Monday, November 18, 2013

Cruising the Web

Andrew McCarthy demonstrates that the administration has long known that it is not simply 5% who will lose their health care coverage due to Obamacare, but actually the majority of people will be losing their plans by the time all of Obamacare kicks in. He links to a post by John Hinderaker that is based on a 2010 report in the Federal Register estimating that a majority of Americans will lose their health plans once the employer mandate kicks in. That is one reason why the administration had to postpone the employer mandate until after next year's election. They knew what outrage those cancellation letters will provoke. McCarthy even has evidence from the Justice Department brief in a case he's involved in challenging the infringement of religious liberty under Obamacare. So if you thought there was a lot of outrage now about the few million people who have lost their coverage on the individual market, just wait until most people start finding out that they're going to lose their employer plans.

Add Senator Gillibrand in to the list of senators who are admitting that they knew the Democrats were lying when they promised that people could keep their health care plans under Obamacare. No wonder Nancy Pelosi is having so much trouble answering questions about those lies and trying to explain away her "we have to pass the bill to find out what is in the bill" idiocy. She sure came off looking umber and more deceptive than usual on Meet the Press.

Peggy Noonan wonders if Democrats will learn from their mistakes.
After failing to read or understand the bill, members of Congress relied on briefings from some guy from the White House, some kid from the speaker's office, and whichever Ezekiel knockoff was available as an expert.

Lawmakers listened. They took notes.

The briefers thought—hoped—they themselves understood what they were saying. But they were never sure either! You can sort of think you know what you're saying when you say things like, "When each local exchange module launches it will reflect a national weighting of 'invincibles' and 'ancients' that will stabilize prevailing market realities while providing broader access not only to the poor but to those who currently have non-grandfathered or insufficient plans. So in the end it's win-win for everyone." Would they have known what any of that would mean in terms of real-world application?

The congressmen tried, in their distracted way, to understand. And gave up. And went on "Hardball" saying, "It's win-win—broader and better coverage for all!"

Most of them had no idea what they were voting for. They're as surprised as anybody at what's happened. And it's not only because so many of them are idiots. They believed what they were told and, more important, they wanted to believe it. And, I suspect, they had a magical and almost touching belief in the ability of the U.S. government to do anything. It's done anything in the past, why wouldn't it now? (Because in the past it wasn't asked to construct huge, sprawling, incoherent Rube Goldberg machines? And because government hasn't always executed brilliantly, but often just well enough not to make everybody cry?)

One thing about the progressives of Congress: They really drank the Kool-Aid. They really did think government could do anything. They were sincere! They really thought there were no limits.

I wonder if this will sober them up.

Bryan Preston points to what Obama's reaction to the Obamacare debacle tells us:
So Chao, the project manager, was worried about Obamacare crashing on October 1. He had been worried about that for months. Obama said he had not been told “directly” of these fears. Carney said today that Obama was “briefed regularly” on the site’s progress and issues.

How do we resolve this? What was in those briefings? Did Obama pay any attention to them?

It may be that Obama was not actually being briefed regularly at all. We know that he skips other duties such as attending his Daily Intelligence Briefing. You can lead a horse to water, and all that. Or maybe David Axelrod was right when he said earlier today that Obama has surrounded himself with yes-men who just tell him what he wants to hear. They knew there were problems but they lied to Obama because they knew he couldn’t handle or didn’t want the truth.
He's either an incompetent administrator or a liar. As Mark Steyn writes after hearing the President say that he just hadn't been informed that the launch of the website would go so disastrously,
Ooooo-kay. So, if I follow correctly, the smartest president ever is not smart enough to ensure that his website works; he’s not smart enough to inquire of others as to whether his website works; he’s not smart enough to check that his website works before he goes out and tells people what a great website experience they’re in for. But he is smart enough to know that he’s not stupid enough to go around bragging about how well it works if he’d already been informed that it doesn’t work. So he’s smart enough to know that if he’d known what he didn’t know he’d know enough not to let it be known that he knew nothing. The country’s in the very best of hands.

Michael Beschloss is right: This is what it means to be smart in a neo-monarchical America. Obama spake, and it shall be so. And, if it turns out not to be so, why pick on him? He talks a good Royal Proclamation; why get hung up on details?
But Gloria Borger is willing to give Obama's competence the benefit of the doubt. She blames his attitude of trying to avoid drama for his ignorance of how his signature program was progressing towards rollout. She takes it as a given that he's a competent, engaged leader unlike those boobs Reagan and George W. Bush. So I guess it is Obama's own competence that caused him to be so incompetent.

George Will offers a bit of advice to Congress today on how to pass immigration reform based on the passage of the Compromise of 1850 that I happen to mention to my class every year when I teach the Compromise. As Will points out the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay, wasn't able to get the bill through Congress because he was trying to pass it as an omnibus bill including every element. His health finally broke down and he had to take time off from the Senate. Stephen Douglas stepped in and broke it up into separate bills and was then able to get the entire package through Congress using different groups to form the majority for each section of the bill. And that is what should happen today with so many of these giant bills that are being passed with no one reading them. Instead of stuffing bills with something for everyone, put forward smaller versions that would get support from the various groups.

In the fascinating approach to math that this administration takes, 5% of the population was an acceptable percentage to lose their healthcare plans and only 20% of users at not being able to enroll online is enough to define success in their tech surge to fix the website. Now we know how many people will lose out when the administration defines what they mean by the "vast majority."

Putin is still going after one member of the singing group, Pussy Riot, even though she is still in prison. The gulags are returning.

David Corn remembers the devastating chart that Dick Armey used to take down Hillarycare and predicts how Republicans will use it against her as they link her failed plan to Obama's failing plan. Paul Mirengoff ponders the differences in the approach that Hillary and Obama took to the crafting of their respective health care plans.
We see here an evolution of liberalism from early 20th century progressivism to something closer to its contemporary ideology, Leninism. The focus is no longer on giving all reasonably like-minded experts their say and reaching consensus; it has shifted to “democratic centralism,” an oxymoron under which decision making is in the sole hands of a small circle of party leaders.

The emphasis too has shifted. Policy now matters far less than the raw exercise of power. The overriding goal has become seizing what Lenin called the “commanding heights” of the economy. What happens post seizure can be worked out later. In Lenin’s case, even a temporary partial return to capitalism — his “New Economic Policy” — was an option.
Laurel Conrad at Legal Insurrection looks through the record to find Hillary Clinton's remarks supporting Obamacare. I'm sure the GOP is already planning ads using those quotes from Hillary. One little remark from Bill isn't going to be enough to give her immunity from her previous statements. As Conrad concludes,
Hillary will try to run from the Obamcare debacle if she runs for President in 2016. As the above examples show, and surely there are more out there, Hillary can’t hide from her support for mandates, Obamacare, and ultimately, the loss of health plans by tens of millions of Americans.

Finally, a setback for Big Ethanol.

Glenn Reynolds on Facebook linked to this post about things people just couldn't believe when they came to the United States. I remember talking to Soviet immigrants who couldn't believe the variety and quality of produce in our grocery stores. They were almost paralyzed by the choice and would end up buying only cabbage and cucumbers their first months here. Whenever I saw someone coming out of the produce section with only cabbage and cucumbers in their cart, I'd know that they had recently arrived from the Soviet Union.