Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why there is hope.

Building off the last post, Rich Lowry wrote a solid piece on Obamacare passage.

Here's the good stuff:

If they had stacked the bill so the major benefits came first, underpromised so it would exceed expectations once enacted and designed it to be fiscally sustainable, it'd rest on a solid foundation.

Instead, desperate to sell the unpopular reform in a center-right country, they've done the opposite on all counts:

* They backloaded the benefits to keep the official costs in the first 10 years just under $1 trillion. This makes the bill vulnerable to rollback or diminishment over time, especially as representations made about it prove untrue.

* The bill won't reduce premiums and costs as Obama promises.

* As its tawdry fiscal tricks -- double-counting revenue, keeping inconvenient new spending off the books, assuming unlikely Medicare savings -- get exposed in the harsh light of reality, Obama's description of the bill as an indispensable deficit-reduction measure will look equally cynical and laughable.

For all that, the left's investment in Obama beginning in the 2008 nomination contest has been vindicated. He promised to reject Clintonian triangulation, and he has. He talked of transforming the country, and has taken a major step toward social democracy in America.

Despite his silky rhetoric, when push came to shove, he adopted the partisan hardball beloved by lefty bloggers to forestall serious compromise and work his ideological will.

Obama stands exposed as the kind of unabashed liberal Democrat who hasn't won a presidential election since 1964. The first electoral test for this iteration of Obama, shorn of all pretense to moderation, comes in November.

November? No. The first test came and went in 2009. But Obama decided to forego those warnings and double down.

He'll pay with massive electoral losses in November. With the "backloaded benefits" not coming until 2014, the electorate won't see any tangible "improvements" until well after Obama's re-election campaign. And if that is lost, a "fix" of Obamacare by Republicans will be first on the agenda come late January of 2013.

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