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Yuval Levin has been among the best, maybe the best, conservative critics of ObamaCare and provides us with a brief and incisive  commentary (with James Capretta) of our current administration’s true designs. Leaving aside all the gory details for a minute regarding the merits of his plan, what continues to strike me as discomfiting (but increasingly predictable) about his technocratic leanings is not just a lack of transparency regarding his ultimate intentions but a deeper and more persistant distrust of open public debate. I’ve argued in a few pieces now that this is emblematic of his overall approach to governance (like here )—a rhetorical insistence on a robust populism but a reflexive tendency to replace any deference to the prudence of common folks with the wisdom of techno-experts. This has been one of the most dissapointing aspects of the Sotomayor comfirmation-an obviously deliberate decision to conceal her actual jurisprudential philosophy given the probably sound expectation that quite a chunk of the public would find it unpalatable. The GOP clearly dropped the ball on Sotomayor—and I don’t mean in blocking her confirmation but in initiating a public dialogue on judicial activism. Whether or not Republicans can block or substantially moderate Obama’s overhaul of healthcare is an open question but they surely should be devoting their energies to stewarding precisely the kind of national debate they failed to produce over Sotomayor’s nomination.

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