Where to begin?
Surely with the nature, the inner meaning, of the health care debacle. We best understand the March 21 catastrophe as a political coup d'etat -- a stroke meant to change America's perception of itself as a country of robust opportunity and individual freedom. On Sunday, the speaker of the House bludgeoned and bribed 219 Democrats to support her and the president's substitute conception of what the country is about.
The United States of Pelosi and Obama is a society of ants industriously toiling in order to hand over to government most of their "unneeded" resources so that government, with its superior wisdom, might distribute those resources for "the larger good."
Common sense and the polls show this view of America to be unattainable and undesirable. Yet the Obamacrats believe it with all their hearts. That is what disturbs and disrupts. The Obamacrats' low opinion of American intelligence and character destines us for a long, inglorious political/electoral battle to reverse the results of their coup -- to throw out not only the rascals but their handiwork. It won't be easy. We'd better recognize right now that we may succeed only in part.
I have quoted before in this context the famous classical tag -- "Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." The saying takes on exquisite relevance following the coup. Two-hundred and nineteen of our duly elected representatives appear to have parted company with their mental gear, assuming they initially had any worth noticing. Certainly their moral compasses, if any, played them false.
Anybody can commit a policy blunder -- believing one strategic course better than the alternatives. We all make mistakes of this character. The House's mistakes are of a much more mischievous sort.
First, the Obamacrat coup leaders passed a bill they know good and well (unless they're thoroughly unhinged) to be pie in the sky: unaffordable without future tax increases and service cuts. Nor, as is generally agreed, does the bill do anything to restrain medical costs, which will grow inexorably as more clamor to receive more and more. How are we going to be able even to fund Medicare without substantial cutbacks and tax hikes, given general health care's new demand on resources?
The coup leaders' second offense -- committed with the encouragement of their president -- has been all along, frankly, to lie about what they were up to, and not just concerning costs. Insurance premiums won't fall; they'll shoot skyward to cover the government's new stipulations. That's merely one example of the coup leaders' deceit, their basic rhetorical dishonesty. From the Obamacare fight -- there's been no actual "debate" -- we get moral corruption of unprecedented size.
In some sense, the worst of the matter is the battle royal that the coup precipitates. It's inevitable, with polls indicating massive opposition to Obamacare. Speaking of care, the Democrats didn't. The policy on which they settled was to muscle the thing through without reference to the desires of poor dumb Americans, relatively few of whom could have foreseen this outcome when their new "postpartisan" president took office.
The domestic bitterness, anger and alienation to which the coup consigns us were, as the leaders saw it, part of the price to be paid for victory -- mere collateral damage, sorry, couldn't be helped. Whether amid economic stagnation and foreign policy challenges, the nation needs such a war as we're in right now is a matter that seems not to concern the coup leaders, content as they are to preen over their preliminary success at transforming their country into a European-style welfare state.
The coming backlash at the polls, in 2010 and 2012, will thwart them in some measure. How great at a measure, nonetheless? Great enough to prevent a total federal takeover of health care -- or merely enough to palliate the consequences? Great enough to preserve the United States as a nation largely hospitable to liberty as against condescending, suffocating paternalism?
No one knows. All one knows is that the battle is on. Down with the coup and its melancholy fruits.