Friday, March 7, 2014

The End of Liberal Stealth Politics

Just when is President Obama actually going to do the hard stuff, like actually enforce Obamacare, asks Megan McArdle?

We know the problem.  Since the president and his Democratic pals and his Democratic operatives with bylines lied through their teeth about Obamacare, things are turning out a bit rough for them now that the truth is coming out.  So now they propose to allow non-compliant health plans another couple of years of life, to put off the bad news until after the election.  (But tough titty for the folks whose plans are already canceled.)  Says McArdle:
This latest maneuver is supposed to help midterm Democrats, who are facing a very tough landscape in November. But there will always be an election coming that Democrats will want to win. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be to activate the unpopular parts of the law. 
And this applies to entitlements in general.

Problem is, of course, that it's not the unpopular "parts" that are the problem.  It's the whole concept.  Obamacare, writes McArdle is based upon a three-legged stool.

  1. guaranteed issue: they gotta give you a plan.
  2. community rating: they can't price according to risk.
  3. mandate: you gotta buy it.
Cut off any one leg and the whole thing collapses.

All this takes compulsion and government force, big time, otherwise nobody will sign up for insurance until they become sick. But the Obamis didn't really tell us about all this.  All they told us was that we could keep our doctors and health plans and we would save $2,500 per year.

To top it all, the uninsured aren't signing up.  Could that be because insurance never made any sense to them anyway?  Because they don't have assets?  And preferred mini-med plans?

So the result is that President Obama is afraid to implement the compulsion part of Obamacare because he knows that the American people will eat his party alive in November if he does.  And he never so much as whispered in his speeches that there might be some tough things to swallow down the road.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave..."

Oh yeah.  Back in corporate-speak land, they go on and on about "managing expectations" and "getting the bad news out".  Because in corporation land, you really need to maintain the trust and loyalty of your customers.  That means being truthful and honest with them.

In my view, liberals have been lying about politics ever since they found that the spending on the War on Poverty had failed, and they decided to go on spending and electing anyway.

When liberals talk about "faith traditions" they lie, because they hate religion.  When they talk about "patriotism" they lie, because they hate nationalism.  When they talk about creating jobs and growth they lie because they believe in a post-getting-and-spending world.  And, of course, when they said for decades that they were opposed to gay marriage, they lied.

Politics always involves a ton of lying, not least because the people won't stand for being told the truth.  But the art of politics is to tell a story that makes sense to the people hearing it, and then make sure that reality backs you up, more or less.

But liberals are afraid to do that, because they know that most of what they want to do the American people don't want.

So they try to do everything by stealth.  They bury things in 1,000 page bills.  They send their radicals to EPA or the NLRB.  They litigate things to death.  But eventually the whole creaking contraption just collapses.  Because in the end, the ruling class cannot just go on its way irregardless.  It must obtain the consent of the governed or face rebellion and revolution.

Here is Tony Blair's guru, Anthony Giddens on political judgement in "Modernity and Self-Identity," after a little riff on Macchiavelli:
Thinking how things might turn out if a given course of action is followed, and balancing this against alternatives, is the essence of political judgement.
So who did the thinking about outcomes, Mr. President?  Anyone?

Thinking about outcomes is one of the jobs of a good honest bare-knuckle media and public square, one devoted to the idea of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

Which we don't got -- here in the land of Democratic operatives with bylines.

I wonder what happens when the next domino falls -- Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D cuts.

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