The Corner

Politics & Policy

Quick Points on Health Care

Earlier this year, the Democrats had a taunt: that Republicans were like the dog that caught the car. Now what?

The taunt turned out to be true.

‐For a big change, you must marshal public support. You must rally the public, persuade the public. Being elected is not enough.

Make no mistake: In this country, the public rules. Congressmen are utterly responsive to them (sometimes all too, I think).

‐There is no substitute for presidential leadership. Congressmen and other officials, other players, do what they can. But the president has the biggest megaphone, and he is where the buck stops. His office is unique.

Neither FDR nor Reagan sat down with green eyeshade and wrote bills. But they were the arguers, the evangelists, for their programs. They did the fireside chats and made the TV addresses. It was crucial.

“I’m a tree-shaker, not a jelly-maker,” Jesse Jackson said. Fine: But you’ve got to have someone shaking the trees, as well as making the jelly. Did President Trump do this with health care? Did he understand what was happening well enough to participate?

‐During the 2016 primaries, I said one thing repeatedly — well, many things, but I am now thinking of this:

“I don’t know whether Obamacare can be repealed and replaced or whether Iran can be kept from going nuclear. Frankly, I have my doubts on both scores. But I know that Ted Cruz would do his utmost: that he would chew glass, walk the last mile, barefoot and over hot coals. Would the other candidates? Maybe. But I’m not sure.”

‐It’s amazing how quickly things get entrenched. The Education Department had been in place for about two seconds. Reagan pledged to abolish it. Instead, he expanded it.

And Obamacare? Is it here to stay? Today, the 44th president and his supporters must be grinning from ear to ear. Republicans have control over the whole enchilada: House, Senate, and White House. And lo . . .

‐Attacking CNN is well and good. Branding the “MSM” as “FAKE NEWS” and “enemies of the People!” — this stirs up the folks. But it would be helpful to learn about health-care reform and then persuade the public of it.

‐On to building the Wall then?