Obama’s sycophant boosters in the mainstream media have been whining like teenage girls about how he unfairly “lost control” of the health care debate.
They can continue to claim that the populist opposition to his enormous plan is manufactured, paid, insane, unstable, un-American, uninformed, misinformed, excessively white and all other manner of things. But such nonsense will not change what the true motives of the health care revolt are, and they are many.
Some of these have been well covered. Having seen C-Span, people do not believe that government-run health care will save money, improve quality, spur innovation or increase efficiency. They also know that as powerful, insensitive and intrusive as any one insurance company can be, the government, being the ultimate monopoly, will be even worse on every count — and since it does not have to make a profit, people will have little power to change whatever government scheme results from the confused scramble to “do something” before Democrats lose power.
But I believe there is also another less discussed motivation at work here and that is people’s revulsion at Washington’s obsession with the Grand Plan — the bundled, comprehensive, and simultaneous reform of the entire universe that seems to appeal so deeply to the self-aggrandizing megalomaniac type that usually runs for office.
In our individual lives, we usually solve problems one at a time, as they arise and as we have resources and need. This works really well, but offers little opportunity for heroes to declare themselves and take credit for “historic change,” or the next “moon shot” or “Manhattan Project.” Practical, focused solutions are so… for the little people. Plus they present almost no opportunity to name a building, park, bill, or scholarship after yourself.
So instead, Washington does nothing for years and allows all sorts of individual problems to accumulate until either a) they think that the Gordian knot is complex enough to deserve their televised sword; or b) they think they can use the crush of problems as an excuse to do something that people wouldn’t normally accept.
People smell both these motives at work in the Comprehensive and Universal Grand Master Plan for Health Care that Congress is still designing by committee and Obama is pushing with heavy hands — without his even knowing which version is relevant.
If Obama wanted universal coverage for the uninsured, he could focus on that. If he wanted paperless medical records, he could have that. If he wanted “end of life” coaching, he could have a bill introduced covering just that. If he wanted coverage for illegal aliens, that would be a manageable (and short) debate. I could list dozens more individual issues from drug reimportation to preventative care to abortion funding to transportability of coverage, and we could have a bill, debate and resolution for any one of them in fairly short order. But Obama and the Democrats do not want such controlled, focused and mundane solutions. They want the biggest expansion of government since LBJ or FDR expanded it so much that they became monogram-worthy historic figures.
And people are sick of this, having experienced it in all manner of comprehensive, universal, omnibus umbrella bills in the past. Why can we not have something as simple and transparent as a bill that deals with only one subject in direct fashion? It is impossible to have a rational debate on everything at the same time.
It is impossible for the members of Congress to even read these gargantuan bills before they vote on them, and when the issue is one of life and death, as health care is, people would rather keep the system they have (that at least works most of the time) than take a chance that Obama and his unruly mob in Congress will be able to give birth to a perfect new system as a fully formed and functional entity without any baby steps along the way.
People do not demolish and rebuild their houses when they need a coat of paint and a new roof. But Congress would likely do just that. Peeling paint and a leak would lead, after much accretion of ideals and ideology and earmarks, into the Ominbus Residential Dwelling Reform and Reconstruction Act of 2009, in which the house and all it neighbors would be demolished, the landscape reconfigured via space-based imaging, the roads redesigned to handle biofuel-compatible diversity trolleys (with 5G, no 6G, subsidized wireless internet access) and then a single mega-dwelling would be built (accessible only by a $625 billion bridge to the 22nd century) in which each “family equivalent” would be housed in a biodegradable pod named after a member of Congress (or his defense attorney). Oh, and everyone would need to “voluntarily” consult a government recycling panel before taking out the trash, flushing the toilet, shopping, or exhaling.
And it’s not just the scale of these Monstrous Universal Reform Bills About Everything that alarm people. It’s the fact that they all seem to have one common result: they expand government power.
Government has become like every 19-year-old male that ever existed. They have only one real goal and have an amazing, if monotonous, ability to connect it to any situation. There is apparently no problem that can’t be solved with a mega-bill that sets up more central power, bureaucracy and taxation. Financial crisis? We need more government power. Terror attack? More government power. Failing schools? More government power.
Don’t like paying for medical care? Well, in a remarkable coincidence, Obama can solve that if you just give government more power.
So as onerous as the details of Obamacare may be, much of the opposition is based on the fact that people understand that the details cannot even be fully known in such an unnecessarily large plan. Only a fool thinks he can solve every problem at once. Clearly, Washington, D.C., has become a City of Fools — the permanent home of the Too Big Idea. People no longer trust leaders whose ego and ambition habitually outstrip not only their own judgment, but also our diminishing resources.
That is the source of much of the allegedly mysterious anger at the town hall meetings — an instinctive recognition that the only thing worse than a bad idea is a bad big idea.