Monday, March 08, 2010

Why the Democrats are content to lose if they can pass health care

Mark Steyn explains why the Democrats are willing to lose their majorities this year just if they can get their health care bill passed. They're thinking long-term and they understand that this bill would change politics forever in the United States.
It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible.

In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally "conservative" parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect. (Let's not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a "conservative.") The result is a kind of two-party one-party state:

Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.
Once it's enacted, it will not be rolled back. Ever. We don't roll back entitlements. They'll be around forever and our concept of government will be substantially altered.
Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever expanding number of government jobs will be statists — sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily "compassionate" statists, but always statists.

The short history of the postwar welfare state is that you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life: The people can elect "conservatives," as the Germans have done and the British are about to do, and the left is mostly relaxed about it because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha'penny or some such would agree to go and warm the seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects strolled in and took their rightful place.

Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A big-time GOP consultant was on TV crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass ObamaCare because it's so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November.

Okay, then what? You'll roll it back — like you've rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago?

Like you've undone the Department of Education and of Energy and all the other nickel 'n' dime novelties of even a universally reviled one-term loser like Jimmy Carter?
That is why the Democratic leaders are willing to go down swinging on this one. Sure they might lose in 2010 or 2012, but in the long run, they'll be the victors and we'll all be living in the mess that they've created.