Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can Obama Do a Clinton?

The conservative reaction to President Obama's budget is fear. Fear that Obama will do a Clinton on the Republicans and set up a government shutdown that the voters will blame on mean-spirited conservatives.

What we need, says Thomas Sowell, is a Rocky Marciano, who knows how to take the punches but has the patience to wait for the opportunity to land the big one.

On the other hand, Daniel Foster has House Majority Leader Cantor stepping up to the plate with this comment:

Your question about the budget itself and the entitlement inclusion, yes, we will include entitlement reform provisions in our budget, again, unlike the President, and unlike Harry Reid who doesn’t even admit there needs to be any reform of Social Security.

We have to look at the bigger strategic picture. And that includes preparing the battlefield. Republicans and conservatives need to get the line out that the sooner we do entitlement reform, the less it will hurt, and the less it will hurt the poor and the elderly. The battlefield preparation may involve tactical defeats, which is a polite way of saying that there will be casualties. Bright, promising politicians will be defeated before they have a chance to realize their potential.

The outline of the future is clear; it has been worked out by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-IL). He proposes to convert Medicare from a defined benefit to a fixed subsidy. Senior citizens will get an annual amount to apply to the health insurance of their choice. Left unsaid, I suspect, is the obvious follow-on, that Congress will eventually demand that richer Americans will get less of a subsidy that poor Americans.

Yes, but what about the poor and Medicaid. My solution is Wal-Mart-care. Think of health care today as a world of corner stores and department stores. Very nice, and all that. But most people don't shop at corner stores and department stores any more. They go to the big-box stores.

Wal-Mart is already putting in-store clinics into its stores. It already has a fixed monthly fee for all-you-can-eat generic drugs. Expect that the genius of American innovation will find new ways to deliver health care on the big-box model.

Meanwhile, what are we talking about when we say that Republicans just don't know how to play the sound-bite wars? Who was it who came up with "death panels," who talks about "common-sense conservatism" and even "common-sense constitutional conservatism?" And now Sarah Palin has described President Obama's policy as "a bullet train to bankruptcy."

I tell you. The future is so bright, I gotta wear shades.

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