The ObamaCare albatross

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) links Obama’s depressed poll numbers to the failure of ObamaCare:

The article Cruz links to from The Hill is mostly about the overall decline of Obama’s approval ratings over the past year, leaving him at 40 percent today according to Gallup.  He’s been doing consistently worse than any second-term president except Nixon.  

Of course, since he was a bit lower in the polls during the worst weeks of the fiery ObamaCare launch-pad detonation, his supporters would point to the same polls and say he’s doing a wee bit better these days.  The more sober among them would concede he’s in big trouble, and that means even bigger trouble for the hapless Democrats who have to do something in 2014 that Barack Obama will never do again: stand for re-election.  But that small group of sober ObamaCare supporters would cheer themselves by saying he’s still got time to work his approval numbers up with various other initiatives.  

Also, I suspect one of the great divides between Obama optimists and pessimists is whether they think the worst of the ObamaCare debacle is behind us now, and it’s just a matter of the American public settling into the inescapable new reality Obama has created for them, embracing teh suck, and swallowing the last of their buyer’s remorse.

The great crisis of managerial liberalism is upon us.  ObamaCare has shaken the public’s belief in the competence of government to seize control over private commerce and manage it more wisely than free people can.  The great triumph of the statist Left was convincing a politically viable segment of the population to concede the government’s moral and ethical right to do so.  Not many people think it’s just plain wrong (as in unconstitutional) for the government to claim vast powers over the lives of its citizens, not because they’re engaged in criminal activity that causes injury to one another, but because wise central planners can force people to take socially beneficial actions they would not take voluntarily.  We have, on the whole, given up insisting on a certain minimum diameter for the sphere of freedom. 

But the ObamaCare faceplant has shaken public faith in the wisdom and accountability of Big Government.  It seems to me the great conservative opportunity is to work our way through that vulnerability and convince the public to resume their moral and ethical demands for freedom.  We don’t want to limit our message to “the government shouldn’t launch failed health care schemes,” because the Left will respond with, “Trust us, this new Big Government scheme we’re cooking up will work!”  As long as freedom is negotiable, they will never stop trying to drive hard bargains to claim more of it.

As long as the case against Big Government is entirely practical, we are negotiating, and the mighty beast on the other side of the bargaining table has a lot to offer, a lot of pressure it can bring to bear against those who would refuse its demands.  And unfortunately, the Republican Party will always produce a fair number of establishment politicians who want to make those Big Government programs work – in essence, volunteering the managerial skill that liberalism cannot provide.

ObamaCare is an albatross around the neck of the Left.  It’s the biggest, heaviest bird they’ve worn in a generation.  This is not a moment for conservatives to be timid about exploiting liberal weakness.


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