30 November 2009

Swimming against the tide

Today comes news that Americans oppose Obamacare in virtually every major poll on the topic. Beyond that, a plurality, approaching a majority, rate the current system "good" or "excellent."

In other words, not only do the American people fail to recognize the health care crisis that the President insists we face, they appear to have decided that the best option available is the current system.

As I've said before, though, this president does not care what you think, or how you may vote next year.

Does the Congress? So far, the answer is no...

08 November 2009

One small step in the legislative process, one giant leap for socialism

There is no question that Obama is a committed leftwing ideologue. He does not care one whit whether or not he gets re-elected, or whether or not the entire Congress turns republican next year, as long as the foundation of socialized medicine is in place before then.

Sadly, I think that as long as the Obamites are in power, they will continue – as they have thus far – to build on the other remarkably radical socialist foundations they have already laid in their takeovers of the automotive and financial industries. There are no signs of government letting go its grip in any area. It is hard to imagine it, but as monumentally destructive as socialized medicine may be, it is also a great distraction from what otherwise would already be viewed as perhaps the most radical economic interventionism in American history.

Obama’s pitch to the Democratic Caucus yesterday seems to have been that all of them needed to view the vote in terms of basic principles; e.g., if you believe in socialized medicine, vote for it, electoral consequences be damned. Paul Ryan’s appeal, on the other side, was the same. “Which side of history do you want to be on?”

This vote, in the face of strong public opposition, is a stark reminder of the difference between a democracy and a republic. For two years, members of Congress can do as they please, all in our name. Leaders of both sides called for a moment of clarity about first principles in advance of yesterday’s vote, and they got it.

And freedom lost.

Hopefully, this can still be stopped at least until next fall, because history tells us that Republicans will never repeal it. Indeed, it is literally impossible for them to win the veto-proof majorities that would require, even if they were willing.

Maybe the best approach to the 2010 elections is to ask the voters for the same sort of moment of clarity the House of Representatives was asked for yesterday. To ask the people what sort of country they want to live in, what side of history they want to be on.

We do not need an election revolving around “concrete legislative proposals,” rather than first principles. It is long past time that we stop pretending that it is at all important for voters to consider those kind of details. Voters really need to choose their representatives based upon their fundamental principles, because that is the only way they can know - really know - if these representatives will actually represent them, regardless of legislative details and political winds.

Still, I tremble to think what the electorate will choose.

Reason to mope and reason for hope

Last night, the House of Representatives pushed through the most fiscally irresponsible, freedom-infringing, legislative monstrosity in history. To compound matters, it was pushed through largely unread by members of Congress, completely unread by the public, and in the face of powerful public disapproval.

It was a reminder to any who needed one that this is a Republic, not a Democracy. For the two years between elections, members of the United States Congress can do as they please. Reportedly, that was more or less the message of President Obama's pitch to the Democratic Caucus on Saturday. Sadly, it is the nature of government programs that, no matter how monstrous, they never go away. I reject the rosy outlooks of those who say this is merely procedural, and the bill stands almost no chance of passage in the Senate, much less as a final bill. Let's be clear about this: every step closer is a step closer. Last night's vote was bad for America.

Yet there remains reason to hope that it can be stopped on a subsequent vote. Over at the Spectator, Philip Klein points out that 42 members voted both for the Stupak amendment, removing abortion funding from the bill, and for the bill's final passage. With pro-abortion Democrats already beginning to pledge a return of abortion funding, these are the democrats to watch. It is difficult to imagine that all would oppose a final version that included abortion, but the fact is, only three of them need to switch their votes to kill socialized medicine.

Speaker Pelosi and her minions deployed all their arm-twisting and deal-cutting tools and barely squeaked out passage despite a strong majority. Now, they can't afford to lose more than two of 42 abortion opponents and still win final passage.

I've warned before that I do not believe President Obama cares in the slightest what the electoral consequences of passing socialized medicine may be. He is a committed left-wing ideologue. He knows, as I already pointed out, that once socialized medicine is in place, it is here to stay. Yesterday, he got just enough people on board to push something through, and that's what he needed.

The forces of freedom need to view this battle the same way. There is no reason to compromise or offer alternatives. The only thing that matters is to kill this monstrosity. While I understand the reasoning behind supporting the Stupak amendment yesterday, that may, in the end, have helped passage of the bill. From this point forward, every conservative effort must be directed towards defeating any version of medical reform offered.

Sometimes you win by three touchdowns, sometimes you win on a blocked field goal. But either way, you win.