Some of my conservative friends are more glum than I was last night. Now, to be sure, I’m upset. As I watched House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the vote on the Senate bill she didn’t want to vote on, she reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West, only the latter had better make-up. And her devilish smile looked real.
My conservative friends are glum because they have bought into the conventional wisdom (“wisdom” which surely animated the last-minute push for Obamacare despite the president’s January promise to focus on jobs) that you can’t repeal an entitlement. But, let me remind the purveyors of that piece of “wisdom”: never before has an entitlement been passed in the manner this one has,* with myriad backroom deals, strong popular disapproval and an organized and energetic grassroots opposition. “Never before in American history has a measure of such importance been imposed on the country by the majority party over the unanimous opposition of the minority.”
The long national nightmare begun when Obama, in the face of declining popular support for his overhaul, forced the vote on the American people, has only just begun. Now, we have a week, likely more, of debate in the Senate. And repeal will certainly be the first item on House Speaker John Boehner’s agenda next January.
The “mother of all culture wars . . .[, the] showdown between Americans who want bigger government and those who want smaller government“, Michael Goodwin writes, “won’t be over anytime soon”:
Not only does it encompass and include other wedge issues, such as abortion, taxing and spending, but the war over the size of government goes to the heart of the concept of American exceptionalism. . . .
His health-care obsession, with industry tentacles reaching 17 percent of the economy, reveals his vision. There is little dispute the industry has big flaws, yet Obama passed up a bipartisan chance to fix most of them.
He opted for a sweeping expansion and takeover that would put Washington in charge of every aspect, from levels of care, to cost, to mandates, to jobs and taxes.
Ultimately, no American will be able to escape its centralizing impact, which is why opponents are so ferocious and frightened. While Obama tries to blame Republicans, most of the country, especially independent voters, is running away from his plan even though some components are popular.
It’s the sheer size — the expensive big government grab — that is stoking anti-takeover passion.
And it’s that cost and that grab which has caused this passion to boil over. The opposition won’t fold in the wake of yesterday’s vote. Indeed, if the increase in the number of supporters of Bart Stupak’s opponent since the Democrat decided to support the bill is any indication, the vote yesterday only serves to strengthen our opposition.
As John Hinderaker writes, paraphrasing “a great American, we have not yet begun to fight.” And when we’re done, there will be a lot of fewer Democrats in Washington and a lot less government interfering in our lives.
. . . despite the fact that no one believes some of the basic actuarial and fiscal assumptions that under-gird this legislation — no one who isn’t besotted with partisan fervor — it was rammed down the throats of the American people with as much cynicism, trickery, deliberate obfuscation, and budgetary tomfoolery as has ever been seen for a major piece of legislation in the history of the republic.