Commentary Magazine


Topic: Harry

ObamaCare Is a Selling Point — for the GOP

Since the passage of Obamacare we’ve observed a decided lack of enthusiasm for the “historic bill.” The polls show that a substantial majority still oppose it. Democrats running for office are reticent to mention it and to appear with the president. And vulnerable freshmen are more vulnerable than ever. The AP reports:

Tough votes for Obama’s health care plan have further complicated the re-election prospects of dozens of already vulnerable freshman and second-term Democrats. There’s even a chance the party could lose control of one or both houses in the midterm elections.

Lawmakers are weary of facing uncontrolled gatherings as they did last August when mere citizens had the nerve to appear and call out their representatives for supporting a fiscally irresponsible bill. So naturally they are trying to clamp down on spontaneous outbursts: “In districts and states where the overhaul was most controversial, town-hall meetings have been replaced with tightly controlled business round-tables and other gatherings with voters.” I bet.

The telltale sign of ObamaCare’s political toxicity: Republicans seem eager to discuss it while Democrats hunker down:

Republicans dismiss the notion that voters opposed to the new law can be sold on it. They equate the overhaul to a “government takeover” of health care and blame it on one-party arrogance. The theme is central to House Republicans’ plan to cast the GOP as the party that will listen to what voters want, not pass bills the people oppose. . “They’re just hunkering down and hoping it blows over, that people will move on to a new subject. But I don’t know if it’s working,” said Republican David Schweikert of Scottsdale, Ariz., who unsuccessfully ran against [Rep. Harry] Mitchell in 2008 and seeks a rematch.

The 2010 election — much as the Democrats would like it to be about  Sarah Palin or George W. Bush — will be a referendum on the Democratic majority and on Obama himself — especially their record on unemployment and the deficit and their prized health-care bill. No wonder they want to change the topic.

Since the passage of Obamacare we’ve observed a decided lack of enthusiasm for the “historic bill.” The polls show that a substantial majority still oppose it. Democrats running for office are reticent to mention it and to appear with the president. And vulnerable freshmen are more vulnerable than ever. The AP reports:

Tough votes for Obama’s health care plan have further complicated the re-election prospects of dozens of already vulnerable freshman and second-term Democrats. There’s even a chance the party could lose control of one or both houses in the midterm elections.

Lawmakers are weary of facing uncontrolled gatherings as they did last August when mere citizens had the nerve to appear and call out their representatives for supporting a fiscally irresponsible bill. So naturally they are trying to clamp down on spontaneous outbursts: “In districts and states where the overhaul was most controversial, town-hall meetings have been replaced with tightly controlled business round-tables and other gatherings with voters.” I bet.

The telltale sign of ObamaCare’s political toxicity: Republicans seem eager to discuss it while Democrats hunker down:

Republicans dismiss the notion that voters opposed to the new law can be sold on it. They equate the overhaul to a “government takeover” of health care and blame it on one-party arrogance. The theme is central to House Republicans’ plan to cast the GOP as the party that will listen to what voters want, not pass bills the people oppose. . “They’re just hunkering down and hoping it blows over, that people will move on to a new subject. But I don’t know if it’s working,” said Republican David Schweikert of Scottsdale, Ariz., who unsuccessfully ran against [Rep. Harry] Mitchell in 2008 and seeks a rematch.

The 2010 election — much as the Democrats would like it to be about  Sarah Palin or George W. Bush — will be a referendum on the Democratic majority and on Obama himself — especially their record on unemployment and the deficit and their prized health-care bill. No wonder they want to change the topic.

Read Less

RE: RE: Another Summit

Lest you think that only John Steele Gordon and I are summit-ed out, Jason Zengerle writes:

Indeed, in the age of Obama, the summit has replaced the vaunted bipartisan commission as the ultimate empty gesture. Where a president once kicked a nettlesome political problem down the road by assembling a panel of bipartisan worthies to produce a report on entitlement reform, say, or how we made the mistake of thinking Saddam had WMDs, Obama now holds a confab to jawbone the problem to death. Even better, unlike with a bipartisan commission, with a summit, there’s no final report to have to contend with.

But like Wiley E. Coyote, who only falls into the chasm when he looks down, summitry only stays afloat as long as everyone pretends it’s meaningful. Once even sympathetic supporters start guffawing and rolling their eyes, the summits become counterproductive and symbols of, well, “gasbaggery,” as Zengerle puts it. In Obama’s case, summits have taken the place of legislative proposals, which have been eschewed in favor of “let Nancy and Harry draft something.”

So if Obama seems smaller than before, and his presidency seems more cramped and unproductive, perhaps its because he’s not doing much of anything. And now many more of us are starting to notice.

Lest you think that only John Steele Gordon and I are summit-ed out, Jason Zengerle writes:

Indeed, in the age of Obama, the summit has replaced the vaunted bipartisan commission as the ultimate empty gesture. Where a president once kicked a nettlesome political problem down the road by assembling a panel of bipartisan worthies to produce a report on entitlement reform, say, or how we made the mistake of thinking Saddam had WMDs, Obama now holds a confab to jawbone the problem to death. Even better, unlike with a bipartisan commission, with a summit, there’s no final report to have to contend with.

But like Wiley E. Coyote, who only falls into the chasm when he looks down, summitry only stays afloat as long as everyone pretends it’s meaningful. Once even sympathetic supporters start guffawing and rolling their eyes, the summits become counterproductive and symbols of, well, “gasbaggery,” as Zengerle puts it. In Obama’s case, summits have taken the place of legislative proposals, which have been eschewed in favor of “let Nancy and Harry draft something.”

So if Obama seems smaller than before, and his presidency seems more cramped and unproductive, perhaps its because he’s not doing much of anything. And now many more of us are starting to notice.

Read Less