March 8th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff
As perhaps the final week in the Obama Administration’s year-long campaign to push Obamacare through Congress, a senior White House advisor, in comments to CNN contributor Gloria Borgen, compared intensified White House efforts to pass Obamacare through the House of Representatives to the involuntary evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1974:
BORGER: Velshi: All right, Gloria, how much of a hint is the president going to make? Or is it not going to be hinted? Is he going to say, “This is the compromise. If you can’t find it in yourselves to do it, to support this for Republicans, we’re going to get it through the Senate”?
Borger: Right. This isn’t going to be subtle at all today. I think this is it. I was speaking with one senior White House adviser just before I came on the air, and he said, think of it this way. This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?
The Obama Administration’s use of this type of defeatist rhetoric and analogy in its final efforts to twist arms and force Democratic House members to vote for Obamacare this week and the disclosure of same to CNN is certainly another strange development in the year long debate. The WSJ’s take was to question whether these comments are foreshadowing of the chance that health care reform is becoming Obama’s Vietnam. Perhaps White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs will be asked at his press briefing today what exactly the Administration is saying by comparing their health care efforts to the horrific incident decades ago in Saigon. The WSJ points out some media reaction from the BBC:
Mark Mardell, North American editor of the BBC, was watching and he blogged in response: “Fleeing a lost war is not the most optimistic metaphor for an adviser to adopt. And it still may go down in flames.”
Another House Democrat is bucking White House pressure on the Obamacare vote as well today, as new quotes from Democratic House member Dan Boren (D-OK) are becoming public:
“They can break my arms. They can do whatever they want to. They’ll never get my vote — ever. They’ll have to walk across my dead body if they want my vote on this issue.”
“there is no chance I am voting for this bill because it raises taxes on businesses, creates job-killing mandates, grows the size of government, and cuts services to seniors.”
Boren’s comments could be the most biting criticism from a present Democratic member of Congress to date. Combined with the Massa Disaster, the Saigon analogy and Boren’s comments create an unwelcome beginning of what could be the final week of the Obama Administration’s push to pass comprehensive health care reform through Congress.