Rightblogger Rage That Health Plans Could Change Turns to Rage That Health Plans Could Stay the Same
No one knew how many people were in this situation, but the brethren asserted that it was in the tens of millions at least, and thus Obamacare, a few weeks into implementation, was a hopeless disaster. So last week Obama went out and said, okay, you can keep your health care plans if the insurance companies will let you. And rightbloggers said, okay cool, thanks for taking care of that Mr. President.
The insurance companies' protective association naturally pitched a shit-fit -- they'd thought they were going to get away with dumping people's plans (as they have been doing since time immemorial) and blaming it on Obama, and now here they were back where they started, albeit vastly enriched by the insurer-friendly federal program.
Equally enraged were the rightbloggers, but for a different reasons. Not that they weren't sympathetic to the giant insurers -- "some of the left-wing commentators I've seen seem to be under the impression that health insurers make fabulous profits," wept Megan McArdle for Blue Cross et alia. But mainly they were mad that that the grave injustice on which they'd been hammering Obama appeared to be going away. By pretending to care about beneficiaries, conservatives had driven Obama's poll numbers to record lows; now, just when they were ready to put the knife in (maybe with a Benghazi revival), suddenly they were in danger of losing this advantage.
Some attempted to fashion new outrages as a stand-in. Jonathan V. Last of the Weekly Standard had a hot one: "Penalty for Marriage in Obamacare," he declared. "A married couple can get Obamacare subsidies if their income is less than 400 percent above the poverty line. But because the federal poverty level for married couples is less than double the level for individuals, a couple that lives together without getting married can make more money than a married couple, yet still get Obamacare subsidies."
Brilliant -- if there's anything the American people share with conservatives, it's their outrage that the White House is run by Valerie Jarrett.
In other words, it's like the marriage penalty in U.S. taxes, and since everyone hates taxes and wishes they didn't exist, then Obamacare shouldn't exist either. To make things worse, it proved Obamacare is anti-marriage, and since "virtually all of the research shows that stable marriages increase economic output," said Last, that meant Obamacare was also anti-growth. "It's not clear whether this perversity is accidental or by design," finished Last. "But it's yet another line item in the argument against what is clearly the most catastrophic piece of legislation in modern American history." Clearly!
More popular, though, was the argument that fixing the law was illegal, and national health care therefore impossible. The brethren enlisted their greatest legal minds to explain why this was so, including John Yoo. That's right, the same guy who's in the history books for telling George Bush torturing prisoners is legally OK returned to National Review to tell readers that the insurance fix, unlike waterboarding and testicle-crushing, is off-limits. Yoo's McGuffin was that "any regulation must undergo what is known as 'notice and comment' under the Administrative Procedure Act." The beauty part for rightbloggers is that, unlike Yoo, Obama is not immune from prosecution.
Victor Davis Hanson compared the fix to "all sorts of other 'settled' legislation that, for political reasons, [Obama] simply chose not to enforce," such as "the Defense of Marriage Act," during his gay reign of terror.
"Imagine if a Republican president decided unilaterally to 'do everything we can to fix' abortion law," unfortunately began Investor's Business Daily, and no, it didn't get better from there. IBD also accused Obama of "spaying" and "tear[ing] up" the Constitution.
The fix is "forcing insurance companies to help advertise for Obamacare by letting customers know that there's an Obamacare marketplace where they can purchase (or get subsidized) health care coverage," wrote an appalled Daniel Halper at The Weekly Standard. Plus, the conversation stopper: "As Texas senator Ted Cruz says, the president cannot fix an unfixable law." It's in the Bible.
So deeply did the brethren believe that only total eradication of national health care would suffice that when House Republicans moved to pass a bill that would only gut rather than kill Obamacare, some of them smelled RINO. "The GOP should not be working to 'fix' Obamacare," protested McCarthy. "...They should be working to scrap Obamacare now, while the political momentum is swinging to their side." (NR's editors, on the other hand, rejoined that "some on the right are skeptical of the bill because it repairs rather than repeals Obamacare, but it would really be a step toward dismantling." Now, who says conservatives don't like a healthy debate!)
But most of them just went with negative nouns and adjectives. It has in recent weeks become de rigueur for rightbloggers to only reference Obamacare with the most extraordinarily unflattering terms in their vocabularies, e.g. "disaster," "catastrophe," "train wreck," etc., showing either great message discipline or an equally great lack of imagination, depending on how you view it.
After Obama's announcement, the schtick persisted. "The collapse of ObamaCare becomes inevitable," mua-ha'd Silvio Canto Jr. of Babalu. "Democrats flee from ObamaCare disaster," headlined sore loser/Fox correspondent Scott Brown. "Unfolding Like a Greek Tragedy," said Pastorius of the Infidel Bloggers Alliance, who probably thinks that means it stars Telly Savalas.
Things got weirder when Michael D. Shear at the New York Times told perplexed readers that "the disastrous rollout of [Obama's] health care law... raises questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency." Shear even found someone to go on record with this comparison: "A top national security official in Mr. Bush's second term."
Rightbloggers naturally took this to mean the Times said Obamacare is Katrina -- something only really believed by Louisiana Republicans.