…we don’t trust:
Oblivious to manifest failure, the liberal-progressive idea keeps itself afloat on intellectual water wings—insisting that most people still believe that if government commits itself to accomplishing a public good, it will more or less succeed despite the difficulties and inefficiencies of these great projects. Needed good gets done.
That civics-book faith in the good intentions of government has been on the bubble with a broad swath of the American people who don’t know left from right but only public performance. The Obama health-care proposal arrived at a particularly bad moment to be asking voters to “trust us.”
By the time Barack Obama entered the White House, the exploding of the housing bubble had covered the landscape with the bodies of bankers, brokers and politicians who’d promised people a yellow-brick road lined with houses sold with fairy-tale down payments. Then the gods delivered a final lesson in misplaced trust: the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
I believe Madoff’s massive and destructive breach of trust had an effect on the public mind that carried beyond the tragedy of its immediate victims. After Madoff, John Q. Public set the bar really high for anyone seeking a big commitment of trust with money. But that’s exactly what the ambitious Obama health plan did.
President Obama in his public pleas for the plan appears to be truly upset that his benign view of it isn’t obvious to all. In his op-ed Sunday for the New York Times he said, “We’ll cut hundreds of billions in waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid.” Hundreds of billions? Just like that? This is nothing but an assertion by one man. It’s close to Peter Pan telling the children that thinking lovely thoughts will make them fly.
I think that when history records what happened, the straw that broke the camel’s back, after the disastrous stimulus that was rammed through, the cap’n’tax bill, the GM and Chrysler takeovers and handovers to the UAW, the inability of the administration to predict the economy and the failed unemployment promises, was cash for clunkers. The government couldn’t even write checks to car dealers, and they want to take over a sixth of the economy and our very physical well being?
Thanks, but no thanks. That could end up being Obama’s Katrina
[Update a couple minutes later]
Related thoughts from Chris Muir.
[Update a couple minutes later still]
“Questions of competence start to dog Obama team.” Gee, ya think?
It’s been 177 days since Obama made his initial pitch for a health care overhaul to a joint session of Congress. That the president’s team is still spending so much time stroking the Democratic base is evidence of how dire the situation is for this young administration.
Two decisions on health care have rattled Democrats.
First, the president chose to not sell his own plan but instead tried to get Congress to rush something through before lawmakers — and the public — fully understood what was in the bill. Second, the administration attempted an ungainly flip-flop on the issue of government-run insurance.
Many Democrats think that the stars were aligned for health care but increasingly see the administration as having squandered the moment.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took a beating Tuesday for an outright evasion on whether Obama has changed his position on the public option. Down the hall, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel snarled to the New York Times that the White House is finally done with bipartisanship … again.
Democrats can’t be blamed for wondering if these guys know what they’re doing.
And it’s pretty hard to dispel them when you have a boob like Robert Gibbs as your spokeshole. But particularly when the questions seem to be being answered, every day. There was never any reason to think that the guy would have any competence at running the country. He had never run anything so much as a lemonade stand before running for president, other than campaigns (and he didn’t really even do that), or if he did, it was probably subsidized by his mother. You hire someone with no experience, and this is what you get. I think that buyer’s remorse has to be setting in even among Democrats, even if they won’t admit it. This sums up their cluelessness (and that of the conventional wisdom in the fellating media all last year):
The way Obama brushed off the challenges of both Hillary Clinton and John McCain last year made Democrats believe he had infallible political instincts and was a forceful leader.
But what if Obama was lucky in the adversaries he drew and in the timing of the economic collapse? What if Democrats confused serendipity and ego for keen judgment and executive ability?
What if, indeed?
Plus, we’re getting tired of being demonized by our own government because we see through the fraud:
I do have all the hallmarks of the cynic. “In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain,” President Barack Obama wrote in The New York Times on Sunday, after gazing into the near future of the health care debate and seeing a dystopia full of “scare tactics.” And it’s true. I am “exploiting” “concerns.” By expressing them. In print. In conversation. My 30 to 60 percent fearmongering brethren and I, cynics that we are, just keep having concerns.
We fearmongers and our “concerns” wield an unholy power over the political process. How else to explain what happened? A plan—noble in reason, infinite in faculties, in form admirable—was presented to the American people. The obvious genius of the plan failed to carry it through intact. As more details were revealed, more and more people got antsy about the whole endeavor. They mentioned their concerns to their congressmen, sometimes loudly. Congress got cold feet, and now everyone is sitting in time out, thinking about what they did wrong.
When Obama, the man of hope, tells this story, it sounds like a failure of the democratic process, corrupted by special interests who somehow forced all those people to holler at town meetings and forced me to write this article. Again, though, without the actual writing of checks. But someone of a non-cynical nature might equally see this story as a great success of participatory democracy, with representatives accountable to the people.
Let’s hope that accounting comes next year.
The problem for Obama is deep and not easily fixable. The hallmark of good public relations is to stay on message. Everyone knows that. But in order to do that you have to have a message. Some people seem to think his message is “socialism.” Maybe some days. I don’t even think he’s that consistent. I think this man is flying blind. Not surprising, really. All he ever did was run for office. No wonder he has had no time to formulate policy.
As I’ve said previously, it’s not enough to have a better dog-food commercial if the dog thinks the food tastes like crap.
And Victor Davis Hanson analyzes the meltdown:
Cap-and-trade, the mega-deficits, the apology tours, and the sleaze of some appointments and congressional grandees (cf. Rangel, Dodd, Murtha, etc.) were stimulants, but not in themselves enough to awaken the somnolent American people from their collective trance. Yet health care was like a shot of adrenaline that jolted the patient out of his slumber. Suddenly hope and change no longer worked like the swinging watch and “you’re getting sleepy” lingo. Voters are feeling they’ve been “had” and were mesmerized into being used for an extremist agenda.
Who made the following decisions? 1) to propose a 1,000 page bill that no one had read, much less could explain?; 2) to ram down the greatest change in the US economy in fifty years by the August recess?; 3) to talk loosely of the “uninsured” without knowing why they were not insured, how much it would cost to insure them, or whether they currently in fact find some sort of care?; 4) to reference Rahm Emanuel’s doctor brother as a source of wisdom? 5) to demonize the health-care industry as greedy?
(NB: Does Obama really believe that illegal aliens do not possess 200-300 dollars a month to buy catastrophic health coverage, when they send on average at least that amount back to Mexico on the assumption the emergency room here is free, for everything from injuries to natal care? Does he believe that a 25-year old does not gamble that his robust health means he prefers his I-pod, DVDs, and nights out to squirreling away cash each month for health insurance? There are flaws in our system that must be corrected, but the notion of conspirators in black hats who plot to prevent health care for the “uninsured” is fallacious.
He also has some good advice, that the president almost certainly won’t take, because it simply isn’t in his nature.