David Gregory’s endless cheerleading for Republicans was gutted with a dose of reality from DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on Meet The Press today.
DAVID GREGORY: We’ve been talking about health care, and here’s the challenge. The president’s out there making the case that, “Run on this. Make the argument. Accuse the Republicans of trying to take this away.” But you have vulnerable Democrats who are saying something else. They’re basically saying, “The law is flawed and we should fix it.”
This is Jeanne Shaheen in a radio news interview in New Hampshire. She said, in part, the following: “I think there are important things about the Affordable Care Act that are working, and working very well. I think we need to fix the things that are not working, and that’s what I’m committed to. I would have designed it differently if I had been designing it; unfortunately I wasn’t the person who was writing the law. I think hindsight is always 20/20. You always know that you could have done better.” To me, that’s not a ringing endorsement to get people out there to vote.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, that’s Legislation 101. I mean, that is how we have handled laws and their evolution throughout American history. The president is right, and Jeanne Shaheen is right. We have a law that is working: 8 million people have gained health care coverage as a result of signing up for the Affordable Care Act plans. 129 people with pre-existing conditions no longer have to be worried about being dropped or denied coverage; I’m one of them, as a breast cancer survivor. You have millions of seniors who are paying lower costs on their prescription drugs.
And these are the things that Republicans are obsessed with taking away, and focused on doing everything they can to block President Obama at every turn, even if it means hurting the middle class. While, at the same time, you have our candidates, our incumbents, like Jeanne Shaheen, like Mary Landrieu, who understand that this is a law that’s working for millions of people. And as we discover there are problems, we should work together–
DAVID GREGORY: But you’re making an argument–
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: –to solve those problems.
DAVID GREGORY: –on the merits, as the president is doing. But what you’ve got is something that’s opaque, as David Shribman was saying, the publisher in Pittsburgh. A lot of people simply don’t understand it, and they don’t understand fully what the impact is going to be. Jonathan Martin, writing in The New York Times this morning, writes this: “Democrats could ultimately see some political benefit from the law. But in this midterm election, they’re confronting a vexing reality: Many of those helped by the health care law, notably young people and minorities, are the least likely to cast votes that could preserve it.
“Even though millions have gained health insurance and millions more will benefit from some of its people, provisions, quote, ‘The angry opponents are more mobilized than the beneficiaries,’ said David Axelrod, long-time advisor to Mr. Obama.” Midterm fall off, sixth year of his presidency: This has got to be an urgent issue for you, as the chair of the party, making sure Democrats get out and vote, who are excited about this law.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, there are millions of people who understand the benefits of the health care law, particularly women who I’ve spoken to who are breast cancer patients, who no longer have to choose between the chemotherapy or the radiation.
DAVID GREGORY: You’re arguing the merits, Chairman–
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, I’m–
DAVID GREGORY: –which I understand. But do you not have a turnout problem that you’re worried about?
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Every election it is critical that we turn out vote out. And I would, and will, match up ground game and our turnout operation, which ran circles around the Republicans in 2012 and in 2008, any day of the week. We have senators across this country, House members– there’s 14 open seats in the House, 11 of which Democrats have an advantage; only three of which you would lean more to the G.O.P. in terms of advantage.
You have the Republican Party who is strangled by the Tea Party. They are weighed down by Republican primaries in which the Tea Party candidates are the likely winners. And we have countless elections now that Democrats have won because the Republicans have nominated extremists that their voters reject.
DAVID GREGORY: Do you–
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And that’s the advantage we will have going into this election.
DAVID GREGORY: Right. But do you have an historic disadvantage? Because a president in his second term, in midterms, historically has a difficult time. You have a president with a low approval rating. And, let’s be honest, you have vulnerable Democrats who are, in effect, running against this White House.
David Gregory repeatedly told Rep. Wasserman Schultz that he wasn’t interested in facts, or the merits as he called them. Gregory made it clear that he was only interested in pushing the Republican fantasy that Democrats are doomed because of Obamacare.
Wasserman-Schultz put him in his place by explaining reality. Millions of people do understand the ACA, because they now have health insurance, or they aren’t getting dropped because they have a preexisting condition. As far as the 2014 electoral map is concerned, Democratic Senate incumbents are leading in places like Arkansas and Louisiana, and they could easily pick up two more seats in Kentucky and Georgia.
The sleaziest part of the whole segment was Gregory’s quoting of a radio interview with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) from nearly 4 MONTHS AGO. To David Gregory, the 8 million signups never happened. The increasing public approval of the ACA isn’t real. Nobody cares about how the ACA is helping people.
This kind of lazy one sided interviewing is what has made Meet The Press unwatchable. There is a reason why Meet The Press has sunk to third place in the Sunday show ratings, and that reason’s name is David Gregory.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association