Part One: The Opportunity
Meanwhile, loyal media allies of the DC political elite, eager to preserve the status quo, do their best to fog up the situation. TheNew York Times editorial page, for example, dismisses the whole tax-vs.-mandate wrangle as mere “hairsplitting.” As the paperopined on Friday, “The tax-vs.-penalty debate is a legal and semantic issue that has no practical impact on the public.” Nice try, MSM, but the facts speak for themselves. Words matter: As Mark Twain said, there’s a lot of difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Words have consequences, because the truth matters. As the President himself said on July 6, attacking Romney, “One of the things that you learn as President is that what you say matters and your principles matter.” One might think that someone caught in a deception is no position to be throwing stones, but wily politicians know that the best defense is a good offense; the more rocks that Obama can throw at his challenger, perhaps the fewer that Romney can hurl back at him.
So far so good, one might say--from the point of view of the permanent political class. I, like almost every American, believe that we desperately need real healthcare reform. The problem is that this bill is not healthcare reform. Such a monstrosity as this could never be accepted by the American people, who want real healthcare and real medical progress, not political machination and misdirection.
Now Democratic Members of Congress who supported the bill are in a bind. If they admit the mandate is a tax, they are revealed as either dupes or frauds, leaving themselves open to the famous Watergate question to suspected conspirators: “What did you know and when did you know it?” And yet at the same time, Democrats cannot vote to repeal the mandate/tax, because to do so would bring down the whole edifice of Obamacare--and also bring down, on their heads, the formidable wrath of the Democratic left.
Today, Obama has all of Bush 41’s problems--and more. In his 2008 campaign, he set himself up to a higher standard; he would be, he pledged, a transformative president, doing everything differently. Of course, in the back rooms and war rooms of his campaign, his top advisers were chuckling knowingly about the ridiculousness of the promise, but the voters didn’t know that. And who knows, maybe even Obama believed his own lofty speechifying.