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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Squeezing Soap From Obamacare's Sponge Is Not Enough

The award for the "Least Likely to be True Headline" goes to William Saletan at Slate.com, Pelosi's Triumph:  Democrats didn't lose the battle of 2010. They won it.

But least likely does not mean wrong.

How could Democrats have won the battle of 2010.  Didn't we just crush them in the mid-term elections?

Please focus on the wording Saletan uses.  Democrats won "the battle" of 2010, not necessarily all the battles.  So what was "the battle"?

Saletan makes a point I have made here many times before.  The real vice (or in Saletan's view, virtue) of sweeping health care, consumer and financial services legislation passed the past 18 months is that Obama has put in place a legislative superstructure which covers much of the economy. 

If not a single new piece of social legislation is passed due to the takeover of the House of Representatives by Republicans, Obama gets two years to fill in this legislative superstructure through regulation and executive branch policy.

Saletan sums up the triumph (emphasis mine):
A party that loses a House seat can win it back two years later, as Republicans just proved. But a party that loses a legislative fight against a middle-class health care entitlement never restores the old order.... It's a huge structural change in the relationship between the public, the economy, and the government.

Politicians have tried and failed for decades to enact universal health care. This time, they succeeded. In 2008, Democrats won the presidency and both houses of Congress, and by the thinnest of margins, they rammed a bill through. They weren't going to get another opportunity for a very long time. It cost them their majority, and it was worth it.
And that's not counting financial regulation, economic stimulus, college lending reform, and all the other bills that became law under Pelosi. So spare me the tears and gloating about her so-called failure....Democrats didn't lose the most important battle of 2010. They won it.
The mid-term elections were a massive blow to the Democratic Party, one which will be felt for multiple election cycles.  But 2010 was a good year for the ideology of government expansion, even if it left several dozen Democratic congressman and senators politically dead.  They were sacrificed for the greater cause.

Which is why 2012 counts so much.  The House will spend the next two years trying to squeeze soap from Obama's legislative sponge through the power of the purse.  But as everyone knows, it is all but impossible to get all the soap out of the sponge.

We need to repeal and replace.  Not just Obamacare, but Obama in 2012. 

And not just Obama, but Democratic control of the Senate. 

And not just Democratic control of the Senate, but also Republicans in the Senate or running for Senate who are unwilling to throw out the sponge.

Update 11-7-2012:  Via The New York Times, G.O.P. Plans to Use Purse Strings to Fight Health Law

Given their slim majority, Senate Democrats must stick together if they want to avoid sending Mr. Obama spending bills and other legislation that he would feel compelled to veto, setting up the prospect of a broader deadlock and, in an extreme situation, a government shutdown.
Pass the bill and make Democratic Senators, many of whom are up for reelection, vote against it.  It really is that simple.

See also Glenn Reynolds, Republicans should seek clarity by listening to voters:

With the deficit and the debt ballooning, with the economy remaining in the tank, and with tough choices on the horizon, what Americans need more than anything is clarity about what those choices involve, about who is making them, and about who is avoiding them
Related Posts:
Is There No Detail Too Small For The Feds To Regulate?
Robert Gibbs Was Right
"Little-Noticed" is the New "Unexpected"

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  1. And while trying to retake the Republican party.

  2. Absolutely spot-on. That sickening feeling comes back every time I think that Obamacare will not be completely repealed until after 2012 - if then.

    All the other grievous legislation listed in that quote ("...financial regulation, economic stimulus, college lending reform, and all the other bills...") turn my stomach, too; they are often overlooked, which makes me wonder if the Republicans have a plan to repeal and de-fund each and every one of them. They'd better have, or they won't last more than 2 years!

    Step 1 is complete, this first battle won on November 2nd. But the war against liberals and progressivism has only just begun. The tide is turning. But we must not grow complacent because of one election victory - our sights MUST continue to be set on taking our country back! This is only the beginning......

    Thanks for the PERFECT reminder to help us stay focused and fired up, ready to REPEAL big government and REPLACE it with Constitutional smaller, smarter government. One battle, one day, one step at at a time.

  3. I don't remember seeing any "repeal and replace" signs at any tea parties. That doesn't mean that they weren't there, just that I didn't see them, as I was carrying my 'REPEAL OBAMACARE' sign. I believe the republicans make a mistake by conflating the two issues. Most of the common sense reforms to medical care involve getting the government out of the system, free-market reforms.

    Obamacare, however, is a monstrosity capable of doing grave damage to our democracy. It is not incumbent upon us, despite democrat protestations, to issue 'alternatives' which will never assuage democrats anyway.

    The country is self-described 40% conservative, 30% independent, and 20% liberal. We must use elections, especially 2012 election, to not only beat up democrats because they deserve it, but to educate voters to conservative and republican principles, and the dangers of socialism.

    The author of the piece is correct, that there has never been a major entitlement law that has been repealed, I believe there are some differences with this one that make it eminently repealable. All the other major legislative initiatives were passed by wide margins, not so with Obamacare. It was passed during a period with wide-spread divisions in public opinion over the law and an active protest movement, much of which (not all) solely due to Obamacare.

    And finally, you have myself, and others like myself who are dedicated to never resting until Obamacare is repealed. Until it's repealed, nothing else politics-wise is all that important because we believe this law is that destructive to our republic.

  4. DINORightMarie: which makes me wonder if the Republicans have a plan to repeal and de-fund each and every one of them. They'd better have, or they won't last more than 2 years!

    Repeal would require legislation. As the Democrats have a majority in the Senate, and Obama is a Democrat, that would require bipartisan support.

  5. Right you are, Prof.

    We need to expose to America the fine print in ObamaCare. Many Americans have yet to discover that hikes in workers' health insurance bills, hiring freezes, reduced payments to doctors and hospitals, and longer waits for treatment are the tip of the iceberg.

    The Dems craftily are aiming to gain much of their support from the healthiest voters with the least life experience and the shortest memory of history.

  6. Exactly right. It's one of the most important aspects about the "new" Democratic party that everyone ignores. They have a long term plan and their tactics don't require that they be in power. FDR did most of his damage in a short amount of time. So did Johnson. So did Carter. As soon as they get in , they put in place game-changing anti-democratic superstructure that the "new" spineless and corrupt Republican party (Assistant Democrats) then modifies and "perfects".

    It's time to rip these programs out by the roots and go back to basics. But I have serious doubts that even the most strident of us are willing to make the sacrifices required to wean ourselves from the nanny state. Living "beyond our means" means we can't afford something. Cutting national spending is not different. If it doesn't make sense on the micro level, it doesn't make sense on the macro level either.

    Let's get back to living within our means and get it behind us. We'll be much stronger as a nation for it. We will have found our character again. If we are so superior to France, it's time that we prove it because we are in denial if we think we are much different these days.

  7. I wonder if the DEM martyrs will get 72 virgins?;-)

  8. They can have the battle of 2010, as long as we win the war -- whenever it ends.

  9. BTW, in the context of this blog post, that the number one priority for Republicans is to remove Obama is utter nonsense, especially coming from the mouth of McConnell. The number one priority of Republicans is remove their corrupt leadership that is still beholden to the same interests that backed Bush and Obama in bringing us to this precipice in the first place.

    Like it or not, we conservatives are now at war with the entire establishment including the GOP establishment which is again telling us "radicals" that we have to hold our noses and accept the lesser of two evils. This is what Obamanation looks like in slow motion. It's called Bushnation. RINO-nation.

    When you are on the wrong track and see a bright beacon coming your way, it's not about how fast you're going, it's about getting off of that track and finding that track that will take us where we want to go. This GOP is not interested in finding another track.

  10. So says, minus the 'le', Satan of Slate:

    "But a party (R) that loses a legislative fight against a middle-class health care entitlement never restores the old order.... It's a huge structural change in the relationship between the public, the economy, and the government."

    "Politicians have tried and failed for decades to enact universal health care. It cost them their majority, and it was worth it."

    Yes, Sa(-le)tan, you've got it right, except for the new order part. Your on the wrong side as usual.

  11. "This GOP is not interested in finding another track." They have two years to prove you wrong.

  12. You're missing the transformation of K-12 education in this country by federalizing prof devt, curriculum, and subjective assessments through Common Core.

    Once you get past the rhetoric about excellence and equity and the pablum about state-led (with federal financing), the implementation documents are quite clear.

    We are implementing Dewey's dream of an activity-oriented, non-academic classroom to create students to be agents of change in our unjust society.

    Oh. I guess we laymen are not supposed to read past the Exec Summary or the media synopsis to what is really being described as the purpose.

    Over and over again I keep reading how the students under Common Core are to learn just enough knowledge and skills to be concerned and aggrieved and make government work for them.

    Without much knowledge or skills such voters will need the government to take care of them.

  13. Please note that Obama and a couple other Democrats have mentioned during interviews that "We've done stuff that hasn't even been noticed yet", or some variant of that theme.

    That's the problem with multi-thousand-page bills that none of our elected representatives bother to read before passing {which, by my lights, deserves a firing squad -- but that's
    another topic}: no one knows what else is hidden in that legislation, nor do we know what other powers are off-loaded to the "expert panels" these new laws create. (AND-- we have no idea HOW the panels are to be created, or WHO will sit on them, nor HOW LONG their terms of service will be, nor WHO they report to, nor WHAT their qualifications are, nor HOW their decisions can be appealed...)

    We've already got extra-legal czars whose powers and responsibilities are a total mystery; now we're creating "expert panels" whose powers and responsibilities are also
    excluded from public view (and Congressional oversight).

    This does not bode well.

    IF, as Glenn Beck has suggested, there is an "extra-legal framework" being constructed outside the recognized governmental scope-of-responsibilities-and-powers that our Constitution has established (ie, three branches of government with checks-and-balances designed to prevent any branch from usurping too much power), then the passage of laws which create even MORE shadowy regulatory structures blocked from our scrutiny practically invites our homegrown enemies of liberty to engineer some kind of "total civil chaos" which will overwhelm government's ability to function (thus allowing the extra-legal system to burst forth from the shadows to "save us").

    Obamacare and every other bill passed by the 111th Congress must be extirpated, root-and-branch, from the body of law; not remedied, not modified, not repaired, but TOTALLY ERADICATED IN EVERY PARTICULAR.

  14. On this topic I'd like to present something I found on the CHAOS MANOR website yesterday in the "View" section:

    I hope that the Republicans will have an Obamacare repeal bill through the House the first day of the new session, well before the State of the Union. Democrats in the Senate will either kill it or delay the vote (probably the latter) but the pressure will be on them. The debate will be healthy, and the President ought to address Obamacare in the State of the Union.

    There ought also to be already drafted and ready for insertion into every money bill -- every authorization of expenditure whatsoever -- a clause that states that "no money appropriated under this Act shall be used in any way to pay for the implementation or enforcement of The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act commonly called Obamacare". Obamacare gets its own authorization bill, with full debate as to what parts should be funded, and until that is passed, Obamacare will be stalled, no bureaucracies created, no pensions accumulated, no businesses harassed, etc. The House has this power and it ought to be used; and by forcing debate on the funding of Obamacare it will be made clear just what the costs and benefits of The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act will be; a debate that we didn't have when it was up for passage.

    The specifics of these actions can be worked on NOW, and ought to be in process NOW. Tell your Congressman, or newly elected Congressman elect, that you want these measures and you want them to be in preparation now. A few hundred letters and phone calls on this can be important, since it's not likely that the Republican leadership is thinking about these measures. Let them know that the voters are thinking about them.

    Note that I have not said that no part of Obamacare ought to be funded. Perhaps all of it ought to be. But if so it ought to be funded under its own authorization, not as part of some other appropriation. We had to pass it before we could know what was in it, according to Speaker Pelosi. Well, it is passed. Presumably we know what is in it. Now is time to fund it. Let it be funded on its own, not as a rider or as a hidden insert into something else.

    If Obamacare is a good idea, it ought to be funded; but since we don't really know what its effects are, and there was no cost/benefits analysis during its passage, is it not time that we found out before we pay for it? The Republicans can't repeal it even if they could get a repeal through the Senate, but they certainly don't have to fund its enforcement without specific debates on the subject.