The Smell of Panic

Jonah Goldberg has a lot of fun in this piece at the expense of Greg Sargent, who is less a journalist and more a hack on behalf of the Obama Administration. But in the midst of the entirely warranted Sargent-bashing, let’s not forget that Sargent’s calls for a bipartisan fix to Obamacare’s problems reek of fright and desperation.

As Goldberg properly notes, “[t]he president and the Democrats lied us into a bad law. The Right opposed the law on principle. A single party — the Democrats — own this law in a way that no party has had complete ownership of any major social legislation in a century. They bought this legislation with deceit and the GOP said so.” I am sure that this fact has dawned on even the likes of Sargent, and heck, he may be aware of the fact that the problems with the health insurance website actually do jeopardize the workability of Obamacare in general.

I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that Sargent’s calls for a bipartisan fix to Obamacare’s problems stem from the fact that he doesn’t want Democrats to own Obamacare anymore. He is worried–rightly–that if the Internet registration problems are not fixed, if people continue to suffer from sticker shock, and if outrage increases over the fact that millions of people cannot keep their plans if they like them (the reassurances of the White House and Obamacare supporters to the contrary notwithstanding) then support for Obamacare will plummet to rock bottom in the polls and those who support it (Democrats) will suffer mightily when election seasons roll around. Sargent wants Republicans to have some ownership in the event that Obamacare crashes and burns; that way, he figures, Republicans won’t be able to use the failures of health care “reform” as a political weapon.

Republicans should, of course, heed Goldberg’s advice and refuse to make Obamacare a bipartisan project. The legislation is terribly flawed and it was passed using utterly deceitful tactics. A price should be paid for the dishonesty and incompetence with which Obamacare was designed and implemented. And no matter what Greg Sargent might want, the political pain for Obamacare’s failure should fall entirely on those who assured us from the beginning that it was the best thing since sliced bread.

  1. J Climacus

    The key for Obama on his major initiatives – Obamacare and the “new normal” of spending since 2009 – is to get Republicans to collaborate on them even if they don’t like them. He desperately needs this to legitimize them and make them permanent (even if, in the process of collaboration, Obama must concede some things on the margin).

    Once Republicans agree to fix rather than replace Obamacare, and negotiate the budget from the “new normal” Obama established in 2009, the game is over and Obama can safely retire knowing his legacy has been established.

    There is a permanent tension between pragmatism and principle in politics. This is one time where principle and pragmatism coincide: The most pragmatic thing Republicans can do is stand on the principles that Obamacare must be replaced and the budget negotiated from the 2008 baseline.

  2. aardo vozz

    Agreed. The Republicans should stay out of this mess,for the reasons Pejman states.  However, I think that if Republicans become involved with a “fix” of Obamacare, anything wrong with Obamacare after the “fix” is implemented WILL be blamed on Republicans. Either Republicans will be blamed for putting things in the “fix” to make Obamacare worse,or they will be blamed for forcing Democrats to compromise what would have been “ideal” solutions to Obamacare’s problems .  This is a “lose-lose” situation for Republicans if they involve themselves in an Obamacare fix.

  3. aardo vozz

    By the way, nice use of the word “Panic” to avoid a CoC violation.

  4. Joseph Eagar

    I’m torn.  Fixing ObamaCare strikes me as a good idea, at this point, but only if we can “fix it” into something radically different.  I think Mr. Yousefzadeh is right; we shouldn’t turn ObamaCare into a bipartisan disaster.

    What we should do is wait for the law to collapse, then offer to “amend it” into, say, Paul Ryan’s plan.  Or perhaps we could do it piecemeal: for every page of “fix” legislation, we could demand the elimination of ten pages of regulatory authorization (not ten pages of regulations, but ten pages of the law that authorizes new regulatory powers).

  5. Marion Evans

    I love the smell of panic in the mourning, the mourning of Obamacare.

  6. The Mugwump

    My advice to the Republicans for the present remains the same:  do nothing.  It’s going to take months before we know the full extent of this catastrophe.  Give it time.  People in a panic (if that is indeed the case) tend to make mistakes.  Let the chips fall as may.   

  7. Pony Convertible

    Republicans should do nothing until after the elections next fall, except repeat over and over, “You were lied to, we told you they were lying, we told you it wouldn’t work, we did everything in our power to protect you from it”

    We need to get back to a free market health insurance system.  Something we haven’t had since wage controls forced employers to get in the healthcare business during WWII.

  8. Western Chauvinist

    Quick! What this calls for is more amnesty!

    What’s that I see comin’ round the bend? Why, it’s the Ex-Mex Express, with John McCain wavin’ from the station! Toot! Toot! Chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga…

    Wait. Is that Ted Cruz tied to the tracks?

  9. Percival

    From Wiktionary:

    monkey trap (plural monkey traps)

    1. (literally, probably folk-lore) A cage containing a banana with a hole large enough for a monkey’s hand to fit in, but not large enough for a monkey’s fist (clutching a banana) to come out. Used to “catch” monkeys that lack the intellect to let go of the banana and run away.

    Let go of the banana, Greg.

  10. DrewInWisconsin

    It’s fun to gloat. It’s fun to say “We told you so.”

    But it’s not fun to have your health insurance cancelled or to see your premiums double or triple. Gloating won’t help the citizens suffering under this legislation.

    It annoys me to see Republicans acting as if they knew this would fail all along. But it took a poorly-constructed website for the failure to be noticed. If signing aboard Obamacare was as easy as the Democrats insisted it would be, that would be their answer to every issue popping up. “Sorry, you lost your healthcare, but the exchanges are open!”

    In other words, the Republicans got lucky.

    As in 2010, when the tea party movement rescued the party, they still think they survive by their own brilliance.

    I’m sorry I seem to be a bit of a broken record about this, but Americans can’t wait for the next election to start undoing the damage being done. Obamacare must be overturned right now. While Democrats are thrashing about, there’s only one lifeline Republicans should offer: full repeal. I have a hunch that Democrats up for re-election will grab that lifeline.

  11. Spoon

    I can only hope that the Republicans in Congress don’t jump on the “Let’s fix Obamacare” bandwagon. But since some of them seem easily distracted….Look! An immigration policy!…that is not a sure thing. 

    We do not need to be the Igor to Obama’s Frankenstein.

  12. captainpower
    DrewInWisconsin: … Americans can’t wait for the next election to start undoing the damage being done. Obamacare must be overturned right now.

    Apologies in advance if I have missed your response to this query in earlier comments.

    The Democrats own the presidency and senate.

    The Republicans own the house.

    Don’t we need to wait for an election in order to get the votes needed to overturn the law?

  13. BrentB67

    If the strategy is to win elections we don’t get there by insulting voters and calling them naive rubes when we shout “I told you so”. If we want to win elections we get out there and say “you have seen Obamacare in action, now here is our free market alternative”. Wake me if that happens.

  14. Ralphie

    It’s not bi-partisanship, but blame-sharing.  Democra-ts have been accustomed to having the Republican whipping boys (girls) handy for as long as they can remember.

    Obama is famous for saying (about most issues he doesn’t want to debate) “the time for talking is over”. 

    I say the Republicans can say “the time for bi-partisanship was a month ago.”  The Dems bought this with the corn husker kickback and the Louisiana purchase, they can live with it.

  15. DrewInWisconsin
    captainpower

    Don’t we need to wait for an election in order to get the votes needed to overturn the law?

    Desperate Democrats anxious to distance themselves from Obamacare might just be willing to repeal it now. Give them that option. But full repeal has to be the only lifeline given.

    (The beauty of doing it now is that you can then say that while passage of Obamacare was strictly along party lines, repeal would be “bi-partisan.)

  16. DrewInWisconsin

    How many Democrats are so faithful to Obama that they’ll put their own power on the line for the sake of his signature legislation?

    Senators should be easy to flip. They already see themselves as more important than any president — and without term limits, so they have more permanence. Find every Democratic Senator up for re-election next year and make an offer he can’t refuse. Appeal to their own narcissism. Appeal to their inflated sense of self. Hold before them the spectre of losing power, money, and standing invitations to be on Meet the Press.

  17. BrentB67
    DrewInWisconsin: How many Democrats are so faithful to Obama that they’ll put their own power on the line for the sake of his signature legislation?

    Senators should be easy to flip. They already see themselves as more important than any president — and without term limits, so they have more permanence. Find every Democratic Senator up for re-election next year and make an offer he can’t refuse. Appeal to their own narcissism. Appeal to their inflated sense of self. Hold before them the spectre of losing power, money, and standing invitations to be on Meet the Press. · 11 minutes ago

    Mary Landrieu is the democrat rat off the USS Obamacare.

  18. DrewInWisconsin
    BrentB67

    Mary Landrieu is the democrat rat off the USS Obamacare.

    Is she? I just read THIS PIECE in the Weekly Standard that’s a sort of round-up of Democrat Senators’ responses to the millions losing their insurance.

    It suggests to me that some Democrats are going wobbly. Now is the time to hit them. Don’t let Harry Reid get to them first.

  19. Lucy Pevensie
    DrewInWisconsin

    captainpower

    Don’t we need to wait for an election in order to get the votes needed to overturn the law?

    Desperate Democrats anxious to distance themselves from Obamacare might just be willing to repeal it now. Give them that option. But full repeal has to be the only lifeline given.

    (The beauty of doing it now is that you can then say that while passage of Obamacare was strictly along party lines, repeal would be “bi-partisan.)

    Drew, I totally agree that Obamacare needs to be repealed in its entirety. But it really needs to be replaced, rather than just reversed. Our system was broken before Obama stepped in to make it worse.  The roots of the brokenness go back to the adoption of Medicare in the 1960s, and have accumulated over decades of government meddling.  When we repeal Obamacare, we need to have an idea of something better we can offer Americans.

  20. DrewInWisconsin
    Lucy Pevensie

    When we repeal Obamacare, we need to have an idea of something better we can offer Americans.

    Any thoughts on HR2300? Seems to be stuck in committee.

    Meanwhile, there’s no reason not to repeal Obamacare now. We don’t need to have something ready in order to repeal. We just need to have Democrats in a panic about losing their Senate seats.

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