Commentary Magazine


Re: The ObamaCare Bluff

I agree with your post, John, and would add several points to it. The first is that the New York Times specifically, and liberals generally, seem strangely untroubled by the Obama administration’s threat to go it alone when it comes to health-care legislation. President George W. Bush was lacerated for not being sufficiently bipartisan—even though his record at this stage in his presidency was, by this measure, much more impressive (including widespread bipartisan support for No Child Left Behind). Obama made healing the political breach a core of his appeal during the election. During the Age of Obama, liberal and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, lions and lambs: they would all lie down together. Reality has turned out very differently indeed. Obama is, in fact, the most polarizing first-year president in modern history. And at this pace, he will end up among the most unpopular ones as well.

In addition, the effort to blame the problems with ObamaCare on Republicans ought to elicit a belly laugh from the supposedly skeptical, tough-minded media. Democrats have the numbers; the problem is that they may not have the votes. And the reason they are losing Democratic support has very little to do with “misinformation” or PR problems; it has to do with the Democrats’ having crafted terribly disagreeable pieces of health-care legislation—and the more time passes, the more unpopular they become. It’s not the mere unpopularity of ObamaCare that should alarm Democrats the most; it’s the intensity of the opposition. Young Mr. Obama has triggered what very nearly qualifies as a popular revolt. And that revolt is eroding his support at a precipitous rate. It is also a poison-tipped dart aimed at Democrats, as politicians like Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds, in his run for governor of Virginia, are finding out.

The supposedly smooth-running Obama Machine is sputtering. Unaccustomed to governing, seemingly in over their heads, and watching their signature domestic initiative turn radioactive, Obama and company are trying to find excuses to latch on to enemies to blame. But this dog won’t hunt. What we’re seeing is a transparent and slightly pathetic effort at damage control. The Obama administration is in a slide; and they don’t know how to stop it. The promise of “hope and change” seems from so long ago and so far away.