Thursday, October 24, 2013
Did Obama win the battle only to lose the war?
Janet Daley has some good points below but what she overlooks is that the shutdown should have SEARED into everybody's mind that the GOP fought tooth and nail against Obamacare. And as Obamacare implodes, the GOP should get some credit for being right and the Donks should get the blame that they deserve. But then again:
One hesitates to ascribe too much credit to Boehner & Co. but it could be that an awareness of how quicky Obamacare was crumbling lay behind abandonment of the shutdown -- JR
There is now virtually no one in Washington who does not believe that Barack Obama's army won the Battle of the Shutdown. The Republicans took a big hit in the opinion polls and their Tea Party faction was particularly reviled for its bloody-minded insistence on demanding the delay of Obamacare as the price for allowing the federal government to function. That was then.
This is now. That flagship policy on which the White House refused to accept any delay or conscientious doubt is turning into a political car crash for the administration. So hopelessly unfit for purpose is the website which was supposed to be the portal to a new reformed healthcare future, that it has permitted only a trickle of users to enroll in the brave new venture of universal health insurance. This might have been excused as an early-days teething problem if the White House had not been so vindictively adamant about its refusal to consider any deferment of the rollout. Having insisted that there could be absolutely no relenting on the date of launch of what proved to be an untested, faulty system, makes them look as if they were putting political gamesmanship above responsibility to the citizen.
In fact, the scale of the inadequacy of this programme is raising a pantheon of criticisms of the entire principle on which it is based which could have real long-term consequences for the credibility Obama's policy. Is is right that the federal government should be operating such an enormous universal programme? Is the premise on which it relies – that young, healthy people can be coerced into sharing the health insurance burden against their inclinations – even viable? Is this bizarre mix of state enforcement and private provision in which people are made to buy a product they do not want under threat of legal penalty, the right answer to the problem of escalating American healthcare costs? Even the Obama loyalists in the media and the Leftwing satirists are having a rip-roaring time tearing into the disaster of the Obamacare launch.
So how is this for irony? Now that the Republicans' "shutdown" farrago is over, the delay that they were demanding in the Obamacare programme might become necessary after all. And now that everyone is forgetting about the politically disastrous attempt to undermine it, the president's radical healthcare reform might collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).