A Voice in the Wilderness In Defense of "Mere Conservatism"


Even The Whites Stripes Get It, Obama

by: R.J. Moeller

I guess you have to have a problem

If you want to invent a contraption

First you cause a train wreck

Then you put me in traction

Well, first came an action

And then a reaction

But you can't switch around

For your own satisfaction

Well, you put my house down, then got mad

At my reaction

-The White Stripes “Effect and Cause”

Since May of this year, President Barack Obama has more than 100 times spoken at press conferences, campaign-style rallies, town hall meetings, and even grocery stores on the topic of his vision for health care reform.  Despite intense over-exposure, this past Wednesday evening the master-of-rhetoric and purveyor-of-change felt a nationally televised joint-session of Congress was needed to (vaguely) explain that vision yet again.  I thought his speech was largely redundant, purposefully elusive when it came to specifics, and petty in its condemnations of dissent.

Now I absolutely recognize the job of the Commander-in-Chief includes the setting and defending of an agenda, but Barack Obama needed another hour on television “explaining” his unpopular health care plan like Coors Light needs to get their hands on more “hilarious” stock-footage of coaches answering out-of-context questions from insufferable meatheads in a fake press conference.

As Kenny “The Gambler” Rogers would say: “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…know when to walk away, know when to run.”

Run, public option, run.

In a similar music vein, it was while listening to the band The White Stripes the night after Obama’s most recent health care speech that I was reminded of the fact that political insight can come from the most unexpected of places.  The song “Effect and Cause” begins:

I guess you have to have a problem

If you want to invent a contraption

Now where have I heard these sentiments before?  Oh right!  How could I forget?  Two of the most influential people in Barack Obama’s life, his current chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel and his ideological mentor, the late Saul Alinsky, have each preached the virtue of not “letting a crisis go to waste” and of being willing to manufacture one where it doesn’t exist.

From the president’s speech last Wednesday: “We did not come here just to clean up crises.  We came here to build a future.  (Applause.)  So tonight, I return to speak to all of you about an issue that is central to that future -- and that is the issue of health care.”

The specific problem at-hand is the rising costs of health care in the United States.  The “contraption” being promoted is the deceptively alluring “public option” insurance plan which the president is on-record as saying he would not sign a health care bill without.

President Obama's biggest miscalculation thus far was the gamble that he could use his words, charm, and media-provided covering fire to convince the more than 80% of Americans who are currently happy with their health care that immediate and drastic changes were needed, and that the federal government could (and should) do the fixing.  No one disputes that reform is needed, but for most people, the potential negative effects of the “contraption” outweigh the reported seriousness (and nature) of the “problem”.

First you cause a train wreck, then you put me in traction

In 1965 President Lyndon Baines Johnson, also a progressive liberal, signed Medicare and Medicaid into existence.  Both programs, as well as Social Security, are today on the imminent verge of bankruptcy.  Unavoidably, these programs have grown (in size and scope) infinitely quicker than anyone predicted, have cost more than anyone foresaw, and have been riddled with the type of fraud David Letterman makes nightly Bernie Maddoff jokes about.

The Maddoff analogy is actually quite appropriate, due to the ponzi-like scheme these government-run programs have turned out to be.  Money taken from our paychecks specifically for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. does not directly go to help grandma, grandpa, or the legitimately needy single mother in poverty.  Instead those actual dollars are spent faster than they come in, on various pet-projects, in various states, with almost zero accountability.  The coffers of social welfare programs are raided by our elected representatives of both parties, new commitments for more spending are recklessly made, and new layers of bureaucracy are added to poorly-run, under-funded existing ones.  Put it on our grandkids’ tab, right?  They’re good for it.

The blame the federal government deserves in the rising costs of health care is so significant that to suggest a federal government-run “solution” to our problem shows only that politicians assume voters will remain ignorant of their fiscal irresponsibility forever.

The conductor (i.e. Big Brother) driving the health care locomotive is the main culprit for this “train-wreck” we find ourselves in.  Of course some of the cars linked behind the federal government, such as out-of-control medical malpractice litigation and the reality that corporations will take advantage of an exploitable system, belong to other sectors of the economy.  But it is sheer madness to ignore the primary role our already over-extended federal government has played in putting the situation in “traction.”

President Obama, turning his ire towards those who dare to disagree with his re-making of America, said later his speech, “Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge.  And out of this blizzard of charges and counter-charges, confusion has reigned. Well, the time for bickering is over.  The time for games has passed.”

In response to those bold, condemning words, I defer to Jack White once again:

Well, first came an action
And then a reaction
But you can't switch around
For your own satisfaction

President Obama promised to fundamentally change this country.  He has for decades supported the implementation of a Euro-style single-payer health care system, going so far as to say that a public option (like the one he’s proposing now) would be the best first step to realize that socialized dream.  In June and July he insisted that a reform plan that would not even take effect until 2013 be pushed through Congress before the August recess. Think about that...these changes wouldn't even take place for four years, until after President Obama had a chance to run for re-election.  Wanna guess why it is set up that way?4045985

The president also maintains that his plan would magically cut costs, improve quality, and make you a Cliff Huxtable-like hoagie sandwich if you were so inclined.  (Ok, I just brought the sandwich up because I'm hungry right now.)

Obama cannot have things both ways.  He isn’t the only one allowed to hold rallies, inspire the masses, and speak for the little guy.  His “action” of attempting to ram through an unpopular agenda item 4 years before it would even go into effect was met with a valid “reaction” from the majority of Americans, and now he has the audacity to suggest that the taxpayers’ reaction is the root cause of Washington’s inaction and in-fighting?

The real reason the public option is not the law of the land is the unwillingness of moderates in the president’s own party to vote for it.  Plain and simple, short and sweet.

Well, you put my house down, then got mad...At my reaction

In response to Obama’s action, millions of Americans reacted in grass-root, activist ways that every liberal Democrat, from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to comedian Bill Maher to the TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) itself, typically loves.

Taxpayer RallyOne would have thought that the organizing of conservative and libertarian communities would be sweet sights for the eyes of someone like President Obama.  But by showing up to Tea Party rallies, attending town hall meetings, and contacting their elected representatives to voice their desire for health care reforms that do not include anything resembling a public option, these “haters” have supposedly stepped outside the bounds of common decency.

And you know what?  Barack Obama and every liberal, Democrat, and progressive from Berkley to Boston are free to call those who disagree with the president any name they like.  They are free to castigate the opposition and free to try and steamroll their legislation through both Houses of Congress this fall.

Just don’t be mad come November, 2010, Mr. President.

You're like a little girl yellin' at her brother
'Cause you lost his ball
Well you keep blamin' me for what you did
And that ain't all
The way you clean up a wreck
Is enough to give one pause
You seem to forget just how this song started
I'm reactin' to you because you left me broken-hearted

See, you just can't take the effect
And make it the cause

Comments (8) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I’m pretty sure I’m about to forward this to everyone I know. Thanks again for your clear thinking and unwavering passion for speaking out against the ridiculous health care option.at hand. May God save us from the dangerous ideology that leads our president towards these types of “solutions.”

  2. A post that entertains while it enlightens, like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Thanks.

    Dr. Obama on the other hand is determined to ram his foul tasting concoction down the throats of Americans whether they want it or not after misdiagnosing the problems with health care. Actually, for him it’s not about improving health care by bringing down costs (otherwise the tort reform opposed by his financial supporters, Trial Lawyers would be at the top of the list).

    It’s actually about a government takeover of another 1/6 of the economy. Obama’s “change” is to socialist big government giving more of the incompetence visible in everything the government runs. Competition is what improves products, not the dead hand of government that turns even gold into dross, a reverse Midas touch.

  3. Fabulous assessment. I keep screaming that Obama and the dem’s “promise” to make changes if underanticipated deficit growth occurs is patently specious since the economic feedback will not be available until they are all out of office. I’d call it a “lie”, but then I’d be a racist.

  4. This administration is either intent on being a one term wonder or else is really as tone deaf as they come across. regardless of the protest, the scandals around their appointees, the “misstatements,” or the blatant criminal behaviors of those on the left, it always comes back to two things about anyone who dares to disagree with them; republicans are bad (liars, obstructionists, racists, heartless, war-mongers), and conservatives are angry (ignorant racists, violence loving, out -of-control fanatics). I’m writing this as a minority(American first and last), schoolteacher, union leader, who happens to notice that the foxes are in charge of the henhouse and are about to kill our golden goose (honest capitalism) unless we get off our butts and grab our wallets (swords) to fight them. I have to the tune of hundreds and will continue until we get them off our backs.

  5. I enjoyed reading a well mannered rebuke of Obamacare. The best comment is that Obama is not the only one allowed to speak on this issue. For me and millions of other Americans we have the best “sick care” system in the world. Health care is an individual effort to not get sick by caring for yourself. Insurance that pays for doctors and hospital services after you fail to take care of your health is what this debate is all about but has so far been misidentified. Who pays for their services and how much is too important to be left for government to do. Everyone agrees that big government programs always mess things up. It is an unavoidable reality. Small government programs can work well and accoplish their intended purpose. Big ones cannot. Government is like shrubbery. It has to be trimmed in order to do the job it is supposed to do. If overgrown it smothers the yard, the home, the very people it was designed to protect and beautify.

  6. To most rational people, Obama continued to sell his snake oil during the joint session of congress. His speech was redundant; we’ve heard the major points before. You must remember, though, that one proven method of political rhetoric is: continue the lie, repeating it often enough, and eventually it becomes the truth.

    1984 ain’t what it used to be.

  7. Wait… so your not for the reform?

Trackbacks are disabled.

RJ's Social Network

Read RJ’s Columns/Blogs

What is “Mere Conservatism”?

The basic ideas, ideals, and values that generally define and characterize the central tenets of what today might be termed "modern conservative thought."

We believe that a proper understanding of history, economics, and theology leads to certain conclusions. Many of these are the same conclusions our Founding Fathers arrived at in constructing a "more perfect union."

All ideas and opinions are welcome; not all are correct.

Mere Conservatism Links:
 Econ Part I  |  Econ Part II
Intro  |  Theology  |  History

Video of RJ

RJ Speaking at Acton 2010

Rudy the Dog barks at "change"

Books You Need to Read

Wall Street Journal


Columnists You Need to Read






Historical Blogs

September 2009
« Aug   Oct »


wordpress blog stats