|Memo to Demos: It ain't the website
By Mark Alexander
Much to Barack Obama's chagrin, his once-compliant mainstream media continues to devote extensive coverage to the failed launch of Obamacare's $600 million website and its incremental do-over. But Senate and House Democrats are far more concerned about the rapidly emerging liability of O'Care's mandates, framed by a litany of bald-faced lies from their party's standard-bearer.
At the March 2010 signing ceremony of Barack Obama's lifetime legislative achievement, the so-called "Affordable Care Act," Joe Biden was caught on an open mike whispering to Obama, "This is a big f---ing deal." Three weeks into the failed launch of O'Care's portal, Healthcare.gov, Obama proclaimed, "The Affordable Care Act is not just a website. It's much more."
Clearly, Biden, Obama, and all the Democrats who endorsed O'Care failed to fully comprehend the political implications of their "big f---ing deal." The cascading website failures are but the proverbial tip of the iceberg, which may sink a growing number of Democrats in 2014, and well beyond!
Actually, the Bad Ship Demo is pinched between two icebergs.
The first is the fact that Obama has depleted all his credibility capital. The entire nation now knows that he lied about O'Care just to pass it, assuring Americans they could keep their insurance and doctors if they wanted to. "Period." Obama then repeated those lies often. Then it was discovered that Obama knew he was lying way back in 2010. Then he claimed that the 5.5 million cancelled policies were statistically insignificant. Then it was discovered that almost 100 million additional policies are subject to cancellation come January. Then he told new lies to cover up the old lies. Then he crowned those lies with another BIG lie.
When Obama said, "You can keep your plan," "You can keep your doctor," and "Premiums will go down by $2,500 per family," he knew he was lying. Apparently this consummate pathological narcissist believes that if he says it that trumps the truth and reality. Or maybe he believes, as his sycophants do, that, "We can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us because we believe in his heart he has the best interest for the American people."
Got that? Even Obama's defenders now admit he's a liar.
Obama once quipped, "I actually believe my own" BS. Apparently. Peggy Noonan sums up this admiration for his own words as follows: "[Obama] sort of lives in words. That's been his whole professional life -- books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it's been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. It's all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete."
Senate Democrats boldly repeated Obama's lies to their constituents.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA) pledged, "If you like the insurance that you have, you'll be able to keep it." Sen. Mark Pryor (AR) said his constituents wanted to know "are we gonna be able to stick with our plan? The answer is yes." Sen. Mark Warner (VA) proclaimed, "I'm not going to support a health care reform plan that's going to take away the health care you've got right now or a health care plan that you like." Sen. Kay Hagan (NC) repeated the mantra, "If you like your insurance and your doctors, you keep them." Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) also said, "Everyone will have the freedom to keep their health plan if they like it." Sen. Mark Begich (AK) told his constituents, "Alaskans who have health insurance now, and are happy with it, can keep it."
Lies, one and all. And each of these senators is up for re-election next year.
In political analyst Jonah Goldberg's assessment, Obama's lie is "the biggest lie about domestic policy ever uttered by a U.S. president." It dwarfs Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook" and Bill Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman."
Of course, Obama did offer a faux apology for the "misunderstanding," which opinion writer Bryan Preston paraphrased as follows: "I'm sorry you believed me when I told you things that I knew weren't true the whole time. I'm sorry I hurt you but I have no plans to stop hurting you. Now get me a sammich!"
The collateral damage done by Obama's credibility deficit is so severe that Democrats who still support the measure are discontinuing the reference to "ObamaCare" and are now referring to the legislation by its actual name, the Affordable Care Act.
Last week Obama launched a three-week dog-and-pony show to promote the re-invention of O'Care, punctuated by painting his failed economic policies as a success. (What's another lie?)
At his first stop, he told his fawning admirers, "Do not let the initial problems with the website discourage you. We've learned not to make wild promises. ... The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future. You got good ideas, bring them to me and let's go, but we're not repealing it as long as I'm president."
Indeed, Obama has made some "wild promises" to sell this behemoth socialist boondoggle.
As for "good ideas," how 'bout this one: STOP LYING!
Obama then pivoted to the staple of Leftist NeoComs -- the tried and true "politics of disparity" -- and demanded a national minimum wage increase to $10.10. (This is a gift to his union loyalists who have contract agreements that any increase in minimum wage is also applied to their hourly wages, even though their wages may total $25 and $50 per hour before other benefits.) However, economic reports on minimum wage increases consistently conclude that minimum wage increases result in lower job opportunities, particularly for low-skilled workers.
Obama claimed that "the defining challenge of our time" is to make the economy work for everyone. (And we thought passing O'Care was "the defining challenge of our time"?) But his oft-repeated assertion about "making the economy work for everyone" is exactly backwards -- the objective should be that everyone be working in the economy.
Obama said that if anyone has "concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let's hear them. I want to know what they are." Well, if Obama had actually ever held a private sector job, he might know what the alternative to socialism is. My suggestion: Stop oppressing economic growth with evermore taxes and regulations.
Back to that second O'Care iceberg, which will strike Democrats in elections for years to come, it will be much more devastating than the strike from Obama's lies. O'Care is the Democrats' biggest socialist legislative achievement since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society mischief of nearly a half-century ago, and its mandates over the coming years will reshape much of the nation's perspective on the statist Democratic Party's Big Government platform.
Obama's former campaign manager and senior political adviser, David Plouffe, claims that in a few years Americans will "get on board" (read: will be forced to board) the O'Care train wreck: "I think it's just a fact, and it may take until 2017 when this president leaves office. ... And I think it'll work really well then."
But the ride is going to be painful for Democrats well beyond 2017.
As I outlined months ago, and reiterated again in October under the title, "Silver Linings on the DemoCare Debacle," if Republicans of conservative and moderate stripes will stop the infighting and unite in opposition to O'Care, the political rewards will be huge.
Extended cancellations, exchange policy sticker shock from premium increases on top of deductible increases, insurance transmittal failures and Healthcare.gov, security breaches and contracting service networks will generate substantial discontent among Republicans and Democrats alike in the next few years. However, that discontent will be a mere shadow in comparison to the outrage that is just over the horizon.
From January 2014 forward, with increasing frequency, Americans of every political stripe who have any issue with health care, whether a hangnail or heart transplant, a delay in a doctor's office or in critical care for a loved one, will tie blame for their discontent like a noose around the necks of Obama and his Democrats, who are solely responsible for forcing this abomination upon the American people.
Dealing with the 20,000 government clerical minions in this new bloated bureaucracy will be no different than dealing with any other huge government bureaucracy -- endless and infuriating. And then there is the question of IRS access to all those records -- surely they won't create anymore "enemy lists." No matter how Fab-Tastic ObamaCare may be for some Demo constituencies, Democrats are going to be the target of every health care complaint -- and that includes Hillary Clinton, the Grande Dame of socialized medicine.
And just wait for state protests over the explosion of Medicare and Medicaid liabilities. George Will notes, "171 million people [are insured by] their employers. If they start dumping people into Medicare and into Medicaid, and the doctors then say, 'The burdens are too high, and the reimbursement is too low, we're not seeing Medicaid patients,' then all hell is going to break loose."
Last week congressional approval ratings hit a new low of just 6% -- used car salesmen generally rate about 10%. That is very bad news for incumbents, particularly those with a "D" after their name. And that is precisely why Demo Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped a nuke on the Senate rules a few weeks ago in a desperate measure to pass as many Demo mandates as possible before 2014.
If Republicans successfully channel the inevitable health care consumer dissatisfaction and anger in the direction of Democrats, the electoral rewards will be substantial in 2014, 2016 and beyond. Of course, given Republican performance in recent months, that's a big "if."
Footnote: Perhaps the most humorous Obama administration claim about the reinvention of O'Care is that it is now operating at "private sector velocity." At not quite that velocity, O'Care registered approximately 29,000 applicants in the past week, but still plagued by front end and back end failures, more than 30% of those who think they successfully got an exchange policy may not have because the applications were badly adulterated in transit to insurance companies -- which is to say they probably are not insured. For the record, on "Cyber Monday" this week, 120 million Americans spent $2 billion in commerce transactions online without anything crashing and burning! Amazon alone handles 2.6 million commerce transactions on an average day, and many times that in seasonal buying surges.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.