Things are going from bad to worse for the president and his Democratic supporters. His signature health care legislation is, as many of us predicted, a monstrosity built on lies that has already resulted in millions of cancelled policies, exorbitant costs that are only beginning to be understood, major impacts on business and jobs (none of them good), and worse of all, a hidden tax on the middle class that will even further dampen economic activity.
As the Democrats hunker down to try and defend the indefensible, a common talking point is this: "Why won't the GOP be reasonable and help fix the law." The implication is that with the GOP's help, Obamacare can still become healthcare nirvana. And this from a Democratic party that has done everything to demonize its opponent.
Rich Lowry comments on this narrative:
It’s a little late to get or expect any Republican buy-in, though. That would have required serious compromise back in 2009, when Democrats, at the high tide of their power in the Obama era, saw no reason to make any. They ignored the polls, they ignored Scott Brown’s shocking win in Massachusetts, and they ignored normal parliamentary practices to pass the single most partisan piece of major social legislation in a century.Back at the Obama White House, the administration is in a defensive crouch. Valery Jarret tweeted that it's a fact that :
They insisted on this particular law, at this particular time. They own it. They own every canceled policy, every rate increase, every unintended consequence and every unpopular intended consequence. It is theirs, lock, stock and two smoking barrels.
But they can’t stop whining.
“nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans.”This assertion is, of course, demonstrably untrue, but a White House that insisted that a bad movie review lead to violence in Benghazi has no reservation whatsoever about doubling down on the lies. And that is what they're doing.
The real question isn't whether the administration gets the website fixed or whether people sign up. It's not even whether Obamacare goes into an insurance death spiral—the old and sick and poor get coverage and the young and healthy stay away. If that happens, premiums will rise precipitously, causing more young and healthy folks to bail. The death spiral begins.
The question is this: Will Obamacare cause major, potentially irreparable damage to our healthcare system? It might, and that would be a tragedy.
Another meme that continues to be used by the president's supporters is that the GOP had done everything possible to derail Obamacare. That may be true. As an opposition party that was completely excluded form any meaningful input to the legislation in 2009, that's not the least bit surprising. James Taranto comments:
Salon.com reports approvingly that at yesterday's hearing, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois said "what many Democrats have long been thinking": "After a 3½-year campaign to repeal, to discredit, to even shut down the government over ObamaCare, I want to say, get over it!"
She was addressing Republicans, and her implication here is that they are losers who refuse to accept defeat. That's an odd thing for a member of the minority party to say to her colleagues.
But in any case, "Get over it!" constitutes an attempt to change the subject. Yes, ObamaCare opponents lost the legislative and legal contests and enough electoral contests to make the law's implementation impossible to forestall. But it's the supporters who ought to get over it, for they are the ones accountable for the disaster now unfolding.
Update - II (11/1/13)
It's reasonable to ask why Obama lied about our ability to keep our of existing health plans. Did he honestly believe the lie would not be uncovered, that no one would notice? Or, as many good progressives believe, did he truly feel that his version of a "good" health insurance policy would win out—even if it was implemented coercively, cost more, and provided redundant, unnecessary coverage.
Daniel Greenberg (h/t: Richard Fernandez) discusses the post modern world of progressive leaders who form an opinion, develop a concept, give it a name, and then claim it will lead to great things and of course, social justice. The one thing they all forget is implementation—the hard work of making it real, effective, and beneficial. He writes:
Competence is built on the unhappy understanding that things won’t work because you want them to, they won’t work if you go through the motions, they will only work if you understand how a thing works and then make it work by building it, by testing it and by expecting failure every step of the way and wrestling with the problem until you get it right.Those of us who build real things understand this. But the Washington elite? They're far more comfortable with their fantasies, until reality intrudes. And what does reality tell us? There is no magic. Just hard work.
That’s modernity. It isn’t glamorous. You can see it in black and white photos of men working on old planes. You can see it in the eyes of the astronauts who first went to the moon. You can read it in the workings of the men who built the longest suspension bridges, laid undersea cables and watched their world change. They were moderns and their time is done. …
Our own cargo culters invoke FDR and JFK, they talk about the New Deal and the Great Society, they make grand promises and roll out big programs, and then they wait for it all to work. They don’t understand themselves how or why it would work. But government is magic and the appearance of a thing is just as good as a real deal. … All you need to do is remember the great dreams of the past, listen to a few inspirational JFK speeches and then carve a computer out of wood and wait for free health care to arrive.
Update - III (11/2/13)
Barack Obama still has plenty of trained hamsters in the media—among them Gloria Borger and Wolfe Blitzer at CNN. This particular brand of hamster insists that Barack Obama is a victim of the incompetence of the US Government, that he is completely blameless in the many scandals, screw-ups, mistakes, and very bad decisions that have populated the last five years. Mark Steyn comments:
CNN has been pondering what they call “a particularly tough few days at the White House.” “Four out of five Americans have little or no trust in their government to do anything right,” says chief political analyst Gloria Borger. “And now Obama probably feels the same way.” Our hearts go out to him, poor wee disillusioned thing. We are assured by the headline writers that the president was “unaware” of Obamacare’s website defects, and the NSA spying, and the IRS targeting of his political enemies, and the Justice Department bugging the Associated Press, and pretty much anything else you ask him about. But, as he put it, “nobody’s madder than me” at this shadowy rogue entity called the “Government of the United States” that’s running around pulling all this stuff. And, once he finds out who’s running this Government of the United States rogue entity, he’s gonna come down as hard on him as he did on that videomaker in California; he’s gonna send round the National Park Service SWAT team to teach that punk a lesson he won’t forget.Heh.