Over at First Things, Wesley J. Smith writes that politics has become too personal.
Too bad our nation’s leaders didn’t get the memo. We were once told that “the personal is political.” Today, our problem is the reverse: The political has become deeply personal—and it is tearing us apart.
Take Obamacare. With the law seemingly imploding, liberal pundits and Democratic lawmakers are complaining bitterly that Republicans won’t work to help fix it. But why would anyone be surprised by Republican intransigence? Not only do they believe the law is very bad policy, but they are deeply embittered by the arrogant legislative process that brought it into being.
One event sticks out as an egregious example. Remember when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi realized she had the votes to win? Rather than pass the bill humbly and show sensitivity for the wounded feelings of Republicans, she instead led a triumphant march of House Democrats across the Capitol lawn—carrying a huge gavel to symbolize her triumph. Talk about a “making it personal” moment. . . .
Now, lest you think that this is all about Democrats, Smith points out that George W. Bush did the same when he announced the end of the first wave of combat operations in Iraq.
The point behind all of this is that ideology should not be personal. Considering the number of attorneys present in Congress, it is surprising how often they engage in personal attacks. I am not an attorney (although I wanted to go to law school at one point–long story) but I was on the debate team in college and I have coached debate. Debate etiquette requires you to engage your opponents directly but only during cross-examination–even then, you are supposed to look at the judge, not each other. The purpose of this is to prevent ad hominem attacks. It works. If you do not look at your opponent, you are more inclined to stick to the information. Debaters (politicians and lawyers) are not always humble. The rules are designed to force polite behavior.
In Congress, the rules have been flouted so frequently, they are almost meaningless. Without the rules, the only thing left to enforce polite behavior and respect is the personal character of the individual.
As Wesley J. Smith writes, “The good news is that we can stop our eye for an eye, nomination-kill for a nomination-kill politics anytime we want. The bad news is that both sides will happily accept that restorative, but only under the proviso, ‘You first.’”
Andrew C. McCarthy, writing at National Review Online, beautifully sums up the depth and breadth of half-truths and lies that have issued from the White House on Obamacare.
The president claims he truly believed that people would be able to keep plans they liked because Obamacare provides for those plans to be “grandfathered” — exempted from termination. Thus, he insists, he was acting in good faith when he made the promises that people could keep those plans, though he concedes the promises “ended up being inaccurate.”
This is yet another calculated deception, a willful continuation of the fraudulent scheme. The president well knew that, in implementing the “grandfathering” provision, his administration wrote regulations so narrow that tens of millions of existing plans would be eliminated. Congressional Democrats knew this, too: When Republicans endeavored in 2010 to enact legislation that would have broadened the regulation into a meaningful safe harbor, Democrats closed ranks and voted down the proposal – including Democrats such as Senator Mary Landrieu, who now pretends to be a crusader in the cause of letting Americans keep their insurance.
Unable to deny that millions of Americans have lost the coverage he vowed they could keep, Obama and other Democrats are now peddling what we might call the “5 percent” con job. The president asserts that these victims, whom he feels so terribly about, nevertheless constitute a tiny, insignificant minority in the greater scheme of things (“scheme” is used advisedly).
Keep in mind that the president’s law degree should make him more aware than the average American of the problems inherent both in Obamacare and, more importantly, his “solution” to the problem of millions of Americans having their health insurance dropped because of it. McCarthy also notes:
…Obama is well aware that his proposed “fix” is frivolous. His hope is that the country overwhelmingly consists of dolts who are too uninformed to realize that this is the case, and who, with a little help from his media courtiers, can be convinced to blame the insurance companies, rather than the president, for the fact that millions of Americans are losing their coverage under his “reform.”Now, having covered Thursday’s con job, let’s get back to the overarching Obamacare scheme perpetrated by the president for more than four years — a fraud that, I contend, the Justice Department would not hesitate to prosecute had it been committed by a private-sector executive.
McCarthy also notes two other things. First, the president contends that the cancellations are a problem centered solely around the individual mandate and that this comprises only 5 percent of the population. As McCarthy points out, individuals make up about 8 percent of the market AND the dropped plans are not limited to those in the individual market. It is estimated, based on government figures, that up to 70 percent of those with employer-paid/sponsored health care will lose it.
My family was one of the lucky ones. My husband’s employer plan is in line with Obamacare requirements and the employer did not see how changing would benefit employees. But, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the letter came letting us know the company’s plans. Other family members and friends have not been so fortunate. Personally, my sympathy goes out to all human resource departments, employees and managers who are trying to navigate Obamacare strictures and guidelines. What a mess.
I’m willing to call this a scheme. While McCarthy doesn’t come out and say it in this piece, he alludes to the fact that this coercive and manipulative scheme to force up to 70 percent of American’s into a health care system run by the government and controlling one-sixth of our economy was done to make a majority of Americans dependent upon the government as they have never been before.
All together now, the word of the day is “socialism.”
Over at HotAir, AllahPundit has the following to say about today’s announcement by the president. Barack Obama stated today that the millions of Americans who will lose their insurance before January 1 will be allowed to keep their health insurance–at least for the next year.
…the White House’s hope, I’m sure, is that most insurers will ignore the “fix” and refuse to un-cancel any plans. That would eliminate the extra risk of adverse selection to the exchanges and give O the scapegoat he’s looking for. If insurers really want to screw him, they’ll scramble to do just what he said: Un-cancel the plans, just as the president requested, and then lay the resulting premium hikes next fall squarely at his feet, just in time for the midterms. Problem is, that means heavy losses for them potentially; as much as they’d like to retaliate, it might end up as a kamikaze mission. On the other hand, my pal Karl is urging me and other righties on Twitter not to get caught up too much in a war between Obama and insurers. That’s exactly what the White House wants, after all. The more O can make it look like he’s on the side of the people, with the big bad insurance companies treating him as a sworn enemy, the more it’ll mitigate the political damage he’s suffered from this. He’s the guy who got reelected last year as a champion of the middle class, remember? He’d never do something that roundly screws middle-income people in the name of propping up some new Rube-Goldberg-esque redistribution scheme he’s concocted. That’s the insurers’ fault.
AllahPundit has nailed it. Now, whether your average American figures this out is another story.
The Hill reported last night that the White House was trying to come up with a response to the former president’s criticism of ObamaCare. President Clinton stated that President Obama should keep his commitment to Americans that they be allowed to keep their healthcare plan if it works for them.
From the Hill:
The White House said Obama agreed with Clinton, but it offered no concrete idea on how that could be done.
Anxiety is growing among congressional Democrats, with the House poised to vote this week on Republican legislation to let insurers offer their old plans even if they don’t meet the new standards required by ObamaCare.
Whatever Bill Clinton’s motives — Republicans say he is distancing his wife, Hillary Clinton, from the ObamaCare debacle in advance of a White House run — his comments sharply intensified pressure on the president to change his signature law.
So, now we know. It take a former president–from the same party, revered by the base, and who has a wife in the running for 2016–to get the current president to consider changing his stance on how ObamaCare is implemented.