August 18th, 2009
03:10 PM ET
5 years ago

Conservative: Dems looking 'schizophrenic' on reform

Matt Kibbe, the president and CEO of conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks said Tuesday that Democrats are looking 'schizophrenic' on health care reform.
Matt Kibbe, the president and CEO of conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks said Tuesday that Democrats are looking 'schizophrenic' on health care reform.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The president of a conservative group accused of "astroturfing" the recent protests at congressional town halls suggested Tuesday that a rift is showing in the Democratic Party on health care reform.

A day after Democrats took to the airwaves to push back on recent comments from an Obama cabinet member about the administration's possible willingness to compromise on a public health insurance option and two days after a longtime Clinton ally suggested Democrats should lay the groundwork to blame Republicans during the 2010 mid-term elections if health care reform legislation is not passed by year's end, the president and CEO of conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks said the health care reform debate is now "a debate between Democrats in their own party."

"I think you're seeing the White House and Democrats in Congress getting pulled in both directions," Matt Kibbe said. "They look schizophrenic and they are. One day they're for the government-run option and the next day they're for a compromise position."

Related: Sebelius reiterates support for public option

"We are going to stop this process," Kibbe told a gathering of conservative bloggers and online activists, "and we probably won't see any bill this year. When we do that, we need to make sure that we offer a positive alternative." Kibbe described the current health care system as "wildly corrupted" by government regulation. "We have always believed in a system that is focused on what patients need – not what third parties need. . . . We really want to get at an individualized system where patients are in charge of things."

Kibbe denied that FreedomWorks had done anything out of the ordinary to precipitate the sometimes angry protests and confrontations that have occurred recently as members of Congress in both parties hold town hall meetings with their constituents during the August recess.

In an interview with CNN, Kibbe described conservatives who opposed health care reform as "a very loosely associated network of organizations that go all the way to citizens' kitchen tables. No one's being paid. No one's being orchestrated. We just get the word out to people. We've done this for every congressional recess for the last 20 years."

"The thing that's different is the Internet and more people can get more information quickly," said Kibbe. "And so they're able to find out where the town hall meetings are and they're able to find out more about what the issues are."

Related: Health care in America


Filed under: Democrats • Health care
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Mississippi Mike

    Pelosi said that have an all-Democrat Congress would provide a wealth of ideological diversity. While I doubt she really wants that diversity, here it is. It looks like some of these legislators want to get re-elected next year and know that voting for a crappy health care package is toxic.

    August 18, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. montag24

    "We have always believed in a system that is focused on what patients need – not what third parties need. . ."

    Right. Unless the third parties are health insurance or Big Pharma campaign contributors.

    Shame on you.

    August 18, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. J TN

    We are all suckers if we let the special interests, paid lobbyists and crooked republicans and democrats fool us into thinking that health care reform is a danger to us. It is absolutely essential for so many reasons for our representatives in Washington to get this done.
    Listening to people who trash our government is absolutely counter productive. We live in a country based on democratically elected representatives of the people themselves. The only thing wrong with our government is that lobbyists are allowed to pay for influence on Capitol Hill and change our elected officials into their representatives instead of ours. The biggest mistake Obama has made is not eliminating paid lobbyists on capitol hill before trying to tackle health care reform. I also really believe half the people on these blogs that attack health care reform are actually shills for these lobbyists and special interests, trying to manipulate public opinion any way they can.
    Believe me, the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies have plenty of money to pay thousands of people to do just that. Unfortunately it seems to be working. The United States of Sheep are letting them buy public opinion just like they are buying our elected representatives. Please, help us all if we fail to get this done. It will likely be our last chance.

    August 18, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Crock

    stay on course..we need a public option..

    .and make the rep's/senators, ' vote their paycheck' ....show their true colors

    August 18, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. getting pulled in both directions

    then show some spine and plan ahead and back it up

    don't shoot first and fly with the wind, or poll

    think the problem first and make some sausage

    August 18, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Enough

    It's just the Democrats playing their usual political games!! They want to have it both ways.........funny how poorly they behave when they are in total control!! The mess they are making is their fault and their fault alone. Pretty scary for them, since they love to point fingers and blame everyone else for their disasters!!!!! Can't wait for 2010 when their sorry butts are thrown out of office.

    August 18, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. George

    AT least the dems are looking one way or the other on reform. The republicans are looking away, and could care less about the health care of people who voted them in. Remember this in 2012 people.
    No matter what happens, the republicans will ignore our needs for the greed of their drug companies CEOs. They buy republicans every day like kids buying candy.

    August 18, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Canadian Soccer Mom

    Realistically, does it make sense to listen to a conservative's or a Republican's critique of any of what the administration is doing? Are they ever going to give credit where credit is due? No, it's not in their interest so I don't see why they should be listened to unless they are giving constructive ideas or solutions.

    August 18, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Bon

    This might surprise conservatives, but it is possible to WANT your position to win, but be mature enough to compromise with others.

    August 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Jeff

    I don't think Kibbe knows what Schizophrenia is. A better comparison would be that his belief that any progress will occur if the current bill fails is a delusion worthy of being called Schizophrenia.

    August 18, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. TCM

    liberal dems have no depth to them; empty suits just like Obama, and it shows when the chips are down.... its just that the liberals are being seen for the idiots that they truly are...why is this a surprise? This isn't newsworthy; we've all known that when it comes to taking care of the country that it's been conservatives, both repub and dem that have done the job. Liberal whiners are merely the fringe radicals that always want something for nothing...and demand it under the guise of "fairness...."

    August 18, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. carlo

    The Republican Party has had the majority more than once and NOT ONE TIME have they tried to reform healthcare or anything else for that matter. All they ever do is cut stuff and start wars.

    They should have had a plan by now, especially considering they are always yelling about how much they want reform, too. They don't have a plan because they are busy obstructing. This isn't about the welfare of the American people, this is about making sure that Obama fails.

    August 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Fair is Fair

    Yup... that about sums it up correctly.

    August 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. alvino

    But the GOP is psychotic.

    August 18, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Steph

    Kibbe, my dear idiot, this administration is trying to find a way to bring health insurance reform (much needed reform) to the American people. This is not a political game for all of us Americans (and I'm a working American with "good" but very expensive health insurance) who fear we will be dropped when we need insurance the most. I also don't want to run this country into the ground with health care costs that continue to rise the way they have been. The status quo is not an option!!!

    August 18, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. I can see Canada from my house!

    I have news for Mr. Kibbe: patients are not in charge, the insurance companies are. Healthcare costs have increased by almost 100% for the average family over the last 10 years, and we get less for what we are paying for. The third parties he refers to are the ones who are supplying him with the funding he needs to derail any substantive effort at reform: in other words, the insurance companies. They are the one who are "wildly corrupted", not the government. The sad thing is that he knows it and does not care. The only thing that matters to him is scoring a cheap political victory at the expense of working people.

    August 18, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. HEH

    you must admit, the dems are being rather flip-floppy on their position. They seem desperate – one day Sebbilius will say something, the press will jump on it, then the next day they will 'elaborate'; on what they REALLY meant. Its the same thing they do with Biden.

    Love em or hate em, at least you know where the republicans stands – all for reform, just not for Gov't run healthcare

    August 18, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. alvino

    If the Democratic Party was entirely made up of single issue voters like the right wingnuts in the GOP, there would be no need for discussion and debate.

    Go Dems! Bring us health care reform.

    August 18, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. J.C. - Independent & Insured

    President Obama is sticking with his belief in a public option. And he is right. The public option is just a (though large) sliver of the reform bill. We also have to control costs and eliminate wastes. The reason why he is letting Congress brainstorm for good ideas is because he respects our democracy. Would you rather have some dictator throw the book at you and say "This is what you must do."? We knew it did not work.

    August 18, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Kathy Anderson

    If the people who oppose President Obama's healthcare plan lost their Medicare and were forced to purchase it from a private insurance company like everybody else, they would change their views saying that Medicare would be socialism and take away men's freedom, they wouldn't have any health care today. I pay $800 a month for healthcare from Aetna. My company's CEO makes $10 million a year. I have to get approval for most tests my doctors say I need. I am not covered for pre-existing conditions. These old bald silver haired farts that show up at these town hall meetings are already on a government insurance plan! They obviously are uninformed, uneducated and don't know what they are even talking about! Take away ALL government health plans then and let them purchase it themselves...like they everybody else to do. Discrimination??

    August 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Julie

    So more of the same insurance system that we have now? You're happy with healthcare being a for-profit industry with the bottom line, CEO and top management huge compensation packages, stockholders interests before the patient, and an increase of denials of care to patients. Yeah that sounds like patients and doctors are really in control of things. The Party of big business wants to continue with their party and we'll continue to get shafted with higher premiums, fewer choices of insurances, and increases in denials of care. Sounds great! Where's the open discussions of real alternatives and ideas? It's lost in the screaming and ranting of people acting like 5 year olds in a toy department when told they won't get their way. Too sad for the rest of us stuck paying $12,000 a year for our great HMO plan. I think all Americans should have the same kind of coverage as our elected officials. Afterall, they are suppose to work FOR US.

    August 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Angie in PA

    Freedom Works
    They are Responsible for the Lies the Lying E- Mails to scare the Public to go against this Bill THEY ARE CORPORATE LOBBYSIT!! CNN Please report the Truth on Freedom works as well as prosperity for america ALL CORPORATE LOBBYSIT PR FIRMS TO KILL BILLS!

    August 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Carole

    He is right.

    Dems should have their people carry guns, wear Nazi emblems, say the Republican Isaakson who created the bill on end of life is killing grannie, and don't forget tricking people from other countries to put on ads that they don't know about.

    Who is the Schizo pal?

    August 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Stacey, California

    The republicans offering a "possitive alternative" – unlikely. There's nothing reasonable or possitive about this party. I would eat my own feet if they prove otherwise. I hope that the Democrats are not too quick to accept anything the Republicans offer, that could be a monkey wrench in disguise.

    August 18, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. mdf

    Gosh, I wonder how many major insurance companies provide funding and talking points to Kibbe's little Freedumbwerks gang. What happened to the good old days when journalists actually got to the bottom of who's funding what organizations? If this cold reality were made public, maybe the sleepy fools who buy into the spin would start to wake up and smell the coffee - instead of irrationally shouting down lawmakers at town-hall meetings.

    August 18, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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