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Ezra Klein Takes On Ed Morrissey…and Digs Himself In Deeper

Morgen on June 26, 2009 at 10:48 pm

I put up a post last night highlighting a video clip of Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein admitting that the public plan is a “sneaky” liberal strategy for moving the U.S. towards single-payer health care. Ed Morrissey linked our post at Hot Air this afternoon, and used the video clip to demonstrate that Klein had been disingenuous in an earlier blog post which was critical of Morrissey. (Go take a look at the video clip now if you haven’t already done so).

Well, Klein responded to Morrissey’s post late this afternoon on his blog at the Washington Post. And not only does he engage in some childish name calling, but he also FLATLY DENIES that the comments he made in the the video clip were in reference to the health care plan now being pushed by the President. Here’s Klein: (emphasis mine)

This is really weird. Yesterday, I said that Ed Morrissey didn’t understand Barack Obama’s health-care plan. Today, as a rebuttal, he posted a video of me talking about other health care plans that I say liberal interest groups hope will move us toward single-payer. It’s not really clear to me how this is a rebuttal. Unless, of course, you don’t understand that there are differences between the various health-care plans discussed by Democrats, which I think is what’s going on here.

Klein’s statement in the earlier video was in direct response to comments made by a Melinda Gibson, who was also on the panel. You be the judge of whether Klein’s statement was in reference to some “other health care plan”. WATCH (Gibson is the first speaker):

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“A national public plan that is an option…if people like their insurance plan, they can keep it”. Hmmm…now where have I heard this before? LOL. (And note how at the end Klein is just itching to weigh-in and share with everyone the down-low on what is really going on…since he has no need to be “diplomatic”).

Even if we are willing to suspend disbelief and give Klein the benefit of the doubt that he was referring to you know…some other public plan that sounds exactly like the President’s plan…it turns out that he has repeated this claim on other occasions. There was the American Prospect article I noted in my prior post where he referred to the public plan strategy as “single payer by stealth“. And more recently, Klein noted here that “many liberals, in fact, hope that…the public plan is the thin edge of single payer wedge”.

Now Melinda Gibson as it turns out is a spokesperson for the liberal activist group Health Care for America Now (HCAN). Which just so happens to be backed by a veritable Legion of Doom of liberal activist organizations including: MoveOn, ACORN, La Raza, and every major labor union in the country. Michelle Malkin exposed the big-money donors behind this “astro-turf” campaign in her syndicated column earlier this week. So not only is HCAN in complete lock-step with the President’s agenda, with a budget likely approaching $100 million, they are the primary engine behind the public campaign for health reform. In other words, the HCAN plan IS the plan that the Administration and the Democrats in Congress are trying to pass.

And here’s the final point I’ll make on this. When Ezra Klein says in response to Morrissey that “there is nothing in Barack Obama’s plan that would enact such a thing”, meaning a backdoor to single-payer; he reaches the pinnacle of disingenuousness. Why? Because as Klein well knows Barack Obama has never spelled out the finite details of his plan! He has left this up to Congress. And if the most liberal members of Congress have their way, not only will there be a public plan, you can bet it will be the one that HCAN and Klein want (paging Rep. Schakowsky). In fact, Klein himself actually wrote a very insightful piece this week speculating that the Administration has a “secret strategy” to use the final House/Senate conferencing process to ensure that the final legislation is appropriately “progressive”.

So in conclusion, and regrettably, I think my earlier praise for Klein’s willingness to engage in an open and honest matter may have been misplaced. While I would never underestimate the ability of a liberal to delude even themselves; I think it’s transparently clear in this case that Klein’s defense of his comments from last year fall well short of the truth. And he owes Ed Morrissey an apology.

John Adds: Here’s the video of Klein again. Watch it once more. Listen carefully:

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You’ll notice that the first 80% of what Klein has to say is so general that it could apply to almost any reform plan that fits a few broad outlines, outlines that certainly include the President’s plan.

For instance how does the line “at some point you have to win” relate to another plan, but not the President’s plan (as Klein indicated in his blog post)? How does “yes, I would like to sign the insurance companies out of existence with my pen” relate to one plan but not another? These are pretty sweeping statements that don’t seem tied to whether or not a particular plan uses Medicare reimbursement rates or not. That’s the bulk of the clip.

Finally, he turns a corner when he says “these groups” [slight nod to the other people on the dais with him] have a “sneaky strategy” to get to single-payer. Well, as Morgen points out above, one of the groups represented on that dais (speaking just before Klein in that clip above) was an HCAN spokesperson.

HCAN is the group pushing Hacker’s plan. Hacker also happens to be the guy who helped write Obama’s plan (we have video of him saying so…). I know Klein likes math so how’s this: A=B and B=C therefore A=C.

How is this not a statement about the President’s plan again?

Related: Here’s my previous video of another HCAN spokesman admitting that their plan (a public option that can be sold to people as more choice and competition) is really single-payer by stealth.

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