For at least a generation the narrative has been that the inevitable march of history has been toward the expansion of the state as a provider of life’s necessities for the masses and the guarantor of social justice, fairness, and prosperity. For a decade or more there has been an overlay that immigration and ethnic birthrates condemned traditional American social norms and political groupings to the slagheap of history within a generation. Enter Barack Obama.
As the real history unfolded, the Democrats took the House and the Senate in 2006 and the presidency in 2008, and had two years to do whatever they pleased. They could have chosen immigration reform with amnesty which would have locked in a permanent majority. Instead they chose Obamacare. Then the Republicans re-took the House and established a blocking position.
What could go wrong? The masses could decide that they did not want to pay for the welfare state. No problem, they don’t have to. Tax the rich; tax the corporations; run the printing presses to let a future generation pay. Nobody in the political world understands macroeconomics, monetary policy, and their impact on prosperity anyway.
Then the good fortune. It has taken five years to become painfully obvious given the cover of the media and the ability to blame George Bush, then the Tea Party, but the master politician is a disinterested and woeful executive. Were he a Roosevelt or a Reagan he could have changed the structure and legal setting to lock in his agenda. But he isn’t.
The recognition has come first internationally: the move by the Chinese and others to end the reign of the dollar as the global reserve currency; the abandonment of allies in the Middle East, highlighted by Saudi Arabia’s turndown of a Security Council seat as a protest; the surrender to Putin in Syria; the extra-legal killing of civilians in Pakistan and Yemen; the loss of control over the NSA’s spying on allied leaders in Germany, France, Mexico, Brazil, and elsewhere. Nobel Peace Prize indeed, Those whose reading interests go beyond the New York Times would be hard pressed to find a favorable foreign newspaper editorial on any of the above subjects.
To the domestic audience, he has run out the string. Fast and Furious – he didn’t know. The IRS abuse of Tea Party groups – he didn’t know. NSA’s lying to Congress about domestic surveillance – he didn’t know. The Benghazi fiasco – somebody else’s decisions. No accountability of subordinates / no whistleblowers on the president.
Obamacare is the capstone. It includes the trade off of personal liberty for the socialist vision. It includes the lack of credibility – lower costs, keep your insurance and doctor. It includes the lack of concern about a trillion dollar cost. It includes the illegal changes to exempt or defer political allies. With all of that the mathematics of Washington trumped anything that Ted Cruz and the House Republicans could do.
Then the web site. It isn’t enough that Obama didn’t know. This time millions of voters are affected. The incompetence of the administration is on full display. If the Republicans can play it properly there is a potential to change the national narrative. The federal government cannot give everybody something for nothing. It cannot centrally manage the things that are most important to them. It is more efficient and effective – as well as more moral – to allow people to make their own decisions. The journey to 2014 and 2016 should be about the big issues. Obamacare can turn the tide.
This week’s video is the most positive possible spin on the Obamacare rollout – Kathleen Sibelius on CNN. As bad as the website launch is, the focus should be on increased consumer rates, loss of insurance coverage, and the overall cost.