I spent a good portion of Thursday away from my computer. Car troubles can do that to a person’s free time. As the early afternoon gave way to the end of the school day, I suddenly got a text message from my writing partner here at Freedom Cocktail asking where I’ve been all day?
He didn’t mean in the physical world. Like me, he could not care less where my actual body was located. After all, he is in Detroit (Oh, bless his heart — if you are from the South, you understand the meaning) and I’m in Atlanta (well, just North of it).
He wanted to know how I could have been so silent in the world of social media? Not one Facebook update. Not one tweet. All while the social media verse was exploding with responses to the President’s latest attempt to apply a tourniquet to the severed artery known as Obamacare (for those featured on late night television, the Affordable Care Act, which is the same thing).
Even though I didn’t have the time to post anything until I was parked in the line of vehicles at car-rider pickup, I had been able to listen to the presser. I heard the President take to the lectern and vie for sympathy by opening his press conference with words about the devastation in the Philippines. It appeared he was trying to create a foil to play against the real reason he had called members of the press to the White House. It’s as if he was trying to convey, in the least condescending way possible, that in the grand scheme of the universe, the pain, suffering and frustration felt by Americans affected by the “unintended” consequences of the Affordable Care Act was really insignificant when compared to the real tragedy unfolding halfway around the world. I could almost hear the words, “My subjects, I know how difficult you think things are but let me assure you, the real difficulty goes to the people of the Philippines. But, because I know you are more worried about your own lives than those affected by the typhoon, I am going to try to do something for you.”
I am referring to his decision to ask insurance companies to let folks keep their current plans — well, at least for a year. On the surface, it sounded like an acceptable solution, if only temporary, for the millions losing their current coverage.
What I noticed immediately was the unilateral edict being given to insurers to basically ignore the law. President Barack Obama’s announcement amounted to a grant to insurance companies to keep offering plans that would otherwise be canceled due to the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. Said another way, he was telling the insurance companies that it was okay to ignore, for a year, the regulations that had been enacted by the law. He even intimated that the extension might last longer if problems still persisted. At the same time, Obama made it very clear that he would continue to fight ongoing attempts to nix the entire program, saying, “I will not accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to undermine or repeal the overall law and drag us back into a broken system.”
An ironic choice of words, considering the solution he was offering. Remember when others tried to make the case that it was Obamacare that would end up broken?
Let’s look back just a few weeks ago when Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who were being ostracized by a majority of Congress, were fighting with all their might to either defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. Ted Cruz mounted an epic 21+ hour floor speech, detailing all of the damage he believed would come to pass if the law were to go into full effect on October 1. He talked about the millions who would lose their coverage and the spike in premiums that millions more would soon face. Congressman on both the left and the right (let’s call them the entrenched establishment) derided their efforts as meaningless and dangerous. Senator John McCain even went so far as to call Ted Cruz a “wacko bird” for his attempts to draw attention to the perils of Obamacare.
In a blog released at the time, I satirized the Affordable Care Act and then dovetailed it into an explanation for why Ted Cruz chose to carry out his pseudo-filibuster. It wasn’t about winning at that point in time — it was about giving Americans the time necessary to start to question the efficacy of the Act itself. For 21 hours, most of the media outlets from around the world were reporting on his efforts, and though many took on a disparaging tone, the old saying goes that no press is bad press.
The Affordable Care Act, let’s remember, was passed at the 11th hour on Christmas Eve in 2009, using a parliamentary trick called reconciliation. Not one single Republican in either the House or Senate voted for the legislation. In poll after poll since it’s passage, the law has never received a majority of support from the American people. But, the trumpeters of its merits, from the President, to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, to former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, all vowed that the law would lower premiums for everyone and for those who were happy with their coverage, it would not affect them at all.
Fellow democrats happily picked up this mantra and regurgitated it over and over in one stump speech after another. It was the old saying that if you repeat a lie long enough, and if it was big enough, people would believe it. In fact, Human Events just published a list of every Democrat who heralded the same or similar talking points without ever, so it seems, reading the law for themselves. And now they are running for political cover while trying to “walk back” their previous rock-solid positions.
And when Senator Ted Cruz’s time was up, many of the politicians who ran on the promise to “do whatever it took to repeal Obamacare,” played a parliamentary game themselves called cloture. In so doing, these establishment Republicans could literally say to their constituents that they had voted against the funding of Obamacare, when, in point of fact, by voting for cloture, they knew their vote to defund would be meaningless.
As my partner at Freedom Cocktail has written about extensively of late, the GOP is rife with politicians who are willing to say anything to make you believe they are conservative, but will actually do whatever it takes to retain their elected office, regardless of their campaign promises. Here we are, just over a month since the stand made by Senator Cruz, and now the same Congressmen who derided his efforts are calling for the very repeal they disparaged. Even John McCain ran to the first available microphone after the President’s press conference to declare that Congress needed to do whatever they could to repeal this disastrous law.
To the honorable senator from the great state of Arizona, and to the others who are jumping on the politically expedient bandwagon, where were you when you voted for cloture instead of against it? Where was your righteous indignation and intestinal fortitude when the odds were not in your favor? Where was the vim and vigor of the consummate warrior, fighting for the ideals of liberty and freedom, when the polls didn’t seem to be on your side? You are all a disgrace and should be ashamed to now pretend to hold the very flag of liberty that you were afraid to touch just a month prior.
But, before I forget my place, there is more to this story than just the machinations of the establishment, doing and saying whatever is necessary to curry the favor of their constituents when reelection draws nigh. Let’s get back to the President himself — the man who swore to the American public that if they liked their insurance, they could keep it, period.
Remember this talking point, uttered non-stop during the government shut down: it’s the law of the land? Every member of the Democrat party that could grab a sound bite made sure to vomit this very line over and over again incessantly to a mainstream media, who were all too ready to play those clips non-stop to their audience. Now, a scant 30 days later, the President of the United States has taken it upon himself to tell the underwriters of every health insurance company that he will allow them to break that very law for at least a year. Maybe more.
Let me repeat that in case you missed this little nugget of autocratic rule.
Our President, the man who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, is saying that he will allow a sub-set of the American population to ignore the very law he championed because it would help his poll numbers and the reelection chances of 13 Democrat Senators who are terrified they may lose their offices in the 2014 midterm elections. The Chief Executive of the land, whose job it is to execute and follow the laws passed by Congress, is saying he has the power to tell his citizens that they are allowed to break the law because he said it’s okay.
At what point have we abdicated our Republic and chosen the path of a monarch? Where in the Constitution does it allow for the Executive branch to decide which laws it deems acceptable and those it determines can be ignored? What is the point of the legislature if the President can make or repeal laws on a whim? What need is there for a judiciary when one person can decide, on his own, the efficacy of any law duly passed by Congress? Even Howard Dean, former chair of the DNC and former democratic candidate for president asked if Obama had the legal authority to pass the fix he declared in his press conference on Thursday.
This massive piece of legislation is falling apart on its own weight and bringing millions of Americans down with it. The immediate reaction is to jump in and do something to help.
Let me suggest that we step back and recognize that the words of Senator Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are coming to pass. Obamacare is a nightmare and a disaster and we are only just seeing the beginning of the ramifications of this liberal Holy Grail. President Obama has stated repeatedly that he will never repeal the law, even though he seems more than willing to ignore pieces of it as is beneficial to him and his party.
The Affordable Care Act is a terrible law, period (to use the same word uttered by the President when touting the law). It was passed without a single Republican vote. I would heartily suggest that it remain in the sole province of the Democrat party. If the GOP is finally ready to adopt the principles of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and a return to both state’s rights and the rights of the individual, then a good start is to step back and let the Democrats own both the law and it’s outcome.
It’s been said many times before, when your opponent is committing political suicide, get out of the way. Don’t offer to save them. This albatross hangs around the necks of Barack Obama and every single Democrat that voted to pass the law into existence. It is theirs. They own it.
The only involvement that should be allowed by the GOP is in participating for the vote that fully repeals this abomination. Anything else would be folly.
But, if history serves, the Republicans will bend themselves over backward to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, all while bowing to the new autocracy they purport to be against.
I hope I’m wrong.