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Frankness



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If you missed Charlie Cooke’s article on Obamacare yesterday, be sure you don’t: It’s here. Very interesting. Its theme, I believe, is, “For months and years, the Left denied that Obamacare was a mere gateway to a single-payer system. Now they’re saying, ‘Of course it’s a gateway, whaddaya think we are, stupid?’”

One of the reasons I appreciated Barney Frank (really) is that he admitted, long ago, that something like Obamacare would pave the way to single payer, his dream. In fact, Frank was an exceptionally candid politician (true to his name). Talking about the stimulus — that 2009 fiasco — he would say, “We’re not supposed to call it the ‘stimulus.’ The message-meisters want us to call it something else.”

You know what that told me? It told me that Frank was not a robot — an ideological or political robot. He was a human being.

I have said something similar about John McCain: He is not a robot — he’s a flawed, crotchety, lovable, exasperating, very human human being. Much of the time, I want to wring his neck. (After the North Vietnamese, I would be no more than a housefly to him.) He can seem more interested in taunting or bedeviling conservatives than he is in advancing the ball against the Left.

But — he’s a real-live human being, with a heroic streak. He is an adornment to public life. Besides, I think he’s honest.

Take a politician like Bill Clinton (please): Every word out of his mouth, I think, is political. Every gesture, every sigh, every tic — everything has political calculation about it. (And look how far it’s gotten him! Two terms as president, and he would have had more, if not for the Twenty-second Amendment.)

Here’s to non-robots in public life.



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