March 20, 2013
In the Academy Award winning movie “The Sting,” the characters played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford set-up a fake betting parlor and racetrack broadcast to “reel in the whale.” The “sting,” or the con game, was set-up from the very start to play out exactly as planned; the winner was predetermined: the con men. Obamacare – or the Affordable Care Act, laughable as that law’s title may be – is not unlike “The Sting,” in that the outcome emanating from the passage of this law was predetermined, but it may not be what you think.
Most people who understand Obamacare to be an affront to the Constitution (this, of course, would not include US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts) and a gear stopper, economically, hold the position that the real catalyst behind this horrible piece of legislation was the creation of a single-payer healthcare system. To avoid this the popular hypothesis held that those opposed to the outrageous provisions set forth in the Affordable Care Act would either: a) win the General Election in a landslide and repeal the whole of the law or, b) in the aftermath of a lame electoral attempt, dismantle the law piece-by-piece in an effort to defund and render impotent the law piecemeal. As it stands, courtesy of the establishment Republican Party, we have opted for “B.”
To that end, CNS News reports:
“When the young people in this country find out that they are going to be the generation of debtors and there’s no way they’re ever going to get out from underneath this kind of stuff – I’ve got to tell you, people don’t even realize how crushing it’s going to be after the 1st of this next year,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said.
“And I’ll predict that within that year – now I may be wrong on this – but within the immediate future the Democrats are going to throw their hands in the air and say, ‘It’s not working. It’s unaffordable. And we have to go to a single-payer system,’ Hatch said, adding, “...where the government controls everybody’s lives...That’s what’s behind all of this. And they know it’s going to fail. It’s already failing, and it hasn’t even triggered yet, the big expenses.”
But I believe this notion to be too simplistic; too shortsighted. It doesn’t take into account that in addition to a Progressive ideologue who believes government is the answer to all of the social maladies facing our populace, Mr. Obama is a Chicago politician. And anyone who understands Chicago politics knows that job-one for the successful machine politician is to position oneself to win the next election. To that end, Mr. Obama has his sights set on two goals at this moment in time: to take back the US House of Representatives in 2014, and to render the opposition party – or in this case the opposition parties in both the GOP and the Libertarian Party – ineffective against the Progressive/Democrat Movement.
In Obamacare, Mr. Obama has a vehicle that can do both, especially if the Republicans and Libertarians continue to fail in mastering the art of political messaging (and believe me, Mr. Priebus’ GOP reform manifesto is not the blueprint to success unless the messaging issue is resolved first).
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Let’s set aside, for the moment, that the Affordable Care Act came complete with a boatload of non-related tax increases, something that Liberal Democrats and Progressives giggle about to this day for the citizenry’s failure to realize. Incidentally, with the tax increases hidden in Obamacare, the sun-setting of the Bush Tax Cuts, and the tax increases on the producers through the “Fiscal Cliff” surrender of the GOP, any so-called “balanced approach” tax increase to dealing with the debt and deficit would amount to the fourth major tax increase imposed on the American people. “Ahem,” Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor.
The one thing that Sen. Hatch is absolutely correct about is that the Affordable Care Act was designed to fail. But it is at this point that those Conservatives elected to federal government miss some very important aspects to “the sting.”
First, by imposing a plan designed to fail, Mr. Obama and his Progressive comrades will have forced the rest of the ruling class to “fix” the health insurance system. Of course, they hope that it will culminate in a single-payer nationalized healthcare system, but understand that in reality it is a long shot (like the number 13 horse). It is more likely that many of the reforms floated before Obamacare’s passage – being able to purchase insurance across State lines (portability), tort reform, provisions for pre-existing conditions, etc. – will be enacted into law individually. Nevertheless, by forcing the opposition parties to fix an admittedly broken system, Mr. Obama can take ownership of the fact that “his” actions – even through the failed Affordable Care Act, and even though the labor unions and special interest groups actually crafted the behemoth legislation – resulted in a “better system for all”; a victory for the “spirit of the intent” of the Progressive Movement, as he will, no doubt, claim, if, in fact, there is a positive outcome.
Second, the aforementioned taxes will continue to exist, as repealing taxes is anathema in Washington, DC.
But third, and this is where “the sting” could go either way, if Republicans and Libertarians fail at providing a potent, truly affordable and superior fix for Obamacare; if they fail on any aspect of the almost unattainable promises made to the public by Mr. Obama and the “you have to pass the bill to find out what’s in the bill” Progressives, Democrats will destroy the Conservative brand by declaring Republicans and Libertarians “denied” the American people “affordable healthcare” in dismantling the Affordable Care Act. Democrats and Progressives will paint the Republicans – whose brand is badly tarnished by gross mismanagement at the federal level already – as toadies of the wealthy who would just assume urinate on the poor as look at them, and they will point to the “cruelty” of the Republican-led deconstruction of the “benevolence” of Obamacare.
In attaining all three of these political goals – the forcing of action by Republicans and Libertarians, the imposition of taxes (pain) on the American people, and successfully executing “the sting” of forcing Republicans and Libertarians to succeed in a super-human political endeavor that Progressives themselves could not achieve – not only will Mr. Obama be able to brag about neutering the opposition parties for decades to come, but he will have cemented his legacy as a “benevolent” president, even if it is an illusion, and even if, in reality, he has done more to hurt the United States economically (the deficit and debt) and globally (allowing the rise of radical Islam) than any president in American history – including Jimmy Carter.
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This leaves Republicans and Libertarians – who simply must join forces now that Democrats and Progressives have sold their souls to bond into one – with a very hard choice. They can either let Obamacare play out to collapse of its own accord and hope that they have the intelligence to work together, devoid of political ego, to pick-up the pieces to the benefit of the nation, or they can try to repeal and defund the Affordable Care Act piecemeal. There are dangers to both actions.
Given the track record of establishment, inside-the-beltway politics, hoping that the federally elected can cooperate – devoid of ego – in the best interest of the American people is a dark horse longshot. I am not saying that it can’t be done. I am simply stating the obvious: that it isn’t the standard operating procedure in Washington, DC. That said, with people like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio in the Senate, and Michelle Bachmann, Paul Ryan, Louie Gohmert, Steve King and Joe Wilson in the House – and this is by no means a complete list, there is hope.
But if Republicans and Libertarians attempt to defund and render impotent the Affordable Care Act, they had better heed this warning: They had better execute a messaging campaign that is overwhelmingly successful and it has to be a well-coordinated, cohesive, simply-stated, all-hands-on-deck, 24/7/365 effort that doesn’t allow the Madison Avenue marketing whores of the Progressive Movement a breath by which to advance a false narrative. Republicans and Libertarians must expose “the sting,” place the blame squarely and ruthlessly where it belongs and never – ever – let up on the pressure. Succinctly, Republicans and Libertarians must own the message. If they do not; if they fail in the least bit, they will, as Ronald Reagan so eloquently stated before he took up residence in the White House, “sentence the American people to a thousand years of darkness.”
If Republicans and Libertarians can succeed in this, they will have enlightened themselves to the key to winning elections for decades to come: messaging. If they fail...well, Scott Joplin doesn’t have a song for that.