Oberstar defends ObamaCare, calls constituents members of “the Flat Earth Society”

posted at 3:35 pm on October 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

If Jim Oberstar came back to Minnesota’s 8th CD to reconnect to his constituents after almost 50 years in Washington, 36 of them in the House, he sure has a funny way of demonstrating it.  His Iron Range constituents, where mining is a major strut of the local economy, worry about the impact of the cap-and-trade bill for which Oberstar voted and which Democrats insist they will try to pass again in 2011.  In a sometimes-unruly debate in Duluth today, Oberstar accused those worried about the economic impact of cap-and-trade of being in the Flat Earth Society:

On cap-and-trade legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions, which Oberstar voted for before the bill failed to advance, Cravaack said the nation can’t afford higher energy costs. He claimed increased costs for electricity from the carbon-cutting effort could kill Minnesota’s taconite industry.

Oberstar countered that taconite and steel industries are afforded a credit in the version of legislation he voted for, saying the nation needed to make some progress in stemming carbon emissions widely blamed for spurring global climate change.

“It’s changing our way of life. We have to deal with this issue’’ of climate change, Oberstar said to boos and cat calls from Cravaack supporters. Oberstar said the claims carbon cutting legislation will put “our industry [out] of work is fundamentally wrong.’’

When the heckling on climate change grew louder, Oberstar accused the Cravaack supporters of being in the “flat earth society.’’ When he tried to rattle off statistics on warming trends, he was shouted down again with calls of “liar.’’

Oh, they got a credit.  Well, that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?  Actually, it doesn’t.  The credit applies only to their own emissions.  Cap and trade will make energy costs skyrocket, and mining operations use a lot of energy – as do other manufacturing operations, and agriculture, all of which MN-08 constituents need for economic stability. Oberstar’s cap-and-trade bill would dump higher energy costs in a district where economic health is always at the top of voter concerns, and more so now than ever.

Chip Cravaack attacked Oberstar for his Porkulus vote as well, to which Oberstar pointed to roads and airports as signs of job-creating success:

“Did the stimulus bill work? No,’’ Cravaack said. “The United States government does not create jobs.’’

Cravaack said the government would create more jobs by cutting business taxes.

“Get rid of the regulations and restrictions,’’ Cravaack said, adding that “I trust you with your money. He (Oberstar) trusts government with your money.’’

Oberstar countered that the stimulus bill and related federal economic efforts helped slow job loss in the nation while providing private sector jobs rebuilding roads, bridges and buildings nationwide. Oberstar said the new federal spending created 13,000 construction jobs in Minnesota alone and will help pay for new airport terminals in Duluth and Brainerd and 535 miles of highway reconstruction in the state.

Can anyone spot the fallacy in this argument?  None of the jobs Oberstar highlights are permanent.  They will at best last a few months, perhaps one or two years in terms of the airport terminals Oberstar mentions.  Most of the highway construction has already been completed, and all of it would have happened anyway; all Porkulus did was move it forward on the schedule.  And all of these projects benefit the public sector, not the private sector.  Instead of creating an investment-friendly environment where capital could go to creating permanent jobs, Oberstar and the Democrats confiscated capital in both the present and the future to fund a public-works version of Cash for Clunkers.

Oberstar also pledged to defend ObamaCare if sent back to Congress:

When asked what their first priority would be if elected to Congress, Republican Cravaack said he would “get rid of Obamacare’’ to shouts of glee and applause from his supporters.

“I want to make sure that never happens,’’ DFLer Oberstar snapped back, adding that he would work to protect health care reform. He said his top priority would be to pass a federal transportation funding bill to put construction workers back to work rebuilding the nation’s highways, rails and airports. …

Oberstar countered that “health insurance company bureaucrats’’ already are standing between patients and doctors, denying coverage and looking after corporate “bottom lines’’ rather than patient care.

True, but that’s the problem with third-party payer systems in general, which ObamaCare worsens rather than alleviates by forcing everyone into that paradigm.  Also, when an insurance company “bureaucrat” acts in that manner, consumers can choose to go elsewhere.  When it’s government that does it, there are no other choices, which is one of the reasons why government should not assume the role of service providers except where only government can do it, such as law enforcement and public safety.

Beyond that, however, Oberstar seems very much out of step with the electorate with his full-throated defense of ObamaCare.  In the last Rasmussen poll, Minnesotans narrowly favor repealing ObamaCare 50/47, and 52/45 among those “certain to vote.”  Given that its popularity is almost certainly much higher inside the Metro area of the state, the chances of Oberstar’s “send me back to Washington to protect ObamaCare and impose cap-and-trade” message resonating in the 8th CD seems, well … low.

But then again, maybe that’s what happens when a man spends almost his entire adult life in Washington rather than in the district he thinks he represents.  He can tend to forget that Americans like to make their own decisions and don’t think highly of people making those decisions almost 2,000 miles away instead.  And if that wasn’t enough, accusing those constituents of being idiots who can’t comprehend his genius probably won’t help much, either.

Update: In another measure of how far Oberstar has moved away from his constituents, the former chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus lost the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee, which endorsed Cravaack instead:

The former chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus first lost the support of a statewide pro-life group because of his vote for the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill. Now, Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota has lost the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee.

Due in part to Oberstar’s vote and his own pro-life views, NRLC today endorsed Chip Cravaack in his campaign to unseat Oberstar for Minnesota’s eight district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We’re proud to endorse Chip Cravaack for Congress,” said National Right to Life Political Director Karen Cross.

She told LifeNews.com: “Chip Cravaack is firmly committed to repealing the anti-life provisions of the pro-abortion, pro-rationing Obama health care law passed by Congress in March – a law that Jim Oberstar voted for and helped enact.”

One state organization, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, had already pulled their endorsement of Oberstar and announced support for Cravaack.


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Out of touch? NO! How could a guy whose only local contribution comes from the Dem Mayor of a city in his district be out of touch?

teke184 on October 19, 2010 at 3:37 PM

“Bloody peasants!”
– Monty Python and the Holy Grail

mojo on October 19, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Oberstar defends ObamaCare, calls constituents members of “the Flat Earth Society”
================================
He does have a point!!(sarc)

3-25-2010_Hank_Johnson_Guam_Tip_Over.wmv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg

canopfor on October 19, 2010 at 3:38 PM

I wouldn’t trust this man greeting customers entering my store.

Inanemergencydial on October 19, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Oh, it’s OK, I’m sure Minnesotans LOVE being goofed on and portrayed as idiots from another century.

Aitch748 on October 19, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Ed, your state is gorgeous, but your politicians are the craziest!! ha!!

Tim Zank on October 19, 2010 at 3:40 PM

At least he was not insulting his contributors./

ICBM on October 19, 2010 at 3:41 PM

He’s done.

Oink on October 19, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Oh, it’s OK, I’m sure Minnesotans LOVE being goofed on and portrayed as idiots from another century.

Aitch748 on October 19, 2010 at 3:39 PM

In Oberstar’s defense, this IS a state that elected Jesse Ventura and Al Franken to state-wide office, albeit through the margin of fraud in Franken’s case.

teke184 on October 19, 2010 at 3:41 PM

He has got to get beat if for no other reason then to get off the transportation committee.

gophergirl on October 19, 2010 at 3:43 PM

The only Oberstar constituents that have any influence on him work on Capitol Hill, and can’t vote for him.

RBMN on October 19, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Who drives this guy around when he occasionally visits Minnesota? I’d hate for him to drive himself and get lost.

Vashta.Nerada on October 19, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Another graduate of the Alan Grayson School of Grace and Charm.

kingsjester on October 19, 2010 at 3:46 PM

HISTORY TOPICS Taconite
===========================

Taconite is a flint-like type of rock containing low-grade iron ore. Vast reserves of taconite, with iron concentrations of 30-50%, were discovered in Minnesota in 1870

http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/24taconite.html
==============
On a side note,my grandmother,cook on CSL,hauled taconite
from Duluth,to Algoma Steel,here in the Soo,years ago!!

canopfor on October 19, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Is it safe to say the warmist are the flat earthers? I mean how far did they think they could get pushing a lie.

tarpon on October 19, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Its a shame that Oberstar is traveling on
the Titanic!!(sarc).

canopfor on October 19, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Oberstar countered that “health insurance company bureaucrats’’ already are standing between patients and doctors, denying coverage and looking after corporate “bottom lines’’ rather than patient care.

So lets replace people that have to worry that people will take their business elsewhere with uncaring government bureaucrats that get paid whether you are satisfied or not.

Does that make any sense?

In fact I hear tell that the Obamacarecrats are going to adopt the motto of all federal bureaucrats:

We’re Not happy until you’re Not happy.

Chip on October 19, 2010 at 3:52 PM

it’s off topic, but has anyone noticed how “healthily fruitful” Michelle O’s hips are?

Isn’t she the one who is telling us to cut back?

CynicalOptimist on October 19, 2010 at 3:54 PM

“Jim Oberstar came back to Minnesota’s 8th CD to reconnect to his constituents after almost 50 years in Washington…”

That’s the only add Chip Cravaack needs to run…

Seven Percent Solution on October 19, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Oberstar will promise to build another 460 million linear feet of bike paths everywhere in Minnesota, it’s what he does best. In Minnesota you can find bike paths in the middle of nowhere that go nowhere, sometimes they just dead-end or stop in the middle of nothing.

Bishop on October 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Why don’t his constituents tar and feather this bum and ride him out of town on a rail? On the other hand, they elected the jackass so I guess they deserve him.

rplat on October 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

And Oberstar can remember when the earth was flat…

phreshone on October 19, 2010 at 3:56 PM

“Jim Oberstar came back to Minnesota’s 8th CD to reconnect to his constituents after almost 50 years in Washington…”

That’s the only add Chip Cravaack needs to run…

Seven Percent Solution on October 19, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Seven Percent Solution:So true SPS!!:)

canopfor on October 19, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Those politicians that push so hard for cap and trade, will probably stand to make a lot of money from it. There’s only one reason to pass such unpopular, unfounded, unproven legislation. Power, and or money!

Vote this loser out. He only wants the power over you, and to rob you blind.

capejasmine on October 19, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Bet ya dollars to doughnuts Oberstar has never read the healthcare bill or the cap & trade bill. He’s a follower. You can tell by him trying to quote statistics he’s heard over an actual point of view he has. Then of course he tops it all off by essentially calling the people stupid by saying they are flat earthers. His like so many other Dem’s careers is a FLATLINE.

The Expert Knows
http://theexpertsblog.blogspot.com

HotAirExpert on October 19, 2010 at 3:58 PM

I wonder how many dinosaurs like this will go down next month. This will be like having a front seat to the apocalypse on MSNBC.

closetgop on October 19, 2010 at 3:58 PM

I hear that referring to your constituents in this manner is not the recommended method of getting reelected.

jus sayin’.

ted c on October 19, 2010 at 3:59 PM

If he wins……….Minn. just doesn’t pay attention.

IowaWoman on October 19, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Once he loses, he’ll still be a threat during the lame-duck session. In all these races, we should demand that the Democrat agree not to form a quorum for any budget vote until the new Congress is seated (whether they are members of that Congress or not). All we need are 37 losers to agree not to attend a lame-duck budget cramdown vote, and there would be no quorum. Ask them now! Ask all of the Democrats at risk to commit not to compound their mess with a bad 2011 budget.

MTF on October 19, 2010 at 3:59 PM

I guess Obey is desperate to say such foolish things.

Another nail in the coffin of his political career
See ya Obey

hawkman on October 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM

He looks to me like an angry white male.

Betcha he’s really pissed on November 2nd.

NoDonkey on October 19, 2010 at 4:01 PM

This just doesn’t happen up on “Duh Rain-chuh”, folks.

I’ve been cynical about the chance to oust Oberstar, but,BIG BUT, if he’s getting heckled in “Da’loot”, there may be such a Red Wave coming that it even sweeps away the Jack Pine Savage DFLers in the Arrowhead…

Holy shit.

Bruno Strozek on October 19, 2010 at 4:03 PM

And Oberstar can remember when the earth was flat…

phreshone on October 19, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Weren’t he and Byrd the first elected representatives from Pangea?

Extrafishy on October 19, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Rep. Oberstar is 76 years old.

Isn’t it time for Minnesota to throw him a retirement party?

wren on October 19, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Yes… insulting your constituents… always a sure-fire path to political success.

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Bishop on October 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Well since he sees the people as blithering idiots, he probably figured those dead end, road to nowhere paths wouldn’t be noticed by the peasants!

capejasmine on October 19, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Rep. Oberstar is 76 years old.

Isn’t it time for Minnesota to throw him a retirement party?

wren on October 19, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Can they hold it at the nearest nursing home? ;)

capejasmine on October 19, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Oberstar and HIS Flat Earth Society

maverick muse on October 19, 2010 at 4:11 PM

The former chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus first lost the support of a statewide pro-life group because of his vote for the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill. Now, Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota has lost the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committe

Yes, thanks to ObamaCare the masks are off.

There are no pro-life Democrats.

Blue Dogs delenda est.

INC on October 19, 2010 at 4:12 PM

In Minnesota you can find bike paths in the middle of nowhere that go nowhere, sometimes they just dead-end or stop in the middle of nothing.
Bishop on October 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Well, to be fair, that’s pretty unavoidable in Minnesota. :-)

PackerBronco on October 19, 2010 at 4:14 PM

There are no pro-life Democrats.

Or “fiscally responsible” or “defense hawks” or anything else that isn’t reflexively liberal and left wing.

No brains, no heart and no courage =s today’s absolutely worthless, corrupt and incompetent Democrat Party and their is no Wizard of Oz to help them.

NoDonkey on October 19, 2010 at 4:17 PM

It sounds like that debate was fun for audience members. It’s about time that happened instead of the “looking down our nose” questioning and debate rules of the MSM and League of Women Voters.

ya2daup on October 19, 2010 at 4:18 PM

In Minnesota you can find bike paths in the middle of nowhere that go nowhere, sometimes they just dead-end or stop in the middle of nothing.
Bishop on October 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

So you’re saying the bike paths go all the way to North Dakota? (I keed! I keed! My mother’s family is from ND and MN.)

ya2daup on October 19, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Translation:

One bell= Bring me my slippers

Two bells= Bring me my Caviar

Three bells= Rub my feet

portlandon on October 19, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Another great example of men with legal cover getting into the habit of screwing others for personal profit…until they actually begin to believe that it is the right way to do things. The Repubs and the Dems have passed robbing the middle class back and forth between them for 50 years ( with a brief respite under Reagan for 3 years). Now they are being asked to shoot straight and deal in truth with us, and they have become totally helpless. Fire them all.

jimw on October 19, 2010 at 4:24 PM

canopfor on October 19, 2010 at 3:46 PM

You might want to add that the process to create iron ore pellets from taconite is extremely energy intensive.

ya2daup on October 19, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Rep. Oberstar is 76 years old.

Isn’t it time for Minnesota to throw him a retirement party?

wren on October 19, 2010 at 4:07 PM

But lets not invite him to it.

KW64 on October 19, 2010 at 4:28 PM

AGW DOES EXIST!

But…

My view on global warming has changed over the years. It now consists of the following.

1. Evidence shows warming is not as horrific as environmentalists claim.
2. It’s unclear as to what can be done to reverse the process. (Cap and Trade would do nothing)
3. Politicans propose all the wrong solutions including ones that infringe on peoples rights without proper jusitification.
4. Left leaning politicians are taking advantage of AGW to futher their political machine and to fill their own pockets with money.
5. Left leaning politicians are enormous hypocrates who do not walk the talk they insist everyone else should walk.
6. The reputation of scientific research has been greatly damaged by its relationship with money hungry hypocritical activists.

shick on October 19, 2010 at 4:34 PM

When January comes around in Ely and the average high temp is around 15 degrees Oberspends support of cap and tax will keep his constituents warm.

jpmn on October 19, 2010 at 4:40 PM

canopfor on October 19, 2010 at 3:46 PM
=============================
You might want to add that the process to create iron ore pellets from taconite is extremely energy intensive.

ya2daup on October 19, 2010 at 4:24 PM

ya2daup: I would imagine–:)

canopfor on October 19, 2010 at 4:42 PM

15 degrees was just a guess.
here is the actual average.

http://cityinfo.local.com/city-information/ely-mn-weather

jpmn on October 19, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Jesus Christ Oberstar’s district has changed as the population has shifted in Minnesota. There are a lot of lefties in Duluth and some old school union types up on the Range, but his district now extends into areas that are almost exurban to the Twin Cities. A lot of the 8th is adjacent to Michele Bachmann’s district, which is as bright red as she is. I wasn’t sure whether he could be defeated, but this little shindig shows he’s in more trouble than any of us thought.

Mr. D on October 19, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Sharpen the pitchforks. Warm up the torches.

Socratease on October 19, 2010 at 5:04 PM

calls constituents members of “the Flat Earth Society”

I thought those that discarded the scientific method for faith based “science” lived in other states. Mann in Pennsylvania, Hanson in New York, ect.

MNHawk on October 19, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Hey Meghan McCain – Does Oberstar have enough “experience” for you?

toongoon on October 19, 2010 at 5:06 PM

I really is quite stunning to see so many Democrat solons blatantly crapping on those they expect to elect them. I don’t sense this has been quite so clear as recently, though the disdain they feel for the bums who elect such…people…as they, you have to wonder what is being used for brains. But to tell the idiots who vote for you what mental defectives they really are…wow, real candor…

Harry Schell on October 19, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Hope Oberstar likes the Change when he’s retired.

GarandFan on October 19, 2010 at 6:13 PM

None of the jobs Oberstar highlights are permanent. They will at best last a few months, perhaps one or two years in terms of the airport terminals Oberstar mentions.

Only partially. As those roads will need maintainence and monitoring, they add to the public sector payrolls and expenditures which increases jobs, but the cost belongs to the taxpayers.

TinMan13 on October 19, 2010 at 7:12 PM

How does any state keep electing a lifeform this intellectually bankrupt? One by one these dinosaurs reveal ignorance that is mindboggling. The democrats exploit this ignorance like a master and his subjects. Franken proved that.

volsense on October 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

The bankruptcy of mining, manufacturing and energy generation is a feature, not a bug. After all, humans are the least important thing on earth. They’re the bottom of the food-chain. A pristine earth free of human influence is much more important than unemployment or even all human lives. Pardon the non-vegan simile, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

-what a typical eco-nazi thinks.

theCork on October 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

shick on October 19, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I’m going to steal your post outright, but emphasize #1. I tire of the failed predictions. I’m old enough to remember them. Jerks.

theCork on October 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Pay up
Shut up
You’re a racist
Vote for me

Mojave Mark on October 19, 2010 at 8:29 PM

Declaring “carbon” an enemy when it is a basic building block of all lifeforms is nothing short of suicidal insanity.

“Environmentalist” = new name for “Eugenicist”.

landlines on October 19, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Ed, you may want to consider not falling into the “name that party” trap. I’m sure it’s not intentional on your part, like the MSM is notorious for. I try to keep informed but there are so many people out there that it’s very difficult to know everyone. Please, for us that can’t keep up, identify the individual’s party. I’m assuming this guy’s a Dem because of his point of view but please don’t you assume that we all know who all of these people are. I’ve noticed it much more as we get closer to the election. Just some constructive criticism here because I really enjoy your work and I love hearing you on the Dana show on Monays (I’m a St Louisan) but I just can’t keep track sometimes. Thanks…

Big John on October 19, 2010 at 10:28 PM

#10-7 of the top ten dubious (and angry) Oberstar debate moments:

End of the debate, Oberstar reacts to crowd chanting “Chip, Chip, Hooray!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmrllKx7ynE&feature=channel

Oberstar says if you don’t like clean water, you can join the Supreme court.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU9v9depK80&feature=channel

Oberstar demonizes Justice Scalia of SCOTUS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2HR2A50qk0&feature=channel

And believe me, this is just touching the surface. Oberstar was grumpy, snippy, and lashing out at the audience at every turn.

darkmetal on October 20, 2010 at 8:53 AM

I see from the pic he’s drinking Dasani water.
Doesn’t he care about the INdians of India?
What a racist.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Oberstar says if you don’t like clean water, you can join the Supreme court.

darkmetal on October 20, 2010 at 8:53 AM

LOL! Your post supports the man’s hypocrisy!
Dasani is UNCLEAN!
The man is a SHAM! LOL!

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Dasani = well marketed tap water.

The way that Oberstar was acting, I personally thought he might be drinking vodka;)

darkmetal on October 20, 2010 at 9:35 AM

I’m going to steal your post outright, but emphasize #1. I tire of the failed predictions. I’m old enough to remember them. Jerks.

theCork on October 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Dont mind that you do as long as you include that I think AGW is legit.

shick on October 20, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Hide the Party.

No where is the party stated.

Guess you assume everyone knows party affiliation of all House members.

I believe he is a Democrat but not sure.

Steveangell on October 20, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I have to disagree on a few points. All construction jobs are temporary. General contractors employ small permanent staffs that put out bids for subcontractors on every new project. When a highway or an airport is put out for bid, the government is not building it, private general contractors and subcontractors are. ANY building projects are stimulative to the private construction industry as a whole and the manufacturing industries that supply the building materials. They can be less stimulative than privately generated projects, as what is built is generally not a revenue producing entity but something that will need even more tax money to run on, thus benefiting the public sector. The problem is you can’t juice government projects enough to save the economy and the industry, there’s just not enough of them do that, and you take away the incentive for private projects to get built when the money is diverted to taxes and the owners can’t get financing from banks because they are overboard scared and neutered against all risk these days. If the government wants to stimulate private construction, they need to clear the paths for financing and regulation and it will happen on its own and be done more efficiently. I have seen over the last few years so many private projects (hundreds and hundreds just in my state) in the pipeline being cancelled or put on indefinite hold because financing simply isn’t available. What we would have now without ARRA projects and the like is somewhat less construction firms going belly up. Hardly a magical cure. The economy needs private projects to get built period and it’s just almost completely shut down.

Allahs vulva on October 20, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Ed was not saying no one was employed by these projects. He was saying they are either no longer employed or will not be when project is finished in a year or two.

These construction jobs are fine in some cases. In others they are simply a huge waste of money. Boston big dig for example wasted about half in fraud (not counting highly inflated union workers pay). Rail is almost always a huge waste of money. It is simply not efficient as most American cities are too big for it to work well. Rail lines between cities have also not proven to be cost effective. They require huge government subsidies to continue operation. Money that would be much better spent in the private sector.

Steveangell on October 20, 2010 at 2:14 PM