Commentary Magazine


Topic: health-care salesman

The Beginning of the End

Democrats declare themselves unconcerned about a “backlash” in 2010. The public will come to appreciate their health-care handiwork, they suppose. And somehow their supporters will be re-engaged to match the enthusiasm of the apoplectic conservative coalition that is more motivated to defeat Obamaism in 2010 than it was to defeat Obama in 2008. Maybe by then unemployment will have drifted downward. Oh, and there might be a grand bargain with the Iranian mullahs rather than the prospect of a nuclear-armed revolutionary Islamic state.

Yes, it sounds far-fetched. Very. And it suggests that the public — which couldn’t be convinced of the benefits of a failed stimulus plan – can be talked into believing the wonders of ObamaCare, talked out of its concerns about taxes and debt, and talked into ignoring the Obami’s leftward lurch. That’s a lot of spinning and misdirection. And who will do it? Obama seems to have lost his ability to sway the public on much of anything (except the Afghanistan surge, suggesting he is more effective in the role of resolute commander in chief than as health-care salesman). All the talk-show appearances and all the speeches haven’t sold the public on a big government takeover of health care. Quite the opposite.

So how is this transformation of the electorate supposed to come about, exactly? Well, starting over or severely downsizing the grossly unpopular health-care bill would help. A pro-jobs agenda (that is more than weatherizing subsidies) with a moratorium on new taxes might help. And a serious determination to control domestic spending might soothe independent voters. It’s not impossible, just unlikely, unless there is a wholesale revolt among vulnerable Democratic congressmen, senators, and governors to turn the agenda back from. . . what’s the word?.. ah. . . the precipice.

And if the Democrats refuse to heed the voters and their own nervous members? Then we will have a major course correction on Election Day 2010. It is now conceivable that the House may fall back into Republican hands and that the Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof majority. And that will be the end of the untrammeled experiment in Obamaism, which can loosely be described as the endeavor to campaign as a moderate and race as far Left as possible until the voters notice.

We will see in 2010 whether the Democrats pull back from that precipice, or whether the voters shove a good number of them over it. Either way, 2010 will be the beginning of a new phase in the Obama presidency. Polls indicate that the public will be relieved, whether that new beginning comes from a voluntary course adjustment or a tidal wave election.

Democrats declare themselves unconcerned about a “backlash” in 2010. The public will come to appreciate their health-care handiwork, they suppose. And somehow their supporters will be re-engaged to match the enthusiasm of the apoplectic conservative coalition that is more motivated to defeat Obamaism in 2010 than it was to defeat Obama in 2008. Maybe by then unemployment will have drifted downward. Oh, and there might be a grand bargain with the Iranian mullahs rather than the prospect of a nuclear-armed revolutionary Islamic state.

Yes, it sounds far-fetched. Very. And it suggests that the public — which couldn’t be convinced of the benefits of a failed stimulus plan – can be talked into believing the wonders of ObamaCare, talked out of its concerns about taxes and debt, and talked into ignoring the Obami’s leftward lurch. That’s a lot of spinning and misdirection. And who will do it? Obama seems to have lost his ability to sway the public on much of anything (except the Afghanistan surge, suggesting he is more effective in the role of resolute commander in chief than as health-care salesman). All the talk-show appearances and all the speeches haven’t sold the public on a big government takeover of health care. Quite the opposite.

So how is this transformation of the electorate supposed to come about, exactly? Well, starting over or severely downsizing the grossly unpopular health-care bill would help. A pro-jobs agenda (that is more than weatherizing subsidies) with a moratorium on new taxes might help. And a serious determination to control domestic spending might soothe independent voters. It’s not impossible, just unlikely, unless there is a wholesale revolt among vulnerable Democratic congressmen, senators, and governors to turn the agenda back from. . . what’s the word?.. ah. . . the precipice.

And if the Democrats refuse to heed the voters and their own nervous members? Then we will have a major course correction on Election Day 2010. It is now conceivable that the House may fall back into Republican hands and that the Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof majority. And that will be the end of the untrammeled experiment in Obamaism, which can loosely be described as the endeavor to campaign as a moderate and race as far Left as possible until the voters notice.

We will see in 2010 whether the Democrats pull back from that precipice, or whether the voters shove a good number of them over it. Either way, 2010 will be the beginning of a new phase in the Obama presidency. Polls indicate that the public will be relieved, whether that new beginning comes from a voluntary course adjustment or a tidal wave election.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Rep. Peter King calls moving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to the U.S. for trial the “worst decision by a U.S. president in history.”

Rudy Giuliani: “Returning some of the Guantanamo detainees to New York City for trial, specifically Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, has now brought us full circle — we have regressed to a pre-9/11 mentality with respect to Islamic extremist terrorism. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed should be treated like the war criminal he is and tried in a military court. He is not just another murderer, or even a mass murderer. He murdered as part of a declared war against us — America.”

John Yoo explains: “Trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court will be an intelligence bonanza for al Qaeda, tie up our courts for years on issues best left to the president and Congress, and further cripple our intelligence agencies’ efforts to fight terrorists abroad. KSM and his co-defendants will have all of the benefits and rights that the U.S. Constitution accords those who live here, most importantly the right to demand that the government produce in open court all of the information that it has on them, and how it was obtained.”

Bill Kristol on the choice for Democrats: “The political consequences will also extend to 54 Senate Democrats who voted recently against legislation to bar such civil trials–and to Democrats in the House who will be put on the spot as well. Congress could insist on military tribunals, and indeed in the past it has provided for such tribunals. I imagine Republicans on the Hill will try to move to overrule Holder, with legislation in the Senate, and with legislation and perhaps a discharge petition in the House. Holder can take his lumps for his reckless ideological decision if he wishes. Will congressional Democrats follow him off the cliff?”

Mark Ambinder on the U.S. trial of Guantanamo terrorists: “If this is politics, it’s really dumb politics.” Well yes, the scary part is that Obama and his attorney general think this is making us safer.

Marty Peretz on Fort Hood: “It was one of thousands of bloodlettings inspired by Islamic motives over the last decades. You can now add 51 victims to the dealing death and maiming numbers inspired by the ‘great God’ invoked by Hasan as he delivered his first gunfire volley. I am afraid that even the ever-so-fair, ever-eye-averting President Obama will have to reconsider his confidently euphonious message about belief and action in the Muslim orbit.” No sign of an end to eye-averting yet.

The McCain staffers are still trashing Sarah Palin. I suspect she’ll be on another presidential campaign. Them? Not so much.

Obama is not the health-care salesman his supporters may think he is: “More Americans now say it is not the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%). This is a first since Gallup began tracking this question, and a significant shift from as recently as three years ago, when two-thirds said ensuring healthcare coverage was the government’s responsibility.”

Rep. Peter King calls moving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to the U.S. for trial the “worst decision by a U.S. president in history.”

Rudy Giuliani: “Returning some of the Guantanamo detainees to New York City for trial, specifically Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, has now brought us full circle — we have regressed to a pre-9/11 mentality with respect to Islamic extremist terrorism. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed should be treated like the war criminal he is and tried in a military court. He is not just another murderer, or even a mass murderer. He murdered as part of a declared war against us — America.”

John Yoo explains: “Trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court will be an intelligence bonanza for al Qaeda, tie up our courts for years on issues best left to the president and Congress, and further cripple our intelligence agencies’ efforts to fight terrorists abroad. KSM and his co-defendants will have all of the benefits and rights that the U.S. Constitution accords those who live here, most importantly the right to demand that the government produce in open court all of the information that it has on them, and how it was obtained.”

Bill Kristol on the choice for Democrats: “The political consequences will also extend to 54 Senate Democrats who voted recently against legislation to bar such civil trials–and to Democrats in the House who will be put on the spot as well. Congress could insist on military tribunals, and indeed in the past it has provided for such tribunals. I imagine Republicans on the Hill will try to move to overrule Holder, with legislation in the Senate, and with legislation and perhaps a discharge petition in the House. Holder can take his lumps for his reckless ideological decision if he wishes. Will congressional Democrats follow him off the cliff?”

Mark Ambinder on the U.S. trial of Guantanamo terrorists: “If this is politics, it’s really dumb politics.” Well yes, the scary part is that Obama and his attorney general think this is making us safer.

Marty Peretz on Fort Hood: “It was one of thousands of bloodlettings inspired by Islamic motives over the last decades. You can now add 51 victims to the dealing death and maiming numbers inspired by the ‘great God’ invoked by Hasan as he delivered his first gunfire volley. I am afraid that even the ever-so-fair, ever-eye-averting President Obama will have to reconsider his confidently euphonious message about belief and action in the Muslim orbit.” No sign of an end to eye-averting yet.

The McCain staffers are still trashing Sarah Palin. I suspect she’ll be on another presidential campaign. Them? Not so much.

Obama is not the health-care salesman his supporters may think he is: “More Americans now say it is not the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%). This is a first since Gallup began tracking this question, and a significant shift from as recently as three years ago, when two-thirds said ensuring healthcare coverage was the government’s responsibility.”

Read Less




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