What if a health care bill actually passes in the Congress, and President Obama signs it into law?
Given the ways in which his “hope” and “change” are being embraced across the nation right now, such a legislative “victory” for Mr. Obama could be the worst thing, politically, for his presidency and his party.
Earlier this year, I contemplated here in this column how Obama’s behavior tends to be woefully inconsistent with his rhetoric, and how our President has a propensity for “doing the opposite” of what he says. For example, as a candidate Obama insisted that he is not a “big government” advocate, but then as President proposed a federal budget in excess of $3.5 trillion (Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is now asking Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling above $12 trillion for fear that there won‘t be money to fund Obama‘s budget after October of this year). As a candidate Obama decried the “petty distractions” and “partisan politics as usual” that stifle honest dialog, and prevent people from focusing on the real important issues. Yet from the White House Obama unleashed an intentional and strategic game of publicly demonizing talk show host Rush Limbaugh earlier this year; it appeared that members of his Administration “organized” their “friends” to demonstrate in front of the private homes of AIG Executives to harrass them for having earned bonuses from their employer last Spring; and last week Obama himself told participants in a faith-based organizing conference call that he needed their help to sell his health care take-over plans, admonishing that “I need you to knock on doors, talk to neighbors, spread the facts and speak the truth” (great “community organizing,” but not particularly presidential).
But just as President Obama has established a clear pattern of ignoring many of his campaign promises and “doing the opposite” in so many areas of his presidency, it is also true that on many economic matters, Obama is essentially in lock-step with what he promised on the campaign trail. He campaigned as an economic redistributionist. As President, he has most certainly been a redistributionist, and has displayed little comprehension or respect for the free-market economy.
As a candidate he expressed all-out disdain for business, and repeatedly promised to dramatically increases taxes and regulations on corporations, expressed anger and “outrage” when corporations reported profits that were “too big,” and promised to “give back” corporate profits to “the American people.”
So for those who have been paying attention, “Obamacare” should be no surprise. The candidate promised a “single payer” health insurance plan, and even once lamented that it may take “ten to fifteen years” to get private insurance companies out of the health insurance market entirely. When single-payer proposals began emerging in Congress and were met with staunch opposition from American citizens, President Obama changed his position on single-payer insurance, insisting that all he wanted was an “option” of government funded insurance.
And now it appears that Congress, owing to Obama’s community organizer instincts, is about to begin demonizing health insurance company executives, trashing their lavish lifestyles and portraying them as perpetrators (you thought the treatment of the AIG folks was rough? Stay tuned).
So what if some form of “Obamacare” actually comes to pass? It will likely be woefully unpopular, it could cost the Democrats dearly in the 2010 election, and could set-off an uprising far greater than anything we’ve seen in this summer’s congressional “townhall” meetings. Yet such a “reform” plan would likely be consistent with President Obama’s big-government, centrally-controlled economic sensibilities, complete with governmental conrols over what procedures physicians will perform, and how much money they will be compensated for performing them.
If “Obamacare” comes to pass, it will be a significant fulfillment of President Obama’s vision of a “transformed” America. But it will not be what Americans want.