LEADERS THE PEOPLE DESERVE
A few short weeks ago, I and most other pundits believed that Mr. Obama's healthcare bill was dead in the water. It did not seem likely at that point that the House would pass the Senate's version of the bill, but that is precisely what happened. The bill sprang back to life like a virulent infection. Politics, contrary to what university Marxists might tell us, is far from a science. Few things in the political realm are predictable, at least with ironclad certainty.
The healthcare catastrophe is a reminder of the dangers inherent in making political predictions. Yet a pundit should still be free, I guess, to make a few casual observations. One such observation is that, after Sunday night, it is hard to find anyone who has marginal thoughts and feelings about Barack Hussein Obama. He may be the most polarizing figure in American history. Many people have confided to me that they refrain from watching or listening to him, because he provokes blind rage within them. Others speak of him as if he were a rock star. Apparently, Vice President Biden falls into the latter group. At the signing of the healthcare bill today while in the presence of a live microphone, he was overheard congratulating the President by exclaiming, "This is a big fu—ing deal!" So much for the man's classy and circumspect choice of words. No sir, he did not crib off Neil Kennock this time. I'll bet our illustrious VP thought the bill's signing was just as momentous as "when the stock market crashed . . . [and] Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and [informed the American people of what happened]." Well, nobody ever applauded Joe as a student of history (or of anything else so far as I know). Luckily for Mr. Obama, he will never be upstaged by his vice president.
A second observation if you don't mind. What the Congress has done in enacting a healthcare bill the members neither read nor fully understood is an affront to the majority of the American people, who for months had been screaming "No!" The government's gobbling up a sizeable chunk of the American economy, when it is clear that medicare, social security, and the postal system – to name but three publicly funded projects – are going broke, strikes most reasonable people as roguishly pathological. Does anyone really believe for a moment that a behemoth like the federal government, with its legions of bloodsucking, mindless bureaucrats, can administer healthcare in a way that will cause us to stand up and cheer?
A number of people have asked me what I think about Mr. Obama's legislative "triumph." I do not know, but suspect that, if and when it is fully implemented, it will be not only an administrative nightmare, but also a financial abyss. Sure, there will be occasions when an 80 year old person, in otherwise excellent health, is turned down for expensive hip replacement surgery, because a non-reasoning bureaucrat monotonously states, "I'm sorry, but that surgery is no longer allowed under Government Plans A, B, C, or D." A well-meaning friend may then suggest that the patient write a letter to his Senators expressing his frustrations. When he finds himself discussing the intricacies of his healthcare with one of their lackeys, I would not be surprised if he hears the following: "Now let me see, are you a constituent of Senator Jones, because I do not see that you have ever contributed to any of his campaigns." Or, who knows, the response might be, "Sir, healthcare matters are handled by the IRS, which is empowered to enforce the Act. Let me give you the the IRS's telephone number in your district."
These are a few of my responses to Mr. Obama's historic legislative victory. But there is a major question lurking just below the surface of these responses that is also yearning for expression. It is the following: what kind of insipid, irresponsible citizenry would become so enthusiastic about this man as to entrust him with the powers of the United States presidency? This question is far more troubling to me than Mr. Obama's patently socialist agenda. I do not think that I am mistaken in believing that my concern about the quality of the American electorate is biting the be-hinds of many other people as well as myself.
Some sage once said that, in a government like the one under which we live, the people always get the kind of leaders they deserve. If this is true, then our president and vice president are the kind of leaders a country gets when its news media are corrupt, when "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" are the most popular shows on television, when sports events are the focal point of the culture, when a person is elected to Congress with modest means and over the course of 30 years in "public service" becomes a multimillionaire, when college graduates cannot articulate a coherent idea, and when teenagers are decorated from stem to stern with tattoos, multiple body piercings, and ear lobe and lip extensions. Welcome to the United States of America!
Is it a surprise to you that many citizens feel like resident aliens in their own country, that they do not believe they fit into its mechanisms any longer, and that they despise their government and deplore the debauchery of the people it serves? I would not be surprised if millions of responsible citizens suddenly stopped paying their income taxes, would you?
March 24, 2010