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ObamaCare Coming Apart? Maybe Dems Should Blame Themselves.

August 19, 2009

If liberal Democrats are interesting in scapegoating someone for ObamaCare’s troubles, they needn’t look much further than the nearest mirror.

Could it be (as one astute up-and-coming blogger has pointed out) that ObamaCare proponents insist upon choosing unsuitable targets to serve as poster children for hopenchange obstructionism?  Jonah Goldberg seems to think so:

To listen to the White House and its supporters, in and out of the media, you would think that opposition to “Obama-care” is the hobgoblin of a few small minds on the right. Racists, fascists, Neanderthals, the whole “Star Wars” cantina of boogeymen and cranks stand opposed to much-needed reform.

Left out of this fairly naked effort to demonize a great many with the actions of a tiny few is the simple fact that Obama-care — however defined — has been tanking in the polls for weeks. President Obama’s handling of healthcare is unpopular with a majority of Americans and a majority of self-proclaimed independents.

Focusing on the town halls certainly has its merits, but if you actually wanted Obama-care to pass, casting a majority of Americans as being stooges of racist goons may not be the best way to go.

Indeed, it’s hard to square the ubiquitous liberal charge of race-based obstructionism with the fact that not long ago, a white president had his hopes for universal health care go up in flames.  The charge that ObamaCare opponents are a rag-tag collection of Klansmen and white-supremacist militiamen is hard to square with the picture of respectfully dressed town-hall protesting septuagenarians.  Liberals, apparently, will deploy even the most shop-worn mendacity in their quest for health care “insurance reform”.  Is anyone stupid enough to believe that conservative opposition would disappear if Obama were white?  It’s simply so preposterous that the mere suggestion of racism ought to trigger peels of laughter from sane people.

Equally disturbing is the propensity to label ObamaCare proponents as evil or stupid.  Pointing out the perilousness of the “evil” charge, the Wall Street Journal takes Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Planet Weaselon 5) to task for dropping the ‘E’-bomb:

We saw it in 1983, when Ronald Reagan famously used the word in a speech to describe the Soviet empire. What a rube! New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis spoke for the smart set when he wondered what Soviet leaders must think: “What confidence can they have in the restraint of an American leader with such an outlook?”

We saw it again in 2002, when George W. Bush characterized North Korea, Iran and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as an “axis of evil.” Tom Daschle, a Democrat and then Senate majority leader, warned that “we’ve got to be very careful with rhetoric of that kind”; former President Jimmy Carter called it “overly simplistic and counterproductive”; and comedian Will Ferrell parodied it on Saturday Night Live. Soon the phrase became acceptable only in the ironic sense—as in the Chris Fair cookbook titled “Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations.”

With all this history, you would think Harry Reid (D., Nev.) had ample warning. Nevertheless, the Senate majority leader invoked the e-word himself last week at an energy conference in Las Vegas, where he accused those protesting President Barack Obama’s health-care proposals of being “evil mongers.” So proud was he of this contribution to the American political lexicon that he repeated it to a reporter the next day and noted the phrase was “an original.

I might point out at this critical juncture that at least Reagan’s famed “evil empire” pronouncement and Bush’s “axis of evil” assessment were both spot on.  Reid doesn’t have history on his side here.

Hitting the nail on the head, the Journal strikes at the heart of the “dissenters are evil” meme being pushed by Reid and his ilk:

It would be easy to read something dark into Mr. Reid’s characterization, and the yawn with which it has been greeted. In fact, what we have here is really the logical extension of the liberal assumption that they have a monopoly on brain power. In such a world, anyone who dissents, almost by definition, has to be stupid or evil or both.

It’s a point of view Mr. Obama inadvertently encourages when he indulges in, say, the trope about Medicare that has become a staple of his town halls. The president tells the crowd he’s received a letter from a woman upset with his plans for health care. “She said, ‘I don’t want government-run health care. I don’t want you meddling in the private market place. And keep your hands off my Medicare.'”

Get it? The applause tells us the audience does: How dumb can this woman be?

Precisely my point!  Liberals seem to think that bills are just too complex for us poor lumpenproles to comprehend, so why try?  And her “leave your hands of my Medicare” appeal couldn’t possibly mean, “I like it the way it is now”, could it?  Naw… she simply must bee too stupid to know that Medicare is a government program!  We should just sit back and enjoy the hopenchange that Americans voted “overwhelming for” in 2008.

(I wonder if liberals thought the “overwhelming” 59%-40% drubbing Reagan gave Mondale in 1984 constituted a “mandate” for conservative policies?  Oops!  Only liberals win mandates.)

At the heart of the health care debate is the smug elitism characteristic of liberal politicians.  You see it at town halls: Democrats, assailed by frustrated seniors unwilling to part with their current insurance plans, essentially tell their constituents that what they think they’ve read in the health care bill doesn’t exist (like the end of life provisions recently excised from the house draft bills) and that they should simmer down and trust their elected caretakers.  You get the odd feeling that these Democrats fashion themselves less as elected stewards of the people’s government, and more as prophetic guardians of a benevolent nanny state.

If Democrats are looking to blame someone, they should blame themselves, the sychophantic press that still remains obstinate in their refusal to ask tough questions, and the punditry who continue to blabber on about “realignments” and “mandates”.  If their ideas didn’t suck, maybe they wouldn’t have to lie to get elected and then feign bewilderment when their “ideas” don’t sail effortlessly through the legislative process.

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