Thomas Frank, token liberal for the Wall Street Journal writing about why Democrats are losing the “health care” debate….
What's dragging the Democrats down in the health-care debate isn't confusion about details. On this the president and his supporters have proven themselves the ablest of technocrats, easily identifying each plan's particulars and its shortcomings, laying everything out on nice flow charts.
It is the big questions that are tripping them up. Concerns about the size and role of government are what seem to leave reformers stammering and speechless in town-hall meetings. The right wants to have a debate over fundamental principles; elected Democrats seem incapable of giving it to them.
Mr. Frank is rarely right about anything and even when he is right, it is usually by accident. The truth of the matter is that the Left does not want to have a conversation about the proper size and role of government. It ducks that debate for a very important reason: it loses every time. Leftists programs are always spun to us on the basis of marketing, on emotional appeals that put Hallmark ads to shame. I contend, and will to my dying breath, that liberalism is indefensible on its merits and is only appealing when you skip facts and logic and try to tug the heartstrings.
Many liberals cry hypocrisy over the opposition to health care “reform” because the same people who protest will someday be eligible for government run plans like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Those plans are indeed government run. Congrats to Mr. Frank and other liberals for figuring this out! They are also inefficient, hugely expensive and charging headlong into bankruptcy as the population ages, lives longer and the supply of workers paying into the system shrinks. I am required by law to contribute to Social Security, but if I was given the option of getting back what I have paid in so far and then not paying more in return for not getting Social Security in the future, sign me up! I would much rather control and invest that money myself than let some knucklehead bureaucrat in D.C. control my retirement savings.
The health care “reform” debate is not about health care at all. It is about the role and size of the government. The town hall protestors (i.e. tax paying American citizens to conservatives or "fascist mobs" to liberals) are not protesting improved health care, they are protesting an enormous expansion of the government into yet another place that it has no Constitutional business being and thereby avoiding another huge, inefficient but impossible to reform or eliminate drag on our economy. Many Americans and more every day recognize that if Obamacare is passed, death panels and other rhetoric aside, it will in short order replace private insurance and we will never, ever be able to get out from underneath it. There is no going back and if history has been any sort of guide, there is nowhere to go but down when the government takes over a function of the private sector.