The Corner

George Will: ‘The Debate Is Over’ Is Obama’s Mantra

Washington Post columnist George Will said Sunday that the Obama administration has a habit of shouting down debate on matters that are not going President Obama’s way.

Will made the observation in response to the president’s push to persuade voters and media that Obamacare is working and that Republicans should stop complaining about it.

“‘The debate is over’ is something of a mantra,’” Will said on Fox News Sunday. “‘The debate is over on climate change; everyone, be quiet.’ ‘The debate is over about early childhood education; everyone, be quiet.’ Lots of things are supposedly over, and you hear that from people who are finding the evidence inconvenient.”

Will noted that the president is making “a fairly minimal claim” when he asserts that the Affordable Care Act is working. “I mean, the farm subsidies in this country are working; whether or not they are doing good work is another matter.”

Also dragging out the debate, Will said, is the lack of data on new health-insurance enrollees and whether the Affordable Care Act’s mechanism — in which forcing Americans to buy insurance creates a large enough base of healthier, lower-cost members to balance out an influx of less healthy members with higher costs — will actually work. But the real debate, he said, is over first principles.

“The argument about Obamacare is not just about Obamacare,” he said. “It’s about the nature of the American regime: what kind of country we want to live in. And therefore it’s going to tick on for some while.”

Will also noted that the president is contradicting himself by declaring debate over but still urging his fellow Democrats to sing the Affordable Care Act’s praises.

“He says we should all quit talking about this,” Will said, “except Democrats this fall should campaign on the basis of the multiform excellence of Obamacare.”

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