Thank God for the Wonk Book (WB) run by the Washington Post.
For readers who have no idea what the Wonk Book is, it’s a blog run by some Poindexter types at the Post, who get to use the amazing and changing D.C. buzzwords like “narrative,” “meme,” “optics,” and “pivot” to make themselves sound important and in-the-know.
“Aren't these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important?” asked the Simpsons character forever to be called “Writer,” about his generation of “wonks,” known back then as “TV executives”.
Yes. Yes, they are.
At times the Wonk Book is insufferable, and at times it’s hilarious- although it’s hilarious in a “they-meant-to-do-it-even-though-they-didn’t-mean-to-do-it” way.
And we’re it not for the WB, I’m not sure exactly how I’d feel about Obamacare.
Yes, the law would still suck.
But I wouldn’t get to laugh at the signature healthcare “reform” law of the Obama administration as often as I do now without reading the “they-meant-to-do-it-even-though-they-didn’t-mean-to-do-it” explanations from time to time.
I wear myself out in laughing when I see the human pretzels on the pages of the Post- who actually like to call themselves “wonks”- contort themselves into explanations why Obamacare is a great law, but, alas, just misunderstood.
So at least I get a laugh occasionally. And I get some of my best ideas as to why it’s such a poor law from the Wonk Book.
For example, one of the latest laughers from the Book of Wonks' rather silly, supercilious and condescending epistles on the Gospel According to Barack, comes from our favorite policy clown, Lord of the Wonks, St. Ezra Klein.
In the wonk entry, Klein does his usual bit about lies, damn lies and Republicans.
But what he does best is make the very argument opponents are using in opposing Obamacare.
And- to use a favorite line of reasoning that Klein uses against his opponents- Klein is either: 1) too dumb to know it; or 2) he’s too dishonest to care.
The Klein post is an inside-the-beltway look at a Politico article that says lawmakers are trying to exempt themselves and their staff from the provisions of Obamacare, just as Obama has carved out exemptions for himself and for his staff.
“Congressional leaders in both parties,” reports Politico, “are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.”
The article provides a lot of back and forth commentary from insiders who are clearly worried about political fallout from exempting Congress and staffers from Obamacare.
But wait: Not so, says Klein in his posted titled No, Congress isn’t trying to exempt itself from Obamacare.
Klein then goes on to explain that “they-meant-to-do-it-even-though-they-didn’t-mean-to-do-it”, in extempting themseleves from Obamacare and the reporters from Politico are either: 1) too dumb to know it, or 2) too dishonest to care.
“If this sounds unbelievable,” Klein writes, saying the Politico reporters are either lying or stupid, “it’s because it is. There’s no effort to ‘exempt’ Congress from Obamacare. No matter how this shakes out, Congress will have to follow the law, just like everyone else does.”
That’s how it always works for Congress, right? No matter what Congress does, they just follow the law… nothing to see here folks.
You see, when you get to write the laws, exempting yourself from a law is the same thing as following the law, isn’t it, Ezra?
Oh, and by the way, for good measure, Klein explains, it’s George Bush’s fault.
“Based on conversations I’ve had with a number of the staffs involved in these talks, the actual issue here is far less interesting, and far less explosive, than an exemption,” Klein condescends to report to us. “Rather, a Republican amendment meant to embarrass Democrats and a too-clever-by-half Democratic response has possibly created a problem in which the federal government can’t make its normal contribution to the insurance premiums of congressional staffers.”
Yes, that’s what happens when you pass a law before you know what’s in it- or know whether you have to exempt yourself.
And there you have one of those “they-meant-to-do-it-even-though-they-didn’t-mean-to-do-it” examples that the Wonk Book is so good at.
I find it absolutely hilarious that Congress, Ezra Klein and the White House are busy- just like the rest of us are right now- trying to figure out what the hell the Obamacare law means for real people, who have real jobs, who have to pay real premiums and have real health issues.
It’s nice to see them, like ordinary citizens do, try to struggle with the same uncertain effects of their own, poorly though-out legislation for a change.
And Klein is either too dumb to notice this hypocrisy or too dishonest to care about it.