Last month in this space, I asked “How Stupid Do They Think We Are?” — “They” of course being our minders in Washington. One of the things I had in mind was Obama’s proposal to set up a special debt and deficit reducing commission that, Imagine!, would only skim the froth off the gargantuan deficit he’s saddling us with and, anyway, wouldn’t even meet until after the 2010 elections. “Make me chaste, O Lord,” said St. Augustine, “but not yet!” Judging by the polls, that gambit isn’t going down too well.
And speaking of “gambits,” how about the latest in Obama’s “bipartisanship”? This time it’s about “health care ‘reform.’” He wasn’t able to Rahm it through without any Republican support, so now he he is offering to have a special televised spectacle in which he allows Republicans to be honorary Democrats for the day.
He doesn’t put it quite like that, but that’s what it amounts to. As Bruce Kesler puts it over at Maggie’s Farm, Obama never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Kesler cites a story in The New York Times in which Republican Senator Mitch McConnell says terrific, let’s do, and let’s start “by shelving the current health spending bill.”
Whoa, hold on there pardner! When we say “bipartisan,” we don’t mean, you know, “bipartisan.” We mean that you can come over to our ranch and play with us for the afternoon. You just sidle up here and put your John Hancock on the dotted line and we’ll say that this piece of Democratic legislation is a bipartisan document. The American people will see how post-partisan we are because we’re going to televise your acquiescence in our bill and let you say that it’s yours, too. See how it works?
As Kesler notes, Obama’s gambit is a lot like the Palestinians’ gambit with respect to Israel. The Israelis make all the concessions, the Palestinians never stop complaining or trying to destroy “the Zionist entity.” For Obama, it’s government-run health care or bust. (Actually, it’s government-run health care and bust.) But if the two issues facing us are 1) widening coverage for medical insurance and 2) containing costs, why not take an incremental approach? Doing that, Kesler notes, doesn’t “require thousands of tiny type pages of imposed, centralized, statist regulations like the Democrats’ schemes.” But as I’ve said in this space before, the administration’s effort to bring us “health care reform” is only incidentally about health care. Really, it’s about government taking over another sixth of the American economy and insinuating itself ever further into the lives of American citizens. That’s why Obama, having failed to ram through his health care legislation unilaterally, is turning not to genuine bipartisanship but “a campaign-mode, one-sided event, never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”