Ron Fournier, in this morning’ s National Journal (President Obama and His Gang That (Still) Isn’t Shooting Straight):
Incompetence, deception and lack of accountability doomed the Obamacare rollout. That’s old news. What’s new? The nagging durability of the White House’s incompetence, deception and lack of accountability.
I don’t really disagree with anything in Ron’s piece, but I’m left wondering—are he and his journalist brethren missing the point?
One thing the Obamacare disaster should be making clear to progressives, but isn’t—judging by mainstream and progressive analysis, like the above—is that an Instant Sea Change law like Obamacare didn’t have a chance of working, no matter who was president, no matter how well executed.
A law of that size and complexity, touching the most intimate corners of everyone’s life, could not be instituted instantly.
Or even in the few years allotted to Obamacare.
In order to work, the law needed to be passed in sections and phased in carefully and systematically over many years, with each phase being absorbed and serving as the foundation for the next carefully planned and executed phase.
Democrats knew they didn’t have many years.
None of the time allotted to Obamacare implementation was given to transitioning. Only to regulatory development and programming.
Nothing (or next to nothing) could be phased in. Most of it had to come online all at once.
Not because of the urgency of the need, but because of the law’s vulnerability to being stopped or redirected by Republicans.
Or, it seems, the public itself.
Democrats were stuck between a pragmatic rock (necessity of phasing in over years) and a political hard place (Republican opposition).
So they chose to do it all at once, overlooking the REAL political hard place—not a recalcitrant GOP—but an awakened and angry populace.
All of which begs the question: Did the Congress even know what they were passing?
Defining universal healthcare as universal health insurance sounds good at first to Americans who aren’t paying close attention, but as the reality of planning and implementation sets in, it becomes obvious that the progressive mindset of government-mandated and controlled, universal health insurance is foreign to the American mindset and experience.
Americans, historically, have thought of the American experience in terms of geographical and economic mobility. We’ve always been confident that our children (and their children) are going to be educated and more prosperous than we are.
We are to used to going where our needs or dreams take us. Not where the nanny state requires us.
We’re used to making our own choices.
Unlike Europe, America has always been a classless society.
British and European models of universal healthcare were based on an ideal of an enlightened and paternalistic landed gentry. It was an antidote to centuries of an adjust class system. A class system we never had here.
Universal health insurance is a 19th Century answer to a dying (and now completely dead) feudal legacy.
If you’re a progressive looking to Obama’s inexperience, hubris, and dishonesty for the reasons Obamacare failed, you’re looking in the wrong place.
You should be looking in the mirror and asking yourself why you believed that something could succeed when failure was baked in the cake.
No matter what technocrat you put in charge of the Executive branch.
What’s wrong with Obamacare, and the reason it failed so miserably, isn’t the law’s poor planning or implementation.
It’s the whole mindset behind it.Photo Credit: Ugh the ugliest cake in the world., a photo by Miriella on Flickr.