McCarthy says that the Democrats will not only keep trying, but will probably succeed

Larry T. writes:

I think Andrew McCarthy is right. Healthcare is not dead. The bolshevik plot continues. I don’t think Obama cares a whit about what happens to the Democratic majority next November. This is driven by ideology. He will be able to protect any rolling back of the healthcare bill by veto. Once the healthcare bill and its vast bureaucracy is in place and people get used to the idea, it may be impossible to get rid of. Nearly all the New Deal social programs are still with us in some form.

Here is the McCarthy post at the Corner that Larry T. sent:

Saturday, February 27, 2010
Transformation [Andy McCarthy]

On Sean’s panel last night, when the conversation turned to how nervous Democrats supposedly are over what for now is teeing up like a very bad November, I felt like I was channeling Mark Steyn, Mark Levin and Rush. That is, I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today’s Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November—even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they’re right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that “reconciliation,” if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership’s statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Consequently, the next six weeks, like the next ten months, are going to be worse than we think. We’re wired to think that everyone plays by the ususal rules of politics—i.e., if the tide starts to change, the side against whom it has turned modifies its positions in order to stay viable in the next election. But what will happen here will be the opposite. You have a party with the numbers to do anything it puts its mind to, led by movement Leftitsts who see their window of opportunity is closing. We seem to expect them to moderate because that’s what everybody in their position does. But they won’t. They will put their heads down and go for as much transformation as they can get, figuring that once they get it, it will never be rolled back. The only question is whether there are enough Democrats who are conventional politicians and who care about being reelected, such that they will deny the leadership the numbers it needs. But I don’t think we should take much heart in this possibility. Those Democrats may well come to think they are going to lose anyway—that’s why so many of them are abandoning ship now. If that’s the case, their incentive will be to vote with the leadership.

At the end of the summit debacle, President Obama put the best face on a bad day by indicating that he intended to push ahead with socialized medicine and face the electoral consequences (“that’s what elections are for,” he concluded). He’s right about that. For Republicans, it won’t be enough to fight this thing, then deride it if Democrats pull it off, and finally coast to a very likely electoral victory in November. The question is: What are you going to do to roll this back? What is your plan to undo this?

This post from Irwin Stelzer at the Standard caught my eye this morning (my italics):

Americans overwhelmingly say that their main concern is jobs, and that they are satisfied with their current health care arrangements. In response, an allegedly chastened President Obama pivoted, and says his primary concern from now on will be job creation, which will take priority over his controversial plan to radically change the nation’s health care system. Yet, last week he backed a $15 billion job-creation bill, which passed the Senate, and a $1 trillion health care bill. Since the federal balance sheet is already under huge pressure, this set of priorities tells us that the Obama administration intends to concentrate available resources on transforming the economy—a long-term, permanent restructuring of the health care and energy sectors that was planned long before the failure of Lehman Brothers triggered the financial mess Obama inherited.


[end of McCarthy post at Corner]

LA replies:

I said last night that the Democrats are approaching the Nihilism of destruction, on which they are willing to destroy themselves, and the country rather than accept defeat on health care.

However, while McCarthy and I agree that the Dems are going to keep trying, he is not giving enough weight to the fact that they simply don’t have the votes.

A. Zarkov writes:

I agree with Mr. Auster, the Democrats don’t have the votes. If they did, Pelosi would have called for a vote by now. The longer the health care bill takes to pass, the worse the blowback in November because the whole thing will be fresh in the minds of the voters. The Republicans can also put in procedural roadblocks that will drag this out for months. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Obama’s attempt at summit theater failed. Now they are right back to where they were in January. Actually it’s worse than that with the death of John Murtha who ironically was killed by an incompetent surgeon.

Mark P. writes:

I think McCarthy has a good point about the Democrats being so idealogical that they would gladly sacrifice their majorities to enact national healthcare. The problem is that this strategy does not effect all types of Democrats equally.

It is very easy for Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi to push the leftist drumbeat. Not only are they safely electable in their respective districts [LA replies: It is believed that Reid is in trouble in Nevada], but they have enormous fortunes and a life of leisure to fall back on if they leave office. None of this is true for a vast number of Democratic congressmen. What, then, are the considerations that, say, moderate Democrats have who’ve been elected in strong Republican districts? Voting for ObamaCare will not only get them thrown out of office, it would also make it impossible for them to find private-sector work in their respective communities. What is worse, many of these are freshman Democrats just beginning their careers. They have not had time to build the professional networks necessary to move from job to job. Being on the wrong side of this vote is suicide inside and outside of politics.

Oh sure, Democrats can attempt some bribe in exchange for a vote, but that is based on nothing but Reid’s and Pelosi’s word. Is that going to be worth anything once the former Congressman is booted out of office and has nothing to offer afterwards?

One telling example is what happened to Bill Nelson, Senator from Nebraska. On one of his trips back home from Washington, Nelson stopped at his usual restaurant to eat, a place he goes to twice a week when he is in town. He got such an earful from the patrons over his vote , that the owner of the restaurant asked Nelson to leave.

That is what most of these politicians have to worry about.

LA replies:

The notion that former congressmen won’t be able to resume private sector careers seems unlikely to me.

February 28

Steve R. writes:

Unfortunately, I think Andy McCarthy has a very strong case. Here’s the calculus for a moderate House or Senate Democrat:

If I vote against Obamacare


A) 3/4 of the independents might vote for me now (5/8 voted for me previously)

B) My non-leftist Democrat constituency will continue to feel good about me

C) I may feel good that I didn’t ignore the will of most Americans


A) Over half the Democrats in my district will want to punish me for my vote

B) My Republican opponent will blame me for having first voted in favor of the bill

C) Nancy Pelosi will prevent any party funds to go towards my reelection

D) She may fund my Democratic opponent

E) She may make public whatever dirt there exists about me

F) I will forever be treated like pariah among my House colleagues

G) Daily Kos will put a bounty on my head

H) Obama will let me know that he’s “keeping score.”

If I vote in favor of Obamacare


I will avoid all the above “Cons”

Cons (the only one and it’s weak):

A) Among the non-leftist Democrats and independents who voted for me before, the few of them that aren’t already likely to stay at home on election day because of my vote on the stimulus, bailout, first healthcare bill and bad economy, well, they just may vote against me.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 27, 2010 03:39 PM | Send

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