The Corner

When You’ve Lost Wolf Blitzer . . .

Andrew presents the clip of Wolf Blitzer bewailing the patent, nigh comical unreadiness of Obamacare implementation (which Charles described earlier — the “wreck” before we even get to the “train wreck“). Rush also played it this afternoon, giving the report legs CNN usually doesn’t have. So now we have Obama’s own media advising that Obama should take the “advice” he’s gotten from Republicans (Wolf couldn’t quite bring himself to utter the words “Ted Cruz,” “Mike Lee,” or “House conservatives”) and delay Obamacare for another year. 

Victor aptly observes that “the politics are likely to change the longer this [shut-down] drags on, and at some point Obama will see the writing on the wall.” That was the point those of us who’ve supported the defunding effort, even to the point of shutdown, made all along. Bipartisan Beltway wisdom holds that all things are static: Obamacare is the president’s legacy and he will never give an inch on it (as if he hadn’t given plenty already), Republicans only control one-half of one-third of the government (as if it weren’t the one-half of one-third that Obama needs for the spending he wants), the press will fully insulate the president (as if it could), and therefore the president will never move off his obstinacy (as if Gitmo had been shuttered, KSM had been tried in civilian court, the Bush tax cuts had been repealed . . .). To the contrary, and as repeatedly argued (see, e.g., herehere, and here), if we could get people beyond the fright over the specter of a “shut-down” that would certainly turn out to be not nearly as bad as Obama’s media told them it would be, make them understand the Republicans were willing — indeed, anxious — to fund the government at today’s exorbitant levels (see John’s post), and focus them on the fact that a mulish determination to impose the increasingly unpopular Obamacare law was the president’s rationale for keeping the government (very partially) shut-down, Obama’s position would become increasingly untenable. He has no principled argument against delay or defunding because he has already unilaterally delayed and defunded Obamacare. He has done it for the benefit of corporations, Congress, and cronies, rather than in fairness giving all Americans a reprieve — as Jon Stewart might say, “Where’s my social justice?” And, as everybody including the president well knew, the system is obviously not ready for implementation. How unreasonable can it be, even for a Cro-Magnon conservative, to ask for a delay in the implementation of something that is presently incapable of being implemented?

As I said earlier today in addressing the president’s tanking approval numbers, we did not anticipate how obnoxious and authoritarian Obama and congressional Democrats would be about refusing to negotiate and inflicting gratuitous pain on ordinary Americans — including American war heroes. But that is the natural fallout of statists being forced to defend an indefensible position. 

Obama has a long history of reversing himself, of moving 180 degrees from A to B with no discernible shame or ebb of indignation. The notion that it could never happen here — when the repeal of Obamacare is not on the table and thus the president is in no danger of seeing his legacy erased, at least for now — gave Obama way too much credit. In prior reversals, the press has generally found a way to signal to the administration that, though it has tried mightily, public opinion is moving sharply in the wrong direction, and it is time to live to fight another day. I think that’s what Wolf Blitzer is telling the White House: “Look, you’re losing and it is getting worse for you every day. If you cut your losses now, there’s a graceful way out: We’ll tell everyone that the system failed to anticipate how much demand there would be for the Obamacare exchanges; that the public overwhelmingly blames Republicans for the catastrophic shutdown that now threatens a default (different issue, but the rubes won’t know any better); that the Republicans failed to defund Obamacare (even though the program will be suspended); and that you, Mr. President, were big enough to realize it was best to have a delay so these unfortunate technical glitches could be resolved in time for everyone to enjoy a smooth Obamacare transition next year. But it’s time to fold — and if we turn the page now, we can move right on to how the tea-party zealots are bent on destroying the full faith and credit of the United States. In a few days, no one will even remember the geyser Stasi at Yellowstone Park.”


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