The Clattering Train
The unthinkable is finally happening. A small revolt against President Obama has broken out in Democrat ranks over the Obamacare fiasco. In response, President Obama is "brainstorming" with the insurance companies to find a way out. It's like Animal House, with the same frenzy but without the humor. "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Nothing is over until we decide!"
He still thinks he "decides."
Roger Simon argues that Obama should resign, giving the most old-fashioned of reasons. Shame. "If I were Barack Obama, I would resign as president. Forget all the temporary fixes and limited hangouts, I would be too ashamed of myself for having lied so blatantly to the American people — and on matters of such great significance."
But Obama won't resign, precisely because he lacks the quality of "shame." But Roger has put his finger on the essential point. Obama is ungoverned by shame, and hence has no self-limiting boundaries. He's like a runaway train without a driver. Such trains require an external agency to stop them. Obama won't stop himself, no matter what, no matter how.
Since Obama will never resign, the Dems may eventually try to persuade him to retire, in the manner of Nixon or Johnson. The political pressures will bear on them until the beams creak and the floor sags. Unthinkable? Bill Clinton has broken ranks already on Obamacare.
Obama is waist deep in quicksand. The first rule of quicksand is not to struggle; to swim your way out. But Obama won't. Can't. The deeper he gets, the harder he thrashes. No shame. No self-control. And therefore this may end in the manner of the Beast of Hollow Mountain.
After a week spent admitting he broke the healthcare system, he continues to insist that only he can fix it. The dumber he is shown to be, the higher the hand he takes. In a statement, the administration argued that those opposed to the law -- a law he intends to nullify himself -- intend to “sabotage” ObamaCare.
"[The bill] rolls back the progress made by allowing insurers to continue to sell new plans that deploy practices such as not offering coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men, and continuing yearly caps on the amount of care that enrollees receive,” the statement said.
Sabotage! Them's fighting words. Them's also Bolshevik words, but never mind that for now. The received wisdom is that the small Dem revolt we are presently witnessing is caused by the fear of electoral loss. That is only partly true. It is more than that.
Charles Krauthammer was correct to say that the stakes are higher than a mere loss of the Senate; that the liberal project itself is now at serious risk.
At stake, however, is more than the fate of one presidency or of the current Democratic majority in the Senate. At stake is the new, more ambitious, social-democratic brand of American liberalism introduced by Obama, of which Obamacare is both symbol and concrete embodiment.
But even Krauthammer undershoots. The threat to the liberal project is bigger than Obamacare. The Obamacare fiasco is the mere tip of the iceberg, the harbinger of more ... much more. The foreign situation is in freefall, but the biggest bomb is the economy. The most illuminating piece of news is Obama's proposal to extend unemployment benefits so that the jobless can have a little something over the holidays.