On this day two years ago, I wrote, “It occurred to me recently that for a guy who evidently really, really seems to dislike the British quite a bit, the America that President Obama wants to build looks a lot like pre-Thatcher England, circa 1977 or so: shoddily built cars from a quasi-government manufacturer (British Leyland then, GM today), an endless welfare state, mammoth unemployment, a neutered military, an exhausted and culturally bifurcated society, etc.”
But why choose the 1970s, when you can go back to the 1770s? In the Boston Herald today, Michael Graham drafts a letter from Mr. Obama to Queen Elizabeth:
To: Her Most Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, London
From: The President Of The United States, Barack H. Obama
July 4, 2012
I’m writing on this historic date with the hope that a great wrong dividing our two countries — a wrong committed 236 years ago this day — can be undone.
As you know, your majesty, I’ve long felt the need to apologize for some of America’s more egregious mistakes: Our unilateral military actions under previous administrations, our arrogant foreign policy, Adam Sandler’s movies. These are just a few of the sins inflicted upon the world by my countrymen.
But they pale in comparison to the wrongs committed by the British citizens of the American colonies in 1776.
Now, it’s hardly news that I’m not a big “Tea Party” guy. But by any standard, the reaction of the so-called “patriots” to the actions of the Crown was unconscionable. Grabbing guns and starting a revolution, all over a small tax on tea? Imagine if Michael Bloomberg had been around at the time.
And besides, thanks to my new BFF John Roberts, now we know it wasn’t a “tax” at all — just a health-promoting “mandate!”
See? It wasn’t really a “revolution.” More of a “misunderstanding.” One that I’d like us to sort out.
Why can’t our two nations be one again? Why can’t America return to its status as a protected colony, governed by a benevolent and all-knowing monarch who uses his power to take care of a citizenry unable to take care of themselves? That’s been a personal goal of mine for years.
My defense of the monarchy may come as a surprise, given some of the stories I made up — that is, misremembered — about my father and the British government. But I’ve always had a special place in my heart for England. Why, one of my composite girlfriends was English!
Then there’s the well-documented fact that, through my mother, I’m a descendant of Henry II. We’re practically cousins!
More than that, I am painfully aware of what the American Revolution has cost. If we had remained part of the British Empire, your majesty, we could be enjoying the blessings of government-run socialized medicine right now, just like England and Canada.
Wanting a do-over for 1776 would certainly suit Mr. Obama — as Daniel Henninger wrote last week in the Wall Street Journal, after Judge Roberts’ ObamaTax train wreck, its namesake really is “The President That Time Forgot:”
Whether ObamaCare was affirmed or overturned by the ladies and men in robes, nothing was going to change one unimpeachable fact: From day one, the Obama health-care legislation was swimming against the tides of history. It was a legislative monolith out of sync with an iPad world. In the era of the smartphone, ObamaCare was rotary-dial health reform.
The signs this was so were everywhere, but Barack Obama and the Pelosi-Reid edition of the Democratic Party blew past them. Years before it arrived at the Supreme Court’s door, the Obama health-care law was unpopular with the American public. With occasional exceptions, its unfavorables have been above 50% for nearly three years. And why not? It runs counter to the daily experience of virtually everyone.
Electronics, foods, fashion, entertainment, apps, social media, appliances—pretty much anything that escapes the cold hands of a public agency is laid before us in a dazzling, unprecedented array of choices. Despite all the incoming, people learned to navigate the options. Virtually everyone has become adept at customizing a personal milieu that suits them. Given a reasonably growing economy, they’ll be able to sustain these choices.
In this context, the Affordable Care Act gave new meaning to the word “outlier.” Starting with the insurance mandate. Of course most people hated it. They’re living in a world turning more anti-mandate by the minute, and the Democrats are ordering them all into a national health-insurance pool.
Back in 2010, some Democrats talked like it was 1937 all over again. They intoned how for 70 years they’ve wanted to enact a big national health-care law. The Depression—those were the glory days. Or they said ObamaCare’s coverage-for-all would close the policy loop left open 45 years ago with Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor. So naturally one pillar of the Obama health-care law was to push more people into Medicaid’s already faceless, frightening maw.
This is a Democratic Party whose political survival now is yoked to monolithic public-employee unions that themselves haven’t allowed a new idea in 40 years. The teachers unions persist in an irrational, immoral refusal to try other ways of teaching inner-city kids.
Public-employee unions in California are letting towns and cities—the latest is Stockton *—slide over the fiscal cliff. Since JFK, the Democrats have departed once from a political one-size-must-fit-all, and that was the Clinton welfare reform, which freed impoverished women to enter the private economy inhabited by everyone else. That was it. The Republicans, to their discredit, don’t have an alternative to ObamaCare, but at least they’re not still building more Titanics.
If reunification with England isn’t in the offing, perhaps Mr. Obama could simply rewrite the Constitution to bring it inline with the delicate sensitivities of today’s nuanced and sophisticated liberal Ruling Class, as per Walter Russell Mead’s own modest proposal:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to strengthen the political bands which have connected them with the Global Community, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the cooperative and deferential station which a careful review of the relevant peer reviewed literature suggests is most appropriate for long term win-win outcomes, a decent and rigorously equal respect to the opinions of woman- and man- and transkind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the ever deeper union.
We hold these views to be consistent with the evolving cultural consensus, that all humans are equally obliged to the performance of certain Duties, that among these are the Participation in the Struggle against Racism, Economic Injustice, Genetically Modified Organisms, Homophobia, Nationalism and the Excessive Emission of Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gasses. That to secure the performance of these Duties, Governments are instituted among humans, deriving their just powers from the considered Opinions of the Educated Classes, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Duty of the Enlightened and Credentialed Guardians of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect the Unquestioning Performance of their Duties by the Less Enlightened Members of the Public.
Such historical revisionism may not be enough to satisfy prominent historians and constitutional scholars such as Chris Rock, but you can’t please everyone.
* Incidentally, since Henninger’s article last week, another California city has declared bankruptcy, as the once-Golden State continues its plan to fiscally stimulate the entire state right out of existence.