Debate 1 Retro Diary: Lies, statistics, and missed opportunities
I was walking back from the dining hall about an a hour before the debate with a friend who is also in AU Dems and I asked her if she was at all worried that Romney might actually turn things around tonight. She said no, citing his awful performance as a candidate and hugely unpopular policies. I said that I agreed, we joked about one of his gaffes, and then went back to our dorms confident that Obama would do no worse than draw, maintain his solid lead in the polls, and continue on a path that seemed (and to be fair, still seems) headed for a second term.
So what transpired afterwards was unexpected to say the least.
It only took ninety minutes for the narrative of the last month - the election is over, Mitt Romney has no idea how to run a campaign or be a competent candidate, could the Democrats even take back the House? - to come crashing down. Let’s go through minute-by-minute:
Health care ruling
Bottom line: 33 million people will still gain access to affordable health insurance because John Roberts decided to break from his radical colleagues and uphold the Affordable Care Act. The law isn’t perfect, but it’s a hugely positive step for our health care system and obviously constitutional.
Furthermore, CNN is an absolute joke for their coverage, wrongly reporting that the individual mandate had been overturned because Roberts initially read the section of the opinion that said that Congress did not have authority under the Commerce Clause to require people to buy insurance. We knew for weeks that there might be some subtlety and nuance to the decision, and they could have waited five more minutes to read the opinion.
PS: if there was any doubt left that the Huffington Post was trolling us with their headlines, I present this:
Republican health care hypocrisy
Ross tries to use this to draw some equivalence between the two parties. Both Democrats and Republicans changed their mind on the individual mandate, he argues. But there’s a key difference: The Democrats changed their mind in order to secure a bipartisan compromise on health-care reform. Republicans changed their mind in order to prevent one.
And so what did Democrats get for their troubles? Well, the individual mandate is the least popular element of the health-care law. The entire Republican Party decided the individual mandate was an unconstitutional assault on freedom. And today, even relatively moderate Republicans like Douthat present the mandate as some kind of underhanded trick.
That’s politics, I guess. But ask yourself: If Obamacare is overturned, and Obama is defeated, who will win the Democratic Party’s next fight over health care? Probably not the folks counseling compromise. Too many Democrats have seen how that goes. How much easier to propose a bill that expands Medicaid eligibility to 300 percent of the poverty line, covers every child through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and makes Medicare availability to every American over age 50. Add in some high-risk pools, pay for the bill by slapping a surtax on rich Americans — indisputably constitutional, as even Randy Barnett will tell you — and you’ve covered most of the country’s uninsured. Oh, and you can pass the whole thing through the budget reconciliation process.
I don’t think that’s a particularly good future for the health-care system. And I doubt that bill will pass anytime soon. But, if Obamacare goes down, something like it will eventually be passed. And what will Republicans have to say about it? That no, this time, they really would have worked with the Democrats to reform America’s health-care system? Who will believe them?
Things that happen tonight in a democracy that works:
- New Hampshire, the 42nd most populous state in the nation, doesn’t have an influential role in national politics.
- When Mitt Romney uses bullshit like the term “European-style entitlement society” to describe the goals of Barack Obama’s administration, it doesn’t go completely unchallenged by the mainstream media considering 1) many progressives are disappointed with Obama for being insufficiently liberal and 2) Obama’s signature expansion of government was a health care reform law modeled after a plan at the state level in Massachusetts that was signed into law by none other than Romney.
- Candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry drop out. Or better yet, they have the dignity not to run for president in the first place.