, and argued for lenient immigration policies.  Were liberal politics only bad when practiced by Democrats, and tolerable when enacted by Republicans?  Evidently not, because the GOP lost control of Congress in the past decade when they offered no clear alternative to liberal Democrats.  In 2008, they lost the White House, too. Suddenly, the Democrats had a commanding majority in the House, a supermajority in the Senate, and one of their own in the White House.  They enjoyed an adoringly uncritical media and a wave of electoral bliss seldom equaled.  In effect, they had a brand new credit card with almost unlimited political capital.  How did they spend it? President Obama began by assembling a cabinet and administration full of tax cheats, liars, strong-arm political operatives and communists–many of whom were amateurs at national politics, but almost all of whom had more experience than their boss.  Democrats funded bail-outs and stimulus bills that were full of earmarks, political pay-backs and liberal pet projects that doubled the already swelling debt.  As terrorists attacks again struck American soil–in Little Rock, Fort Hood, and on a Detroit-bound plane--Obama fought to empty Guantanamo and give terrorists the Constitutional rights of American citizens.  Obama’s team nationalized private industry, abandoned long-time allies, bowed in supplication before our enemies, and embarked on passing massively expensive and unintelligible health care reform that would multiply our debt yet again. As details and cost analysis of all these plans filtered down to the American people, the Democrat agenda became less and less popular.  So, as it happens, did Democrats.  The approval ratings of Congress continued to slide downward from even the low marks legislators earned during the Bush administration.  But even more surprising, the historic, unprecedented, hope-and-changeling in the White House also saw his numbers fall.  And the more he tried to sell the liberal package of multi-trillion dollar big government programs, the further he dropped.  None of this could have happened if the Democrats did not have the power to enact their agenda over the protests of conservatives and common sense.  Democrats believe that the answer to bloated government is more government.  The answer to ballooning debt is more spending.  The answer to high taxes is even higher taxes.  The answer to international threats is to apologize for our past, betray our allies, and promise to look the other way when rogue nations go on the warpath. Any conservative who tried to warn us that this would be the result of Democrat control of two branches of government would have been dismissed as an extremist.  Eighteen months ago, the idea of the United States in economic, diplomatic, and moral decline would have been unthinkable.  Today, it’s an undeniable trend.   The Democrats have proved that, given no checks and balances, they are determined to bring this nation to its knees and saddle us with enough debt to keep us there.  They have given the American people a year’s preview of a future under Democratic governance, and a majority of us want no part of it.  Suddenly, the iron grip Democrats had on Congress is slipping away, with each new announcement of retiring legislators or party-switching representatives.  Barack Obama is no longer a messenger of hope and change, but a huckster peddling an increasingly unpopular line of hokum.  Conservative principles are defining the debate, only a year after so many pundits pronounced conservatism dead. Moreover, the media that waved its pom-poms for Barack Obama is no longer cheering from the press box.  It began with a few respectful questions that were ignored, avoided, or ridiculed by the party in power.  But now, as the media senses weakness, they will become more aggressive, more insistent, more adversarial.  Reporters read the polls, too, and no news outlet wants to be behind the trend.  As they see Obama, Reid and Pelosi faltering, the press will turn on them, hound them, savage them, and participate in their downfall.  Because if an outcome seems inevitable, the media likes us to believe that we heard it from them first.  So let us give thanks to the Democrats who governed in 2009.  These true believers have done to the liberal religion what no heretic could manage.  They have exposed their impotent idols and false gods for all the world to see, and have quickened their own demise.

 

The 10th Amendment & Health Care

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

That is the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. With the debate on health care, cap and trade, and TARP/Stimulus, the 10th Amendment has become more relevant.

The healthcare bill in congress is not compliant with the 10th Amendment. It forces every citizen in the country to purchase a private product (health insurance) as a condition of citizenship. This type of top-down, Washington-based solution is not good for the country.

Ben Franklin said that in the system the Framers designed, the States would be the “incubators” of democracy. The design was for the States to come up with solutions, in competition with each other. The “competition” would make the country stronger. The genius is in designing a system that allows each state to compete against each other with ideas and solutions.

Dirigo-Health is a great example of this competition in action. Maine came up with a “solution” to get more people insured and lower costs. By any measure, Dirigo-Health failed. Other states with similar health care problems could learn by Maine’s experience and not duplicate our failure. Only Maine had to go through the cost and expense and the rest of the states got the benefit of the experience. The country is stronger as a result.

Texas was one of the first states to offer tax incentives for film production. People in the neighboring states of Louisiana and New Mexico saw that these incentives were creating jobs and investment in Texas, and not in their states. New Mexico and Louisiana developed their own tax incentives, and created educational programs to lure film production in to their states. This iterative process, driven by competition, makes each state more competitive. The competition makes companies who do business there stronger. The result is a stronger country.

The 10th amendment matters. States competing to solve problems is good for the country. The Federal Government needs to stop forcing solutions from Washington, and get back to letting the States compete for the best ideas.

----

Matt Jacobson is a Republican candidate for Governor of Maine.  He currently serves as President and CEO of Maine & Company, a private business attraction company which aims to create jobs in the state of Maine.

Scaring People with Big Numbers

One of the rhetorical techniques much favored by intellectually bankrupt political hacks is the deliberate effort to scare people about an issue by throwing out big numbers which seem scary to the average listener, but may actually be largely meaningless when you understand what they really represent. One of the most shameful masters of this technique is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who cranked out the big red calculator to scare the sheeplike masses in a recent speech on health care reform.

 

In his opening speech for the new session of Congress, Reid made a deeply emotional statement about how 14,000 people are losing their health insurance every day in America.

No one knows where Reid got this scary big figure from, though some have postulated that the Democrats have a special think tank whose job is solely to make up bizarre and unverifiable statistics. Politicians like Reid then mention those figures and the friendly media repeats them, so that when the politicians are asked where they got their numbers they can point to the media as the source, even though it is just repeating their original claims.

Reid’s dramatic announcement drew a lot of attention. 14,000 people a day seems like a lot of people losing their insurance. That’s twice as many people as live in my town. That’s more people than many of us are likely to even meet in our lifetimes. When it’s apparent that government schools have reduced most Americans to counting on their fingers and then referring to any number over 10 as “a whole lot,” it’s easy to get people wound up with any number that has some zeroes in it.

Granting the possibility that the number might have even a smidgen of validity, just for the sake of courtesy, when you start to look at what it means and apply some math skills you may have learned in a private school or can find on a handy iPhone calculator application, the number starts to look a lot less scary. 14,000 people losing their health insurance a day adds up to about 3.6 million people losing their health insurance every year, assuming people only lose their insurance on weekdays. If you accept Reid’s statement that they’re losing insurance on Saturdays and Sundays too (evil insurance barons work overtime) then the number is closer to 5 million. So let’s be nice and say it’s 5 million.

That’s an even bigger, scarier number — it’s the whole population of a major city — so let’s put it in terms we can actually relate to. That’s 1.6% of the American population losing their insurance every year, or about 1 in 62 citizens. Put that way it doesn’t look so scary. That means maybe 1 person in your office, or 1 person in the restaurant where you had lunch. Hardly an epidemic of people losing insurance. Or consider it this way. On a purely statistical basis if you start counting from the age of 18 when you become an adult, the chances are very good that you’ll die of natural causes before you lose your health insurance. Now that’s not so scary, is it?

Then consider this. How many of those people lost their insurance because they changed jobs, became unemployed, decided to join a different plan or became eligible for Medicare because they turned 65? Let’s just look at one figure. It also says nothing about how many of them immediately got onto a different insurance plan. About 2 million people a year turn 65 and leave their insurance to go on Medicare. That alone accounts for 5500 people a day out of Harry Reid’s 14,000. So that leaves him with only 8500 or almost exactly 1% of the population per year. Even less scary now.

Does a failure rate of 1% or even 1.5% represent a crisis in health insurance? It’s better than the 2% rate of lost mail at the Post Office and we just keep giving them more money every year. It’s substantially lower than the 2% chance you’ll be in a car accident or the 2% chance you’ll lose your job. So are all these things crises? Do all these situations cry out for governmental intervention, massive spending and urgent reform? We’ve been living with some of these statistics for years, even centuries, and we never saw the need to take drastic action.

Admittedly, every one of the much smaller number of cases where someone loses insurance and becomes uninsurable or can’t qualify for insurance is a personal tragedy. But why don’t Reid and the Democrats focus on addressing that real problem rather than trying to scare people into letting him screw around with a system which seems to be working just fine for most of the population?

So maybe Senator Reid’s big number isn’t really so terrifying. In fact, maybe he’s just trying to manipulate us and take advantage of our ignorance to stampede us into supporting something we don’t really want or need. Nah, he’d never try to do something like that. Next thing you’ll tell me he compared the health insurance industry to slavery or something crazy like that.

Last Week’s Elections and What it Means for Legislation is Audacity

Audacity has always been a favorite term and mindset of Team Obama. And there was no better display of audacity this week when White House Press Secretary stood before the gathered national media and proclaimed that 110,000 voters was a better indication of President Obama’s policy and political capital than 4.3 million voters.

As several media outlets have reported, last week Gibbs said that Republican gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey do not signify anything for President Obama, but the dynamics and the Democratic candidate's success in an Upstate New York special election has consequences for the Republicans.

That is audacity Team Obama style.

If the White House wants to convey to a shaken and weakened Democratic majority on Capitol Hill that they have the bandwidth and power to move voters next fall they are clearly overconfident or don’t really care. How can the White House possibly dismiss the voters of New Jersey and Virginia - two trendsetting and economic powerhouse states – and formulate their political calculations on special election filled with more sideshows and spectacles than the Iowa State Fair? Why is the White House not seeing that their leader made five visits across heavily Democrat New Jersey in the closing days of the race which did little to get out the vote? What is the White House thinking now that part of their political coalition of African-Americans and young Americans has clearly proved to be a part time democratic force that sees their work being done as a result of winning last year’s election? It must be audacity.

As I see it, the White House is basing their political calculations on the fact that their term in office is unique and unprecedented. As such, it will demand sacrifice from the most vulnerable members of their party for the greater good. Without doubt, the White House is telling freshman Members of Congress like Rep. Tom Perriello and Rep. Glenn White, without our massive war chest and GOTV efforts last year you wouldn’t even be voting on Capitol Hill – so get inline. The White House surely knows they will lose seats next fall, but will they lose 40 seats; they must not think so. Meaning they can maintain majority control on Capitol Hill that will be diluted but not vanquished while being able to move aggressive legislation before November 2010.

With this mindset coming from the White House, upcoming legislation will be shaped by moving now -you can already see this in play from Saturday's night healthcare vote. Team Obama can realize their dream of changing the country's economic, cultural, banking, energy and healthcare foundations regardless of the outcome next fall. The loss of a few members who don’t really represent Democratic districts or the simple fact that a majority of voters clearly doesn’t support their agenda is of no concern.

Speaking with a former union organizer in Los Angeles the day after the election, he lamented how disappointed, frankly shocked, he was by the lack of turnout by Obama’s coalition. He went onto say, how can his team expect to move their political agenda, their core legislative goals and cherished dream of healthcare reform if those who elected Barack Obama last fall aren’t constantly engaged in the process and not voting. He closed by saying, it is clear that presently a majority of voters are not fully embracing what Obama is attempting to do, but last year’s election is what matters and their great political cause is more important than a tough race for a few Members of Congress or Senators in an upcoming election.

With such thinking coming from liberal activists in the field as well as what I believe to be the internal thinking of the White House, I fully expect condition normal and full speed ahead with Team Obama’s aggressive and multifaceted legislative agenda. As the White House has learned, winning one election means little in America. Other concerned citizens and targeted industries should heed this warning as well.

When your mindset is based on audacity, it is clear you are willing to make sacrifices so long as it moves long held and treasured legislative priorities closer to reality. I suggest to the numerous constituencies that Team Obama hopes to change, regulate and control, last week’s state elections mean little and last week’s federal election means everything to the White House. As they see it, all that matters is the fact that 110,000 voters sent them one more vote in Congress for them to use to pass their agenda.

 

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