Obamacare: The Greatest Show On Earth

remaincalm
Artist’s rendering of Wednesday’s meeting

Roll Call posted a fascinating article on Wednesday detailing the growing sense of concern (or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it PANIC!) that many Congressional Democrats—especially those in marginally safe to contested seats—are experiencing over the rolling catastrophe of Obamacare’s implementation. For those who opposed the passage of the law in the first place, it’s a somewhat satisfying scene, which Jonah Goldberg is correct to refer to as a sort of “Schadenfreudarama.” Now, granted: it’s not a completely satisfying sort of schadenfreude; it would be much more satisfying if the consequences of the massive failure only affected those who insisted on pushing the thing through in the first place, and didn’t involve millions of people losing health insurance plans that they liked, with millions more likely on the way—along with the hardships that fact will entail for so many people. But in these days of chaos and confusion, I suppose I’ll take comfort in what little scraps of enjoyment come from watching those who supported this massive act of legislative malpractice scramble to save themselves from the consequences of their actions (which, of course, they had repeatedly been warned about).

But back to that article, which provides details on a meeting that occurred Wednesday between House Democrats and White House officials in which members of Congress basically demanded that the Obama Administration FIX THIS MESS. Some of the quotes in the article seem to me quite revealing of the mentality that prevails on the left side of the aisle in Congress*. For instance:

“Why can’t we call people who know how to do these things, who do it for corporate America, and say, ‘We have a website, fix it?’” asked Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y. “Maybe I’m being simplistic, but can’t we call Bill Gates up and say, ‘Take care of this?’ Or go to a college dorm and say, ‘You guys, you invented Yahoo, can you take care of this?’”

Continue reading “Obamacare: The Greatest Show On Earth”

Ethics and Economics

Kevin Williamson at NRO points out the connection between the economic and moral imperatives to get the public sector under control:

The city fathers of Detroit inherited one of the richest and most productive cities in the world, and they ruined it in a generation. The gentlemen in Washington have been entrusted with the richest and most productive nation in the history of the world, and the trendline does not look good. Those of us seeking to radically reduce the footprint of government must remind ourselves from time to time that our case is as much ethical as economic, that the ethical and the economic are indeed closely intertwined.

Reactionaries

President Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge:

It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

More:

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general. Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meeting-house. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.

There was a time when American political leaders knew how to speak and did so fearlessly. Oh, for a rebirth of these traits…

The Socialist

Wow, this is stupid.

Here’s Democrat Dick Blumenthal talking about how jobs are created:

Here’s the difference between Blumenthal’s response and McMahon’s:  Blumenthal is all about desperately clutching to jobs that already exist but are under pressure to leave because they can be done more efficiently elsewhere.  He’s completely focused on using the power of government either to bribe or force businesses to stay in Connecticut, and don’t miss the fact that just below the surface is the unstated assumption that businessmen must be treated warily because they’re out to harm you.

McMahon, on the other hand, is forward looking: she focuses on the important role played by the entrepreneur in the job creation process, and doesn’t mention the government at all in her answer.  The only change I would have made to what she said would be to note that the government tends to be a negative force in the job creation process, and that elected officials have the responsibility to ensure that the government intervenes as little as possible in the private economy in order to ensure that entrepreneurs are as free as possible to do their work without encumbrance.

An aside: how is it possible that the Democrats have picked a candidate who looks and sounds terrible next to the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment?

It Was All Lies.

Quote of the year, Health Care category:

It’s a bit late in the day to ask whether President Obama made a single truthful argument in favor of Obamacare. Yet he and his congressional allies probably didn’t expect the exposure of their lies to begin quite this soon after their nationalization of health care.

Throw the damn liars out.  Every last filthy one of them.

Jennifer Granholm’s Definition of “Success”

Her definition of success is apparently very similar to everyone else’s definition of failure.

“This is the laboratory of the states right here,” she told NBC’s David Gregory. “And I can tell you what has worked. What has worked is the government smartly intervening to save the auto industry; smartly, strategically, surgically intervening to invest with the private sector to create, for example, the electric batteries for the vehicles; smartly intervening with the private sector to be able to do the breakthrough technologies that the private sector doesn’t have the funds to be able to do. That’s what other countries are doing. And we’ve got to realize that these economic models that just say, ‘We’ve got to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut,’ you know, who’s applauding most is China.”

I’m not sure how Granholm can claim credit for a federal initiative to save GM and Chrysler, and the reality is that Ford is doing reasonably well these days without having been bailed out by the government.  And then there’s that battery plant in Holland to do the “breakthrough technologies that the private sector doesn’t have the funds to be able to do.”  First of all, the government has no funds outside of what it leeches off the private sector.  Secondly, if there was an actual demand for this “breakthrough technology,” you can bet that plenty of money will make its way to that product without the government’s help.

Granholm is as dumb as a stump, an empty skirt if there ever was one, and she’s lucky that she ran for governor in a state dominated by union politics against lackluster opposition, because that’s how she got elected.  The day she leaves office is the day that Michigan has a chance to grow again, barring the election of Virg Bernero as Governor, who seems to think that he can somehow by executive fiat recreate the good old days when Michigan was the only game in town for auto manufacturing and high school graduates could walk down to the employment office at GM and get a high-paying assembly line job with a big fat pension when they retire at age 55.  Ain’t gonna happen.

All that to say: what an idiot Granholm is.

Shirley Sharrod isn’t exactly clean and pure as the wind driven snow

Shirley Sherrod
Not exactly the hero she's being made out to be

I’ve been following the whole Andrew Breitbart vs. the NAACP/Obama Administration dustup involving the videotape of Shirley Sharrod of the USDA admitting to racial discrimination in carrying out her past duties before an audience at an NAACP event, and it’s just unpleasant.  Brietbart has a point, of course – Sharrod’s admissions of racism do garner murmurs of approval from the crowd, which is awful.  Critics of Brietbart have a point as well when they note that the statements made by Sharrod in the video clip released by Brietbart were tempered somewhat by her later comments in the address.  But Brietbart supporters also have a point when they respond by saying that the whole point of releasing the video clip in the first place was not to go after Sharrod, but to point out the approving reaction of the NAACP crowd to the awful things Sharrod was saying.  And almost everyone agrees that the White House acted too quickly in dismissing her from her job.

Opinion on Sharrod have whipsawed from her being a contemptible villain to her being a blameless victim over the course of just a few days.  With reflection, it seems that neither position is totally correct; she certainly has been victimized to some extent, but she’s certainly not the angel she’s being portrayed as at this moment.  I’m inclined to agree with Andy McCarthy at NRO, who comments on the contents of the full video of Sharrod’s speech, which still makes her look bad:

So, in Sherrod World, mean-spririted, racist Republicans do nasty things that “we” would never do because we have a president who, being black, is above that stuff. Still, we have-nots need to band together for “change” because a cabal of haves, desperate to keep their power, is still imposing their centuries old capitalist system of institutionalized racism — the same racism that courses through the Republican Party and surfaces on “us versus them” issues like healthcare.

Pardon me, but I think I’ll stay off the Canonize Shirley bandwagon. To me, it seems like she’s still got plenty of racial baggage. What we’re seeing is not transcendence but transference. That’s why the NAACP crowd reacted so enthusiastically throughout her speech.

With an ever-expanding federal bureaucracy assuming overlord status in what used to be private industry and private matters, are we supposed to feel better that this particular bureaucrat’s disdain, though once directed at all white people, is now channeled only toward successful white people … most of whom — like successful black people — worked very hard to become successful? Are we supposed to forget that when the Left says, “It’s always about the money,” you don’t have to have a whole lot of money to find yourself on the wrong side of their have/have-not equation? Are we supposed to take comfort in having our affairs managed by bureaucrats who see the country as a Manichean divide beset by institutionalized racism?

At the very least, Sharrod seems to have some toxic ideas about the American political and economic system guiding her actions.  Is it possible for people with toxic ideas to be treated badly?  Yes.  Does that mean that those people should be absolved of responsibility for or shielded from criticism of their ideas?  Absolutely not.