And speaking of leftism devouring itself, there’s also the slow-motion continuous train wreck of Obamacare, personified by legendary Internet maven Kathleen Sebelius’s metaphoric farewell speech yesterday: President Nixon had his symbolic 18 minute audio gap — Sebelius has the 180 word gap, as seen in the schadenfreude-overload video above.
In his perch at Time magazine, which offers a rare dollop of sanity within the otherwise monolithic establishment left palace guard Time-Warner-CNN-HBO empire, Nick Gillespie of Reason writes, “We Deserved Better Than Kathleen Sebelius:”
But whether you’re among the 36 percent of Americans who have a favorable view of Obamacare or among the 53 percent who do not, it’s important to underscore the lessons of her tenure. Her widely acknowledged incompetence in overseeing the implementation of a major new program is one of the reasons why record numbers of Americans think the government has too much power and have low and declining levels of trust in government to do the right thing. Whether you’re liberal, conservative, or libertarian, that’s not a good thing.
Last fall, when Healthcare.gov went live and crashed again and again, Sebelius’s response was not to take responsibility or explain why the job was botched so badly but to plead for slack from customers. “Hopefully [website users will] give us the same slack they give Apple…. If there’s not quite the operational excellence right away, we’ll continue to press for that,” she told the press. “Apple, you know, has a few more resources than we have to roll out technology, and a few more people who’ve been working on the system for a while, and no one is calling on Apple to not sell devices for a year or to, you know, get out of the business because the whole thing is a failure.”
Actually, as Iowahawk replies on Twitter, “Sebelius is exactly what we deserved.” She’s merely the latest manifestation of the magical thinking that led a nation in 2008 to vote for a handsome young tyro politician with brilliant stagecraft (as long as his own scripts were working) who dropped by the Senate for a cup of coffee, over a former Navy POW with four terms in the Senate and a state governor for his vice president in 2008. Who then repeated the same process over again in 2012, despite the wreckage their choice caused — is still causing — the economy.
But as Erick Erickson wrote at Red State on Thursday when news broke that Sebelius was being pushed out, her resignation, coming in April, is the White House tacitly admitting that Democrats will likely lose the Senate:
They have been standing with her since last October. They stood with her when the President’s polling was nosediving and throwing her under the bus could have stopped the bleeding.
They are doing so now. Sebelius actually resigned last week and the President already has a nominee ready to roll out tomorrow.
Their internal polling must be terrible and they want her gone and the issue treated as “old news” before the GOP takes the Senate in November.
Sebelius leaving now is a pretty direct admission against interest that the Democrats expect to lose the Senate and do not see any events on the horizon to change that momentum. Now, they’re just trying to slow the momentum down.
Expect Republican senators to throw plenty of rhetorical punches in Sylvia Burwell’s face during her confirmation process as Sebelius’s replacement. (Particularly since, as this NBC News article from October is headlined, “Meet Sylvia Burwell, the woman who ordered the government shutdown.” If you wondered 85-year old vets couldn’t visit DC’s World War II memorial in October, Burwell and Barry are to blame.)
But just imagine how much more bruising the hearings for anyone Obama nominated to replace Sebelius would have been next year, if the GOP does regain majority control of the Senate.
Oh, and what happens if the Obamacare Krell Machine goes on devouring America? The left are hoping for a sort of Cloward-Piven two-step into single payer. Perhaps they might want to first see how that fever swamp dream is playing out for the citizens of tiny socialist Vermont. No wonder heroin seems so tempting a painkiller to its residents.
As to the rest of America’s left devouring itself between now and November, responding to Jonathan Chait’s early “pre-postmortem” for his fellow leftists in the New Yorker this past week, at City Journal, Fred Siegel proffers “A Glimpse into the Political Future:”
Despite a welfare state roughly as generous as Europe’s, American society is increasingly divided between those from two-parent families, who do okay or better, generally speaking, and those forced to struggle against the odds because of the absence of fathers. Today’s liberalism has little to say about how to help people rise from the bottom into the middle class. Rather, its proposals—like raising the minimum wage—are designed to make the already-working poor more comfortable. That’s perhaps an admirable goal, but it’s also a path to a class-stratified society.
The other great liberal political success story has been the rise of public-sector unions, which fueled both Obama’s reelection and Bill de Blasio’s victory in New York City’s mayoral race. They are now a key component of the liberal coalition. The upshot of Obama’s policies is that he has, Chicago-style, fed the top-bottom alliance of crony capitalists and the social-service state—the government-worker providers and the recipients of aid. This has left the private-sector middle class out in the cold.
Chait’s rhetorical nuance leaves no room for anger at a president whose supervision of Obamacare combines the administrative failings of George W. Bush in Iraq with the underhanded tactics of Richard Nixon. (Like Obama, Nixon tried to use the IRS to attack his enemies.) Obama has also shown no qualms about misleading the public—from claiming that the terror attack in Benghazi was the product of an anti-Islamic videotape to promising that “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep it.”
If the Democrats do take a shellacking this November, they will no doubt attempt to pin blame on the supposed psychological failings of Republican voters. It’s a trope dear to liberals since the 1920s. For the good of the country, though, let us hope that, unlike Chait, they will come to grips with the all-too-material failures of the Obama years.
They can’t. The narrative is fixed: the Progressive road is always bright and shiny and well-lit and Nirvana is always just around the bend. Only the driver and his co-pilots can be blamed for crashing the bus on the way to getting there.
— David Freddoso (@freddoso) April 11, 2014
Update: “HATRED & DIVISION: The Democrat Platform, Illustrated,” at Doug Ross’s Director Blue Weblog.