During the height of the Cold War, some feared the communists would take over the United States without firing a shot. Could it be that nearly a half-century later, we're on the verge of that becoming a reality?
President Barack Obama and Democratic congressmen won their respective elections -- no shots were fired -- and they are feverishly attempting to dismantle this nation's institutions, brick by brick.
The American people are getting a bird's-eye view of what the left, which completely dominates the Democratic Party, thinks of the Constitution, freedom and the right of the people to self-governance.
The people now attempting to govern us with an iron fist are Marxist-leaning in terms of not only the policies they support but also the ruthless tactics they employ to enact those policies into law.
As long as it served Obama's Machiavellian purposes to maintain a semblance of unity for his ambitious agenda, he donned his bipartisan cap. But as soon as he encountered intractable opposition from Republicans, God bless them, he began to show his true political colors.
Barack Obama's congenial, compromising facade has disappeared. What remains, in plain view, is a narcissistic, arrogant and inflexibly ideological man who is determined to cram his socialist agenda down our throats by whatever means necessary -- irrespective of the legality of the procedures he utilizes, the truth of the words he speaks and the will of the people.
Obama doesn't care what we think -- and I'm not just talking about the majority of Americans who oppose Obamacare. Everyone who gets in his way is expendable, including principled Democrats who dare to oppose him.
Obama and his congressional cronies are systematically subverting the Constitution to advance their agenda. They have tried every trick in the book to pass Obamacare, such as lying about many substantive provisions in the bill and their inevitable effects on quality, price and choice.
They are also using accounting shenanigans to make the bill look budget-neutral. One such distortion is to count $52 billion in higher Social Security tax revenues that are reserved for Social Security benefits as offsets. Another is to rob a half-trillion dollars from Medicare to subsidize Obamacare, which Medicare's chief actuary estimates would cause 20 percent of Medicare's providers to either go out of business or discontinue seeing Medicare beneficiaries. Another is to defer certain outlays for about four years while beginning taxes immediately in order to achieve an artificial fiscal balance the first 10 years. There are many others.
But none of their chicanery has worked to fool the American people into allowing them to pass the bill through proper procedures. So they are prepared to do it illegally through improper application of the reconciliation process. If that fails, they're considering the even more outrageous idea of a "Slaughter Solution," which would deem the Senate's bill as having passed the House, even when it hasn't.
Remember Obama's showing contempt for the Constitution and Senate rules during his silly health care summit, when he flippantly argued that people care more about results than process, as if the Constitution were just an annoying little detail? His senior adviser David Axelrod showed similar contempt for the people when he said on NBC's "Meet the Press," "The one thing I am sure of is that the American people don't know or care much about the sequencing of parliamentary procedures."
Just look at how this administration is trying to do an end run around the people by having the Environmental Protection Agency impose stringent regulations when it couldn't even get the overwhelmingly Democratic Congress to pass the socialist cap-and-trade bill. And if its underhanded efforts to pass Obamacare in Congress fail, it reportedly has contingency plans to implement parts of it through a series of executive orders and administrative regulations -- just as it is planning to do, by its own admission, "across a front of issues."
Liberal cynicism aside, the Constitution's safeguards to limit government will only work if the ruling class remains honorable. If it continues to ignore its constitutional restraints and no one holds it accountable, the Constitution will degenerate into meaninglessness and be powerless to preserve our liberties.
Indeed, as fiscally devastating as Obamacare would be, cost is not the most important reason to oppose the monstrosity.
Obamacare is about government versus the people. It is about achieving that tipping point from a free market economy to a socialized one and from constitutional self-governance to something far less democratic.
The recklessness of Obamacrats in trying to shove through another -- and by far the biggest -- government entitlement at a time when existing entitlements and other government expenditures threaten to bankrupt the nation is staggering.
But they're just getting warmed up. Stay tuned for their education and immigration "overhauls."
The left habitually distorts and exaggerates to demonize and discredit its opponents but squeals like a stuck pig when conservatives use colorful language to call the left out. Unfortunately, some on the right encourage the left's squealing.
As for the liberals, it's hard to take them seriously when they register their indignation at, say, Sarah Palin for her "death panels" comment, other conservatives for describing Obama as a socialist or liberals as "liberals," or, most recently, Liz Cheney for calling seven Justice Department appointees the "al-Qaida Seven."
Liberals are the ones who knowingly lied in saying that "Bush lied; people died," that supply-side tax cuts are "just for the rich" and that Bush left people on the rooftops in New Orleans after Katrina because they were black. These weren't just harmless rhetorical barbs; they had and continue to have serious, substantively damaging consequences.
Nor are the above descriptions by Palin, Cheney and other conservatives a matter of tit for tat or a case of the left's wrong mitigating the right's. The conservatives' statements above are different because they have a strong ring of truth, and they are not just gratuitous; they serve the purpose of calling attention to what is truly going on.
I'm not advocating that we be uncivil or mean-spirited, but that we have the guts to tell the truth, using difficult-to-hear language when necessary. I dare say our failure to speak frankly and boldly has a lot to do with the horrible predicament we're in in this country. Speaking a little more truth to political correctness would be helpful. But the left's tactic of whining and crying foul at anything it chooses to be offended by, echoed by genteel enablers on the right, intimidates many from expressing truth for fear of public condemnation.
Many believe, after reading versions of Democratic health care plans, that powerful bureaucracies would be created that would have authority over the types of treatment health care providers would give, especially end-of-life decisions. Those bills also would grant wide rule-making authority to those and other bureaucracies, which, if this nation's past and current practice of administrative law is any indication, would be given wide berth and have little accountability to Congress, much less the people. Add to that the mindset of those Obama has surrounded himself with and who have had or will have their fingerprints on the drafting of these health care bills or on the regulations to be promulgated under Obamacare, such as Tom Daschle and Ezekiel Emanuel. They are known for ghoulish advocacy of government-administered rationing of care, especially to the elderly, driven by their creepy values regarding human life. Tell me, then, how it's unfair or inaccurate for Sarah Palin to have called attention to that with "death panels"?
The same is true for graphic photos of abortions, decried as grotesque by the left. They're grotesque, all right, because what they depict is abominably grotesque. We have not only the right to force ourselves to face this grim, unconscionable reality by viewing grotesque pictures, if necessary, but also the duty. By shielding ourselves from these pictures showing what actually goes on in abortions, we make it easier on ourselves to do the wrong thing.
The upshot is that hard-hitting conservatives are condemned for telling the truth, which serves the best interests of people and the nation, while liberals are given a pass for telling outright lies that damage the national interest. This is a great deal for liberals and a terrible deal for the nation and the people: Heads liberals win (and the nation loses), tails the nation loses.
The same holds true for describing Obama as a socialist. What's wrong with telling the truth, especially when candy-coating it enables Obama to operate under the radar? Are those on the right who condemned their fellow conservatives for calling attention to his radicalism early on, when it might have mattered, ever willing to hold themselves accountable for their error?
So when Liz Cheney dubs new additions to the Obama-Holder Justice Department the "al-Qaida Seven," I'm just not too exercised. As a lawyer who believes strongly in the adversarial system, I will defend the right of lawyers to represent whomever they want in our system.
But this isn't about the right of lawyers to defend unsympathetic clients. It's about placing lawyers in our Justice Department who might well be sympathetic to or soft on the enemy. And that's anything but far-fetched, given what we now know about Obama, his attitude about America's past and its alleged culpability in causing terrorism, the America-hating radicals he has appointed, and Eric Holder himself. Scrutiny is warranted.
Kudos to courageous conservatives for calling attention to unpleasant realities.
A group of "leading conservative lawyers" -- a phrase never confused with "U.S. Marines" -- has produced an embarrassingly pompous letter denouncing Liz Cheney for demanding the names of attorneys at the Justice Department who formerly represented Guantanamo detainees.
The letter calls Cheney's demand "shameful," before unleashing this steaming pile of idiocy:
"The American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients is at least as old as John Adams' representation of the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre."
Yes, but even John Adams didn't take a job with the government for another 19 years after defending the British guards -- who, in 1770, were "the police." He also didn't take a position with the U.S. government that involved processing British murder suspects.
I'd be more interested in hearing about the sacred duty of lawyers to defend "unpopular clients" if we were talking about clients who are unpopular with anyone lawyers know.
Every white shoe law firm in the country has been clamoring to take the cases of Guantanamo detainees, while young associates line up to be put on the case. This is even more fun than defending Ted Bundy!
As The Wall Street Journal put it in a 2007 article, a list of the law firms representing Guantanamo detainees "reads like a who's who of America's most prestigious law firms" -- which conveniently doubles as Santa's "naughty" list.
The terrorists' lawyers have included Shearman and Sterling, Arnold & Porter; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr; Covington & Burling; Hunton & Williams; Sullivan & Cromwell; Debevoise & Plimpton; King & Spalding; Cleary Gottlieb, Morrison & Foerster; Jenner & Block; O'Melveny & Myers and Sidley Austin.
At least 34 of the 50 largest firms in the United States have performed pro bono work on behalf of Guantanamo detainees.
Years ago, when I nearly died of boredom working for a law firm, I heard whispered rumors about a partner, Michael Tierney, whom none of the female associates wanted to work with because his pro bono work included defending -- gasp! -- pro-life groups. (There was at least one female associate who wanted to work with him!)
I didn't hear a peep about the august "American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients" back then.
Like Hollywood actresses, lawyers need to believe they're noble and courageous to help them forget that they are corporate drones doing soul-destroying work, which mostly consists of making photocopies.
Defending terrorists gives status-conscious attorneys a chance to get standing ovations at the annual ABA convention -- much like promoting "global warming" makes climatologists feel like they're saving the world, rather than studying water vapor.
It took me exactly one Nexis search for "ABA," "award" and "Guantanamo" to find that the 2006 "Outstanding Scholar Award" at the ABA annual banquet was given to New York University law professor Anthony G. Amsterdam for his "extensive pro bono practice, litigating cases that range from civil rights claims, to death penalty defense, to claims of access to the courts for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay."
A rule I have is: You're not defending an unpopular client if you're getting awards from the ABA, particularly if the award mentions "courage."
You'll never see a pompous letter like the one attacking Liz Cheney on behalf of any lawyer defending clients who are unpopular with lawyers, which terrorists are not.
Ken Starr, a signatory to the "Please God, Let This Get Me a Good Obituary in The New York Times" letter, once, totally by mistake, had a case unpopular with the establishment: Bill Clinton's impeachment.
He's shown his mettle by saying that if he met Clinton today, he'd say "I'm sorry." Because isn't that what Jesus said? Be very concerned with the opinion of the world!
Speaking of which, I also never heard any testimonials to the sacred duty of lawyers to defend unpopular causes when every lawyer working on the Clinton impeachment was being smeared as a "tobacco lawyer."
Tobacco companies, being wildly unpopular, are in need of a lot of legal services. Scratch any litigator from a big law firm and you'll find someone who, if necessary, could be slimed as a "tobacco lawyer."
You will notice a pattern developing: We only hear paeans to the "American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients" when it's being used to defend causes popular with liberals -- serial killers, terrorists and a horny hick who promised to save partial-birth abortion.
Lawyers want to be congratulated for their courage in defending "unpopular" clients, while taking cases that are utterly noncontroversial in their social circles.
They'd be scared to death to take the case of an anti-abortion activist. Defending the guy who killed George Tiller the Baby Killer won't make them a superstar at the next ABA convention.
Not only do Americans have a right to know the legal backgrounds of lawyers setting detainee policy at the Department of Justice, but I personally demand the right not to have to listen to Eddie Haskell lawyers constantly claiming to be Atticus Finch.
President Barack Obama obviously has no qualms about slandering people or industries that interfere with his agenda. In the same creepy manner he defamed the Cambridge Police Department without benefit of the facts, he is scapegoating the insurance companies based on his distorted version of facts.
In the past week, he has ratcheted up his war on insurance companies, who, he apparently figures, must be destroyed if he is to accomplish his Utopian dream of socialized health care. He made them the focus of his wrath again, in his umpteenth health care speech, Monday in Philadelphia. Even the White House blog, in a post titled "Moving Forward to Put the American People Ahead of Insurance Companies," frames this debate as between insurance companies and the people.
Who is Obama to be smearing health insurance companies for allegedly bankrupting people to increase their profits when his policy agenda is already bankrupting America to increase government power? As the late Milton Friedman asked the clueless leftist Phil Donahue, "Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?"
It's not the insurance industry versus the American people; it is Obama's socialist leviathan versus the American people, with the insurance companies as necessary collateral damage.
Is it fair to accuse the insurance companies of arbitrariness when they refuse to cover what their contracts don't require them to cover? And isn't Obama implying that if the government were to take full control over health care, there would be no denial of coverage? We don't have to wait for his plan to take effect to know that's false. Everyone, including Obama, is aware of Medicare's denying or reducing reimbursements so drastically that an increasing number of doctors are refusing Medicare patients. Does he call that arbitrary?
In addition, whether or not you bristle at those suggesting Obamacare would usher in death panels, you are in fantasyland if you think Obamacare doesn't contemplate increased rationing -- by the government.
The Democrats' plans involve the formation of an administrative board, which would make determinations on what kind of coverage the government would pay for and, perhaps, even allow.
What's the difference between that and an insurance company's denying coverage? Well, it's worse for the government to do it, actually. The government's coverage decisions would be dictated not by a private and at least somewhat consensual contract, but by the fiat of a largely unaccountable bureaucrat whose authority would be derived from powers delegated to him by whatever administrative bodies Congress might outsource to do its dirty work. The bureaucrat's charge would not be to infuse compassion in his decision, but to coldly cut costs. Read the Democratic bills!
Though I don't belong to the "Obama is a genius" school, I know he's smart enough to realize that insurance company profits are but a fraction of rising health care costs and that it's grossly misleading to make insurers the primary villains. This is simply Chicago politics writ large in a last-gasp effort to enslave us with government health care.
Obama is also dishonest in portraying his still-unwritten plan as middle-of-the-road between the extreme position of those who want socialized medicine and the extreme position of those who want to relax all regulations on the health insurance industry and just pass reforms in "baby steps."
First, he is intentionally mischaracterizing the Republicans' position. They don't advocate baby steps, but a series of market reforms that would not entail restructuring the entire system under government control.
Nor do they want to relax all regulations on insurance companies. They do want to remove some of the coverage mandates, not for the purpose of helping insurers, but to benefit consumers, who ultimately would have to bear the costs of elective procedures for others. Republicans also want to relax arbitrary laws preventing consumers from buying across state lines.
Further, Obama is misrepresenting his own plan as centrist and a composite of Democratic and Republican ideas. It is the last thing from centrist. His plan contemplates -- and would eventuate in -- full-blown government control, which is also deliberate and which he's on record advocating.
He has rejected outright all Republican ideas except for tort reform and "fraud and abuse." But he is just pretending to support tort reform with some meaningless smoke and mirrors. As for fraud and abuse, it's revealing that he would credit Republicans with a franchise on the concept, but his lip service promise to curb it is just more cynical sophistry. He already has a track record on this with his stimulus plan. Enough said.
Everything about this unprecedented federal power grab stinks, not least of which are the highhanded, unconstitutional and otherwise illegal methods Obama is explicitly advocating to pass this monstrosity over the informed will of the American people. We must pray he fails.
President Barack Obama's obsessive, opportunistic demonization of insurance companies in his quest to pass his not-yet-written health care proposal is growing tiresome. Aren't you getting sick of a president attacking American citizens and businesses as if they -- not Obama's beloved government -- were the enemy?
His repeated implication that insurance companies are the primary reason for rising health care costs is politically expedient, but it's still untrue. Government is the main culprit.
Throughout his yearlong push for Obamacare, he has called insurance companies every name in the book. He has blamed them for soaring costs, bludgeoned them for taking profits, condemned their executives' salaries and savaged them for denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
He even says insurers are the final arbiters of who gets care and who doesn't: "And insurance companies freely ration health care based on who's sick and who's healthy, who can pay and who can't."
Obama has framed the entire debate as if it were an insurance problem. In his theatrical speech Wednesday -- while flanked from all sides by white-coated props -- he said, "We began our push to reform health insurance last March," as if the thrust of his health care efforts has been to rein in insurers and little else.
Though Obama surely hates insurance companies, we all know he is up to much more than just punishing them. This is about a government takeover, even if it takes several incremental steps. Vilifying insurers sells better than glorifying government to a center-right nation generally suspicious of government.
Insurance companies are not the main reason for our exploding health care costs. If they were, the solution would not be to increase regulations on them, but to deregulate them and let the market work its magic.
To blame insurers for increasing costs is to imply they are guilty of some kind of collusion or price fixing. Does Obama really believe we have an evil insurance cartel in America?
Could it be that their rates are symptomatic of higher health care costs rather than the main driver of those costs? That said, aren't we likelier to see more competitive rates if we relax onerous regulations, such as laws preventing the purchase of health insurance across state lines (one of the many Republican proposals)?
It's very clever -- and reminiscent of his street-agitating mentor Saul Alinsky -- for Obama to adopt the anti-government language of conservatives to use against insurance companies. They are "rationing" care, he says. No, they enter into contracts with individuals and groups to provide insurance coverage as defined in the contract. They don't arbitrarily deny coverage if they have contractually agreed to provide it. But if they do, legal remedies are available.
I realize Obama has no qualms about violating the contracts clause of the Constitution and interfering with private contracts, but that's not the way it's supposed to work in America. For him to suggest that insurers must be forced to cover pre-existing conditions is tantamount to saying the government is going to convert them from insurance companies to unconditional guarantors. How can you call it insurance if you remove their ability to calculate their own risk assessments?
If, in his dictatorial omniscience, Obama tells insurance companies what they must cover, how many of them will remain in business while forced to take losing deals -- absent government subsidies?
Even if you believe insurers are culpable, you will still be hard-pressed to demonstrate that any insurance pricing abuses are responsible for more than a fractional percentage of our rising health care costs. Republicans made that point quite cogently during Obama's bogus summit, and he didn't even pretend to have an answer for it.
I believe our rising costs are attributable mostly to government interference with free market forces. The price mechanism is not allowed to work because, due to tax laws, most people get their insurance through their employers and don't have to pay out of pocket for their own insurance and so the costs are invisible to them. They don't base their consumption on what they can reasonably afford.
In addition, the government has mucked things up with Medicare and Medicaid, mandates insurance coverage for unnecessary procedures, prevents interstate insurance purchases, as noted, and obstructs health savings account reforms and tort reform.
By demonizing insurers, Obama is diverting attention from the real villain here -- an intrusive federal government -- so he can give it even more control.
The people know better, which is why he's endorsing legislative shenanigans to get it done, despite condemning that approach in the recent past.
Oh, yes, and if you believe he's going to rein in government costs and "fraud and abuse," there's some real estate I'd like to sell you at a fictitious address with a phantom ZIP code.
It looks like Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes is on track to win another endorsement from ACORN!
This week, Hynes announced that "no criminality has been found" after his investigation of the videotapes made by investigative journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, which show ACORN employees counseling the pair on getting a mortgage for a house of prostitution.
(They got a choice of government loans: Phat Fannie Mae, Prince Freddie Mac or Barney Fresh Daddy Frank ... aka "Sir Fix-A-Lot.")
I'm just glad to know that Hynes conducted a thorough "investigation" first. Who did he have screen the videotapes, Gov. Paterson?
If his investigators had actually watched the videotapes, they would have found ACORN employees apparently advising a pimp and prostitute on how to defraud mortgage lenders, deposit prostitution money in a bank, hide money from the government and avoid detection while running a whorehouse with teenage girls from El Salvador.
I'm not a lawyer -- oh, wait, yes, I am -- but I count approximately a half-dozen state law crimes being discussed on those tapes, from money laundering to advancing prostitution.
In a "Eureka" moment, ACORN Employee-of-the-Month Volda Albert identifies for O'Keefe and Giles the problem they had been having getting a mortgage:
Albert: Um, is it legalized? Is prostitution legalized in New York state?
O'Keefe: It's not. It's not, unfortunately.
Albert: Well see, that's your problem.
As ACORN employee Milagros Rivera said, "You can't say what you do for a living because of the law." But displaying ACORN's can-do attitude, she explained: "Honest is not going to get you a house."
ACORN employees helped concoct a scheme to hide from the lender the source of O'Keefe and Giles' down payment money. Albert suggested that O'Keefe "pay a down payment -- or (Giles) can transfer to somebody else, who is not in that business ... a close friend, then (Giles) can transfer that, and then he can give you, like, a gift to purchase."
Under New York law, hiding the true source of down payment money from a lender constitutes mortgage fraud. Also, using the proceeds of criminal conduct in any banking transaction is money laundering.
Does anybody need a flow chart at this point, or should I continue?
To help Giles hide her income from turning tricks, ACORN employee Albert advised Giles to open two banking accounts, depositing no more than $500 per week in each one. (This would not only enable her to conceal her illegal earnings, it would also qualify her for free checking.)
But Albert's most inspired idea was that Giles get a "house with a backyard. You get a tin can ... and bury (your money) down in there, and you put the money right in, and you put grass over it, and you don't tell a single soul but yourself where it is."
Back when I was in Louisiana, we advised people to put their illegal money in the freezer, but that didn't work out so well. And I guess putting your money in a mattress isn't advisable if you live in a whorehouse.
Anyway, Albert was particularly detailed on the tin-can-in-the-backyard investment plan: "Keep thinking: 'I have a yard. I have a house.' You gotta start coming out with, like, plants and you start doing -- so it won't be suspicious. You start buying plants for the backyard in pots and what have you, and you mark a spot."
She later told Giles: "You are not paying Social Security, so you'll have society, all right? You are not getting a pension, so you need to save that money for in later years." ACORN: Helping Plan Your Financial Future.
If only shady lawyers advised clients to bury money in cans in their backyards, instead of putting it in tax shelters, we wouldn't have all those attorneys clogging up prison cells!
The ACORN employees also stressed that Giles should do nothing to attract attention to her prostitution money. Albert said: "You can buy a decent car for yourself, no big fancy thing to attract people, all right?"
In Albert's defense, this could have been common etiquette advice. No one likes a showy hooker.
Even after Giles explained her plan to house a "slew" of 13-, 14- and 15-year-old girls from El Salvador for her prostitution business, Rivera simply responded: "So you guys ready to schedule that (mortgage application) for the summer?"
Rivera clearly missed her calling -- she should be pushing vacation time shares in Boca Raton beach condos.
Under New York law, a person is guilty of advancing prostitution if he: "knowingly ... aids a person to commit or engage in prostitution (or) ... engages in any other conduct designed to institute, aid or facilitate an act or enterprise of prostitution."
It is a class D felony (up to seven years in prison) if the prostitute is under 19 years old -- as the ACORN employees knew Giles was -- and a class C felony (up to 15 years in prison) if the prostitute is under 16 years old -- as Giles stated the El Salvadoran girls were. (And if she's under 15 years old, Eliot Spitzer may be involved.)
If none of the advice given by ACORN on those videotapes constitutes conspiracy or aiding or abetting a crime, see this column next week for my opus: "10 Detailed Plans to Kill George Soros and Why This Might Be Right for You."
For a guy who touts himself as bipartisan and demands bipartisanship from Republicans, President Barack Obama had a funny way of showing his bipartisanship during last week's health care summit.
Obama has repeatedly promised an open, honest and bipartisan process on health care reform, but from the beginning, he has quarterbacked a highly partisan, closed-door and dishonest campaign.
In his opening remarks at the "summit," he said he wanted to make sure the participants didn't just trade "talking points" or engage in "political theater." He said, "If we've got an open mind, if we're listening to each other, if we're not engaging in sort of the tit for tat trying to score political points during the next several hours ... we might be able to make some progress."
He then proceeded to a) open the curtains for his own political theater, with one anecdotal Democratic sob story after another about the horrors of American health care; b) deliver his own talking points throughout the day, including his obligatory "tit for tat" following almost every Republican speaker; and c) demonstrate his own partisanship through (i) patronizing dismissals of the Republicans' substantive contributions as "talking points"; (ii) volleying partisan barbs at Republicans; (iii) mischaracterizing his positions and those of the Republicans; and (iv) accusing Republicans of not showing a good-faith willingness to make any movement in his direction when he made no effort to compromise with them.
To invoke my own anecdotal experience here, I have worked with people like Obama before, those who sanctimoniously demand collegiality and compromise while exhibiting no willingness to compromise themselves and then -- wholly blind to their own dogmatism -- castigate you for not "meeting them halfway" (meaning: wholly embracing their proposals).
This summit was an orchestrated setup for Obama to showcase himself as bipartisan, reasonable and, above all, motivated by compassion to improve health care for all Americans and demonize the Republicans as partisan, obstructionist and heartless. With this predicate, he would appear justified in imposing, unilaterally, his Obamacare monstrosity.
But what struck me even more than Obama's unfairness, pettiness and partisanship was his acutely self-absorbed performance throughout the day. His well-known narcissism was on full display, the most telling evidence of which was that he was so hopelessly immersed in satisfying his own hierarchy of ideological needs that he obviously had no idea he was coming off that way.
He advertized the conference as a balanced exchange between the two sides, setting himself up as the referee in chief who would enforce impartiality and fairness. Instead, he injected himself at every interval, using almost as much time as all the Republicans combined, saying his time didn't count because he is president, and never offering Republicans any opportunity to rebut his endless soliloquies.
When Republicans were scoring heavily, Obama revealed his displeasure with his facial expressions and body language. When he couldn't refute their arguments, he degenerated to "the election is over," exposing his real attitude about working toward a joint solution.
If there was any doubt about Obama's blinding egotism and dripping arrogance, he removed it with his snarky remark that if he were to adopt John Boehner's bill, "we'd get a whole bunch of Republican votes" -- as if that proved that Republicans were the problem and as if he was willing to move an inch from his position.
If there was any doubt Obama was not in good faith, he removed it when he characterized Republicans as being unconcerned about the alleged 30 million uninsured and philosophically unwilling to embrace reform addressing this issue. Well, he's already been forced off his bogus 47 million figure, presumably because it included illegal aliens and other illegitimate groups, but his 30 million is no less misleading. He intentionally fails to mention that his figure includes millions who are already entitled to government benefits but don't avail themselves of it and tens of millions who can afford insurance but choose not to buy it.
But the worst thing about his false accusation is that it implies that unless Republicans are willing to agree to socialized medicine, they oppose care for those who actually do fall through the cracks. First, all Americans are already entitled to emergency room care. Plus, Republicans believe that if their ideas were implemented, medical costs would decrease and fewer people would fall through the cracks. But they don't oppose benefits for those who do fall through, provided it doesn't entail a complete restructuring of the best health care system in the world.
The real philosophical difference between the parties is not about whether to help the truly needy, but whether government is the solution or the culprit.
Just in case any doubt remained about Obama's partisan mindset, he removed that, too, when he made clear that "procedure" (and the U.S. Constitution) be damned, he is going to cram this down our throats.
Former Education Secretary William Bennett is chiding those who are advancing the notion of forming a 'third party.' And he is absolutely right for doing so. Such a rift within the conservative movement at this critical moment would do more to propel the liberal Democrat agenda to uncontested political dominance than any ploy envisioned by the left. Yet it appears that, despite such a risk, the movement is continuing to effervesce among the grassroots.
At last week's CPAC convention, some prominent speakers, including Glenn Beck, adamantly insisted that both major parties had become indistinguishable, and that a third party would be the only means of extricating national politics from the mire of Beltway thinking. To counter Beck's claim, Bennett held up Senators Jim DeMint (R.-SC) and Tom Coburn (R.-OK), along with Congressmen Mike Pence (R.-IN) and Paul Ryan (R.-WI) as bastions of true conservatism.
Unfortunately, certain other 'Republicans' are working overtime to undermine Bennett's argument. Chief among them is former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson. In a predictable move last week, Barack Obama impaneled a 'Debt Commission' ostensibly to identify the means of reining in the spending outrages of the federal government. Of course Obama knew that the presence of a 'Republican' would lend the needed pretense of 'bipartisanship' to his ruse. And Simpson was only too willing to cooperate.
Long held as an icon of the GOP, Simpson is no conservative, and in truth has never been one. More significantly, he has devoted a large part of his political career to denigrating true conservatism, and attempting to expunge it from the Republican Party. Simpson was keynote speaker at the 1994 Wyoming State Republican Convention, using the occasion to castigate real conservatives as 'a blight on the Republican Party.'
It is profoundly illustrative of his true sentiments and character that, in the middle of the Clinton-and-Clinton first term, and barely six months before the thunderous 1994 mid-term elections in which Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress for the first time in nearly a half-century, Simpson's primary goal was to vilify and undermine any real conservative groundswell.
Throughout his public life, Alan Simpson has stridently endorsed such ideas as 'gay rights' and same-sex 'marriage,' while insisting that the presence of Christian conservatives in the GOP constituted an effort to 'rule or ruin' the party. Demonstrating a willingness to completely disengage himself from the people of the Cowboy State, Alan Simpson has at times even supported gun control measures promoted by the 'moderate' administration of George H.W. Bush.
Ultimately, Alan Simpson ascribes to the mindset that he and the other elitists in Washington know what is best for the nation, and that the peasantry in the hinterlands should simply recognize this fact and be grateful for their public 'service.' In this his similarities far outweigh any differences he might have with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Barack Obama. And unfortunately, he was not alone.
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, who only recently admitted that his real allegiance lies with the Democrats (a fact that real America never doubted) was able to rise to prominence within Republican ranks while regularly engaging in complete betrayals of his fellow Republicans. More telling still was the pernicious effect that Specter had on America's perception of the Republican Party, insofar as he often completely blurred any lines between Republican and Democrat, an effect that only helped the efforts of those on the left seeking cover for their abhorrent political agenda.
It is infuriating and demoralizing to consider that the Republican Party is yet so willing to embrace and exalt the likes of Specter (who eventually made his inclinations official and became a Democrat), and Simpson (who remains inside the 'Big Tent' to this day, believing that he can do far more to stifle conservatism from that vantage point). In so doing, it reveals an element in the GOP which real conservatives cannot be expected to trust. Nor can they have solid confidence in the rest of the party, since its true character will ultimately be defined by the lowest standards it is willing to accept.
For far too long, Specter, Simpson, and their kind were not merely accepted within Republican ranks, but were able to guide its course. As a result, America recognized the pitfalls of empowering a 'ruling class' that held no regard for the ideals on which the nation was founded, and thus would never truly seek to advance such principles in today's poisoned political climate.
Barack Obama may indeed be shrewd enough to recognize the value of a kindred spirit who calls himself 'Republican.' And he may believe he will benefit from the collaboration of Alan Simpson in his effort to advance liberalism. But what neither individual seems to grasp is that, since Obama's inauguration last year, the social and political landscape in this country has fundamentally changed.
The abysmal elections of 2006 were neither a statement on the Iraq War, nor an expression of mass infatuation for Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. And despite Obama's ongoing delusions, his 2008 electoral victory was absolutely not an embrace of either his far-left ideology or his personal 'charisma.' Rather, both events reflected public disillusionment with a Republican Party that, on too many fronts, had ceased to be Republican.
The resurrection of real conservatism in the past year, widely known as the 'Tea Party' movement, is itself a manifestation of those same sentiments. The Republican Party can only hope to ride this wave, and thereby preclude the disastrous consequences to itself and the nation of an ill-conceived 'third party,' if it rejects the political cronyism of Simpson and his kind, and vigorously recommits itself to the Constitution, real conservatism, and the morality that undergirded both.
Inasmuch as Obamacare has a snowball's chance in hell of passing (but did you see how much snow they got in hell last week?), everyone is wondering what President Obama is up to by calling Republicans to a televised Reykjavik summit this week to discuss socializing health care.
At least they served beer at the last White House summit this stupid and pointless.
If the president is serious about passing nationalized health care, he ought to be meeting with the Democrats, not the Republicans.
Republicans can't stop the Democrats from socializing health care: They are a tiny minority party in both the House and the Senate. (Note to America: You might want to keep this in mind next time you go to the polls.)
As the Democratic base has been hysterically pointing out, both the House and the Senate have already passed national health care bills. Either body could vote for the other's bill, and -- presto! -- Obama would have a national health care bill, replete with death panels, abortion coverage and lots and lots of new government commissions!
Sadly, as the president's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has noted, the Democratic base is "@#$%^ retarded."
The reason massive Democratic majorities in Congress aren't enough to pass socialist health care is AMERICANS DON'T WANT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!
In fact, you might say that the nation is in a boiling cauldron of rage against it. Consequently, a lot of Democrats are suddenly having second thoughts about vast new government commissions regulating every aspect of Americans' medical care.
Obama isn't stupid -- he's not seriously trying to get a health care bill passed. The whole purpose of this public "summit" with the minority party is to muddy up the Republicans before the November elections. You know, the elections Democrats are going to lose because of this whole health care thing.
Right now, Americans are hopping mad, swinging a stick and hoping to hit anyone who so much as thinks about nationalizing health care.
If they could, Americans would cut the power to the Capitol, throw everyone out and try to deport them. (Whereas I say: Anyone in Washington, D.C., who can produce an original copy of a valid U.S. birth certificate should be allowed to stay.)
But the Democrats think it's a good strategy to call the Republicans "The Party of No." When it comes to Obamacare, Americans don't want a party of "No," they want a party of "Hell, No!" or, as Rahm Emanuel might say, "*&^%$#@ No!"
It's as if the patient has a minor fever and the Democrats (as doctor in this example) want to cut off his arms and legs. The Republicans want to give the patient two aspirin. "Compromise" means the Republicans agree to amputate only one arm and one leg.
Complaining that Republicans are "obstructionists" is not a damaging charge when most Americans are dying to obstruct the Democrats with a 2-by-4. While you're at it, Democrats, why not call the GOP the "Party of Brave Patriots"?
So Obama's sole objective at the "summit" is to hoodwink Republicans into agreeing with some of his wildly unpopular ideas on national TV. If this were a reality show on NBC, it would be called, "Dateline: To Catch a R.I.N.O."
This shouldn't be hard, inasmuch as he will be talking to elected Republicans. About a third of them were enthusiastically engaging in "bipartisanship" on Obamacare last year -- Chuck Grassley, you know who you are! (That's better than Lindsey Graham, who still wants to compromise.)
And then the American people spoke up.
In town halls and tea parties across the nation, Obama lost the argument with Americans. So now he wants a debating partner who will be less challenging: elected Republicans.
If Republicans were smart, they'd shock the world by sending in one of their most appealing members of Congress, who can speak clearly on health care -- Sen. Jon Kyl, Rep. Steve King or Rep. Ron Paul.
Actually, if the Republicans were really smart, they'd send in 14-year-old Jonathan Krohn, who understands the free market better than most people in Washington. Of course, so does my houseplant.
There are other important points Republicans cannot raise often enough -- such as putting scuzzy medical malpractice lawyers like John Edwards out of business. OK, that wasn't fair: Even trial lawyers are almost never as scuzzy as John Edwards. We want to put them all out of business.
But there's really only one idea the Republicans must cling to -- like they're clinging to their guns and religion! -- in order to resist agreeing to something moronic and losing their advantage as Americans' only allies in Washington.
Please, Republicans, remember the free market -- the same free market that gave us cheap cell phones, computers, flat-screen TVs, and stylish, affordable eyeglasses in about an hour.
Congress needs to outlaw state and federal mandates on insurance companies and allow interstate competition in health insurance.
How long will it take for every last American to realize President Barack Obama is not about bipartisanship, reconciliation (other than as a process to cram his health care bill through Congress) and uniting Americans? As his latest gyrations on health care demonstrate, he will not be deterred in his quest to saddle Americans with socialized medicine, even if it greatly increases the likelihood he won't be re-elected.
Here we have Obama, frenetically busy with at least three of his hands, pushing different buttons and sending mixed signals. I guess being a self-perceived messiah means you don't have to worry about being flagrantly inconsistent, even on the same day or in the context of one speech.
He's invited Republicans to a bipartisan summit on health care, intending to create the illusion that he's interested in conservative ideas on the subject.
But at the same time -- he can't even pretend long enough to let this ruse play out -- he is threatening Republicans that if they filibuster current congressional health care proposals, he will urge Congress to pass Obamacare by bastardizing the reconciliation process.
But wait, just like a Ginsu knife infomercial, there's more. Obama has also unveiled the outlines of his own new health care proposal, but it is hardly a model of bipartisanship.
As for his "bipartisan" summit, why would anyone believe he is interested in the Republicans' ideas on health care? Has he given any indication he is through this nearly yearlong process? Has he not shut Republicans out of the entire process until tendering this counterfeit overture -- after wholesale repudiation of his plan by the American people?
Thinking people know that the Republicans' proposals involve market reform and that such ideas do not register with Obama's rigid statist mindset. He's not interested in their ideas, which he views as wholly incompatible with his own -- and he's right. There's no room for getting the government out of the way when he is determined to increase the government's role dramatically. It's like pulling your punches when you're going for a knockout.
How silly do we have to be to imagine he's even thinking about compromise? It's not just that the Republicans' ideas are incompatible with his own; it's that in his megalomaniacal mind, he's the boss. Indeed, let's not forget that this is the guy who scolded opponents of his nationally bankrupting agenda with: "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."
Is that the attitude of a uniter? Of one who has the slightest interest in working with the other side? His sole purpose for the summit is to entrap Republicans in a political trick bag, painting them as unreasonable and obstructionist. Thankfully, they finally appear to be onto him and preparing themselves accordingly.
Obama's cavalier attitude is also on display in his threat to invoke the reconciliation process to push his plan through Congress. His stated reason is that he "expects and believes the American people deserve an up-or-down vote on health reform." What? Surely he jests.
But sadly, he does not. This is the tone-deaf guy who has refused to hear the American people's repeated rejections of Obamacare for months running. They've already given him scores of down votes, but he thinks he can go back to the well, despite his evaporating charisma, and fool them one last time.
Folks, do you think that if anywhere close to the barest majority of American people slightly supported Obama's nationalized health care scheme, he and his supermajorities in Congress wouldn't have been able to pass it already? They couldn't even pass it after bribing -- with our money -- members of their own party in Congress. The American people have spoken, sir, and it is against socialism. Please quit insulting our intelligence with your smoke and mirrors to the contrary.
But no less insulting are some of the highlights of the president's new plan -- as set out on the White House's Web site. Obama actually claims he'll cover the 31 million uninsured while "reducing the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years -- and about $1 trillion over the second decade -- by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse." Seriously, how gullible must he think we are?
Oh, yes, and he's going to impose controls on health insurance premiums, as if there exists an omniscient central government that can best determine prices -- and as if such command and control models have ever worked in the history of the world.
Now is not the time for Obama's opponents to get complacent. We face -- America's freedom faces -- a relentless adversary.