November 16, 2014

Doing the okey-doke with Sylvia Burwell.

On "Meet the Press" this morning, Chuck Todd was talking to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, and he presented one of those amazing Jonathan Gruber clips like this: "This is how Gruber explained taxing high-end Cadillac health insurance plans and sort of doing a little 'okey-doke.'"

I had never heard "okey-doke" used like that. I only knew "okey-doke" as a cute/corny way to say "okay." I Googled and got to Ice Cube's "Don't Fade Me": "I don't fall for the okey-doke/And before I fall for the okey-doke/I let the pistol smoke." Rap Genius explains: "'Okey doke' is slang for pulling a trick on someone. Cube would rather commit murder than take care of a baby that isn’t his because the girl lied to him."

I read all the lyrics. They're pretty evil: "Then I thought deep about giving up the money/What I need to do is kick the bitch in the tummy... I'm thinking to myself why did I bang her/Now I'm in the closet looking for the hanger..." I get distracted into thinking about doing a parody. What rhymes with Gruber? 1. goober, 2. uber, 3. FUBAR, 3. rube err. What rhymes with Burwell? 1. Stairwell, 2. Orwell.

But who am I to parody rap songs? And I've got to finish this post.

Todd plays Burwell some Gruber, including: "This bill takes, what I call, the spaghetti approach. Which is it takes a bunch of ideas that might work and throws them against the wall, we'll see what sticks." And Todd pushes her: "He said, 'Spaghetti at the wall.'" (What rhymes with spaghetti? 1. machete, 2. already, 3. unsteady.) "And he said that the week the health care law passed. Is that what this bill is? To see what works and what doesn't?"

Burwell began: "This law is a piece of legislation that is about three fundamental things.... Affordability, access..." And I paused it so Meade could make a joke about how funny it would if she couldn't remember the third thing, Rick Perry style. But she didn't. The third thing was "quality." So affordability, access, and quality — how can that be spaghetti thrown at the wall?

Todd tried a different tack: "Is Mr. Gruber going to be welcomed back as a consultant?" Burwell evaded: "Certainly right now in terms of the work that we're doing at HHS, we are doing our work and focusing on what we are doing and our modeling." Todd attempted the old paraphrase move: "So he's not welcome back?" And Burwell utters the line that makes us laugh: "With regard to Mr. Gruber and his comments, I think I've been clear. That's something we fundamentally disagree with."

Welcome back, you're not welcome back, Gruber
Welcome back, you're never coming back, it's FUBAR
Well, the names have all changed, now there's Burwell
But those dreams have remained, they're from Orwell
That bill you called spaghetti (bill you called spaghetti)
Could you shut up already? (shut up already)
Yeah, we tease him a lot cause we've got him on the spot
Welcome back, you're never coming back....

(Apologies to John Sebastian.)


David said...

Burwell is supposed to be the great savior of this whole mess. She apparently very bright (though you would not know it from this interview.) But she has never run anything. No administrative or leadership experience. Remind you of anyone?

Anonymous said...

I took a few courses in economics in the last millenium, using books printed on paper. It was a long time ago. Anyway, I learned that prices are set by "supply and demand." So the way to reduce prices was to increase the supply, reduce the demand, or do both at the same time.

I see that modern Youtube economists think the basic laws of their craft are "cook the books and lie about it."

I hope this modern way works!

Quaestor said...

According to Kyle Smith of the NY Post Wisconsin paid Jonathan Gruber $400,000 to consult on Obamacare, presumably before the Walker Administration took over in Madison.

Perhaps there's a opportunity to here to dismantle this fraudulent legislation from the bottom up?

Mary Beth said...

Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...

pm317 said...

".. a real plan that bends the cost curve does not exist" @34:51: Thus spake Gruber... @36:51 on, he starts to talk about "the spaghetti on the wall."

Didn't Obama say that Obamacare bends the cost curve? He has not been caught on that lie yet.

Meade said...

"But she has never run anything. No administrative or leadership experience. Remind you of anyone?"

John McCain?

pm317 said...

I can't believe this Gruber guy got all that moneys and says what he says in that video in my previous comment -- isn't there anybody in this country smarter than this guy who can come up with a plan that can control cost and deliver good care? So they went with Cadillac tax and death panels to control costs.

MisterBuddwing said...

What rhymes with spaghetti? 1. machete, 2. already, 3. unsteady.

Anna Maria Alberghetti?

Well, you did ask...

Drago said...

Meade: "John McCain?"


So commanding a navy squadron no longer counts as running something nor provides administrative or leadership experience?

Would you like an opportunity to revise your assessment?

Unknown said...

A big pro-democrat dance without actually discussing the depth of the Gruber admissions.

Pathetic NBC - just pathetic.

alan markus said...

@ Questor:According to Kyle Smith of the NY Post Wisconsin paid Jonathan Gruber $400,000 to consult on Obamacare, presumably before the Walker Administration took over in Madison.

@ Meade:Remind you of anyone?

EDITORIAL: Jonathan Gruber’s payday
Taxpayers paid millions for the deceptions of the Obamacare architect

This is an extraordinarily lucrative enterprise in the age of Obamacare that Mr. Gruber himself brought about. Individual states have lavished taxpayer cash on Mr. Gruber in return for cookie-cutter reports that describe the impact of Obamacare for each of the several states.

Minnesota, for example, used federal Obamacare grants to pay Mr. Gruber to attend one meeting, participate in a biweekly email list and print a copy of the report, all for $329,000. Wisconsin paid Mr. Gruber $400,000 for the same material, requested by the office of then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. When the report was presented, Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, didn’t want Mr. Gruber at the news conference. Vermont is paying him another $400,000.

Yes indeed, cookie-cutter reports, who does that remind us of?

Unknown said...

NBC(D) focuses on the least damaging of the quotes. Spaghetti? Pathetic.

Hagar said...

"All that money," indeed.

There has ben more checking on that, and it seems the money really started rolling in after the bill was passed and the states and various agencies hired Dr. Gruber to explain it for them - totalling nearly 6 million dollars to date, according to some articles.

Hagar said...

Drago might want to check the McCain bio on Wikipedia.

LYNNDH said...

I'm just wondering how Gruber's ego is feeling just now, under the M1A1. Must be smarting a bit. Will he take it? Or, will he not?

David said...

Him too. And lot's of other politicians who spend their lives second guessing. At least Hillary Clinton was willing to take charge of something (State), but old habits die hard. Nothing that went wrong was ever her fault.

The Godfather said...

Conservatives think Gruber is an example of what's wrong with big government.

Liberals never heard of him.

Network "news"? Give them two weeks and they'll be at "never heard of him."

Birkel said...

McCain might have been worse than Obama. But Obama has placed the bar for ineptitude well beyond what any other US president has.

I loathe the two elected presidents of the 1970s. Obama has combined the worst impulses of Nixon and Carter. McCain would at least have had an opposition on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps history will be kind to Obama because what escapes the rubble he has wrought will be The Tea Party, fiscal responsibilty and a libertarian social order.

I wager otherwise.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
averagejoe said...


Birkel said...

April Apple:

Reality continues to intrude. The Laws of economics are not preferences. Damage control is of limited value as the wages of Obama are revealed.

Tank said...

Unexpectedly, the con man in chief is surrounded by ...the same.

Unknown said...

Birkel - agreed. I stated as much in a comment someplace else:

There's one thing the pro-democrat hack media cannot control. Real people are losing their health insurance and are forced to buy more expensive plans with less coverage and higher deductibles. ObamaCare will ruin the democrats with or without bogus media lies and slimy democrat protecting cover-ups.

Still, the bigger news is always watching the mainstream alphabet press do what they can to protect their party by diminishing what would be incredibly damaging news on its face if it belonged to the other party.

Birkel said...

April Apple:

My strong preference is that the MSM continues its charade. Nobody is upset that a president is sometimes naked. What is upsetting is to witness a naked president while simultaneously hearing the MSM refer to the president's fashionable clothing.

The MSM hastens its own revelation. Lies are no longer fashionable.

mccullough said...

HHS should hire Ice Cube as a consultant.

pm317 said...

If only they get enough people who get subsidies for their insurance (as in 5 million with amnesty in the next two months, for example) and they surpass the numbers of people with high premiums and high deductibles, Obamacare will survive (Dems think).

The Drill SGT said...

Meade said...
"But she has never run anything. No administrative or leadership experience. Remind you of anyone?"

John McCain?

Meade, beyond the peacetime Squadron command and Navy Captaincy, he was a flight leader in combat, steeped in leadership training at Annapolis, and inculcated with the military virtues from both his father, a 4 star admiral, and his grandfather, a four star admiral. Hell, he had more time as the Navy Liaison to the Senate than BHO had in the Senate.

Joseph Blieu said...

Too cute a reply Meade

Drago said...

Hagar: "Drago might want to check the McCain bio on Wikipedia"


I did.

Now what?

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

He said 23,000 new applications is what he reported. Do you have any up-to-date numbers?


So with regard to that, yes I do. Yesterday, we had 100,000 folks submit applications.

New applications?


Submit applications.




And there were over 500,000 people who logged in effectively yesterday as well. So I think the vast majority of people coming to the site were able to get on and do what they were intending to do.

This is all stonewalling. What's important is getting enough people signed up to make up for those who are receiving subsidies.

Here's Bob Laszewski:

First, we need 75% of those 17.2 million who were subsidy eligible in the first place, or 12.9 million.

Presuming that 85% of those in the exchanges continue to be on subsidy, we would need a total of 15.2 million (12.9 million getting a subsidy and another 2.3 million not on subsidy) in order to reach a sustainable level.

Now, the 75% threshold is a guideline. Maybe the right number the exchanges need to hit is 14 million, or maybe it is 16 million. But this is the ballpark we need to be in.

Wilbur said...

What rhymes with Burwell?

Keefe Brasselle

Michael K said...

" Remind you of anyone?"

John McCain?"

You might want to do a bit of reading about McCain's health plan in 2008. It is probably about what we will end up with if the dismantling of Obamacare goes well.

Equalizing the tax treatment and financing of health care is the first step in realigning the incentives in the system to provide consumers with better quality care at lower cost. His plan also works to expand coverage options for Americans by promoting competition in the insurance market and partnering with states to develop solutions for those who are hard to insure.

It is a real plan unlike Obamacare which is designed to destroy private health care.

Quaestor said...

nstead of a rap, maybe it's a dance -- a stupid dance meant to amuse and distract antsy pre-schoolers like the Hokey-Pokey.

You put the costs way up,
You put the choice way down,
You pull the wool over eyes,
And you spin it all around.

You do the Okey-Dokey
And you turn the truth around.
That's what it all about!

Humperdink said...

Speaking of bending the cost curve, I just received our (spouse and I) new rate for health insurance from Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

My health insurance premium has now doubled since Obamacare was passed. Our annual health insurance premium is now $18,000/year. Kinda looks like a hockey stick as opposed to a curve.

Megaera said...

Ann -- "I had never heard "okey-doke" used like that...?" Really? Don't you remember Obama's own use of the phrase and his fairly tortured explication of it? I believe it was back during the primaries in 08, but it might have been later. How did you miss it?

Paul Kirchner said...

@ Megaera--Yes, that's when Obama was channeling Denzel Washington's dialog from Spike Lee's "X."

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., warned a Sumter, South Carolina crowd against the "hoodwinking," "bamboozling" and "okey doke" by people in other campaigns.

"Don't be confused when you start hearing a whole bunch of this negative stuff. Those are the same old tricks. They're trying to bamboozle you. It's the same old okey doke......Don't let people turn you around because they're just making stuff up! That's what they do. They try to bamboozle you.... to hoodwink you!"


Cynicus said...

Affordable, access and quality. You can choose any two of the three.

Michael said...

I think he meant to say "doing a little hokey-pokey" not "okey-doke."

You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around. That sounds more Gruber-ish than the other.

Larry J said...

ObamaCare will definity bend the cost curve, only it'll bend it up. I hope Gruber's name becomes synonymous with lying. In fact, it's already beginning.

fivewheels said...

FWIW, I'd always heard the term "okey-doke" used in a context like making a fake in basketball. You'll hear a lot of it on SportsCenter. I'm not sure if rap or sports is the origin, and which is the appropriator.

Curious George said...

Meade said...
"But she has never run anything. No administrative or leadership experience. Remind you of anyone?"

John McCain?

McCain commanded a large training squadron in the Navy.

Curious George said...

garage, Penguin, Mark, and ARM avoid Gruber posts like they will give them the herp.

chillblaine said...

Sarah Palin should be along to explain how Gruber was shuckin' and jivin'.

Peter said...

That's what happens when The People get to see what really goes on in that "sausage factory" called politics.

Perhaps The People wouldn't want to buy quite so much "sausage" if the view into that "sausage factory" were to become truly transparent?

Jason said...

Uhh, McCain's Navy career didn't end with the Hanoi Hilton, you know. He retired as a full bird captain, with a solid shot at a star.

As a training squadron commander, he earned his unit a MUC, or Meritorious Unit Commendation. Which is pretty friggin' huge for a non-deployed unit not in direct combat,, and is about the biggest accomplishment a CONUS commander could hope to achieve. He did this together with a reduction in accident rates, which is a key metric (and pretty amazing for a guy who had trashed four planes, personally!)

So, yeah, Meade stepped in it.

DanTheMan said...

McCain was just air-raiding villages and bombing civilians.
Everybody knows that.

Meade said...

Because of John McCain's extensive military leadership experience, the GOP, in 2008, could not have nominated a better candidate for president.

True or False?

Kirk Parker said...


Nice strawman.

All McCain needed to do was to be better (or less worse) than the other candidates.

Meade said...

"All McCain needed to do was to be better (or less worse) than the other candidates."

And yet he wasn't. Romney, Giuliani, and even Huckabee were all better (or less worse) than McCain.