Friday, July 24, 2009

If Only the MSM Did Their Job

Conservative politicians have one big advantage over their liberal friends. They know the the mainstream media will do a good job criticizing their proposals.

Whenever a Republican president offers a new program you will be sure that there will be a "But critics say..." zinger towards the end of every news story on the program. In that paragraph all the usual liberal suspects will unload on the program.

You can say that's unfair, but at least it keeps conservative politicians on their toes. They have to think about what the opposition will say, and how it will look in the inevitable "But critics say..." grafs. They know that a beneficial conservative reform has a battle on its hands from the first trial balloon to the final signature in the Rose Garden.

Poor President Obama. What with a year and a half of adoring media coverage the MSM hasn't done its due diligence on his program. Without a serious effort to source and write those "But critics say..." on the stimulus, on the cap-and-trade bill, and on the president's proposed health makeover, nobody really knew what would happen to the president's program once it got to Congress. Nobody really knew what the American people would think when they got to see the details.

Of course, when the American people start to look at the details of any government program they say: "What's in it for me?" Like it or not, that's how politics works. That's why, as Irving Kristol said many years ago, if you want to help the poor you've got to deal in the middle class. Result: Social Security and Medicare.

There's a real problem with the president's health reform. There's nothing in it for the American people. Nearly everyone has health insurance. When you look at the 45 million uninsured, it turns out that they are mainly young people, the unemployed, and the rich--i.e. people who don't need health insurance, don't think they need health insurance, or who are consciously skipping health insurance until they get a job. So when you want to help the uninsured (and introduce rationing to cap costs on Medicare by the back door) you pretty soon find out that you have a problem. There will be nothing in the program for the average American. That's what sunk HillaryCare.

Same with cap-and-trade. Some people are going to get stupid green jobs and subsidies, but most people are just going to have to pay more for energy. What's in it for me?

The answer is: not much. And if the mainstream media did their job the American people would have found out about all this a year ago.

Meanwhile, we will have lost another opportunity to reform Medicare. And that's the real elephant in the room.

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