Today marketh the third consecutive Fri-Day in which Peggington Noonington, chief columnateur of the Wall Street Journal banking pamphlet, has graced her “Declarations” with commentary on the foremost political debate of our time: Health Care. Your Wonkette hath attempted to compose paeans to Her Majesty’s previous two edicts, but was unable to finisheth on both occasions due to Hyper-Tension. Dissecting Madame’s attitudes toward Reform becometh a terrifying Duty. But it must be completed, now, because of God. If this Weblog editor should pass during the composition of this response, stand righteous before the Death Panels, for he that hath seen the depths and spoken, “Nay.”
NOW, FOR SERIOUS GUYS.
Peggy Noonan’s column this week, which is bullshit, sports the bad-faith title, “Pull the Plug on ObamaCare.” That’s right, she cannot be bothered to consider working out issues, hard as it may be, angry as it may get, long as it may take, to finally put in place some structure that won’t fully solve the country’s worst, most lingering and threatening problem, but will help it enormously. Because Peggy Noonan, like so many others, is fine with her health plan. And the popular acceptance of the cynical “What does this do for me, immediately?” method of making up one’s mind on this political issue is going to kill hundreds of thousands of people in the end, if people like Peggy Noonan continue to see this moral issue through the prism of their own selfishness, laziness, and stupidity.
Here’s another thing that didn’t work. (I write as if health-care reform or insurance reform or whatever it’s called this week is already a loss, a historic botch, because it is. Even if the White House wins, they lose, because the cost in terms of public trust and faith was too high.)
Every big idea that works is marked by simplicity, by clarity. You can understand it when you hear it, and you can explain it to people. Social Security: Retired workers receive a public pension to help them through old age. Medicare: People over 65 can receive taxpayer-funded health care. Welfare: If you have no money and cannot support yourself, we will help as you get back on your feet.
These things are clear. I understand them. You understand them. The president’s health-care plan is not clear, and I mean that not only in the sense of “he hasn’t told us his plan.” I mean it in terms of the voodoo phrases, this gobbledygook, this secret language of government that no one understands—”single payer,” “public option,” “insurance marketplace exchange.” No one understands what this stuff means, nobody normal.
How about this: Basic health coverage for all, and protection for the already sick. There is plenty to criticize in Obama’s meandering inability to emphasize these simple goals, but if those two simple objectives mean nothing to you, or bore you — you, the political columnist whose job is to understand these concepts — then you are a sociopath. You are apathetic to the unnecessary and costly deaths of your fellow citizens under the current system, which even the most basic reform plans under consideration would do much to alleviate. If you care about lower- and middle-class people dying under a poorly regulated for-profit health insurance system, you can spend the 15 seconds it takes to learn what “single payer,” “public option,” “insurance marketplace exchange” (doesn’t she just mean “insurance exchange?”) mean. These are important terms, and not difficult at all, but you dismiss them as “gobbledygook” that no one should bother to learn on one’s own, because the president should explain it to everyone personally, with small words, in a children’s book. We know that this is how you and your fellow advisers were forced to explain every policy issue to Ronald Reagan, but he’s dead now, so grow up. And stop writing poison.
Finally, anyone who tries to argue that Obama would find political reward by abandoning health care reform now and “regrouping” for another year or two is either wrong or lying — usually both! — and does not have the country’s best interest at heart.