Yuval’s clarifying post on Obama’s health-care moves raises a crucial political question. How are Republicans going to talk about Obama in the 2012 election campaign? The most sensible interpretation of Yuval’s post, it seems to me, is that Obama wants to move toward a single-payer system over time, built that intention into his plan from the start, hid his true goal from the public, and continues to hide it to this day.
The Republicans won in 2010 because the Tea Party was bold enough to say out loud that Obama was hiding his radical, effectively socialist, and utterly unaffordable plans from the public. Yet Republicans seem reluctant to make the same point today, when everything indicates that the original Tea Party take on Obama was right. How can Republicans win with a campaign based on conventional policy analysis when Obama isn’t telling the truth about what his actual policy intentions are?
I’m not calling on Republicans to claim that Obama wants to “destroy” America. But Obama does want to radically transform this country, and he’s not being honest about what that involves. At some point, Republicans are going to have to say this if they want to win. I recently made this point about the budget debate. It’s not that Obama is “failing to lead” on the budget. The problem is that he knows all-too-well where he’s leading us.
The other day, Jonah was bold enough to say: “There’s good reason to believe that Obama has always been lying — yes, lying — about opposing gay marriage.” I’m generally reluctant to use the “l word,” but Jonah is absolutely right. (I play out the same point and relate it to the health-care battle in a new piece “Obama’s Past Tells the Truth.”)
Yes, Obama is personally popular and many Americans think he’s a nice guy. But misleading the American public about your plans for the country isn’t nice. If Republicans are afraid to expose the ruse and define Obama by the intentions he refuses to avow, they will be defeated.