What a Long, Strange Trip ObamaCare Has Been
The president seemed to change before our eyes into a kind of “this is for your own good” authoritarian.
March 23, 2010 - 12:00 am
Wasn’t that exciting? A national melodrama with its constant sense of crisis; a president’s long, accelerating fall from grace culminating in an orgy of political squalor; the Scott Brown miracle and the equally stunning hubris of the Democrats’ determination to ignore it; the missed deadlines and frantic lunges in the House, then in the Senate; the devilish political and procedural snags that rose up, like ghouls in a computer game, only to be shot down by the no-holds-barred trio of Obama, Pelosi and Reid … the gaudy payoffs, abrupt reversals of fortune, arm-twisting and smoke-blowing, the bald lies and the magical thinking that would make a fantasy writer blush. What a long, strange trip ObamaCare has been.
And perhaps the most amazing thing about it was that its hero, the man the media had been waiting for and who would cure all of life’s ills by waving his “more government” wand, seems to have frayed in front of our eyes. He didn’t quite come apart at the seams — although we’ve been spared seeing how he might have reacted if the House had actually failed to approve his life’s work — but there certainly was a noticeable loss of that exalted cool with which, arguably, he dashed John McCain’s hopes after the great financial bonfire of September 2008. Remember how “adult” he seemed then, when the world appeared to be coming down around our ears, how canny and detached — almost calculating — when the nation turned its lonely eyes to him?
Now we’ve seen him improvising, even scrambling, clearly more the master of disaster than the sultan of suave. In fact, he was plainly worried. You could see that in the Fox interview. After all, it was well within the realm of possibility that he would fall on what was once his supremely confident — even arrogant — face. His phenomenal golem of a law, this impending gross national liability to which he’s devoted not only the first year of a “historic” presidency but on which he’s gambling his own place in history and perhaps the long-term viability of his own party — not to mention the whole raft of redistributionist policies he wants to push through before he’s done with us — could well have been his very own supernova: a huge explosion after which his presidency and all the fevered hopes of the left disappeared into a yawning black hole. Even though he and his henchperson the speaker, America’s dangerously loony aunt, did manage to lie, threaten, and leverage it over the finish line, it only signals the beginning, not the end, of a grinding, all-out war for which his ammunition is largely spent.