I was polled last night. Yes, it happens. I spent half an hour on the telephone with a representative of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The results will be made public in a few days. One question stands out. They asked, "Do you know what Barack Obama's religion is?"
Don't you get the feeling that you can already write the post-election analysis if Obama loses? "A nation still unable to shake its legacy of racism and discrimination ... a nation so xenophobic about anyone with a foreign-sounding name could not be elected ... Obama could not correct the misimpression that he was a Muslim." It would almost be worth having Obama win to avoid the nauseating analysis that will certainly follow his loss.
But not quite. It is hard to think of any issue dear to the hearts of conservatives on which Barack Obama is not planted firmly on the other side -- the power of diplomacy vis-a-vis aggressors, the proper care and feeding of teachers unions, the threat of terrorism, affirmative action, the importance of free trade, immigration reform -- I could go on. If elected, President Obama, arm in arm with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, would be in a position to do serious damage to the country on a number of fronts. His convention speech removed any doubt that he is an orthodox, big -- no, huge -- government liberal.
To focus on one important area: Barack Obama could rewrite our health care system. On any number of occasions during the primaries, Obama offered that if he were designing a health care system from scratch, he would choose a single-payer option. But since we've got this employment-based system, he has chosen to reform what we have instead -- or so he claims. Yet if his reforms are enacted, they will drive private insurance out of the market entirely.
Obama has embraced the "play or pay" concept first offered by Michael Dukakis. In order to solve the problem of the 47 million uninsured, Obama would require all but the smallest businesses to either offer health insurance that meets government guidelines, or pay a tax that would finance government-provided health insurance. The Obama plan doesn't offer many specifics but most analysts agree that the Commonwealth Fund's health proposal is nearly identical. It would impose a 7 percent tax. Since the tax would almost certainly be less onerous to employers than expensive health care plans, more and more businesses would opt for the tax, forcing private insurers to raise rates even more. Once the stampede got going it would be impossible to stop. The private insurance market would collapse.
What the U.S. would have then would be pretty much Medicare for everyone -- or single payer.