There has been a lot of back and forth between Republicans recently wondering whether House conservatives and Ted Cruz “should’ve/could’ve”. But whether House and Senate conservatives had started earlier with demands about ObamaCare on the Continuing Resolution or asked for different things like a delay in the employee mandate first instead of outright defunding, this or another impasse was inevitable because of the deep-seated and yet-to-be-resolved difference of opinion on the role, scope, reach and cost of government itself that so deeply divides the nation.
This has been coming for a long time.
There has yet to be a moment in this Presidency when any effort has been made to resolve this fundamentally important argument or unify the people. Quite the opposite. ObamaCare was the product of deliberately freezing out those who represent half the nation to achieve this President’s vision of a dramatically expanded social welfare state. To expect any different reaction but eventual outright revolt by those so summarily and gleefully run over was a profound miscalculation that continues today.
Most historians agree that the Treaty of Versailles after World War I was so punitive that it actually helped cause World War II. Without equating conservatives with defeated Germany, that history lesson was lost on Democrats in terms of domestic policy here after the 2008 elections. The arrogance of these brief winners led to a dramatic reversal of their fortunes at the polls in 2010, near status quo in 2012 and the seemingly irreconcilable standoff we now face. This impasse is the inevitable consequence of treating any and all perspectives on limited–or even restrained–government with such utter contempt. This President has the war he wants–and it is against half the American population.
We have borrowed more money under Barack Obama than all the previous presidents combined. Regulatory barriers have crippled development or expansion of new business, there has been an almost inexplicable unwillingness to reform the badly broken tax code and on top of it all—the launching of a new, costly and ill-designed entitlement program, ObamaCare, on the heels of near economic collapse in Europe because of the debt produced by such programs. It was rammed through Congress and shoved down the throats of millions of Americans who were skeptical, at best.
Despite the narrative now being woven by the White House, there was no vote on ObamaCare in the 2012 presidential election. Neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney spent any significant time campaigning on this new law, for very different reasons. It distracted Obama’s campaign from their very effective efforts to misdirect and distract the nation from the state of the economy while vilifying Romney. Romney barely mentioned ObamaCare because it would invite comparisons—and briefly did—with RomneyCare on his watch in Massachusetts.
And, how do you debate a new law that has been sold with so very many sincerely uttered falsehoods—that cannot be proven false until the reality is upon us? Massive fraud is coming because of HHS’ quiet decision two months ago to skip income certification. Identity theft has been all but guaranteed by ignoring “navigator” background checks. Until now, the truth that millions of us would not be keeping our own doctors or workplace insurance coverage could not be definitively proven. Until recently, the wholly false promises that ObamaCare would reduce family healthcare costs and spur employment were only challenged in predictions of conservative experts that most in the mainstream press ignored by concluding they were nothing more than angry ideology.
The plain fact is, no law this sweeping and intrusive should ever have been enacted without greater consensus among the American people. This standoff is the result of legislative arrogance and Presidential vanity that, ultimately, could produce nothing else but a full fledged revolt.
But this cornerstone of the new European-style social welfare state that Mr. Obama so desires is but the flash point on his march to “transform America”. It is a take-no-prisoners and offer no relief approach that disdains any attempt to bring the nation together through compromise or even symbolic gestures of desired unity. Such actions inevitably create reaction and that is what we are seeing today.
Unless and until there is some resolution of the central question of government’s reach into our lives or a fundamental shift in electoral fortunes, this bitter standoff (and more to follow) is the new normal.
Ken Hoagland founded and leads Restore America’s Voice—an advocacy group of 2.1 million Americans who believe that the public is being ignored on important public policy decisions.