One: Liberalism’s Inevitable March Suffers a Serious Set Back

I guess today is TNR day on pomocon! That’s because the source of this argument, TNR editor Franklin Foer , is more important than the argument itself. Still it’s no slouch argument:

Liberalism has spent the better part of the past century attempting to prove that it could competently and responsibly extend the state into new reaches of American life. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the administration has badly injured that cause, confirming the worst slurs against the federal government. It has stifled bad news and fudged promises; it has failed to translate complex mechanisms of policy into plain English; it can’t even launch a damn website. What’s more, nobody responsible for the debacle has lost a job or suffered a demotion. Over time, the Affordable Care Act’s technical difficulties can be repaired. Reversing the initial impressions of government ineptitude won’t be so easy.

RTWT. Foer’s got an interesting mini-history of liberalism in there, beginning with the progressive big three of Croly, TR, and Wilson. And if he ends the piece on an ultimately sanguine note, there are some genuinely dark moments for liberals in there, particularly the one where he calls Obamacare the “Russian novel of social policy” and joins Ezra Klein in wondering whether its implementation is going remain bogged down by more “complexity” than any government can handle.

And again—consider the source.

Two: Nearly All Is Proceeding According to Plan

NRO’s Andrew McCarthy presents the old evidence that Obama always desired Single Payer, and presents some newer Rollout-underlined evidence that the exchanges plan intentionally created a running crisis to push things towards Single Payer’s adoption:

As its tentacles spread over time, the scheme (a) pushes all Americans into government markets (a metastasizing blend of Medicare, Medicaid, and “exchanges” run by state and federal agencies); (b) dictates the content of the “private” insurance product; (c) sets the price; (d) micromanages the patient access, business practices, and fees of doctors; and (e) rations medical care. Concurrently, the scheme purposely sows a financing crisis into the system, designed to explode after Leviathan has so enveloped health care, and so decimated the private medical sector, that a British- or Canadian-style “free” system — formerly unthinkable for the United States — becomes the inexorable solution.

McCarthy makes a lot of a 2011 Stanley Kurtz piece on the IPAB’s (Independent Payment Advisory Board) coming running of Medicare, but there’s much more in this information-rich piece. And while McCarthy surely can’t deny that Obama was surprised by how badly the Rollout looked, by his piece’s logic Obama should basically be happy.

Still, I find it hard to see how very likely losing the Senate fits into the grand scheme here.

I do think Obama meant his law to eventually allow a later progressive president to transition to Single-Payer.

But I think he expected it to at least work well-enough in the short-term to be able to politically present it as a real advance, and as really meeting most of his promises.

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Meanwhile, out there on The Planet of the Narrativist Soul-Eaters, the once-respectable Robert Reich is saying that the big problem right now—which is also the reason people think the Rollout is a disaster and that Obama is a proven liar about his signature law—is, well, right-wing talking points .

Whew! But you can learn about the Method to the Madness if you wish. For it was back when Reich blurbed George Lakoff’s utterly cynical book that tells liberals to never repeat conservative ideas even when arguing against them, that in my book he lost all right to ever be taken seriously again.

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So, how bad is the Rollout for the liberal cause? Or is it only apparently bad?

(Multiple hat-tips to Real Clear Politics on this post.)

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Articles by Carl Scott

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