Charles Krauthammer writes:
What happened to Obamacare? Rhetoric met reality. As both candidate and president, the master rhetorician could conjure a world in which he bestows upon you health-care nirvana: more coverage, less cost.
But you can’t fake it in legislation. Once you commit your fantasies to words and numbers, the Congressional Budget Office comes along and declares that the emperor has no clothes.
It’s not like this was the first legislative monstrosity to come out of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama troika. There was the overstuffed stimulus boondoggle. Then came the 9,000 earmarked supplemental. Next was the $3.5 trillion budget. And topping it off was the Rube Goldberg cap-and-trade with ephemeral benefits and certain costs. This group specializes in junk legislation devoted to only one aim: expanding the size of government. And the legislation seems to be getting worse over time. The stimulus plan merely wasted our money. Cap-and-trade would hobble our economy. ObamaCare would both hobble our economy and our health-care system.
Indeed, health-care reform finally broke the camel’s back — specifically, the public’s patience and the Blue Dogs’ tolerance for expensive power grabs. More attention was paid to it, so the public slowly got an inkling of what was going on. And, of course, since health care is a more personal and therefore more emotional issue, more voters felt compelled to follow what was happening. The intense scrutiny and the president’s grandstanding may actually have worked against him. He wound up focusing a usually distracted electorate on what he and his congressional allies were up to.
Part of the legislative problem here stems from misguided ideas — the worst being the undiluted faith in the government’s ability to micromanage every aspect of our lives. But some of this is lazy and incoherent governance by the president. On his signature issue, he never put his name on a comprehensive, well-thought-out plan. Instead, he resorted to his “comfort zone” — press conferences, staged town-hall meetings, and dog-and-pony photo ops. That may work to get you elected, but as we have learned, it won’t make you a successful president. And it sure won’t result in a smart health-care reform bill.