There may have been a flicker of hope that they could get away with the simple majority fifty-one vote tactic before February 25. Then, Obama’s brainchild, the “healthcare summit”, changed all that. America discovered, through the reluctant major media outlets, that the Republicans had alternative ideas which made sense. Unfortunately for Obama and the Democrat congressional majority, this was an event that the media couldn’t ignore or pretend didn’t exist.
As a result, the Democrats own the healthcare reform issue vis-à-vis Obamacare, and they are swimming against the tide of American voter sentiment. Results of Rasmussen polling of likely voters reveals 56% oppose the plan, with 45% strongly opposed. Sentiment is even stronger against Congress, with only 9% of likely voters believing that they are genuinely trying to help the people. How could anyone believe this when the Democrat majority repeatedly voted down any effort to impose healthcare reform on themselves, as proposed by some Republican legislators?
At this point, the smartest political move would be to scrap the bill and start over as Republicans have suggested. This time, incorporate the Republican ideas of tort reform and private insurance competition across state lines. Downscale the bill to fund only the 12 million American citizens who cannot afford insurance. Take out provisions to fund abortions and illegals. Do this, and the Democrats could hold power for another generation.
Of course this will never happen, at least not through the conscious efforts of Democrats in Congress. Ironically, it is the hard left core of the Democrat base that will save our country from being imprisoned in a government-run healthcare system. Their intransience in this issue is preventing any movement toward compromise with Republicans. In their minds, Obamacare must evolve into incorporation of a” public option”, which then evolves into a government-run single payer system. This has been Obama’s stated goal all along.
But why this inexorable march to the “promised land” of government healthcare control despite the inevitable political costs? The greatest expert on this subject is a sixteenth-century Italian political advisor by the name of Niccolò Machiavelli. (I consider him to be exponentially more intelligent and cultured than Chicago thug advisors Emanuel and Axelrod put together.) In his book, The Prince, published in 1532, he writes:
Wherefore, a wise Prince should devise means whereby his subjects may at all times, whether favourable or adverse, feel the need of the State and of him, and then they will always be faithful to him.These are the marching orders of the left. However, there is another tenant provided by Machiavelli that is ignored on the left, to their great peril. That is the force of popular sentiment, as expressed in political polls, town halls and tea parties. As Machiavelli states in Discourses on Livy,
It is true that I judge unhappy those princes who have to hold to extraordinary ways to secure their states, since they have the multitude as enemies.The “extraordinary ways” in our contemporary situation equates to the Reconciliation process. If the Democrats succeed in passing Obamacare using Reconciliation, the Democrat brand will be irrevocably tarnished by this tactic. Republican congressional candidates will be handed elections on a silver platter, if they have the intelligence and guts to take the issue and run with it. (Of course, these are still questionable characteristics for many Republicans.)
Americans in general do not appreciate having anything forced on them against their will. They are also accustomed to receiving something first and paying for it later (e.g., buying big ticket items with zero down and no payments until 2012). In the case of Obamacare, they will be paying for it for three years before receiving anything. Would you buy a new couch with those terms?
Smart Republicans will run on a platform of repealing the bill, starting over, and doing healthcare reform in a less costly manner through the free-market system. They will also remind people that if the Democrats did it once they will do it again with other unpopular legislation. Republican candidates will ask, do you really want to live under a political regime that will not hesitate to force bad laws and policies down your throat against your will, or will you vote for candidates who will force them to listen to you?
Another famous political advisor, Saul Alinsky, writes in his book Rules for Radicals,
It is a world not of angels but of angles, where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies always immoral; a world where “reconciliation” means that when one side gets the power and the other side gets reconciled to it, then we have reconciliation…Alinsky dedicated Rules for Radicals, the playbook for the Democrat left, to the first leftist radical. The original man of wealth and taste. No, not George Soros.