Monday, March 22, 2010

Alea Iacta Est


Look at the wages of Obamacare: I have been reduced to blogging in portentous Latin, while Big Think historians like VD Hanson use historically loaded phrases like "Crossing the Rubicon":

President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan.

We have no interest in stopping trial lawyers from milking the system for billions. And we don’t want to address in any meaningful way theindividual’s responsibility in some cases (drink, drugs, violence, dangerous sex, bad diet, sloth, etc.) for costly and chronic health procedures.

No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we “are leveling the playing field” and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law.

....

There won’t be any more soaring rhetoric from Obama about purple-state America, “reaching across the aisle,” or healing our wounds. That was so 2008. Instead, we are in the most partisan age since Vietnam, ushered into it by the self-acclaimed “non-partisan.” But how could it be anything else?

I'm not ready to join the pessimists who are declaring this to be the end of American Exceptionalism, or the beginning of the cradle-to-grave welfare state. However, I will join our president in saying "the time for talk is over." The bill is passed and that's that. But, there is no way I can support any Republican who wants to go back to the "old way" of doing things - you know, the fake bonhomie, drinks in Teddie's office, all in the quest for bipartisan consensus. No way. When the GOP does some backslapping, it's to go along and get along. When Dems do it, we only get knives in the back. I swear, if I see Lindsay Graham yukking it up with Chuck Schumer (or whomever) anytime in the next 10 years I will kill my television. That's just not going to cut it anymore.

The usual methods of GOP "opposition" can no longer apply. Sure, Willie Horton and the Swift Boaters were fun, but what did they have to do with running the government? Dems need to be forced to own every single demerit and detraction that follows from any of their initiatives. Forget Obamacare for the moment. When was the last time Democrats were held to account for the failures in public education, for example? Or the destruction of cities like Detroit? Or the "cash in envelope" culture that greases so many of the wheels in the Dems' coalition? And so on. Not only that, applause lines about "fiscal responsibility" and "pro-life values" have been shown to be worth nothing and need to be treated as such. Is Harry Reid still telling people he's pro-life? If he is, we need to get the word out that this is a lie, plain and simple.

For the last 40 years, Dems have been able to wreck large swaths of the American economy without ever being held to account. OK, the MSM won't cover that stuff, but do we still need to be relying on the likes of NBC and CNN to broadcast unflattering stories about Democrats? If there is one thing we learned from the health care debate, it's this: liberals can no longer rely on a pliant media to sell their initiatives and protect them from attack. The challenges to Obamacare came almost entirely from the internet and talk radio,with occasional efforts from Fox News. I would be happy if Republicans simply stopped appearing in MSM outlets. They are a hostile forum for conservatives, but people continue to appear on them more out of habit than anything else. The MSM retains its ability to frame the debate precisely because it can still carry itself as the nation's debating hall, yet its rules are rigged and the moderators are hardly neutral. Plus, they are losing audience, anyway. Feeding the beast only allows it to live a little longer.

And when/if the GOP regains control of Congress, we can't have a repeat of the Gingrich Revolution, where the calls to close the Department of Education, etc were soon forgotten after GOP politicians decided they liked re-election better than accomplishing their long-term goals. No. Never again. The next time we have a Republican president and Congress, we actually need to deconstruct some portion of the government then and there. If Dems can expand the government willy-nilly, then Republicans should be able to contract just as well. I promise the sun will still rise the following day.

For all of the talk of our living in a "center-right" country, the GOP has tended to govern as if they don't really believe this to be the case. Maybe they know something we don't know, but I doubt it. Instead, we seem to have been cursed with quailing moderates in the leadership who feel compelled to seek out approval from the political opposition and its media allies, rather than from the voters who put them into office. That approach has brought us to where we are today, when a determined leftist party can pass major legislation in the face of majority opposition. The Dems think they can get away with this because the GOP has shown itself to be so incapable of governing as a majority party. Maybe they are right.

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