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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Camille Paglia has no buyer’s remorse.

Which should relieve the administration, given what she might have written if she did:

…I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, and hope it’s a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.

Case in point: the administration’s grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Ever since Hillary Clinton’s megalomaniacal annihilation of our last best chance at reform in 1993 (all of which was suppressed by the mainstream media when she was running for president), Democrats have been longing for that happy day when this issue would once again be front and center.

But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens.

Which is not to say that I agree with everything in the above passage, or everything in the article generally (although how Paglia manages to Bush-bash on Iraq without getting more out of me than an eye-roll is one of life’s minor mysteries). Where she sees ‘deliberative’ I see ‘passive’… which means that I am not surprised at all that this was handed over to Congress. That’s precisely what happened with the ‘stimulus’ and cap-and-trade, so this latest behavior fits the pattern. Freeze out the opposition, let your own party in Congress play, insult the GOP from time to time in a forum where they can’t hit back, sign whatever ends up your desk, and blame everything that goes wrong on the Bush administration. Not really the leadership style you’d want in the middle of a recession and sour business climate, but we’re stuck with it, at least until the 2010 Congressional elections.

Ach, well.  At least Paglia’s sound on the opposition to health care rationing; I don’t know if I agree with her (positive) interpretation of the ‘death panel’ thing:

As a libertarian and refugee from the authoritarian Roman Catholic church of my youth, I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a “death panel” under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin’s shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate’s unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.

…but at least she’s not (clumsily) pretending that this was sui generis. Refreshing, that is.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.

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