An interesting question about which practically all columnists and pundits, both left and right have an opinion....some of them interesting and thought provoking, many of them bizarre wishful thinking, particularly in the pages of the NYT, DailyKos, Daily Beast, and other left leaning websites.
However, your friendly Grouchy Historian believes, along with a majority of pundits, that the shutdown debacle...and let's be honest, for the Republican leadership and Tea Party, it was a debacle...like soldiers in World War I hurling themselves by battalions into machine gun nests...it was in the end an unwinnable fight. All the Dems had to do was sit and wait because they held all the cards...or at least the Republicans weren't really willing to pay the price of "defaulting" on the debt, which I think is an artificial construct anyway...kinda like our whole national debt. I mean seriously what the hell is $17 TRILLION dollars mean to the average American? After a few hundred billion..doesn't it all become monopoly money anyway? Does any sane, rational person think this country will EVER pay back $17T in debt? I don't think so...So Harry and Barry figured they had the Republicans on the run...the demise of the Tea Party was at hand....but not so fast.
The total and complete screw up of the Obamacare website and the ensuing "Apple Dumpling Gang" management of the crisis by the White House have, at least for the average American, quickly swamped the fallout from the shutdown...and ironically, given the Tea Party gang a little credibility for questioning the ENTIRE premise of Obamacare in the first place.
I picture Obamacare as the Pearl Harbor of progressive liberalism.....and here's why. In 1941 the Japanese attacked the US Pacific Fleet and destroyed most of the old battleships in port, but missed the aircraft carriers, storage and maintenance facilities, and MOST importantly, did not destroy the US Pacific Fleet's oil storage, which would have been almost as bad as sinking an aircraft carrier or two. True the Japanese were able to conquer most of the Pacific and run wild for about six to nine months, but in the words of ADM Yamamoto, it awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.
I compare this to Obamacare for two reasons--1) Obama and the Democrats ALMOST got what they wanted. UNIVERSAL SINGLE-PAYER healthcare...a al European socialized medicine. They came pretty close, but like the Japanese couldn't quite close the deal with their "government option" which was nothing more than a Trojan Horse to drive private insurers out of business. I mean seriously, does anyone think the Democrats wanted anything else? But they couldn't get the votes in their OWN party...That's right, NO Republican voted for this monstrosity, and quite frankly it didn't matter. However, to keep enough of the party faithful in line to march off the cliff (which many did in 2010), the watered down Obamacare was neither a wholesale takeover or real market-based reform. Now, the choice Republicans have will be to oppose or defacto support Obamacare...and with Tea Partyers fired up, I don't see Republicans running as "moderates" in the 2014 primaries...at least on this issue.
2) People are PISSED OFF. Yup, forget the whole website nonsense, this is the calm before the storm. Although the individual marketplace offers a lot of heart wrenching and head shaking stories of premiums going up dramatically, deductibles going up, and coverage going down...the real storm hasn't even arrived. When COMPANIES and UNIONS start screwing with the coverage for their members and employees, well, Obama will retreat to golf course and never be seen again until January 20, 2017, when he rides off to the rubber chicken circuit. Congressmen better buff up their resumes, especially Democratic ones, because even though Obama managed to push this off until after 2014, it's gonna come back to bite them sooner or later...before 2016.
I mean there isn't enough lipstick in my local Walmart to hide this pig...no matter what nonsense spews from the word processors of liberals saying..."Well of course you lost your old insurance coverage..it wasn't GOOD ENOUGH for you." I mean really, I'm sure a lot of 20-something men want to pay 100% more than their old plan for pre-natal care and sex change operations.
Even some liberal Obama lovers are figuring out that HEY, Obamacare isn't free healthcare--morons, you gotta pay for it. Which warms my little schadenfreude heart.
AND of course, there are the lies, lies, lies that have been told and will now live on YouTube forever...and we haven't even gotten warmed up about those either. In addition to losing your old insurance plan, wait until folks lose their doctors, hospitals and other providers that either won't be in the NEW superwhamadyne Obamacare-approved plan or just say "Screw this" and leave the medical profession altogether. THAT will be interesting to watch.
Of course, ideology aside, what will most concern those pesky, wishy-washy "independent" voters is a basic question of competence. After all, if the mighty and benevolent FEDERAL GOVERNMENT can't even get a website running after spending hundreds of millions of dollars, what else are they screwing up?
Yes, this is a teachable moment...if only the right person was able to start the discussion.
Liberals have been running around spewing their usual nonsense about how those evil, racist, misogynist, xenophobic, puppy eating tea baggers want to DESTROY THE GOVERNMENT and turn America into, oh, I don't know Chicago? Detroit?
No, most people realize that government is needed, but here's three questions ALL Americans should ask themselves...and most importantly, questions our elected knuckleheads should be asking:
1. What do we, the American people think government should do? This applies to Federal, State and Local government. What functions are specifically outlined in the Constitution? A pesky question, but one that should be asked...even Obama hasn't done away with it yet...even though he mostly ignores it when it suits his purposes.These are not inconsequential questions...in spite of the lunacy of the progressive left that thinks government programs create jobs or increase the economy, every dollar spent by government at ANY level comes from citizen's pockets...and I am willing to bet any WORKING American will tell you they could spend that $ for their family if the taxman wasn't taking it. Taxes are money removed from private hands and placed in government hands...period...no wealth is created, except for politicians and lobbyists, and no lasting value is created.
2. Of those functions, which are best done where? I.E.,should the Federal government be dabbling in education, agriculture, commerce or is that best done at the state or local level?
3. WHAT are we, the American people, willing to PAY for those things?
NOW, there are exceptions of course. Roads, bridges, etc do provide a positive gain and are massive projects that can really only be done by government, so that's fine, let's have that discussion.
But, what about everything else? I find it more than a little disturbing when Democrats, particularly the LOONEY LOONEY left say that ANY CUT WHATSOVER to government spending is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust, except for defense spending of course...and even that isn't really cut, they just want to switch it over to food stamps, Head Start, etc.
I find it absurd that absolutely NO social program can ever be touched. This is why, although it has sucked for everyone, I think sequestration has been such a success and is currently driving the left insane...it cuts everything...not very thoughtfully to be sure, but it has at least put some real brakes on Obama and his endless credit card.
More on that later....that's my little historical analogy today. I agree with the pundits who say the Republicans should just sit back and watch Obamacare come unglued...then they can step in with some MAJOR changes and offer to fix things...and this time they will be in the drivers set, especially if they keep the House and/or pick up the Senate in 2014. Obama is gonna finally start thinking about his legacy soon (snort) and although he doesn't give two cents about what happens to his fellow Democrats, he will care if his "SIGNATURE" LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT" becomes the equivalent of the progressive Edsel...or worse (or better) begins to call into question the entire notion of the Federal government having so much accumulated power over every aspect of the American economy and citizens.
Could Obamacare be the Pearl Harbor that awakens the American people to what progressive, creeping socialism and statism has done? Do we have the courage to demand our politicians ROLL BACK the endless regulations and command economy?
Time will tell.....now back to our regularly scheduled book reviews and strategy discussions.