Friday, October 4, 2013

Ruling Class Dunces

by Scott Wheeler
"When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all dunces are in confederacy against him."

Even though political satirist Jonathan Swift wrote that line three hundred years ago, it certainly applies to Ted Cruz. The junior Senator from Texas has endured savage attacks from members of the ruling class for daring to challenge Obama's "modest proposal".

President Obama has repeatedly referred to Cruz and others as "the extremists" in the Republican Party.

Senator John McCain has called him a "wacko bird".

The New York Times, once defenders of Hitler and Stalin, featured this remark in an editorial, "Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the public face of the aimless and self-destructive Tea Party strategy to stop health care reform."

Senator Harry Reid also called Cruz an "extremist" among other things.

Congressman Peter King blamed the government shutdown on Cruz.

Cruz said it was about "giving the American people the chance to speak" and indeed the American people have held sustained opposition to the Affordable Care Act from the beginning. Their will was thwarted by the same ruling class that is currently in a full-throated denunciation of Ted Cruz and theatrical hysterics, manufactured for public consumption, over the government shutdown. The unintended consequences of the Washington establishment's attack on Senator Cruz is that it has made Cruz more popular with the rest of America, whose growing disdain for the political class is about to rupture.

Obama is trying to pretend that this is an argument between himself and the "unreasonable" House Republicans, but it's not really Obama against Washington politicians. It's Obama and the ruling class against the will of the people who in poll after poll majorities agree with conservative Republicans that government is too big, spending is too much, and want Obamacare repealed. And that's an argument worth having, regardless of what Obama says the consequences are or what he puts the country through in order to punish his "enemies".

Some Republicans have said that their concern is that once the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, and the subsidies commence, it will be impossible to repeal.  Anyone who doubts that should ask themselves how many Republicans are going to stand up against the Democrats' wailing that they are trying to throw sick children out of hospitals that Obama built with his bare hands. Medicare is universally hated by those covered by it, the people treating them, and those who have to figure out how to allocate funds for it. 

But in the run-up to Obamacare, Democrats would respond to anyone criticizing it as socialized medicine with "that's what they said about Medicare too, before it became law". Democrats were undeterred from using the debacle of Medicare as a reason to vote for Obamacare. And that is the reason conservatives believe that once in effect the Affordable Care Act will never be repealed, no matter how awful it is. But that didn't stop Obama from pretending that that sober observation was a compliment to the Affordable Care Act. In fact, he called it a Republican admission that Obamacare will be so popular everyone will want it after they see how good it is. 

Obama sees panic and calls it acceptance because he knows, soon enough, they will feel the comfortably numb sensation of their liberty dying of exposure and ultimately lose their will to fight it. But Obama will take vindication any way he can get it, and lest anyone forget, Obama will be dispensing healthcare so better not complain too loudly.

Many are insisting that Republicans are backed into a corner with regards to the shutdown, but there is a way out.  Republicans can clarify the terms of this debate by agreeing to pass the budget, include funding for Obamacare with only one caveat -- remove the mandate that everyone must buy health insurance. If, as Obama claims, the Affordable Care Act is so good that everyone will flock to it and it will gain wide acceptance, he should have no problem making that concession. If he rejects the offer, then Republicans have a much stronger, if not easier, case to make to the public that they are advocating for the people's right to choose and Obama is demanding the power to force them into something they may or may not want.

Scott Wheeler is an author, former journalist and television producer. He is executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC and his most recent book is Promoting Decline: Obama vs. America.

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