Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cong. Roskam speaks to Republican lawyers in Chicago about President Obama’s performance and the Republican comeback

President Obama’s mistake on the Stimulus legislation

Cong. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton, 6th CD) spoke last night at a Republican National Lawyers Association, Chicago Chapter reception. Roskam suggested that President Obama’s macroeconomic approach to the economy has hurt the President’s ability to achieve healthcare reform. Roskam told a crowd of about forty on the roof-top at 500 North Dearborn [Svenson Law Offices]in Chicago, IL. that if Obama had pushed ahead with (1) real tax cuts for families earning less than 250 K and (2) real infrastructure spending on roads, bridges, building, schools, etc, he would have had bi-partisan support from the Republicans.

Instead, Obama brought forth meaningless rebates and stimulus spending that was a hodgepodge of miscellaneous spending programs Democrats had wanted for the last few decades, but that had little to do with stimulating the economy. Roskam indicated if Obama had followed the real tax cut, real infrastructure spending route, he could have had 120 House Republicans go with him. Instead, he got bupkus from the Republican House members on his stimulus legislation.

Democrats lose momentum on healthcare reform

More importantly, having achieved some bipartisan success on tax cuts and infrastructure spending, Roskam argued Obama could have come back to Democrats and Republicans with his “big ask,” on healthcare reform and maybe had significant bipartisan momentum to get that done. Instead, the Obama healthcare reform seems to have lost momentum with the Congressional Budget Office ("CBO") scoring,” the ten-year cost of various Democratic healthcare proposals in the 1 to 1.6 trillion dollar range, with few, if any Republicans, signing on to the program, as of yet.

The myth of forty-seven uninsured Americans

Further, the CBO has estimated that big outlay of funds will insure only about fifteen of the forty-seven million in America who are said to be uninsured. That might be fine with Cong. Roskam, who argued it is only about fifteen million Americans who truly want and don’t have access to health insurance. The remaining uninsured are illegal immigrants; individuals who could access Medicaid but don’t; individuals who are young, relatively healthy and who choose not to insure; etc.

The Democrats’ push for Single Payer

Cong. Roskam sees many of the Democratic healthcare reform proposals as moving the country toward a single payer system, but without saying so. He reminded those in attendance that President Obama has said that if we were starting from scratch, he would favor a single payer system. Further, Roskam sees a so-called “public,” or “government,” option as having the effect of driving out the private options for health insurance.

Cong. Roskam analogized the government option to having your opposing counsel in a lawsuit also operate as the judge or an opposing team in an athletic contest also operate as the umpire. In short, Roskam seems to think if we go with the Obama government option, then ultimately the only health insurance option will be the government option, and thus we will have a single payer system. Cong. Roskam also paraphrased Cong. Schakowsky (D-Evanston, 9th CD) as telling her supporters to go along with the health insurance proposal that emerges, and eventually it will be a single payer system.

Removing the “Government option.”

This journalist asked Cong. Roskam if he thought he and his fellow Republicans could support a Democratic health insurance reform proposal if the government option were removed. The 47 year old, third term, Wheaton Republican indicated that would get him and his fellow Republicans "to the table," but other issues would likely remain to be worked out.

Roskam upbeat about 2010 mid-terms

It was an upbeat Cong. Roskam who spoke last night. Although Cong. Roskam won a close two-point race in 2006 over Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth, he referred to Republican donors who sat on the sidelines in 2006 and in 2008 (when Roskam had a much easier time of it over Jill Morganthaler). According to Cong. Roskam, Republican donors are being much more responsive about getting involved in funding the contested 2010 Congressional mid-term races. Roskam referred to at least forty-nine 2010 House races that are either open seats or already involve significant Republican challengers.

Cong. Roskam mentioned being on the House Ways and Means Committee was “way cool,” and had he realized he would be on such a Committee, he would have tried twice as hard as he did to get elected to Congress.

The need for more watchdog Republican lawyers

Roskam told the group about the importance of growing the involvement of Republican lawyers in each of the congressional races, due to the importance of ballot integrity. Roskam noted that about 20 % of the 6th CD is in Cook County and that his campaign had a bunch of lawyers involved on election day to handle the shenanigans.

Peraica, Arrington and Proft in attendance

Christine Svenson, head of the Chicago Chapter of the National Republican Lawyers Association (“RNLA”), indicated that dignitaries in attendance last night included Cook County Board Member Tony Peraica (R-Riverside); John Arrington, Candidate for the U. S. Senate in the Republican Primary; and Dan Proft, who Christine identified as a candidate for Governor in the 2010 Republican Primary [Proft has said he will announce whether he is running by the end of June, but Berkowitz’s reliable sources have already pegged Proft as a Guv candidate].

Sotomayor: Obama’s Political Choice

Svenson introduced RNLA Executive Director Mike Thielen, who spoke briefly to the crowd about the Sotomayor nomination, before introducing Cong. Roskam. Thielen argued that Sotomayor had been on a short list of three with 7th Circuit Judge and University of Chicago Professor Diane Wood and U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Thielen suggested that Sotomayor was a political choice by Obama to placate Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, who wanted to put Republicans in the position of criticizing an Hispanic, Sotomayor, who Thielen characterized as not on the same level with Kagan and Wood.

Getting mileage from Sotomayor’s "Wise Latina," speech

Thielen said he “wouldn’t lie to the crowd,” and tell it that the Republicans, “thought they could defeat Sotomayor’s nomination,” but he did think they could raise important issues, e.g., Sotomayor’s “wise Latina,” speech and put the Republicans in a better position for the inevitable, upcoming Supreme Court nomination battles, most likely involving replacements for Justices Ginsburg and Stevens.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at JBCG@aol.com. *************************************************************
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