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The Divider Who's a Uniter

The best news about the health care bill is that only one Republican voted for it and most moderate Democrats voted against it.  Even the few moderate Democrats who were persuaded to push it over the top are saying apologetically that, of course, compromise with the Senate is bound to improve it.  It's also good, of course, to see Speaker Pelosi, someone most Americans deeply distrust, gushing about her personal triumph.

What we have here, as with the stimulus package, is a failure of presidential leadership.  Obama's deference to Congress has pushed his party too far to the left for its own good, united the Republicans, and pushed independents and moderates in the GOP direction.  As Yuval Levin pointed out in NEWSWEEK, the Republicans are now far more united against the president than are the Democrats united with him.  The moderates from the swing districts fear losing their jobs.  The unapologetic liberals from the safe districts are complaining loudly that our liberal president ain't boldly liberal enough when it comes to both social issues and additional stimulation.

Now the Republicans clearly don't need to moderate themselves to get with the tide of History.  They need to distinguish themselves clearly to give a real choice to voters anxious about a tide they don't really remember voting for (although in a way they did).  Even genuinely left-of-center moderates don't fear right-of-center, socially conservative candidates at this point.  The point now is to elect savvy antidotes to the president and especially Pelosi.  Let's hope that this great opportunity--partly the result of unforced errors by our president--brings forward Republican leaders worthy of it.   

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 14 Comments

I think another plausible interpretation was by Mark Steyn over at NRO's The Corner. If the Democrats can somehow get a private health insurance destroying plan through Congress, the structural change will be worth the price payed by Democrats in Congress in 2010. Again like the stimulus, Pelosicare is only a failure of presidential leadership if one assumes that there is a lot of ideological distance between Pelosi and Obama on healthcare.

I was struck by how awful most of the House Republican looked during the debate. They looked like they were straight out of 1930s Hollywood central casting for old political hacks. McDonnell looked alot better on Fox News Sunday.

Barack Obama is 48 years old. He was never in the military; he has not since quitting his copy editor job in 1984 been employed in a commercial enterprise; he has never been an officer of any public agency not devoted to serving him; he, did, however, run the Chicago Annenberg Challenge into the ground. He had no interest in practicing law, no manifest interest in engaging in and publishing scholarly work on the sort of law he was teaching, and no urgent interest (during the worst financial crisis in 75 years) in learning much about the experience of a country (Sweden) which had successfully navigated such a crisis 16 years ago. Why the sam hill would anyone expect 'leadership' from him?

Obama's and the radical left's healthcare has everything to do with power. The U.S. has gone down the slippery slope of putting value on human life by allowing abortion. The average abortion costs about $1,200 and it doesn't matter whether the unborn baby is in the womb or becomes a victim of a botched abortion and is left to die in a supply room. Obama and the radical left are now sliding further down the slippery slope by wanting to turn over the healthcare industry to the government which is going to ultimately lead to rationing. So Grandpa Smith who worked hard all is life, played by the rules, paid his taxes, might have even fought for his country, raised his children and contributed to Social Security now has a disease or illness that is terminal. The government healthcare system decides that because his illness is costly and ultimately going to result in his death, that there will be no funds for his care. He gets to take Tylenol and hope for the best. Like the aborted baby for $1200, a value has now been put on Grandpa Jones' life. A guy who played by the rules and did the right thing.

The prisons systems in the United States are referred to (political correctness) as "correctional institutions". This we all know is hogwash. The prisons systems are fenced-in hospitals for the mentally ill and people with personality disorders that cannot function in society. The members of this system are given everything including lawyers to help get them out of prisons and back into society were they have a 80% chance of ending right back into prison. They have no value to society and don't deserve more than 3 meals a day, a toliet and a bed. However, the radical left loves these people. Left-winged judges and parole boards let sexual predators out who in turn rape more women, children and in the case of Phil Garrido abduct and terrorize a young child for 18 years. California's prison population is 25% illegal aliens, including the dirtbag who killed the father and two boys in San Francisco. The San Francisco police department knew that one this guy was an illegal alien and he had a record of violent crimes that he had committed. Whenever someone is going to be executed at San Quenten, the radical left comes out in droves crying and hysterically claiming that it is wrong to kill anyone. Of course that anyone excludes unborn children and Granpda Jones. The radical left was out in droves to prevent Tookie Williams from being executed - yes, the Tookie who started the gangs - gangs that kill and terrorize the cities in the U.S.

So let's play Obama's silly game. We will take Grandpa Jones and determine how much it is going to cost to keep Grandpa alive and comfortable, because he contributed something of value to society in the form of working, paying taxes, raising children, fighting for his country, and being a good citizen. We will then take for example, ummmm okay Susan Atkins, who killed Sharon Tate and her unborn child during a drug-induced, irresponsible night of terror on innocent people, who is dying of brain cancer and has costs the California taxpayers over a million dollars in healthcare and we decide who we want to live and pay for the medical care. AHH, I pick Grandpa Jones. So then, Susan Atkins gets a Dr. Kervokian Koupon and Grandpa Jones gets the money that we would spend on Susan Atkins for her meals, healthcare. etc. Better yet, I would rather have the unborn child be born and invest the money in that child than Susan Atkins.

If we took this approach we would save Billions and Billions of taxpayer money from maintaining prisons. This savings can be put into healthcare for everyone who contributes positively to society. Remember - it is Obama and his radical left they are putting value on human life. Not me.

I would also point out that from the perspective of a liberal, Obama's go for broke (in every sense) strategy makes sense. Take it as a given that the unemployment rate over the next year will do what it will do and have a major impact on the midterm elections. So there is a good chance that the Democrats will have a tough year for reasons that are out of Obama's control. You might as well get the most of the time between now and then. If you are Obama that is. If you are a swing-district Democrat House member or a red state Democrat Senator, you might feel different.

There are two major narratives of the 1994 election.

1. The liberal narrative is that Congress failed to pass HillaryCare and that this enraged independents who voted Republican and caused liberals to stay home and sulk.

2. The conservative narrative is that Clinton went too far left by raising taxes, banning guns, and trying to take over the health system and provoked the public into voting Republican.

I think that the Republican narrative has a lot more truth, but looking back it is surprising how little liberal domestic policy Clinton actually got through Congress. He raised income taxes on top earners. He banned some kinds of guns. He didn't get his stimulus plan, which at 47 billion, looks like a busy weekend of earmarking by Ted Stevens. He didn't really move the country's policy in a liberal direction all that much. If Obama can, by hook, crook, or reconcilliation, get something like the House bill through Congress he will have shifted America's institutional arrangements in a way that Clinton never approached. Thats not even counting the stimulus and whatever else passes between now and next November. If I were a social democratic leaning liberal, that would be plenty to leave me happy with Obama's leadership, even if the congressional Democrats take a hit next year.

"The prisons systems are fenced-in hospitals for the mentally ill and people with personality disorders that cannot function in society."

Mabye in comic book movies. I think the majority of the people are there drug related offenses.

If I were a social democratic leaning liberal, that would be plenty to leave me happy with Obama's leadership, even if the congressional Democrats take a hit next year.

If we have a failed Treasury bond auction, would that leave you 'plenty happy'?

I think the majority of the people are there drug related offenses.

Perhaps true for the 11% or so who are in federal prisons. Not even close for the whole.

GREAT headline, Peter!

And yeah, the American people did vote for this, and that they did so without fully understanding they were, is in a way, worse. Can't blame all of this on McCain's incompetent campaigning, or on general Republican complacency/corrruption under Bush. You'll get no Reaganesque celebrations of "the abiding wisdom of the American people" from me on this one. No, you can't fool them all the time, or for very very long, but you can fool them at the crucial times, and you can rely on them forgetting their past resolutions to not be fooled again.
They didn't know? Man, they didn't want to know. All the key facts were there, but they (I really mean moderates, indepependents, Republicans either purist or 'open-minded") wanted to display their oh-so-righteous anger toward W. and co. They just willfully dismissed many years of hard-earned conservative wisdom about what the Dems in control of all three branches had to mean, what Obama's voting record had to mean, and about how reliable Obama's moderate noises had to be.
So now at the 11th hour, in perhaps a May 1940 moment in terms of averting a disastrous turn in American development (to be a lil' histrionic), we are reduced to hoping that heroic political action on the part of the American people and the dwindling breed of moderates might save the day, and make up for the years of mistakes prior.

Some other day, I'll give you the silver lining about how great it was that mediocre meal-mouthed McCain wasn't elected but uber-lib Obama was, just so Americans could be reminded of the key differences and all. I'll throw in some pol sci stuff about how the demos gets ruled by common opinion, and thus how we ought to set our sights low and navigate the reliably fickle popular opinion dynamics that we are stuck with. Some other day.

"Caral," whoever you are, that's a great comment!

Good comments, especially from Pete and Carl. Another variant of the Obama is craftier than he seems theory is that allowing the House to pass a bill that can't pass in the Senate shores up his left flank and will make the eventual compromise legislation seem a lot more moderate than it really is. I also agree that that the Republicans have been looking lame.

AD, yeah you figured me out. The point is that if I were a social democrat, I would have all kinds of (I believe wrongheaded) assumptions that would lead me to not worry much about the collapse of the US government's ability to borrow. They would include the assumption that increased government spending would lead to sustainable economic growth, that government-run healthcare will spur job creation, and that cap and trade and targeted subsidies will lead to a tidal wave of green jobs.

Also, the expansion of government programs will lead to the recruiting of millions and tens of millions of new government clients so that even if there were a real budget cut and the Republicans took over, they would be boxed in. The expansion of spending would hae created a political coalition that would make paring the government back to pre-Obama levels impossible. In order to avoid the collapse of American finances, the Republicans would have to institute broad based (read: middle-class) tax increases that social democrats might be in favor of, but not want the political blame for. The Republicans might also trim some benefits and programs, but not enough to change the basic dynamic - in other words just enough to get painted as both tax raisers and tightwads. To paraphrase Sideshow Bob, "You can't keep the Republicans out of the White House forever, but you can force them to be the tax collectors for the corporatist/welfare state."

I don't share any of those assumptions and would be horrified at such an outcome. But if I were a social democrat, I might conclude that Obama is a shrewd, bold and farseeing leader

Brutus:

You think that the majority of people in prison are there on drug-related offenses - great. Engaging in a discussion with a liberal is like having a dicussion with Charles Manson, who by the way in prison for murder which his ganged committed while on druges. But I vote to let out the people in prision on drug-related charges and sentence them to live in your house. AFter all - they are just in prison for drug-related offenses and should be just fine living with you.

I'm a liberal? Thoughts on that one Craig?


You are asserting that it was the drugs and not manson's cult of personality that inspired the murders? I'm sure a weapon was used, why not ban them as well? I believe prison, is funded by taxes? So, they are actually living in both our houses right now, although I suppose we keep them locked in the broom closet and that's why we don't have crime. I think you bring up an interesting idea though, why have prisons; it's just more government run things. We as free citizens should step up and take responsibility of these criminals ourselves. We can all build a shed out back with a slot for meals ect. I actually like this idea, send me what we pay to run the prisons and I'll take the prisoners off you hands. The point in that to me is: if the people had to face those criminals and actually provide for them directly would we be locking as many people up for nonviolent crime. You do realize that no matter how many you lock up there are more out there. I think that the illusion of safety is the greatest tool used by the fascist/socialist paradigm to control its "people."

I have commented on a comment that had little to do with the blog post and then responded to a comment on that comment. I'm sorry and trying to stop and I did it in this post in a sarcastic and crappy way I am sorry to you cowgirl.

Half of the people who are in prison are there because of paternalistic law and the other half are there because they are too poor to get good attorneys. and 1% are guilty of crimes that are probably the byproduct of some mental disability.

So 101% of inmates don't deserve to be in prison?

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