23 Nov 2009

Quos Deus Vult Perdere, Dementat

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“Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.”

Rich Lowry looks on with astonishment as the democrats march on determinedly toward assured destruction.

This will long be a case study in the annals of abnormal political psychology. Tax hikes undid George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton (Bush lost his presidency, Clinton his congressional majority), and Medicare cuts undid Newt Gingrich (taking the air out of his “Republican revolution”). Obama’s Democrats are prescribing themselves a strong dose of both, in an exercise in self-destructive quackery.

They believe that Obama can’t afford failure, that’s it’s the defeat of ClintonCare that killed the Democrats in 1994. But such are the grave political and substantive flaws of ObamaCare that Democrats can’t afford success or failure.

If they pass it, they have tax hikes and Medicare cuts around their necks, as well as the increased insurance premiums the bill is sure to cause. If they fail, they’ve demonstrated their own ineffectual ideological fervor, while still putting themselves on record in favor of tax increases and Medicare cuts.

The Democrats got themselves into this hellish dilemma by not taking the obvious step of scaling back the bill once it became clear it engendered fierce public resistance. Take half a loaf, disarm your critics, call it victory, hail yourselves at the signing ceremony — and come back for more later. It’s not complicated.

Instead, they’ve stayed on a maximalist course. They’ve pushed to the point where the effort could collapse — and, even if they succeed, they’ll have done themselves and the nation’s fiscal future grave harm.

This is the other element of the drama that inheres in the health-care debate: If it passes, people years and even decades from now will look back and ask, “What were they thinking?” It’s a rare opportunity to see a train wreck at its inception, as the conductors make the decisions with malice afterthought that will ramify disastrously.

Everyone agrees that the nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path. So Democrats will add a $2.5 trillion entitlement to hurry us further along the path. Tax hikes that could go to reducing the deficit they’ll plow into the new entitlement. Medicare cuts that could shore up Medicare’s own shaky finances, they’ll plow into the entitlement too (if the cuts happen at all). The new entitlement will grow at a projected 8 percent a year, and it’s only through gimmickry it’s made to look deficit neutral in the first decade. The cost curve of health care will be bent up, and insurance premiums, too, will rise. For all of this, ObamaCare will still leave 24 million people without health insurance.

If nothing else, watching the Democrats sacrifice so much on behalf of this monstrosity is fascinating, appalling — and dramatic. Common sense suggests that they shouldn’t do it. The basic laws of political physics say they can’t do it. And yet on they march.

What do Americans think? They’re against the Health Care Bill: 56% to 38%. Rasmussen.

One Feedback on "Quos Deus Vult Perdere, Dementat"


Consider this explanation. Dad has steadfastly refused you the keys to the car for years. It’s really eating at you. Then one day, in a moment of weakness, he relents. Okay, give it a try, son. Now, you could take the car to the store and bring it right back. Earn his trust. Show prudence. Or you could seize the opportunity you might never have again, pick up your buddies and a couple of cases of beer and go racing down the highway to see how fast that car will go. Which sounds better to the mind of a teenager? After all, if you wreck the car, Dad will simply have to buy another one. He has some kind of job thing that he does to get money to buy stuff and give you an allowance.


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