Last week, the MSM Tingle Brigade all of a sudden discovered, in President Obama's post-election news conference, that Obama just didn't get it, didn't understand the message from the voters. "That Tin Ear," wrote the London Economist.
What did the brainiacs expect? President Obama is not going to tell the world that yes, he's sorry that he and Nancy Pelosi sacrificed a whole generation of Democratic moderates on the altar of universal health care. He's not sorry at all. It was all worth it because he and she got ObamaCare passed.
Real liberals agree with the president. A liberal acquaintance told me she heartily approved of Nancy Pelosi's achievements, just like Susan Estrich, who applauded: "Nancy Pelosi, Superhero."
We should all congratulate Obama and Pelosi. They used their Liberal Hour just as FDR and LBJ did before them. They passed historic progressive legislation in the teeth of opposition from the reactionaries. Admittedly, Democrats suffered a nasty reverse in the midterms, but so did FDR in 1938 and so did LBJ in 1966. Admittedly, the American people are still opposed to ObamaCare, but Democrats think the American people will soon change their minds. After all, the American people love Social Security and Medicare. Republicans wouldn't dare repeal them.
Whatever Obama and the Democrats say, their strategy from here is to ambush, feint, and delay all attempts to repeal ObamaCare. They will pull all the plays out of their old reliable playbook: the compromise play, the bipartisan play, the for-the-children play, the extremist play, the mean-spirited play. Will it work? Nobody knows. President Obama doesn't know; the Republican leadership doesn't know. But the strategy has always worked in the past, so it stands to reason that the president will use it now. No doubt he feels pretty confident about the outcome.
I talked to a rank-and-file Democrat, a union carpenter. He doesn't think ObamaCare will be repealed, either.
For Republicans and conservatives, this is the Conservative Moment. This is the opportunity to take a big government program and repeal it. We want to send a message to the ruling class that never again should they dare to push a comprehensive and mandatory progressive government program through on a partisan vote in the teeth of the opposition of the American people, not even in a once-in-a-generation Liberal Hour.
When we repeal ObamaCare, it must be on a bipartisan vote. In both the House and Senate we need a credible group of Democrats joining with Republicans to repeal it. It doesn't matter whether they vote for repeal out of conviction or out of the fear of defeat. There must be a bipartisan vote to repeal. Then the ObamaCare repeal will echo down the years as a terrible warning to all progressives. Then progressives will remember not the successes of FDR and LBJ, but the dreadful memory of the Obama overreach extinguishing the millennial hope for comprehensive cradle-to-grave administrative health care forever. The best outcome would be repeal in 2013 after another six Democratic senators and 30-40 Democratic representatives bite the dust.
Will the American people support repeal when push comes to shove? There's a good chance they will. That's because of Irving Kristol's Rule of Social Programs. When you want to help the poor, Kristol wrote back in the 1980s, you must deal in the middle class.
The trouble with ObamaCare is that it cannot deal in the middle class. The middle class already has health insurance. Just like HillaryCare, the fundamental fact about ObamaCare is that the middle class is going to get stuck with the bill for the 30 million without health insurance. If you don't understand that, I've got a bridge to sell you.
Leaving aside peace and justice and compassion and caring, the fact on the ground is that the 30 million don't need health insurance because they don't have any assets. You can't lose your home to medical bills if you don't own a home.
One of the under-appreciated weaknesses of liberalism is that there's a huge disconnect between the official liberal narrative and the facts on the ground. Liberals talk about issues and peace and justice and sweetness and light, but politicians understand that the game is about getting reelected. Democratic voters understand that it's all about My Benefits. Republican voters understand it's all about My Taxes. Ordinary Americans know it's all about jobs, jobs, jobs.
Right now, nobody is much interested in the liberal narrative or the needs of elected politicians. That's because it's pretty obvious to ordinary Americans that ObamaCare isn't good for jobs, jobs, jobs. It's pretty obvious to Republicans that ObamaCare isn't good for My Taxes. And there's a chance that the odd Democrat may soon tumble to the notion that another big entitlement might be a threat to My Benefits.
If we can repeal ObamaCare, it changes welfare-state politics forever.