Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Waterloo for Shmucks: A Teaching Moment?

This past Saturday night, in the conversational salon held at my house once every month, a lively discussion evolved about the polarized nature of energy--how it can suddenly and unexpectedly turn on a dime and reverse into its opposite. One obvious and well-known example would be the gloom and doom that settles in when a serious health threat looms over you, and the doctor has demanded a battery of horrendous tests. The doom and gloom will magically dissipate, however, the instant you learn the tests came back okay. But energy is amphibious: it can work both ways, in either direction. A friend was in the room who had just had a new and promising romance end suddenly, for instance, and without any warning, after a single, brief, but somehow fatal interaction.

Inevitably the conversation turned to Obama, and the tsunamis of negative energy that dog his efforts 24/7, day after day, week after week. Many of us admitted we would have leaned back in the boat long ago, and dropped overboard into the water, were we up against the kind of negativity he is, routinely, every single day. Now, for instance, special interests and opponents of health care reform in Washington have made their priority clear: attack President Obama at any cost. On Friday, GOP Senator Jim DeMint told a special-interest attack group that if they're "able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

The plot thickens. Their plan is simple: oppose health care reform as a political ploy to weaken the President and defeat his entire agenda of change:

Bill Kristol: Kill It, and Start Over

With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats' plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it's not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.
My advice, for what it's worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.
The Obama White House and the Democratic congressional leadership shouldn't be underestimated. They're tough. They'll cut deals and twist arms to try to keep their priority legislation alive. They'll certainly attack their opponents, whether their opponents' tone is conciliatory or confrontational.
So this is not the time to let them off the ropes. This is the week to highlight every problem, every terrible provision, in the Democratic bills: from taxes and spending to government control and rationing to federal funding for abortion and government-required death-with-dignity counseling sessions for the elderly. Throw the kitchen sink at the legislation now on the table, drive a stake through its heart (I apologize for the mixed metaphors), and kill it...
The Obama plan wouldn't go into effect until 2013 anyway (except the tax increases, which would kick in in 2011). We have plenty of time to work next year on sensible and targeted health reform in a bipartisan way. But first we need to get rid of Obamacare. Now is the time to do so."

Posted by William Kristol on July 20, 2009 09:15 AM at the Weekly Standard

Quotes from Lindsey Graham on Health Care:

"Basically I think he'll fail, because he's trying to convince America to be something other than America ... I don't think he's going to be successful, because Americans really do not feel comfortable turning over healthcare to the government."

"The untold story here is how many Democrats are defecting on climate change, on spending, budgets, how many Democrats are upset about the way they're going on health care. They're trying to beat their own people into submission; they've given up on bipartisanship."

"The one thing they never counted on was an effective Republican response, and the American people being concerned about where they want to take the country."

And from the Chairman of the RNC, Michael Steele:

"Under the Obama plan, the vast majority of Americans will pay more to get less. It's that simple.
We will spend trillions more--trillions--and the 267 million Americans who now have insurance will have fewer options and worse care. And we still won't cover all the uninsured.
This is one-sixth of our economy. If we screw this up, it could last for generations. And Congress is trying to do this in the next two weeks?! Two weeks? This reckless approach to an ill-conceived experiment should scare the living daylights out of all of us...
"The president has insisted at every step of the way that his health plan will not add to the deficit. But just last Friday, CBO concluded that the Obama-Pelosi plan will add $239 billion to the deficit by 2019, and hundreds of billions thereafter. That means--according to CBO, not Michael Steele--the Obama-Pelosi plan does not do either of the two things the president swore that they would do: contain costs and not add to the deficit.
President Obama justifies this spending by saying the devil made him do it. He doesn't want to spend trillions we can't afford, but he says he just can't help it. Even though he says believes in less spending, he says has no choice -- but to spend even more.
"Even though Washington is on fire with spending, he says he is compelled to conduct this experiment with reckless spending and pour more gasoline on the flames."

In an op-ed in Politico, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal writes:
“I know a little something about health care policy, and I can tell you exactly the game that is currently afoot. If the House Democrats’ plan were to become law, the president’s statement that 'if you like your health care now, you can keep it' will not be true. This is not an opinion, this is a fact...One independent study already suggested that up to 119 million Americans will end up leaving their private plans for the public plan. To think otherwise requires one to suspend disbelief.”

Minority Leader John Boehner also joins in on the criticism with an op-ed in Yahoo News.
“Not only will the Democrats’ government-run health care plan raise your costs, but it also will raise costs for our nation’s employers – particularly small businesses. At the heart of their proposal is a small business tax that, for tens of millions, means diminished job security. The National Federation of Independent Businesses warns that the small business tax and mandates in the Democrats’ plan will destroy 1.6 million jobs – one million of them in small businesses alone."
(From firstread.msnbc.msn.com)

From a blog commenter, who writes:
"The GOP does not want health care reform, just as they have always voted against anything and everything that will benefit middle class America.
The republicans are on the path of becoming America's
most dangerous domestic terrorists.
They are out to destroy our president, our country and us."

"I heard Obama on the radio today," my friend Jane e-mailed me yesterday, "quoting a senator who talked about health care failure as "Obama's Waterloo." Obama said, 'Health Care isn't about me. It's about broken families, and broken businesses.' " He doesn't just ignore the meanness, she points out. Nor does he return it in kind. Like Martin Luther King, she says, he teaches from it.

That is exactly what sets him apart from these unseemly killer Republican swamp liars and poison pills. I do so love it when somebody else just nails something, even if it isn't me. That's how you deal with negative energy coming at you: you don't just ignore it. Nor do you return it in kind. You make it an object lesson for all to see.

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