The Corner

If It Were Done When ‘Tis Done, Then ‘Twere Well It Were Done Quickly

I don’t like to say I told you so, but I’ve been saying for months now that the trick is to drag this thing across the finish line with 50.0000000000001 percent of the vote as soon as possible. From my “Happy Warrior” column in NR back in July:

Obama believes in “the fierce urgency of now”, and fierce it is. That’s where all the poor befuddled sober centrists who can’t understand why the Democrats keep passing incoherent 1,200-page bills every week are missing the point. If “health care” were about health care, the devil would be in the details. But it’s not about health or costs or coverage; it’s about getting over the river and burning the bridge. It doesn’t matter what form of governmentalized health care gets passed as long as it passes. Once it’s in place, it will be “reformed”, endlessly, but it will never be undone.

Right now, they can trade anything — abortion, death panels, whatever. The trick is to plant the seed and let the ratchet effect of Big Government take care of the rest. I said on Rush’s show on Friday that if Barack Obama had been Bill Clinton he’d have woken up on Wednesday morning and begun triangulating. Instead, Obama woke up and figured that he needed more fierce urgency, and right now. The short-term hit in 2010 is worth it for the long-term benefits: Obscure congressmen will be just as happy as obscure ambassadors or obscure chairmen of obscure agencies. And the prize of permanent irreversible statist annexation merits the risk: Governmentalized “health care” puts us on the fast track to Euro-sclerosis and redefines the relationship between citizen and state in ways that make genuine conservative politics all but impossible.

Will the Senate stop it? And, if they don’t, will a post-2010 GOP Congress reverse it? The way they reversed, say, the federal Department of Education?

Yesterday was a tragedy for America. Hence, the Bard in the headline. And while I’m quoting Macbeth, let me cite Mrs. Thatcher on who gets stuck with the tab for all of this:

’To borrow and to borrow and to borrow’ is not Macbeth with a heavy cold. It is Labour Party policy. Most people do not want to mortgage the future and leave their children to pick up the bill.

“Most” people? We’ll see about that.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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