FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Obama Offers The GOP Distractions
The Democrat party is in disarray. It is led by a pathological liar who has no credibility with the nation or with anyone but the most mindless partisans in the media and Congress. As Obamacare continues to be a veritable Pandora’s Box of evils seemingly designed to drive insurance companies out of the business and strip most Americans of their health insurance, vulnerable Democrat officials are looking for ways to distance themselves from both the man and his plan. Louisiana Senatory Mary Landrieu found an urgent engagement elsewhere when Obama showed up to give a speech in New Orleans. Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor has been reduced to blaming Jesus for his Obamacare vote.
In face of this the Democrats have returned to their old standby: misrepresentation and diversion.
Some weeks ago I wrote about how the Democrats were attempting to use a three-pronged strategy. First, they were conflating Obamacare with the Healthcare.gov website (see Healthcare.gov: Beware the Shiny Object). Second, they intended to challenging us to “fix” it (See Obamacare and the Governing Trap). Third, they are attempting to change the national conversation from Obamacare to some other shiny object. The first strategy is deadly because even the feckless gits in the White House will eventually figure out how to get the Healthcare.gov website running. No matter that they are giving your personal information to the Russian Mob or anyone else with the ambition to crack their non-existent security protocols. The second is positively lethal because it would make the GOP complicit in the insurance meltdown and give the GOP a vested interest in saving Obamacare. The third is equally lethal in that it results in us fighting 2014 and 2016 on turf of the Democrats’ choosing, not the ground we wish to fight on.
With the dependability of a high quality chronometer Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker weighed in yesterday on the subject. Apologies for the extended quote but there is a lot of good stuff in here.
As the government health-care Web site chugs along, the Obama administration has begun a counter-initiative to combat Republican naysaying — and its weapons are of superior grade.
Even if the president at times resemblesBaghdad Bob, the Iraqi spokesman who said everything’s fine here as U.S. bombs exploded in the background, Republicans are the shock-and-awe gang with no plan for the day after.
Democrats have targeted the GOP’s soft spot, which is a hard line on social services. Thus, when Republicans want to drastically cut food stamps, it is a piece of cake (and not the moldy sort Marie Antoinette suggested the peasants eat) to designate conservatives as cruel and heartless.
When Republicans say the health-care plan is doomed, a train wreck, a disaster, etc. — and offer no hopeful options — they appear to be rooting only for failure.
What Democrats know keenly — and Republicans seem never to learn — is that positive beats negative every time. Thus, we see MSNBC’s clever montage of Republican negativity: A series of unfriendly faces decrying the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with apocalyptic language. Which would any everyday American prefer? The healer or the doomsayer? The elves or the orcs?
Then what? What alternative solutions are Republicans hiding behind their backs?
Frank Macchiarola, former Republican staff director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (and my patient guide through the ACA) proposes in a commentary , co-written with Republican former senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, that the GOP lead with solutions rather than piling on criticism. The authors agree with Democrats’ goal to expand access to care, including to those with preexisting conditions. But the cure, they suggest, is in targeted policy solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Given the president’s low favorability rating these days — with 52 percent of voters saying they don’t trust him and 60 percent disapproving of his handling of health care, according to last month’s Quinnipiac poll — Democrats are scurrying to shift attention from Republican opportunity to the hope formula that worked so well in the past.
The same aspirational attitude could work for Republicans, too, if they can stop shaking their heads long enough. “No” gets you nothing but nothing — and gloating floats no boats.
This leave this for a moment and go to yet another utterly banal, lie-laced speech by Obama yesterday you see the strategy trotted out.
And that’s why, even as I will keep on offering my own ideas for expanding opportunity, I’ll also keep challenging and welcoming those who oppose my ideas to offer their own. If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let’s hear them. I want to know what they are. If you don’t think we should raise the minimum wage, let’s hear your idea to increase people’s earnings. If you don’t think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you’d do differently to give them a better shot.
If you still don’t like Obamacare — and I know you don’t — (laughter) — even though it’s built on market-based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector, then you should explain how, exactly, you’d cut costs, and cover more people, and make insurance more secure. You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you’re against. (Applause.) That way we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate. That’s what the American people deserve. That’s what the times demand. It’s not enough anymore to just say we should just get our government out of the way and let the unfettered market take care of it — for our experience tells us that’s just not true. (Applause.)
To underscore the futility of actually doing anything in regards to Obamacare, we have his vow to not repeal it.
“We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president,” said Obama, who was flanked by Americans who have benefited from aspects of the law. He said, “If I have to fight another three years to make sure that this law works, then that’s what I’ll do.”
So, really the only option he is offering the GOP is to work within a framework that is showing itself to be unworkable. This is not a good faith offer.
Back to the Parker article, I’m not sure why any sane person would want to be associated with anything produced by Kay Bailey Hutchinson or her hangers-on but is shows that there is a substantial portion of the GOP, mostly in the Senate, that is willing to go the Vichy route.
When it comes to Obamacare we can win by doing nothing but highlighting the way it is bringing fire and sword to the American economy. That the rent-seekers that helped craft this bill are being hit hardest is a feature not a bug. The worst thing we can do is to let attention lapse on the way this has hurt American families. We can do this with clean conscience because the only real solution is to repeal Obamacare and start from scratch. As repeal has been taken off the table there is nothing to talk about.
We can’t get sucked into other battles on social programs and we don’t have to. There is no reason why the House has to take up a minimum wage bill. Extended unemployment benefits sunset on December 31 and unless the House brings up the issue there is no reason to address it. Likewise with the food stamp program. Rather than get dragged into a no-win debate on food stamps, not that we shouldn’t have the debate but that we have to realize it is a fight that will result is a huge diversion of attention from the real prize, the House should take no action on the Farm Bill.
What we have to realize is that we are dealing with a president who is devoid of integrity or respect for the institutions of United States government. The same can been said for Senator Harry Reid. There is no way you can negotiate with such men. There is no way you can participate in governance with them. You can only oppose them.
The good news is that opposing them is easy. Obamacare will continue as a suppurating wound. Absent a thermonuclear war, Obama’s approval numbers will continue to slide. His lack of integrity is leaving him politically isolated.
Once we start floating alternatives or policies we are giving them a piñata to whack at. Our goal should be that Obama gets not a single piece of legislation approved before he leaves office.