By 1968, Walter Lippmann, the dean of liberal columnists, had concluded that liberalism had reached the end of its tether.
In that liberal epoch, the 1960s, the Democratic Party had marched us into an endless war that was tearing America apart. Lyndon Johnson's Great Society had produced four "long, hot summers" of racial riots and a national crime rate that had doubled in a decade. The young were alienated, the campuses aflame. Lippmann endorsed Richard Nixon.
For 40 years, no unabashed liberal would be elected president. Jimmy Carter won one term by presenting himself as a born-again Christian from Georgia, a peanut farmer, Naval Academy graduate and nuclear engineer. Bill Clinton ran as a centrist. So toxic had the term "liberal" become that liberals dropped it and had themselves rebaptized as "progressives."
Barack Obama, however, ran unapologetically as a man of the left. An opponent of the Iraq war, he had compiled a voting record to the left of Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont. And Obama proudly placed his signature achievement, Obamacare, right alongside, and in the tradition of, liberal giants FDR and LBJ. This is the new progressivism of the 21st century, Obama was saying, and I the transformational figure who will usher in the post-Reagan era. Where Clinton failed, I will succeed.
But now that Obamacare is coming to be perceived as a political catastrophe, not only does it threaten Obama's place in history, it could invalidate, indeed, eviscerate the defining idea of the Democratic Party itself. For Democrats are the Party of Government. They believe that government is more nobly motivated than a private sector that runs on self-interest and the profit motive, and that government can achieve goals private enterprise could never accomplish. To liberals, government is us, the personification of the nation.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicare and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are monuments to this belief. So, too, are the world wars fought and won under liberal presidents Woodrow Wilson and FDR. It was 1968, the Tet Offensive, the assassinations, the urban riots, the campus anarchy, the smash-up of the Democratic Party in the streets of Chicago that caused the national recoil from liberalism that lasted for 40 years.
Now consider what the rollout of Obamacare is doing, not only to this president and his administration, but also to the idea that government has the solution to America's problems. Though they had as long as World War II to get it done, Obama's crowd could not even produce a working website. Now we learn the White House was alerted to the website problems in March but plunged ahead.
Obama's reputation for competence has been shredded, and, so, too, has his reputation for truthfulness.
With millions losing their health insurance because of Obamacare mandates, we learn that Obama and his team knew this was inevitable, even as they reassured us, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period."
The brutal truth: Our president got his legacy program passed by deceiving the American people in a giant swindle.
Not only have millions lost their health care plans, tens of millions more may lose theirs at year's end when they learn that their employer's health care plans also do not meet Obamacare mandates.
Hillarycare cost the Democrats the House in 1994. Obamacare, the love child of Hillarycare, could cost Democrats the Senate in 2014.
But what makes this a disaster not just for a party but a philosophy is that Obamacare is liberalism incarnate. It is premised on the idea that progressives, starting from scratch, can redesign a health care system, 16 percent of the economy, and make it more fair, more just and more efficient for us all. Obamacare was an act of hubris by an administration of talking heads most of whom never ran anything in their lives. And what we are witnessing is the antithesis of what we were promised.
So confident were they in the wonks that wrote the bill that Nancy Pelosi could say, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it."
Seven weeks in, the website is not fixed. Millions have lost their health care plans. Quality hospitals are being cut out of the program as too costly. Individuals are being offered plans inferior to what they had in terms of benefits, but with far more costly premiums.
The crisis for Obama, his party, and his philosophy is that this is not only a nightly national story; it is a daily story in every state. And the anecdotes of debacles have been piling up, one upon another, for seven weeks. They do not cease, and there is no end in sight. Nothing, it appears, will interrupt the litany of personal woes before Democrats, in panic, cut themselves loose of Obamacare and try to swim away from the Lusitania.
It will likely be a long time before another Democratic president dares again another such Great Leap Forward.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)
Last Updated on Friday, 22 November 2013 10:47
To The Daily Sun,
AS the GOP wolves are surrounding the president like he is a wounded lion they are forgetting one thing: the lion is the king of the jungle for a reason; the lion is a cat and a cat has nine lives. The GOP is gleefully jumping up and down like a group of school girls on the playground. After complaining for years that the Affordable Care Act (ACA)) will never work, they now complaining that it's not working. But all the aces haven't been played yet. The odd part is still the fact that the ACA is there to help everyone get affordable health care but the GOP and their backers would rather you not buy any health care insurance or maybe they want you to buy it from them. The GOP won't use the excuse of being against big government control over individual rights that they like to use so much because we all see through that one now. Ask any women if the GOP is invading their private lives. But now I think I've figured out why the GOP wants to keep the insurance industry on the open market. It, as usual, comes down to one thing — GREED, which boils down to political donations which buys them the office they are running for. All this just because of Rick Scott of Florida, while he was living in Texas and working in the insurance industry. It all came down to one word and that is FRAUD.
So, in your spare time just google Rick Scott/Insurance Fraud Texas (you can also add Romney in there too) and read the articles. Might be why he has and will spend over 100 million dollars while running for governor of Florida. This is a job that pays just over $130,000 per year. Isn't it time to end this political graft? Shouldn't they be forced to live as honest as they expect us to? Where are the examples they are supposed to be setting? The only thing wrong about the ACA is that the website doesn't work. I feel that once the computers get all the kinks worked out, most people will be satisfied with the results. This is a massive, complicated undertaking and is larger than anything we have ever tried before. When Social Security, Medicare and Bush's drug plan all started they had lots of problems too but both sides got together and things worked out to our advantage. For any of you who have used any of those social safety nets, and I'm one of them, just imagine if they weren't around to help us. I thought the politicians worked for us, after all we do pay them with our tax dollars. It's time they give us some returns on our investments.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:37
To The Daily Sun,
I read, with some amusement, the November 19 letter from Sharon Somers to David Horan, counsel for the Belknap commissioners and Belknap delegation respectively. It is interesting that The Laconia Daily Sun received a copy before the delegation was so favored but perhaps this underscores the public relations nature of Ms. Somers' letter. Legally, she has no right of private inquiry save that afforded her in a court of law.
In reading the powers bestowed upon the commissioners and the delegation, one can see the same system of checks and balances which is the bedrock of all of our governmental structures. If the founding fathers had wished to propagate a society featuring lords of the manor presiding over a fiefdom then Ms. Somers' legal arguments would have more merit. One infers from the attitudes and actions of the commissioners that they might indeed prefer such an arrangement but their arrogance will come to no good end.
Why not come to a county delegation meeting and see our government in action?
Rep. Richard B. Burchell
Belknap 5 - Gilmanton
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:32
To The Daily Sun,
It is deeply troubling that Governor Maggie Hassan is pushing the N.H. Legislature to expand Medicaid in N.H. Clearly, the governor and Legislature are being lured by the promise that the costs, tens of millions of dollars, will be paid for by the federal government. We should all remember that the federal government has already built up an unsustainable $17 trillion debt and the government continues to deficit spend for as far as the eye can see. Eventually, this kind of spending must stop — budget cuts will be made, out of necessity. Medicare, for example, is already being cut as part of Obamacare, and it is highly likely that those financial support promises made to the states will be broken as well (remember "if you like your plan, you can keep it"?).
It is clear that expanding Medicaid in N.H. will have significant future negative financial impact, due to reduced federal monies after a mere three years. What happens then? Additional sources of revenue will be required. Since N.H. can't print money like the federal government, this revenue will require an income tax or a sales tax, or an increase in property taxes or perhaps all three.
If you are as concerned as I am, please contact your representatives and ask them to stop this Medicaid expansion.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:29
To The Daily Sun,
It appears that the tiny evaporated Tea Party Republicans have reappeared and have resorted to the failed Bush Administrations use of scare tactics by invoking fear to the residents of N.H. with regard to the expansion of Medicaid. It never worked then and never will. This group is still missing the key element to winning. Teams win. Its basic "Winning for Dummies 101."
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:20