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Obamacare and the Marquis de Sade

Healthcare "reform" is killing the Democratic party.

By Petrarch  |  March 1, 2010

It's becoming difficult to come up with fresh new introductions to all the articles about Obamacare that say "We thought this thing was dead, but danged if it hasn't come back to life again!"  Desperate pundits are striving to discover creative ways to use the analogy of zombies and other undead things which cannot be killed except by extreme measures.  Jafar's plaint to Aladdin comes to mind:

How many times do I have to kill you, boy?

It's All Happened Before

Like Aladdin, Obamacare has been buried alive, thrown in the sea, and sent to the North Pole; yet here it comes again, sitting in all its two-thousand-plus-page glory in Blair House for our Fearless Leader to push forward.  So much for preserving trees and caring for the environment!

Why is the President bothering?  Does he seriously think that, after a year's worth of yelling and screaming, the Republicans will abruptly ignore the polls, See The Light, and come round to supporting The One?

Of course not.  The health care summit was all just a show and a waste of taxpayer money.  We know it, he knows it, and the Republicans know it; these "meetings" were just a necessary checkbox on the "Republicans are the Party Of No" meme-creation plan.  Now that he's got that over with, he can proceed straight ahead to shoving the bill through with reconciliation.

Except for one thing: according to parliamentary experts, this simply is not possible.

The rules of the Senate don't provide a path whereby Obamacare can be passed with just 51 votes.  There are too many other procedural obstacles, nobody has come up with a way around them, and the Republicans are prepared to use them all.  Even Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad says it's not going to work; the Senate won't pass it first and the House can't.

Yet President Obama stands firmly on the poop deck, steadfastly steering his ship directly at the sheer cliffs and sharp rocks.

And Here We Go Again

Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton threw in the towel on Hillarycare, triangulated, and won a second term.  Forty-five years ago, Lyndon Johnson settled for creating Medicare to cover just the elderly and would have had a second term but for Vietnam.  Sixty-five years ago, Harry Truman's national health insurance plan went down in flames; fortunately for him, the country was distracted by the Korean War.

Say what you will about Democrats, you have to admire their persistence.  Is there any policy even half as far-reaching as national socialized healthcare which the Republicans keep pushing for decades on end even though it keeps losing?  For a while, the party platform called for eliminating the Dept. of Education, but that's been forgotten.  Once upon a time, Republicans stood for lower spending, but that's been a joke for decades.  About the only longstanding ongoing but persistent failure is the cause of reversing Roe v. Wade.

There is, however, a difference.  The Right's objective concerning abortion is to reveal to all Americans exactly what that procedure entails; hence "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart," photos of tiny hands reaching out of wombs, and the prevalence of ultrasound imagine showing unborn babies to be exactly that - babies.  Sure enough, the more clearly Americans understand the reality of abortion, the less they like it, and over the years more and more are coming round to the "conservative" view.  In the long term, persistence pays off, and we may yet see that court decision abandoned.

National health care was supposed to follow a similar long-term path; Mr. Obama kept claiming that the more Americans learned about his plan, the better they'd like it.  To this end, the Left likes to spin sob stories about unfortunate souls with catastrophic illnesses they can't afford to have treated.

Does this happen?  Alas, yes.  Does it logically follow that we need to bankrupt the country with a new, massive government entitlement far outstripping any others that have already been created?  No, it does not, and Americans know it.

Mr. Obama acts as if he is absolutely confident that national health care is the Right Thing To Do, no matter that American voters overwhelmingly hate Nancy Pelosi's bill and want to scrap it.  Why, then, is Mr. Obama so reluctant either to move on or to allow the full and open debate to continue?  If you truly believe in something, don't you want to talk about it as much as possible to bring others round to your position?

Health care is turning out to be just like abortion itself rather than anti-abortion.  The more Americans hear about the Democrats' plans, the better they understand the details, the more powerful and active their fear and loathing becomes.

Sarah Palin attacked Obamacare as creating "death panels" nearly a year ago; the Democrat response was that this was a lie.  Shouldn't a year be sufficient to debunk a false accusation?

Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, after his year of persuasion, explanation, town meetings, and providing fodder for talk shows, more people believe that Palin was right about death panels than when she first leveled the charge.  This is in large part because both England and Canada's national health systems have what amount to "death panels" that refuse treatments based on expense or age.

England's "death panel" even comes with the photogenically Orwellian acronym of NICE.  A whole lot more Americans have heard of NICE today than had a year ago.  They didn't like what they heard, they believe it's an integral part of Obamacare, and they want no part of it.

What happens when an out-of-control government rams a policy down the throats of the American people that they do not want?  History records the Whiskey Rebellion, the violence of Prohibition, and, of course, the Civil War; surely we don't want to follow those examples?

When Mr. Obama assumed the Presidency to glad cries and celebration, would anyone have imagined that the Democrats would be seriously at risk of losing both the Senate and the House in 2010?  Yet they are.

In the course of this debate, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have been compared to everyone from Jack Kevorkian to the Grim Reaper.  Since government-monopoly healthcare would inevitably lead to new medicines not discovered, new therapies not paid for, and humane care not given, just as has happened everywhere else it's been tried, these are apt analogies.  They're not new images, though, and it's crystal clear that Mr. Obama doesn't care about people saying that in the least.

Torturing His Friends

It's time to deploy a new analogy that might focus the minds of Democratic powerbrokers who enjoy holding office: Mr. Obama is Donatien Alphonse Fran├žois, the Marquis de Sade, after whom "sadism" is named.

The Marquis is famous for his sexual libertinism, a trait that Mr. Obama doesn't share, but he's noted for more than that: In the Marquis' twisted life, his way of "love" was what everyone else would view as torture.  He might have been having a good time, but his "lover" most certainly was not.

What to a politician or political party is more painful than loss of office?  Yet by his adamant determination to shove through a comprehensive upending of health care out of his declared love for the common people - no matter that nobody has read the bill, no matter that the more the American people hear about it the less they like it, no matter that politicians have already been replaced based on a promise to oppose his changes - Barack Obama is sentencing increasing numbers of his own party members to political death.

The current Beltway joke is that the only three jobs Mr. Obama has created are the new Republican senator from Massachusetts and the Republican governors of Virginia and New Jersey; just wait until there are dozens of new Republican Congressmen and Senators come November!

The Marquis de Sade spent the end of his life imprisoned in an insane asylum.  Barack Obama's monomaniacal determination to remake one sixth of the American economy according to his own diktat regardless of opposition deserves nothing less.

His fellow Democrats can only hope and pray that their careers don't accompany him or that some grownup intervenes before it's too late; Social Security reform, the legendary "third rail" of American politics, will be dwarfed by the political devastation wrought by Obamacare.

One way or another, it looks like Obama will get his Joint Session wish regarding healthcare:

I am not the first President to take up this cause - but I am determined to be the last.

So be it.  May he be the last President to even whisper about a monolithic, Fed-imposed, bureaucracy-driven health care system for the United States.