Previous comments and posts, spread out through FB as well as here and in Mike King's BLOG, have been opposed on the facts and in the substance—regarding certain criticisms on the DC status-quo. And that's a good thing: a very good thing! For, as Nassim Taleb points out in his most-excellent new book Antifragile (and as I think the exchanges alluded to above have also helped prove), most any truly good idea only gets better under challenge; better still upon surviving its testing in real-world disorder. In other words, inasmuch as I yearn for more of the dialectic tension brought to this BLOG by considerable intellects (of the likes of King, Yeatts, Schaefer and Shaughnessy), the following are mere off-the-cufff reflections upon what IMHO are several unforgivable failings in our current Administration: lapses in leadership that warrant (pardon the pun) Capital Punishment;-)
Without "regurgitating" all that's been said inter-alia here already, first I'll try to sharpen the point a bit on how/why the passage of the Patient Protection & Affordabilty of Care Act (a.k.a., ACA; a.k.a., Obamacare) is , in fact, "tainted." Then, I'll move from the Obama Administration's signature domestic policy to bookend its other: a hopelessly-tattered foreign policy.
Previously, I broke the ACA's "tortured history" down into three parts: its enduring unpopularity among the electorate; its artificial-resuscitation by the elected that disfigured it in-utero; and finally the unclean, and ultimately unworkable, bill-of-dubious-health tattooed upon it in by our imperious Supreme Court. True enough, as M.Rex (our most-esteemed "King" of professional journalism;-) points out, technically speaking the ACA did squeak through the latter two—legislative and judicial—branches albeit mangled along the way. That said, and I'll say it again, major changes in public policy absolutely require some level of bipartisan support—in order to be successfully implemented. The ACA had none of it! And while no one could really expect more from its inept foster parents—space-queen-Pellosi and "dingy Harry"—the President's men should have known better (i.e., than to rely upon the continuing abuse of a technicality known as "Budget Reconciliation")—as a substitute for minimal consensus. The whole affair was tantamount to aggravated child endangerment (albeit, perhaps, a crime of unwitting liberals' passion;-).
Anyway, these back-room methods may be forgivable for run-of-the-mill appropriations and some other bills, but not the overhaul of our entire healthcare system! As it is, there are now more states than not that are exercising their Constitutional power—to obstruct implementation; and, with this altogether-legal and IMHO proper opposition, more and more of Obamacare's other congenital defects are coming to light.
As every grade-school-level civic scholar knows, Congress relies upon an iterative joint-committee gestation process (to prune and groom a Bill into a viable concensus). But, pursuant to the above Budget Recon' abortion, the ACA never had this chance; thus, the ACA Obamination (another unpardonable pun?) should have been still-born, but it wasn't. Thus, denied even basic reform school opportunities, Obamacare will now suffer both the semi-benign neglect of the States, as well as its own utterly "unworkable" menagerie of unpopular regulation, all to an agonizingly-timely crib death.
America's alternative healthcare reimbursement schemas are extraordinarily complex (and the ACA has no material impact upon either the incremental costs nor the nature of medicine itself, only access to it); a complete discussion of the Obamcare's glaring "congenital defects", therefore, would occupy more space than fits into a single BLOG post. Moreover, lists of the problems attached to this flawed act seem to grow daily. Near the top my own short list would be these:
- America (be it its people, businesses and/or governments) simply can't afford an ever-increasing healthcare bill (no pun intended here as, again, Obamacare does nothing to reduce overall costs; it merely widens and spreads them around differently); and,...
- Fairly or not, Americans (be it its people, businesses and/or governments) will naturally couple rising costs (and declining reimbursements) with the regime perceivably in control of them; and,...
- Americans (be it its people, businesses and/or governments) can be counted on to act rationally (they'll find ways to avoid finding themselves on the ubiquitous subsidizer-side of the ACA equation).
- Speaking of rational and rationing, how/who believes that the government will be able to deny coverage to millions upon millions, all with ever-expanding expectations of ever-expanding medical treatments and tonics? As I've said repeatedly, the distorting "death panel" term is reprehensible; that said, the essential function that any/all health plans share, to rationally ration, is nonetheless real and problematic. Elected officials simply will not be able to say no often enough to keep Obamcare's runaway costs in check.
Doubtless, you're as weary of reading rants on Obamacare as I am becoming tired of writting on them. So, let's shift gears for a moment to an entirely different topic: America's beleaguered foreign policy.
With the notable exception of its first-term Secretary of State, the Obama administration seems to comprise decent people; they're not particularly good at managing something as ungainly as the US government, but then not many are. There are a few things however where futility can't be tolerated.
For an assortment of inter-related economic and security reasons, our role in the Mideast region is vital—to the U.S. and the world at large! Moreover, the demonstrable reality of America's (not ot be confused with Americans') exceptionalism is key to global stability. Sadly, it doesn't take a detailed review of the Clinton/Obama record to "demonstrate" how abysmally ham-handed our policy in the Region has been. A little Russian diplomatic jujitsu has shown not just the Syrians how easily we can be played; with no clear pre-existing policy, Obama's bluff is already being called in both subtle and embarrassing ways elsewhere as well.
A little less hubris and a bit more precautionary checking around—with key international allies, Congress, Democrats, etc—may have kept our strategic options open. It may have also spared our President the humiliation of being snubbed by yet another second-rate dictator. Not unlike an unrequited smile to a less-than-the-prettiest-girl in a middle school hallway, Iran's Mullah cum President demured from our guy's advances; and with but one non-action, he also reduced the leader-of-the-free-world's overtures to an in-camera phone call. Then, adding insult to injury to us all, Obama's coquettish call is now being billed by Democratic sycophants (e.g., George Stephenopolis) as a "breakthrough." That's like saying that all should be forgiven as we rejoice in a pyromaniacal child mumbling through the still-locked door in reluctant willingness to discuss how he may someday give up the matches and gasoline kept in his bedroom. Ditto Syria, only in that case, it's his juvenile delinquent buddy that's doing the talking. Who's kidding who? Russians making hollow promises on behalf of their autocratic clients? Iranians that have suffered years of sanctions in pursuit of strategic nuclear weapons only to suddenly decry WMD evils? Give me a break! Has there ever been a more transparent play? Maybe the good Ayatolah has a bridge to sell us?
So, you may be asking, what do these different dimensions of incompetence have to do with one another? And why bring them up together now?
Well, just as Putin dubiously saved Obama's bacon in Syria, the ironic ACA end-game could/should well come in the form of obstreperous Republicans giving him a way out: a way to re-cook the ACA without some its the more toxic ingredients. But, how much more of this faux luck can we count on? And, finally, is it really too soon to start manning the ramparts against the wickedly self-absorbed Mrs Clinton's all-but-certain assault on the White House? Is another eight years of 1st-person possessive plural pronouns what we want to hear in the approaching age of neo-Clintonionism?
Most all of us were proud to live in a country where a candidate from a historically-downtrodden minority could be elected its leader. And, IMHO Obama's election had less to do with PC running amok than our collective perception of his abilities. Alas, many of us have been disappointed to learn that extraordinary charisma alone does not translate into sound governing; what looked like misguided priorities in this Administration's first term more resemble a beached whale in its second.
One of the several critical jobs a Chief Executive has is to manage key constituents: in the case of our President, that entails care and skill in fashioning important legislative agenda. Another, arguably more critical Presidential requisite involves the ongoing management and maintenance of America's influence over critical global events. And while we can argue about what a great guy he is, President Obama has blown it: Health Reform (by neglecting its the formation into a workable plan) is, at best, a missed opportunity; and, IMHO he may have also been indirectly playing artless domestic politics (employing Godfather tactics of `keeping his enemies closer') in turning foreign affairs over to a paranoid power-mongering egomanic—i.e., just to get her out of his way.
As much as I abhor ad hominem attacks on individuals, IMHO we've seen enough of Mrs. Clinton through the years not to ignore the shallow depth of her leadership skills (if not her questionable character): begining with serious breaches of ethics in her law practice; to her own even-more bungled Hillarycare domestic policy debacle; to her singularly undistinguished Senatorial record; to the more-recently botched Mideast policies alluded to above and hallmarked by her clear complicity, and duplicity, pursuant to the Benghazi fiasco. Sorry, but pounding on the table defiantly shouting "What difference does it make?" (in response to entirely-appropriate questioning into the cause of four American's deaths) betrays an, at least, reckless irascibility. `seems to me all-too-reminiscent of her recalcitrant rants against Congressional inquiries into her hubby's proven perjury—all, as she'd have had us believe, were mere products of "a vast right-wing conspiracy."
I wish for some confidence that, before 2016, the Republicans will be able to identify a better candidate; I'm already confident, however, that they can hardly do worse than the evil former first lady; even the Democrats' class clown Biden would IMHO be a better choice. In all events, elections do have consequences (witness Obamacare, Libya, Syria and Iran); and they can't all be retroactively fixed through judicial review, misguided rebudgeting tricks or threats of government shut-downs. If any/all the above seems over the top or smacks of a rhetorical drive-by shooting, I plead guilty as charged. I would, however, throw my self at the mercy of the court, indeed claiming it all as an attempted political mercy killing;-) While we're at it, a few extemists to our right may need to be gunned-down (Oops! yet another indelicate pun?;-) as well.