Pelosi: Follow Your Bliss, We’ll Pick Up The Tab

May 18, 2010

If there is a more idiotic statement by a politician this year than this gem from Nancy Pelosi, I’m not sure what it could possibly be. Sure, Eric Holder’s frantic dance around the words “radical Islam” are way, way up there, and almost anything Janet Napolitano says has to be considered to be in contention, but this one is a beaut.

We see it [Obamacare] as an entrepreneurial bill, a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.

So here we have the Speaker Of The House telling people, and not for the first time, that if they want to quit their jobs and become rock stars that they should do it because the government will pick up the tab for their inevitable overdoses and stints in rehab.

I’ve always wanted to be a rock star. I’ve spent countless hours listening to music and imagining myself up there on the stage, jamming with Jimi, harmonizing with McCartney, swapping verses with Jagger. The only thing that’s been holding me back, aside from a profound lack of talent, was the fact that my health care is tied to my job. But now I feel like I can finally do it…I can finally tell my boss to take this job and shove it, because Nancy’s gonna pay for my doctor visits and I’m now free at last to play Giants Stadium.

Of course, I still have a mortgage to pay, and car payments to make, and these things might prove difficult while I’m practicing for the big gig. But I’m sure Nancy has a program for that, too. I need the time to settle down and write some tunes, so I’m afraid we’ll have to get those taxpaying chumps to chip in for the mortgage and car. Think of it as a rent party, and I’ll supply the music! You can’t put a price on the toe-tapping melodies I’ll be writing while you suckers pay for me.

Perhaps Nancy didn’t actually mean what she said. Even she’s not stupid enough to imagine that the economy of this country can flourish if we all quit our jobs in order to write epic poems. But once again we have a small glimpse into the Progressive mindset.

The concept goes back probably to the dawn of time and it’s expressed in a multitude of ways. Matthew Arnold, in Culture and Anarchy, critiqued the “exaggerated notion” of “the blessedness of doing as one likes.” Acid guru Timothy Leary exhorted the youth of a nation of to “Turn on, tune in, drop out” of society. The hippies tried to built a society on the premise of “If it feels good, do it.” Mythologist Joseph Campbell smiled benignly at Bill Moyers and dropped the malignant line, “Follow your bliss.” Every day people will say the seemingly innocuous “Follow your heart” or “Listen to what your heart says.” Oprah Winfrey built a media empire telling people to follow their hearts.

The belief is that somehow what your heart wants you to do is purer, and a source for greater happiness. The truth is just the opposite. In the real world, your heart tells you to do what feels good. Your head, on the other hand, tells you to do what is good. While doing what is good usually feels good in the long run, we live in an age of instant gratification and far too many people have no desire to wait for the long run to play itself out. They want to feel good right now, and one of the lures of liberalism is that it promises that what you do will make you feel good. It’s not called “bleeding heart” liberalism by accident.

Liberalism promises you the moral high ground. Liberalism tells you that you are a better person than conservatives because you care. Liberalism offers a way to express concern and help others, but almost never looks at the end result. Liberalism is concerned with doing what feels good to the liberal. Long-term results are unimportant when measured against the demands of the here and now. Many of the liberal policies that have acted as a cancer on our rights, freedoms, and prosperity, from welfare to Obamacare, were conceived with good intentions, but the hideous blind spot of failing to look further down the road has led to untold damage to our nation.

The old Jewish proverb from Maimonides that if “you give a man a fish he will eat for a day; if you teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime” is turned on its head by contemporary liberalism. Liberals feel good about themselves when they hand out fish, and their solution to ongoing problems is to hand out ever increasing amounts of fish. The more fish they hand out, the more they feel that they are helping, the more they feel that they care, and the better they feel about themselves. This is the entire concept behind the welfare state.

When you consider this, you start to understand why Nancy Pelosi believes that it’s perfectly okay to leave your job to focus on your dreams. It feels good, so do it. Any potential consequences are unimportant, secondary to the greater good of feeling positive about yourself. It’s why liberals think it’s important to teach “self-esteem” in schools.

It is this moral blind spot of many liberals combined with the libido dominandi of liberalism’s more despotic cousin, Leftism, that has led America down the path we are currently traveling. I believe that America can pull itself off the track we’re on. I believe there’s almost nothing Obama and Pelosi can do that can’t be undone, but it will be a difficult job and there will be no small amount of pain. Liberals believe that the pain is not worth it; better to continue going down this road, and mask the pain with more government handouts and taxpayer-subsidized goodies. “Here, have another fish.”

But then, liberals aren’t really all that interested in where this road ends, as long as they get to continue to drive.

Repeal And Replace

March 22, 2010

I can’t help but be reminded of that scene in the movie The Omen, where the nanny shouts “It’s all for you!” before jumping off the roof with a noose around her neck.

Last night we watched that scene replayed 219 times.

The rubber is officially on the road now. Bart Stupak has proven to be the Profile in Cowardice I fully expected him to be (and has rightfully been stripped of the “Defender Of Life” Award he was to receive on Wednesday), and the “health care reform” bill has passed the House.

There are a few things to learn from this:

  • There is no such thing as a Blue Dog Democrat in Washington D.C. Fiscal and social conservatism is a gimmick that Democrats use in Republican-leaning districts to enhance their chances at winning elections. They don’t mean it, and should all be voted out.
  • The Far Left wing of the Democrat party, led by Obama and Pelosi, with Harry Reid standing on the sidelines begging to be allowed to play, will stop at nothing to advance their agenda of turning America into a European-style socialist state. That can’t be stated clearly enough. They will stop at nothing.
  • The Republican Party needs to recognize the first two items listed here and understand that there is no bipartisanship in Washington D.C. as long as the Democrat party is a Far Left party. Negotiations with the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, etc. will only lead to bad bills. The Republicans need to snap out of the Battered Wife Syndrome they currently embrace.

What’s done is done, as Shakespeare wrote. I am under no illusions that this bill can be repealed any time before January 2013. But that doesn’t mean that the Republicans should not run in 2010 on a campaign to repeal and replace the bill. C’mon, it’s even a good slogan: Repeal. Replace. Reform.

The Republicans can not continue to bad mouth the bill without providing a clear alternative. As much as I admire and respect Paul Ryan, he has a tendency to get deep into the weeds when he talks about policy. What the Republicans need is a simple 5-point plan that can be printed on a single page of paper.

  • Health-savings accounts. Allows people to put aside tax-deferred dollars for use in health care. This money will not be on a “use it or lose it” basis as it currently is. It can be kept, added to, and left to heirs just like a 401K and IRA.
  • Real, meaningful tort reform. Limit non-income damages in malpractice cases, and limit the amount of winnings that can be collected by lawyers. This has been done on a state level in Texas, and health care costs have dropped because doctors will no longer feel the need to order so many CYA tests.
  • Allow people to buy insurance across state lines. This is a no-brainer. Allow people to shop for their insurance needs wherever they need to. Allow real competition between insurance companies.
  • Eliminate Federal requirements for insurance. Right now, the government dictates what conditions must be covered by insurance. The more things that are covered, the more the insurance costs. Allow people to decide for themselves what they want covered, and allow people to choose from a wide range of deductibles. The only medical coverage people need from insurance is catastrophic coverage, or drug coverage over a certain amount per year. Let me decide if I want my coverage to include sex-reassignment surgery, not the government.
  • Eliminate the individual mandate. First off, it’s unconstitutional. Secondly, if people choose not to have health care insurance then those people need to take their medicine when they go to the doctor. Strengthen the position of hospitals and doctors to legally pursue people who skip out without paying the bill, rather than pass the cost on to those people who do have insurance.

The fine details of any plan must be worked out, and the five points I wrote above do not necessarily have to be the five points that they agree upon, but the public face of the plan must be something that the public can digest easily and quickly. The Republicans have many plans floating around. They need to get together in the local Capitol Hill watering hole, bash out a final plan with the best elements, and then put it into a language that be easily understood: a one-page summary and a bill itself that is no longer than 50 pages, with a non-lawyer translation available.

Nothing will be repealed until January 2013 because Obama holds the veto pen, but that doesn’t mean that a Republican majority in the House and, maybe, the Senate, can’t send the bill to the President as regularly as clockwork and force him to veto and then defend his action.

Last night Obama said, “This is what change looks like.” This November will give the Naked Emperor another example of what change can look like.

This fight is not over. It is just beginning.

Michelle Malkin has more here. Hot Air has an open thread here and video of Mike Pence’s stinging rebuke of Bart Stupak.

UPDATE: Many thanks to Rich Lowry for The Corner shoutout from the tongue-in-cheek email I sent him yesterday. I am truly honored.

Does Obama Want Insurance Companies To Fail?

March 20, 2010

It’s looking more and more likely that this travesty of a health care bill will be rammed through Congress one way or another. As I expected, the on-the-fence Democrats are collapsing like a bunch of broccoli under the arm twisting and noogie patrols of Obama and Pelosi.

I haven’t written much about this in the past week or so for two reasons: 1) I’ve been waiting to see how it would all shake out, and 2) I get so depressed when I think of this that I become practically inert. As someone who reveres the Constitution of the United States and desperately loves the ideals that this country has held in terms of liberty and freedom, the all-out assault on the Constitution that is being perpetrated on Capitol Hill is well nigh unbearable. I knew this gang of progressives, socialists, radicals, and idiots would seize any opportunity to turn the United States into a massive welfare state, but I never believed that they would launch such a brazen attack on the principles on which this country was founded. And for me as a New Yorker, there’s not a lot that I can do. My representative and my Senators are among the most liberal members of Congress. I’ve written several emails to Eliot Engel, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Chuck Schumer and all I have ever gotten back are form letters thanking me for my support. They don’t care. There are enough people in my area to make their re-election pretty safe, and New York is hampered by a Republican Party that is spineless at best and brainless at worst.

The question I keep asking myself is why the Democrats are so fired up to pass this bill that they will nakedly throw the Constitution into a shredder in order to achieve their goals. The answer, of course, is that this “reform” bill has almost nothing to do with health care and everything to do with power. Give Barack Obama credit for this much: the guy’s got a long-term vision. So does Nancy Pelosi, but Pelosi will continue to be re-elected, so this is a no-risk vote for San Fran Nan. Obama’s willing to sacrifice himself in 2012 in order to achieve what he really wants. Sure, he wants to be re-elected, but if he succeeds here he will have achieved his dream of pushing the United States closer to a top-down, European-style socialist nation.

Consider this: Obama has long been on record as favoring a European-/Canadian-style single payer system of health care. But there’s still enough sense (barely) in the Senate not to include “the public option.” What is in the bill, however, is a requirement that everyone in the country buy private health insurance, insurance which will be heavily regulated (i.e., price controls) by the Federal government.

I once thought that something like this could be a part of health care reform, but I was as wrong as I have ever been about anything. The very idea that the Federal Government can tell a private citizen that they must buy a service provided by a corporation is blatantly unconstitutional. The Fed has no more power to tell me to buy insurance than they have to tell me to buy 300-thread count sheets for my bed. In fact, the unconstitutional nature of this provision is clear to anyone who thinks about it for more than a second or two…and Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have thought about it for more than a few seconds.

Also in the bill is the regulation that insurance companies can not deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, which means that insurance companies will be forced to accept extremely high-risk individuals. And because the government will be setting price controls, there will be no way that insurance companies will not lose money on this. Obama and Co. know this, which is why they make the unconstitutional case that in order for the plan to succeed, the young and healthy must be forced to buy insurance in order to subsidize the sick and elderly who will now being costing the insurance companies money.

So follow me here:

  • The insurance companies will lose money…a lot of money…because they can no longer differentiate between low- and high-risk consumers
  • This loss of money will be compensated for by the provision that forces the young and healthy to buy insurance
  • The provision that forces the young and healthy to buy insurance is unconstitutional and will likely be overturned by the Supreme Court
  • Without the influx of money from the young and healthy, the insurance companies will incur massive financial losses because the government will not allow them to charge free market rates for insurance or make distinctions between high- and low-risk consumers
  • The insurance companies will fail

So what could Obama/Pelosi/Reid possibly gain by the failure of the insurance system? Is there a reason that these people would want the insurance companies to fail?

Of course. The failure of the insurance companies, even the failure of only some of the insurance companies, would give the government the opening to step forward and become the “insurance provider” for all those people who find themselves without insurance. What we are seeing on Capitol Hill this weekend is the ugly conception of a rough beast known as single-payer, and all that it entails: poor care, rationing, wait lists, doctor shortages, endless levels of bureaucracy.

I will not give up hope that this bill will fail until Obama puts his signature on it. When that happens, I will do everything in my power to have the bill repealed in toto.

The Democrats believe that a vote tomorrow and a signature on Monday with lots of cameras and the smiling mug of Barry Obama will end this debate and that the American people will fall in step and bleat contentedly like the good sheep they are. The Democrats are wrong.

In my entire life I have never seen so many people so engaged on so many levels, and that will only increase when the new taxes, higher premiums, and Medicare cuts actually happen. This bill is the legislative equivalent of Pearl Harbor, and the Democrats may pat themselves on the back for launching such a successful attack, but they will only awaken a sleeping giant.

As expected, the Blogosphere is burning today. More reading from some of my faves: Hot Air has updates and even references the same Yeats poem I did. Also more here, here, and here. In a related item, Hot Air is also highlighting a great video of an exchange on Medicare reform between my newest hero Paul Ryan and the repellent Louise Slaughter (of “Slaughter Solution” fame).

Michelle Malkin’s got pics of today’s Tea Party at Captiol Hill, a brief comment on the defenstration of the Slaughter Solution,.a list of propsed House amendments to Obamacare, and reports of an attempt to buy off the pro-life Democrat contingent through Executive Order.

On the lighter side, Iowahawk channels David Mamet for Glengarry Glen (Cong)Ress.

There’s always lots of great stuff in The Corner.

Finally, over at I Am, Therefore I Think, Larry Downes believes that this bill is a violation of the civil rights of all Americans.

Can You Hear Us Now?

November 4, 2009

I guess Cousin Pookie couldn’t be bothered to vote.

The spinners are in overdrive today on both sides of the aisle. The Republicans are claiming that happy days are here again and that 2009 is a clear indicator that the Republicans will take back the House and Senate in 2010. The Democrats are saying, “Election? Was there an election yesterday? It must have been tiny and insignificant.”

Advantage: Republicans!

The most important races from a national perspective yesterday were the Gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats had written off Virginia several weeks ago when the handwriting was clearly on the wall, but even they couldn’t have predicted that Republican Bob McDonnell would crush his Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds by a wopping 18%. That’s not just a defeat, that’s the Democrat going down like the Hindenburg. Oh, the humanity of it all.

The spin from the Dems is that Creigh Deeds was a weak candidate who foolishly declined to follow the advice of that oracle of campaign wisdom, Barack Obama. He lost, say the Dems, because he failed to sufficiently embrace Obama.

(Insert eyeroll here.)

But then there’s that pesky New Jersey race. Not only did Jon Corzine embrace Obama, he was seen at several campaign events practically humping the President’s leg. New Jersey is one of the bluest of blue states, and Corzine one of the bluest of blue candidates. The President made several trips to New Jersey to sprinkle some of the same magic he used with the Olympic Committee, and Corzine actually ran attack ads comparing Chris Christie’s policies to those of the Democratic Devil, George W. Bush. If that’s not singing from Obama’s hymnal, I don’t know what is. Corzine offered a full-throated endorsement of all things Barack, and Barack returned the favor.

Far from the squeaker contest envisioned by so many, Chris Christie won by 5%. This in a state that Obama won by something like 17% (going on memory here, so don’t quote me). In New Jersey, for a Democrat to win by 5% it’s a tight contest. For a Republican to win by the same amount, it’s about a 9 on the Richter scale.

The other race that garnered national attention, the special election in District 23 of New York, went to the Democrat. The Dems are trumpeting this as a major victory. Nancy Pelosi is claiming last night was a victory for the Democrats, which makes her the Baghdad Bob of the House of Representatives. But this particular election was at least a moral victory for conservatives. Recall that the Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was an extremely liberal Republican who was handpicked by a star chamber of town officials. She was at least as far to the Left as the Democrat, Bill Owens. The third candidate, the Independent Doug Hoffman, was clearly conservative. He was also, clearly, unknown only one month ago when his poll numbers were in single digits. But in the past month, overcoming idiotic endorsements by Newt Gingrich and the Republican National Committee, the conservative not only caught up to the Republican but forced her out of the race. He lost to the Democrat in the final tally, but the Republican still managed to siphon off about 5% of the vote even though she was no longer running. Put that in perspective: a conservative candidate with no name recognition came from nowhere in one month and beat the liberal Republican and came close to beating the Democrat in the general election. Call it spin if you want, but I’m claiming a moral victory.

Then there are races closer to home. In heavily Democratic Westchester County, New York, County Executive Andy Spano (seeking his fourth term) lost in a stunning upset to conservative Republican Rob Astorino, a loss foreseen by no one. In very liberal Maine, gay marriage was defeated at the polls. In my own hometown, there was a Republican sweep of the local offices, nearly all of which had been held by Democrats.

The Republicans are still a long, long way from reclaiming the House, Senate, and Presidency. Deservedly so, I might add. They have no one to blame for these years in the wilderness except themselves. But last night was a clear shot across the bow for the Democrats in D.C. Blue Dog Democrats in conservative districts will need to seriously think again before hitching their cart to Pelosi’s and Reid’s horse. Even Democrats in marginally Democratic districts will need to reconsider whether or not they want cap-and-trade or continued employment. It’s the “independents” who decide these races, and in both Virginia and New Jersey the independents went two-to-one in favor of the guys promising less government.

During the summer the Administration and the Democrats tried to marginalize the Tea Party movement as a mob of crazies who shouldn’t be listened to. Well, folks, can you hear us now?

Hot Air has lessons from Election Night, an Election Recap, and thoughts on the Gay Marriage vote in Maine. Michelle Malkin has an appropriate warning to the Republican establishment about the lessons they should take away from District 23.

A Thorn By Any Other Name Will Hurt Just As Much

October 27, 2009

One of the aspects of political correctness that makes it so insidious is the manipulation of language. The term itself—”political correctness”—implies a wrong and a right way of looking at things. There are no differing opinions, each served by facts and data; there is only the right way and the wrong way. Wherever political correctness has gained a foothold, the first thing that came under assault were the words people used.

It’s everywhere today. “Illegal alien” has been replaced with the more benign-sounding “undocumented worker.” You see? He’s not a law breaker, he just doesn’t have his papers. For young people today it’s probably difficult to imagine when people said “I’m black and I’m proud.” “Black” has fallen out of favor, replaced by the awful and clunky “African-American.” “Handicapped” people are now “differently able.” “And since “global warming” really isn’t working out quite like they expected, it’s now “climate change.”

What the merchants of PC groupthink understand is that controlling the language controls the debate. Today we’re seeing this with health care reform. Nancy Pelosi has decided, correctly, that the “public option” has become synonymous with “government-run health care,” and “government-run health care” is synonymous with “socialized medicine,” and “socialized medicine” is synonymous with “really bad health care.” What to do, what to do…

The solution, of course, is to change the language. If the tree is bearing poisonous fruit, you can change the name of the tree from “Poison Fruit Tree” to, say, “deliciously good fruit tree.” People will then merrily pluck and eat the fruit because, after all, progressives like Pelosi think that we’re all a bunch of stupid rubes.

According to the Associated Press, Pelosi wants to change the name of the “public option” to the “competitive option” or the “consumer option.” Well that makes all the difference! Quick, hand me some of that deliciously good fruit while I wait for the doctor to see me!

Quoth Nancy:

“You’ll hear everyone say, ‘There’s got to be a better name for this,'” Pelosi said. “When people think of the public option, public is being misrepresented, that this is being paid for with their public dollars.”

Pelosi said that was a misconception and that any taxpayer money used to start up the public option would be repaid. She also said such an option would ultimately drive down government health care costs.

Note to Nan: Every single thing government does is paid for with our public dollars. Every $500 hammer ordered by the Pentagon, every bloated bureaucrat’s salary, every “Your Stimulus At Work” road sign, every piece of tile in the Capitol’s ladies room, every blade of grass on the Washington Mall, every piece of junk mail you send to your constituents, every benefit in your Congressional benefits package, every dime you put into the bank from your salary, every trip home to your district in your Congressional jet, every flight on Air Force One, every stimulus check that’s sent to the recently deceased, every first-time home buyer’s tax credit…my God, the list is endless. Everything you do is paid for with our money. Washington D.C. is a city that would turn into a ghost town overnight if not for taxpayer dollars.

The whole notion that the government is going to set up a plan to insure millions of people and administer that plan out of offices in Washington D.C. and that it won’t cost the public anything is ridiculous. It’s beyond patronizing; it’s absolutely insulting. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Every bleat that comes out of Pelosi’s mouth is an insult to people whose thoughts extend past the bumper stickers on their cars.

So go ahead, Nan. Change the name. Call it the “competitive option” or the “consumer option.” You can call it “Gypsy Sun and Rainbows” if that’s really what you want. You’re not fooling anyone.

Hot Air has more.

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