Not a Good Sign

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Wall Street Journal article about what the Republican plan to do in the event they regain control of Congress this fall does not bode well for 2012. For one thing, the Republicans are already planning to lose the (moral) battles whose lines Barack Obama's socialist agenda have drawn so clearly over the past couple of years:

[T]he Republican plans are more modest than those advanced in the party's 1994 "Contract with America," ...


"This is all about the art of the doable," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, one of eight Republicans on the White House's debt commission. "Is saving the country from bankruptcy a matter of doing or undoing? I think it's a mixture of both."
It's one thing for the GOP, on a tactical level, to take into account the fact that it will have, at best, "a majority in the House and a razor-thin hold in the Senate," and that there remain factions within the party that remain, "wedded to their free-spending ways under President George W. Bush." It's entirely another thing, in the face of an even more statist administration than in 1994, to propose a lesser agenda and permit control of Congress to be "all [only? --ed] about the art of the doable."

The various machinations to thwart those parts of the Obama agenda that have been passed and can't be undone outright until at least 2012 are fine -- but only as stop-gap measures. This means that the Republicans must boldly state why they are thwarting these programs at every opportunity, or they will risk looking underhanded and, worse, unsure that the cause of limited government occupies the moral high ground. (Which it does.)

Kathleen Sebelius ominously notes the following:
"What the Republicans will be faced with is really taking those benefits away," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services. "They will have to face their constituents who have their children enrolled on a family plan and say, 'That can't happen anymore.'"
This is why the Republicans must bring up for a vote a repeal of ObamaCare, and anything else they want to thwart via control of finances, for that matter. They must do this and be prepared to explain why the limited government alternative is better. Only in that way can they turn the tables on Obama, and show that he and the Democrats are the real "obstructionists," planting themselves firmly between the American people and their freedom -- while both hiding behind their sick children and holding them hostage.

In a free market, affordable health insurance would not even be an issue. When the Republicans fail to point this out, but try to stop Obama's plan in a sneaky way, they help opponents of freedom portray them as the bad guys, and freedom as dangerous.

-- CAV


: As Jennifer Snow rightly notes: "Limited government is RIGHT, not necessarily 'better' for each person involved." Focused as I was on the improvement to the general welfare while composing this post, I managed to forget to mention that essential aspect of the upcoming fight.


Jennifer Snow said...

The Republicans can't hope to make any progress (and neither can Objectivists) if we focus on explaining why limited government is BETTER, because the question always becomes then, better for whom and in what way? The parasitic profiteers ARE better off in some ways when they're divvying up government loot than they would be if there were no loot for them to receive.

Limited government is RIGHT, not necessarily "better" for each person involved.

Gus Van Horn said...

Correct, and important enough to add to the post.

Thanks for the catch.

Andrew Dalton said...

Something has always annoyed me in a visceral way about the conservative/pragmatist understanding of politics as "the art of the doable" or "the art of the possible." In one sense, it's too broad to delimit politics; isn't all rational human action based upon one's assessment that the goal of one's action is indeed possible? It also sounds too much like an excuse for setting a low bar for success.

But I think that the deeper problem is that the notion equivocates between what is politically possible (i.e., what a majority of voters or legislators will currently support) versus what is possible for sustaining human life. These aren't necessarily the same thing! And people value their lives, they had better understand the difference.

Gus Van Horn said...

"Something has always annoyed me in a visceral way..."

I'm with you there.

What's worse is I think the visceral annoyance is mutual, when those types think about people who "go too far" in taking a principled stand.

"These aren't necessarily the same thing!"

Exactly, and I think that's the take-home from my musings about this story. This is a point Objectivists are in a good position to make.