October 28th, 2009

Obamacare as suicide mission

Holman Jenkins writes:

It’s no exaggeration to say the Senate health-care bill taking shape is the equivalent of climbing aboard a train about to plunge into a canyon and deciding what it really needs is a bomb on board.


That’s one of the reasons I’m very glad I’m not a Democrat anymore. The mental gymnastics it would require for me to explain to myself how it is that the President and most of the Democratic Party are determined to do the very things most likely to fatally undermine our economy in a time of such great stress, while I simultaneously attempted to hold on to the idea that they are acting in the country’s best interests, would probably require more flexibility (not to mention self-deception) than I think I could muster.

43 Responses to “Obamacare as suicide mission”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Your inability to embrace and rationalize two mutually exclusive and irreconcilable points of view is exactly why you are no longer a liberal democrat.

    Either the head or the heart shall rule and thus by that choice is the determination made as to whether we are a conservative or a liberal. Any other category, such as libertarian, neocon, etc. is merely nuance.

    Shall one live by principles or the desires of the heart? All rests upon that most fundamental of questions.

  2. Steven Says:

    To amplify what Geoffrey just said, to a liberal, having good intentions (i.e., living by your heart) is what seems to count. I have reached an age, however, where I am no longer willing to “forgive” liberals for their supposed good intentions, for two reasons. First, most of us, liberal and conservative, have good intentions when it comes to thinking about public policy — though liberals never seem to be able to see how that is true for conservatives. But second, the “good intentions” of so many liberals are founded on such a willful disregard for the real world consequences of their actions that I find their way of thinking to be that of a naive adolescent. Adults who are so naive don’t get credit for good intentions anymore in my book.

  3. betsybounds Says:

    Hmmm. Good intentions. Well, we know what is said to be paved with those, don’t we.

  4. Artfldgr Says:

    they have normalized cognitive dissonance
    having never had to live by their hunches, or be challenged in certain ways, they shrug that feeling off since it never meant anything before. eventually they just learn not to reason through a series of connected thoughts with the aim of reaching a conclusion that then conveys the point. their thoughts are more disjointed facts, which hang like christmas ornaments. they can memorize these facts the way we memorize trivia, and their argument style is to throw these facts at you. but the facts are not connected to a dialogue, a context, reletivism hides the deficiency.

    there was a time when good intentions wasnt enough and results mattered more.

  5. Oh, bother Says:

    Steven, I would say instead that the liberals’ good intentions are the result, not the cause of their inability to acknowledge a reality that doesn’t confirm their preconceptions. There’s a certain self-absorption to it, as if he or she believes, “If this is my position on the matter, then of I must be on the side of the angels, and if I’m on the side of the angels then those who oppose me must be on the side of the devil” with no further evaluation being required to justify what to the rest of us would seem an extreme conclusion.

    I have yet to meet a true liberal who can admit he or she might be wrong on something he’s committed to.

  6. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    One way to live with cognitive dissonance is to remain blissfully unaware.
    One way to remain blissfully unaware is to be stupid. “Ignorance is bliss”, eh?
    And I always have held that Obama is basically stupid and incapable of learning.
    The prosecution rests its case…

  7. Perfected democrat Says:

    “And I always have held that Obama is basically stupid and incapable of learning.”

    I respectfully disagree. Obama is a smart, dedicated left-wing revolutionary and closet-moslem operative. Connect the dots, from his childhood to the present; there is no other rational explanation for his behaviour. Allen West 2010, http://allenwestforcongress.com/ !

  8. Gray Says:

    they have normalized cognitive dissonance
    having never had to live by their hunches, or be challenged in certain ways, they shrug that feeling off since it never meant anything before.

    Head. Nail. Bang. Excellent point.

  9. Baklava Says:

    Hey guys,

    Recognizing “good intentions” is the KEY to persuading liberals. They will hear you better.

    I successfully converted an African American back in 1999 to conservatism. He did not vote for ∅bama.

    Yes, the leftist “leaders” thrive on the good intentions of people. It is disheartening to see people fall for these leftist thugs.

    The point here is that ALL of us (well – maybe 99% of us) “care”. 99% of us have good intentions. Liberals seem to believe their leaders and think that conservatives don’t “care”.

    While that hurts our feelings and we know that it does not represent conservatives – the way to appeal to liberals is recognizing they care and have good intentions.

  10. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Good Ole Charlie Says: And I always have held that Obama is basically stupid and incapable of learning.

    I submit that Obama’s arrogance and vanity makes him incapable of seeing and accepting anything that may upset his view of the world; the Obamacentric universe. In short, I agree with you, his arrogance makes him stupid and incapable of understanding.
    He is probably so vain that he will lack the sense to be quiet and play dead, at least that way he could be seen as contemplative.
    Wait a minute, isn’t that what he is doing with regards to Afghanistan?

  11. huxley Says:

    Like global warming, ObamaCare is not a bad story. There is a bit too much smug backslapping in this topic for my taste.

    Other European nations, Canada and Japan manage various forms of universal healthcare for a noticeably smaller percentage of GDP than the US. It’s not an unreasonable thought that we might manage something better than we have.

    As usual, though, the devil is in the details.

    * US healthcare is superior to the other forms of healthcare in terms of reduced wait times, increased flexibility, and better results in some areas, plus a framework that encourages improvements in medical techniques much more so than the other systems benefiting the entire world.

    * Even if one were to concede the economic benefit of the European et al. systems, that does not mean that ObamaCare would confer the same benefit.

    The indications are that ObamaCare, like the Obama stimulus, has been crafted first and foremost to benefit the Democratic Party and its cronies, e.g. trial lawyers, rather than include obvious improvements like tort reform

    * Reforming the health care system right now is not the necessary solution to the current economic crisis though Obama and the Dem leadership claim otherwise, i.e. they are lying.

  12. Gray Says:

    Like global warming, ObamaCare is not a bad story. There is a bit too much smug backslapping in this topic for my taste.

    Well, other than the fact that the earth is cooling, and has been for a while and Obamacare will kill more Americans, I suppose you are right….

    Other European nations, Canada and Japan manage various forms of universal healthcare for a noticeably smaller percentage of GDP than the US.

    Those nations are much more culturally, religiously, racially, socially and economically homogeneous than the US.

    Futhermore, Nothing cultural from Japan has ever worked here to include Total Quality Management, Kai-zen, subway groping, “Lean initiatives”, schoolgirl porn and karaoke.

    And then I agreed totally with all of your bulleted points….

  13. Gray Says:

    Y’know what I want?

    I want:

    Disney Presents: New Afghanistan! In a stunning and innovative partnership with McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, New Afghanistan provides trekking and family adventures in a resort atmosphere. Packages for Families on a budget to luxury singles getaways. See:
    o Omar’s Cave rollercoaster and bar.
    o Bushkazi Tournament
    o Pirates of the Panjshir Adventure.
    o Q’uran So Far Away ’80s club
    o Mickey’s Tora Bora Trek
    o Goofy’s Osama bin BBQ
    o “Valley of Death” narrated by former Green Berets.

    If you are going to be accused of occupying, you might as well occupy! Our problem is not greed or violence or capitalism or corporations; our problem is not enough greed; not enough capitalism; not enough violence; not enough vision.

  14. zfredz Says:

    To most liberals, their good intentions can only be implemented through government mandates and actions using other people’s money. They do not understand, or believe, that economic freedom and political freedom are essential to each other. It is trusting individual economic decisions expressed through the marketplace rather than imposed, by government decisions or mandates that, more often than not, go wrong , become entrenched, and difficult to undo. To government insiders — the legislators and the bureaucracy (including government unions) it becomes “our thing”.

  15. Thomass Says:

    “to do the very things most likely to fatally undermine our economy in a time of such great stress”

    AND mess up our healthcare system. :) Its like a twofur

    “while I simultaneously attempted to hold on to the idea that they are acting in the country’s best interests, would probably require more flexibility (not to mention self-deception) than I think I could muster.”

    Republicans are mean evil haters. Like those Rush and Palins…..

  16. huxley Says:

    Well, other than the fact that the earth is cooling…

    Gray: That’s not nearly as straightforward as you imagine. It depends on where and how one measures.

    See Statisticians: “Global Cooling” a Myth for differing point of view, though not, IMO, a definitive one.

    I consider you as much as a careless zealot as most of the people who believe global warming.

  17. Cilantro Joe Says:

    A timely post. Just yesterday I read a speech (or transcript thereof, for you literalists) by Abraham Lincoln, a segment of which I here present:

    “Many great and good men, sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair. But such belong not to the family of the lion or the brood of the eagle. What? Think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. It sees no distinction in adding story to story upon the monuments of fame erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving free men.

    Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some men, possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his design.

    Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet that opportunity being passed, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would sit down boldly to the task of pulling down. Here, then, is a probable case, highly dangerous, and such a one as could not well have existed heretofore.”

    Lincoln might be called precognitive were it not for his omission of the term “self-perceived” from certain parts of his speech.

  18. Cilantro Joe Says:

    And I might be called a responsible treatisist were it no for my omission of adequate reference (and for my omission of an actual treatise, for that matter). The aforequoted segment was from Lincoln’s address before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Sprinfield, Illinois on January 27, 1837.

  19. expat Says:

    Great find, Cilantro Joe. Thanks.

  20. br549 Says:

    National healthcare may guarantee a better grade of medical assistance for a few, should it pass. I could believe that if, currently, there were no provision for those without the ability to pay. But that is not the case. For the overwhelming majority, it will increase their financial outlay and decrease the quality of care they now receive. In order to control costs, how I live will eventually be controlled.

    Forcing everyone onto the same plan, with the government as single payer – as well as single collector of the funds necessary to pay for that plan – is nuts. It won’t stop there. It never has.
    In private healthcare / private insurance, if i don’t pay the premiums, my coverage ceases. In the governemnt run system, if i don’t pay in, I will get fined, perhaps get a phone call from the IRS, perhaps see a jail cell from the inside.
    That is unless I purposely become lazy and flip burgers or stock soup cans on shelves for a living, and have my entire life subsidized by others who simply can’t settle for that level of living. The system will still depend on the very same individuals it continues to punish. Achievers. Our government doesn’t run efficiently (duh). It has never had to, doen’t know how, and doesn’t care. It does not need to generate a profit to survive, it just confiscates more money from those who do.
    That’s a pretty good racket. So I’m going into the office this morning and tell my boss how much money I need to live the life style i deserve. I’ll report back and let everyone know how that worked out.

  21. physicsguy Says:


    Go to http://www.wattsupwiththat.com and scroll down to the article by a professional statistician who dismantles the article you refer to concerning global “cooliing/warming”

    And while you are there, take a look at Prof Lindzen’s (MIT climate expert)power point pdf; especially the very last two slides which compare the various IPCC climate models to the actual data. Talk about cognitive dissonance!

  22. Perfected democrat Says:

    and if you didn’t see:

  23. eddie230 Says:

    All this banter about the D’s being worse than the R’s is ridiculous. It’s not the fault of the politicians, it’s the fault of the electorate.

    Review the internet for statistics on Congressional approval ratings and Congressional re-election rates. How incongruous is it that, in general, Congress has about a 25% approval rating, and that every two years, about 80-90% of the representatives get re-elected? Since it seems as though too many individuals in the general electorate think, “My representative is good, it’s all the others who suck”, we get the same lousy results and ineffectiveness, and these same ne’er-do-wells get elected time after time, whose fault is it?

    I hope this tea-party movement continues to grow, but it will only be effective if the bums of any party or political persuasion get thrown on a regular basis – not every ten to twenty years – if they are not effective. Otherwise, winning an election will remain a one-way ticket on the gravy train…nothing more, nothing less.

  24. Perfected democrat Says:

    Nothing original for me to say, but on topic:

    “When Obama talks of a trillion here for health care, a trillion there for cap-and-trade, it has a chilling effect.” – Victor Davis Hanson (and his usual consummate perspective):

  25. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Once we have national health care, we will be like Britain.
    Your ass belongs to a low-level bureaucrat with a budget to meet. Your individual welfare is utterly irrelevant.
    I recall a line from an old Poul Anderson potboiler. An alien says to Dominic Flandry, “The directorate has been nonstimulate as to individuals for some millions of your years.”
    The unasked question, presumably because the lies and the dancing involved would make most folks hurl, is, if it’s good enough for us, why isn’t it good enough for the congresscritters and other examples of the slime mold kingdom.
    I know I and my family are going to be screwed by this one way or another, eventually. My only hope is that the friends and relatives I have who voted for zero and the dems have it happen to them first, so I can remind them. Not much consolation, but I intend to take full advantage of it. Won’t be anything else.

  26. Steve G Says:

    Most people are of good will and that includes having good intentions. They roll along with the tide and assume that everything will work out okay. But to say that liberals are like most people elevates them to a status they don’t deserve. To acknowledge that liberals have good intentions is to buy into their mantra. Liberals are haters and control freaks, because they are “smarter” and know better than you how to live your life. You don’t have to scratch too deeply to discover this hate. Liberals have no history. They look forward with their “good intentions”, never backward, because (1) if they really had good intentions they would clean up the messes they create, and (2) they only spout what sounds like good intentions in order to gain control over the rest of us. They don’t give a damn about health care or global warming or whatever their next shell game is. When talking to a liberal you soon discover a complete disconnect from reality. They want to discuss how evil you are, especially for not buying into their crap.

    I have been called a nazi because I questioned a liberal acquaintance how his liberal ideas could work in the real world, and this most offensive word rolled so effortlessly out of his mouth that I almost missed it. Liberals don’t realize or even care how offensive they are.




  27. Steve G Says:

    Judy Haliday was in a bunch of funny movies in the 50′s, one of which was “Born Yesterday.” I can still here her deliberately shrill voice shouting, “What da ya think, I was born yesterday?”

    Well, every day I could truly say of my liberal acquaintance that he was “born yesterday”.

    It does not take too long to discover that, since liberals learn nothing (except the daily mantra and, for the life of me, I don’t know where they get it) and know everything, they do not make for interesting conversation.

  28. Gray Says:

    I consider you as much as a careless zealot as most of the people who believe global warming.

    You cite an AP article via CBS (fake but accurate) news as your source?

    Oddly enough, I am neither careless nor a zealot.

  29. rafinlay Says:

    Good intentions. Certainty as to the good. Recognition that those who disagree must be evil. Witches burn.

    Liberals are Puritans.

  30. Richard Aubrey Says:

    wrt good intentions. Has anybody wondered if it’s necessary that we agree on “good”?
    Big bombshell in Britain. A higher up in the Labour (I think) party admitted, still thinking it was a good idea, that the huge immigrant population, the lack of efforts to assimilate them, the imputation of racism to anybody objected, or even asked what was going on, was deliberate.
    The goal was, if you can believe it, to destroy traditional British society and replace it with one of diversity and multiculturalism.
    That’s what these guys actually wanted.

    I’ve hung around some of these people and if we were talking immigration, for example, they’d give us all the pious dicta.
    But once in a while, they’d slip. What’s so good about traditional America, anyway? And so forth.
    I knew one executive presbyter who said he dreamed of the Cross of Christ standing victorious over chaos. First you need the chaos.

  31. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Oh, yeah. WRT the UK. The boys decided that, it being a no-sale to the bulk of their subjects, they’d have to lie about it.

  32. Baklava Says:

    Steve G,

    My point was… Do you think I would’ve converted the african american liberal male in the year 1999 by calling him a hater and a control freak?


    You will not win hearts and minds without appealing to their true desire to make the world a better place.

    Recognize that they have good intentions but walk scenarios out for them. Let them answer if that is what it takes.

    It does require patience. It does require their willingness to engage. It does require that they respect you in the first place.

    Yes, we were friends and no I wouldn’t have accomplished it with the “you are a hater” technique or the “you are a nazi” technique or telling them their intentions are really bad.

    They know their intentions are good not bad. Believing that you know their intentions better than their own selves will only dissuade them and make our road harder.

    As a former liberal – I know from where I came. This country needs to adopt the philosophy of personal responsibility, freedom and a strong national security – conservatism.

    Those who misdefine conservatism do us a disservice – as Bush did and Olympia Snowe and John McCain did.

    Those 3 people DO love their country – they simply need some persuasion towards our goals – which will succeed in making this nation better.

  33. Baklava Says:

    Also people,

    We need to distinguish between the rank and file liberal (the voter) and the liberal leader (politician).

    It is the VOTER we need to appeal to. The one that Neo finds difficult to engage with because they usually like to ignore us because they have more important things going on in life and don’t have the time to engage – yet they will vote !!!

    I’ve had only 2 successful conversions in life (that I know of). It’s extremely hard. The circumstances must be right.

    Usually people convert on their own – thus the old saying about being a liberal until you are 1) mugged 2) have a child 3) own a business

  34. Baklava Says:


  35. neo-neocon Says:

    If you like, the discussion of liberal intentions can continue unabated at this new post on the subject.

  36. Steve G Says:

    You assume that I was as rude to my liberal acquaintance as he was to me. Far from it. But, I soon gave up trying to convert him. (Read neo’s “A mind is a difficult thing to change. my change story” as to why this is a thankless task and one for which you deserve a medal.) Four or five of us would go to lunch each day and have rather healthy discussions of various issues of the day. The liberal never got piqued enough to ask an original question and always fell back on tropes like “Bush lied. People died” or ” Everyone knows that Republicans are the party of the rich (he was somewhat out of date). These were intended to end the conversation because they were always off point and, in his mind, beyond argument. When asked, however, he could not quite identify the particular lie.

    If you “converted” a liberal it is only because you caught him at a time when he was ready to open his mind to new thoughts. Good for you. Better for him. But, just because I am coming to think less and less of liberals as good people (they are not) does not mean that I would ever lower myself to their level. What it means is that after years of taking verbal abuse from people who hold themselves out as better than me because they are liberal, I have come to appreciate liberals for their own true worthless and mean spirited selves.

    Speaking of mean spirited, when George Mitchell (a liberal Democrat who will not go away) was in the congress, he often appeared on news shows with one or more Republicans. He ALWAYS accused them of being mean spirited before he would address the issue at hand. And I mean always. And, the MSM never called him on it and few Republicans were willing to risk using the same bad manners in order to respond. So, he always got away with tarring the Republican as mean spirited. But, in fact, like all true liberals, wasn’t he just projecting?

  37. Artfldgr Says:

    hux, I consider you as much as a careless zealot as most of the people who believe global warming.

    gray, You cite an AP article via CBS (fake but accurate) news as your source?

    and that is the difference between long and short posts. if you say something short, your careless and dont know facts, and so are irrelevent to read, because X is right… and if your not careless and do know the facts and lay them down so that the first cant be said, you are now too long, and so are irrelevent to read, because X is right…

    notice that if one cant balance on the edge of a razorblade, or be singing to the others choir, your sent to the margins.

  38. Baklava Says:

    That was short and to the point Art ;)

  39. ELC Says:

    Re: Lincoln. It was January 27, 1838: The Prophet Abraham Speaks.

    Re: Congress. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago: “An extraordinary disconnect has engulfed Congressional politics for decades: Americans as a whole rather consistently despise the Congress, yet Americans as individuals tend to re-elect their Congressional representatives, election after election. We need to wake people up so they will realize that they get a Congress They Despise because they keep re-electing the same politicians over and over again. That connection would seem to be obvious, but apparently it has not been so for a large percentage of the electorate. It might be easier now to get people to see it — and to vote accordingly — because more people are paying more attention now than, perhaps, ever before.”

  40. Obamanation Healthcare Quote of the Day | Careful Thought Says:

    [...] into a canyon and deciding what it really needs is a bomb on board.”  (Holman Jenkins, by way of neo-neocon) Share and [...]

  41. Cilantro Joe Says:

    ELC: Interesting. My source is DailyLit.com’s Speeches and Letters of Abraham Lincoln, which (erroneously?) gives the speech-date as 1837.

  42. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Are we getting into the short vs. long posts again?

    Writing a good short post is hard work. A good short post has no room to waste, so you need to pay careful attention to everything you say. A long post can have lots of good information in it, but if it’s buried among the nonessential stuff, few people will read it.

    “I’m sorry I wrote such a long letter. I did not have the time to write a short one.”
    Abraham Lincoln (although Mark Twain, Blaise Pascal, and others expressed similar sentiments)

    Or, if you prefer:
    “If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now. ”
    – Woodrow Wilson

    Daniel in Brookline

  43. Artfldgr Says:

    thanks baklava!

    but technically, all the knowlege needed to understand my point, was contained here. so of course it could be short and make a point.

    but when it included history no one wanted to know (ie almost all history outside the US and half of it here), how do you make the point? you cant, they are defening their position with a moat of ignorance around them.

    put another way, they claim to win the game by folding their arms, sitting down and refusing to move, like a 2 or 3 year old, and claims a win the same way when someone else will not sink so low.

    at least someone got it
    thks baklava :)

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