Discover more from Bernard Goldberg's Commentary
The GOP Can't Let the Dems Off the Hook for Obamacare
Back in 2003, I supported George W. Bush's decision to take us to war in Iraq.
Whenever I mention that fact in one of my columns or somewhere else online, I receive harsh criticism and self-righteous condemnation from some of our friends on the left. Their mindset is basically that Bush lied, soldiers died. And because I agreed with the president's decision to go Iraq, I share some of the blame for all of the American (and innocent Iraqi) lives that were lost or forever altered because of that war.
Interestingly, these censurers are the very same people who routinely sing the praises of Democratic leaders like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and pretty much every other high-profile, past and present member of the Obama administration and congress who actually voted to send us into that war. They're also the same people who regularly sing the praises of former president Bill Clinton, who was not only a vocal supporter of going into Iraq, but was actually the man who made "regime change" our country's official policy on Iraq. This was, in part, because he believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, just as president Bush did. Yet, it was apparently only a "lie" when Bush said it.
One could simply write off their selective outrage as an example of shameless hypocrisy, but I think there's indeed some significance in just how comfortable these people are in making such statements. I think it's a testament to how successful the Democratic party was in escaping public culpability for the Iraq War.
Once the death toll of the Iraq War began escalate, and it was more and more apparent that the situation was becoming a quagmire, it no longer seemed to matter that it was a bipartisan effort that had taken us there in the first place. The Democrats used the situation and the growing concerns of the American public for political leverage to turn on the beast of their own creation.
The media narrative turned to Iraq being "Bush's War," and this somehow allowed all of those Democrats to largely be absolved, in the eyes of the public, of their very crucial votes.
We're seeing a similar situation play out right now with Obamacare.
With the colossal failure of a $600 million website, millions of people being thrown off of their health plans (with millions more to follow), and the revelation that our president repeatedly lied to the American public about several of the law's top selling-points, Democratic politicians are desperately trying to escape culpability for the disaster.
A number of vulnerable U.S. senators like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who are up for re-election in 2014, are frantically trying to figure out ways to make people forget that they gave us this monster with their votes. They're pretending that the millions of policy cancellations that have been widely reported just weren't foreseeable, when in fact they absolutely were. Not only were they foreseeable, but they were relied upon in order to help pay for the cost of Obamacare.
Fox News' Greg Gutfeld recently referred to a tiled, on-screen collage of these senators as "the periodic table of idiots" for their refusal to recognize ownership for their own actions. While that might be a crass way of putting it, his point has merit.
Now, these desperate senators are throwing their support behind some nonsensical bill that is being advertised to reinstate those cancelled policies. As they very well know, however, the bill can't possibly work. I usually steer clear of using the tired, old metaphor of someone trying to push toothpaste back into the tube, but it very much applies in this instance. Only, these senators are just pretending to try and push the toothpaste back in. The bill is merely a prop - a phony neck-brace fraudulently worn during a personal injury court case. If these senators win their trials (i.e. their 2014 election races), all of the ridiculous props will be tossed into dumpsters faster than the shelf-life of a Blair Underwood television series. Sorry Blair. I know that was a cheap-shot.
The Republican party and conservative groups can't let the Democrats who voted for Obamacare escape culpability the way they did with Iraq. And really, this should be far easier than with Iraq because there are no GOP fingerprints on Obamacare whatsoever. With it passing on a strictly-party vote, and being signed into law by a Democratic president, there is no blame to be shared with the Republican Party, and thus those running against the Democratic incumbents.
Righties need to remind voters at every opportunity that none of these Democratic politicians read the Affordable Care Act before voting for it, that they all ignored the concerns of their constituents, and that they all ignored warning after warning from those who did read the bill. They need to remind voters that the Dems waged 1/6 of the American economy on a bumper-sticker solution with enormous ramifications that none of them could be bothered to consider. They need to run commercial after commercial, replaying videos of the the Democratic incumbents on the senate floor, repeatedly spreading the Obamacare falsehoods to the American public. The Republican candidates should be adjoined at the hip, at every campaign stop, to constituents who have suffered under Obamacare, whether it be from lost policies, a reduction in work-hours, job losses, or skyrocketing insurance premiums.
Accountability has to be the focus of next year's campaigns, just like it was in 2010. If it is, this country may actually achieve some relief from the most irresponsible piece of legislation signed into law in decades.