Hillary Clinton’s remark to Gen. David Petraeus on his 2007 Iraq report came to mind when I read this NRO piece about ‘hurry-up health care’.
One plain fact should outweigh all the words of Barack
Obama and all the impressive trappings of the setting in which he says
them: He tried to rush Congress into passing a massive government
takeover of the nation’s health care before the August recess — for a
program that would not take effect until 2013.
If the urgency to pass the legislation were to deal with a problem
immediately, then why postpone for years the date when the legislation
would go into effect — specifically, until the year after the next
If this is such an desperately needed program, why wait for years to
put it into effect? And if the public is going to benefit from this,
why not let them experience those benefits before the next presidential
If it is not urgent that the legislation go into effect immediately,
then why don’t we have time to go through the normal process of holding
Congressional hearings on the pros and cons, accompanied by public
discussions of its innumerable provisions? What sense does it make to
“hurry up and wait” on something that is literally a matter of life and
Obama is smart and savvy and seems to have strong motives for this strategy. But these questions beg reasonable answers.
The only reasonable alternative seems to be that he
wanted to get this massive government takeover of medical care passed
into law before the public understood what was in it.
Moreover, he wanted to get re-elected in 2012 before the public experienced what its actual consequences would be.
As one news analyst just put it, this isn’t the refreshing change
from Washington insider politics that was promised. It’s “Washington on
There are lots of people in the Obama administration who
want to do things that have not been done before — and to do them
before the public realizes what is happening.
The proliferation of White House “czars” in charge of everything
from financial issues to media issues is more of the same circumvention
of the public and of the Constitution. Czars don’t have to be confirmed
by the Senate, the way cabinet members must be, even though czars may
wield more power, so you may never know what these people are like,
until it is too late.
Which breaks the promise of transparency, too.
Obama urged American citizens to be pro-active, engage in social
policymaking and participate with government by being informed and
asking questions. Do, by all means.