One major fantasy of American liberalism is the illusion that they get the last word. That the debate is over when they say it is. That their actions are irreversible, that their decisions and conclusions have both the firmness and the weight of the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Eightfold Way combined, and that nothing in the human universe can ever reverse them once made. We have heard this concerning abortion, concerning climate change, and now, concerning health-care "reform."
This is exactly the way that Roe v. Wade was unveiled in 1973 -- both Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun, the tag team that put that one over, declared that there would be no controversy whatsoever and that a tidy round of state lawmaking would tie up the final loose ends. The actual conflagration that greeted the decision, and which continues to this day, left them and the liberal elite they represented utterly dumbfounded.
All this reveals a profound misunderstanding of human nature, an almost childlike conviction that what the book says goes, that the rules are sacrosanct, and that if you're in a position to make those rules -- as American liberals like to think they are -- then the common people simply have to do things your way.
That's how it's supposed to work with ObamaCare. Now that Congress has spoken, and the law is on the books, we're supposed to line up and silently take our orders. Forget the chicanery, the sleazy side deals; forget the simple lack of constitutional legitimacy of the thing. It's on the books now, so we have to obey. So says seventy years of modern liberalism.
Needless to say, nothing of the sort is going to happen. This battle has only started. Obama has his bill? Indeed he does -- but along with it, he also has:
- Well over half the populace infuriated by the bill and the methods used to push it through. (Poll numbers range from the mid-50s to the lower 60s, depending on how the questions are worded. The latest CNN poll puts opposition at 59%.)
- Thirty-seven states considering laws forbidding the federal government from ordering their citizens to purchase health insurance. (Idaho has already passed such a provision.)
- A raft of lawsuit filings,beginning yesterday, attacking the bill on virtually every level from funding to the "reconciliation" process. (What a misnomer that is!) Many are based on very substantial grounds, and some have an excellent chance before the bench.
- A lengthy and convoluted series of actions that must be taken, beginning now, to assure that the provisions of the bill go into effect without breaking the budgetary barriers and revealing ObamaCare's actual costs. Many are as controversial and unpopular as the bill itself. Chief among these is cutting Medicare benefits, which must be done sometime in the next few months. Need I say more?
- Obama's personal and party poll numbers falling through the floor, as the Democrats shed not only the voters attracted by Obama in 2008, but those who had drifted in the over eight years of the Bush presidency. Independents, Reagan Democrats, liberal Republicans, floaters...all gone. As of this Monday, CNN puts Obama's disapproval rate at 51%. We'll see what seats the Dems can carry with the combined Move On/ACORN vote. (Well, it seems that they can forget about the ACORN part too. You see how this works?)
It will get worse. The liberals have guaranteed as much with their shifty procedural methods along with such cute little schticks as delaying actual implementation until 2013 while beginning most new taxes after the November election. And the weight will fall on Obama himself. He owns the thing. It was his bill, it was his insistence that it go through, and it has his name on it. So the Messiah is going to be fighting this battle for the rest of his term. Nothing short of a massive attack on the United States is going to change that. First come the November elections. Then the Supreme Court case. Then the guerrilla war in Congress, with the new kids elected solely on the basis of rolling back Obama's attempt to hijack the economy entering office in January 2011. And throughout it all, the continuous, everyday acts of defiance and contempt by the little platoons, the people who actually make up this country.
What does that leave Obama? Absolutely nothing. He will have no more opportunities. His hands will be full. He will be spending every last minute defending his major achievement, which he sees as his legacy. He will have time for nothing else. While he is otherwise involved, his crew of Chicago gangsters and career political hustlers will be roaming around cutting their own deals and making their own arrangements, further crippling his efforts and infuriating the public. Mark Steyn has suggested that the goal of ObamaCare is to institutionalize the left as America's base political culture. Instead, Obama appears to be bringing it to ruination.
Harry Blackmun was the man who actually wrote the extremely flawed -- in truth, legally empty -- Roe decision. He spent the rest of his career defending it. He never accomplished anything else, never put his name on another notable decision, never became associated with any worthy legal doctrine. He deteriorated at last into an isolated, querulous figure, obsessed with Roe v. Wade and his role in seeing it into law. All to achieve no more than to permanently intertwine his name with the legal decision that came closer than any action since the Civil War to rending the country in twain.
So it will be with Obama. That's what he has to look forward to, on a much wider stage and in a much shorter compass of time. It may well be that future historians will refer to his term as the short presidency -- effectively brought to an end at his own initiative only fourteen months after it began. It remains up to us to make it so.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker, and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker website.