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The Silence Continues, Unabated

July 21, 2009

In case anyone was wondering– and I know you were dear reader, I have not lost myself in blizzard of self-doubt or depression regarding the political events of the last several months. On the contrary, I have been beginning to look into things that I can actually do to counter the madness currently in play, and blogging does not seem to be part of the solution.

In true contrarian fashion, my life seems to be doing well right now. Very well. Where many, many others have lost their livelihoods and/or homes, I’ve actually managed to improve my lot- a miraculous blessing more than any machination of mine other than the long slog of hard work. So life is good. The country seems like its coming apart at the seems, but at least my life is doing great.

I must admit, some part of me still wants to debate and express in this forum, and I may continue more regularly, but I just can’t see my self dedicating my life to the criticism of the President.There is so much to criticize though, the tempting nature of the target may prove to be too irresistible.

On that note, let me offer two links to which I invite comments. The first is David Brooks’ column today: Liberal Suicide March. Brooks, a moderate conservative supporter of Obama, expresses his disappointment in the President quite forcefully:

It’s not that interesting to watch the Democrats lose touch with America. That’s because the plot line is exactly the same [as that of the Republicans]. The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes….

Most independents now disapprove of Obama’s health care strategy. In March, only 32 percent of Americans thought Obama was an old-style, tax-and-spend liberal. Now 43 percent do….

Every cliché Ann Coulter throws at the Democrats is gloriously fulfilled by the Democratic health care bills. The bills do almost nothing to control health care inflation. They are modeled on the Massachusetts health reform law that is currently coming apart at the seams precisely because it doesn’t control costs. They do little to reward efficient providers and reform inefficient ones.

That Barack Obama was nothing more than an eloquent tax-and-spend liberal of the most extreme variety was perfectly obvious to anyone who cared to see it. But even I am surprised at the degree to which Obama has completely abandoned and betrayed his campaign rhetoric on every level.

William McGurn clearly expresses and supports the view I have had since inauguration day: Let’s Face It:  Obama is No Post-Partisan. Clearly, for Obama, post-partisan does not mean getting beyond the right-left divide and finding common solutions. No, his aim is to completely discredit and defeat conservative ideas so that the one remaining ideology is left-wing in its entirety. Clever rhetorical ploys are the only way conservative ideas are “incorporated” into the other side of the aisle:

The redefinition started during the stimulus debate, but it really picked up steam late last month with David Axelrod’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” There the president’s chief strategist explained that a bill didn’t need Republican votes to be “bipartisan”; it was enough if Republican “ideas” were included. A few days earlier, Rahm Emanuel had offered reporters another redefinition, suggesting that a bill was bipartisan if people merely “saw the president trying” to get Republicans on board.

The president himself endorsed this redefinition during Rose Garden remarks delivered after a Senate committee passed a health-care bill on a strictly party-line vote. Perhaps only someone who truly embraces “the audacity of hope” could see healthy bipartisanship at work in the complete lack of GOP votes. Here’s how he put it: “It’s a plan that was debated for more than 50 hours and that, by the way, includes 160 Republican amendments—a hopeful sign of bipartisan support for the final product.”

Time and time again, this President has said one thing and done another.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus (D., Mont.), believes he would attract Republican votes if the bill helped pay for the expanded health care by subjecting employer-provided health benefits to the same taxes imposed on individual plans. He has also complained that the president is “making it difficult” to get a bill through. Surely it says something about Mr. Obama’s partisanship that this complaint issues from the one Democratic leader committed to producing a bipartisan health-care bill.

What’s that you say? The Democrats want to give the tax breaks to business and the Republicans want to give it to individuals? I thought the Dems were for the small guy.

So it’s fascinating to sit back and watch all this unfold into plummeting approval ratings (especially among independents) and unworkable schemes exposed as reality sets in: there is no easy way out. There never has and never will be. However, that won’t stop the President and the highly partisan leadership of  Congress trying to cram through a deeply transformative and disruptive change to our health care system, as Obama explained to Jonathan Singer at MyDD:

Jonathan Singer: Well thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Mr. President. Given the time-line and the fact that it seems like bills may not be through both the  House and Senate by the August recess, is there a point at which you would say to the Senate, “Sixty votes doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Use the reconciliation process. Lower the threshold so the Republicans cannot delay the process.” I know that’s not optimal. But is there a point at which you would say that to the Senate?

President Obama: Keep in mind that the way we had structured the reconciliation issue several months ago, we moved forward on the basis of the assumption that we can get a bill through the regular order and the regular process by October. If I think that that is not possible, then we are going to look at all of our options, including reconciliation.

It wasn’t so long ago we heard complaint after complaint about how Bush ruled with a 51 percent mandate in the most extreme way. Now the heavy-handed tactics of the Democrats, which dwarf anything Bush ever did, are encouraged and cheered by the very same people who complained the loudest. At least the insinserity of their rhetoric has been exposed. The pitiless crowbar of events prevails once again.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Timmy C. permalink
    July 21, 2009 11:02 pm

    Count: really glad to hear you are doing well… Honestly cool.

    I’ll comment on the second link and your thoughts around it. You struck me as no fan of bipartisanship in the past –such as the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report …and now your criticism (and the WSJ article by Bush’s former speechwriter) seems less like you want Obama to actually act this way, but rather that you see him acting in hypocritical ways, in bad faith: preaching “kumbaya” bipartisanship while secretly planning Republican ruin.

    Your feelings of dissonance about Obama’s bipartisan speak might be helped by this definition that I think is spot on to the President’s theory of what bipartisanship should be:

    “More essentially, however, bipartisanship, as Obama intended the term, should not necessarily be confused for “compromise”. Rather, it implied behaving in good-faith — hearing out opinions from different sides of the aisle and identifying the best ideas regardless of their partisan origin. Bipartisanship, to Obama, was a process rather than an outcome. He could plausibly have been acting in a bipartisan manner, even if he hadn’t gotten many Republicans to go along with his agenda.”

    And I could dig up plenty of quotes from Obama going way back defining bipartisanship just that way.

    And in a way, I think you’d like that theory of Presidential leadership vs. a simple “splitting the difference” between warring parties and choosing that as a default direction, no?

    Isn’t that how you would want a hypothetical President McCain to act if he were elected last November?

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