Maybe we’re not quite as dumb as The Won thinks.Â Of course, not everyone can be as brilliant as Bill Maher.
In a hour when the nation teetered on the edge of economic collapse, when we were fighting two wars abroad and an endless rearguard mission to protect the homeland, and when America’s sense of self-assuredness was at its lowest ebb in decades, the Democratic candidate chose a message of sweet nothings. To his credit, it worked – despite being patently absurd. So low was his predecessor’s public esteem and his opponent’s capacity for rebuttal, that he managed to get elected on a two-word message: “Hope” and “Change”. But it was fundamentally unsustainable.
What Obama failed to realize is that a Rorschach test no longer works when you give the painting a name. During the 2008 campaign, the concavity of his message allowed Americans of irreconcilable bearings to invest their common aspirations in him. But as the first act of his presidency has played out, he has shown himself to be anything but transcendent. Instead, he is an utterly predictable creature – a conventional liberal who mixes the weakness of Jimmy Carter with the ideological rigidity of George McGovern. And he is thus engaged in a conversation that the rest of the country concluded decades ago.
The refrain of a health care system in “crisis” is not just overwrought, but obviously untrue for most Americans whose personal experience is of a health insurance system that works pretty well, albeit with some inconvenience, most of the time and provides state-of-the-art care, albeit inefficiently, almost all of the time. We are not creating a one-time obligation, but a fundamental entitlement that will be with us indefinitely.
Finally, the town hall confrontations across America have shown a political class that brazenly refuses to read–much less master–the details of the legislation, an irresponsible arrogance that was tolerated when it came to the stimulus legislation but which voters are much less willing to accept when there is no need for panic.
There is a growing perception of condescension surrounding the selling of the White House’s health care plan. Common sense tells us the government cannot simultaneously expand coverage and reduce costs. The government cannot dramatically inflate demand for health care services and eliminate market mechanisms for allocating them without devising some way of rationing supply and demand through political means. To suggest otherwise, as the White House has, is not just misleading but insulting. And the American people don’t like to have their intelligence insulted.
The phony sense of crisis, the inattention to the details and the transparent dishonesty of many of the claims have made voters question not only the program but the president.
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 â€œuninsuredâ€ 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 Emanuelâ€™s doctor brother as a source of wisdom? 5) to demonize the health-care industry as greedy?