Mark Steyn On President Canute’s Press Conference Today
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HH: What a day. I begin with Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. You can read everything, and you must in these days, read everything he writes via www.steynonline.com. Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg wrote today that the rollout of Obamacare has been akin to the operation of a Somali superconductor. I think he overstates the efficiency of the Obamacare rollout. But today, the President was like a semi-sorrowful arsonist standing in front of the burning houses, inviting anyone with a hose to help out.
MS: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s right, and I think he’s being unfair to the Somalis. I think Ted Cruz compared the thing to a Nigerian email scam, and the Nigerian ambassador to the United States demanded that Senator Cruz apologize to the Nigerians. So I think however, I think, and you know, and the reality is, actually, that the Nigerians would not try anything this stupid. It was a pitiful performance today culminating in that line, what we are discovering is insurance is complicated to buy. Well, thanks a lot, genius. Maybe you should have looked into that before a guy who’s never done anything in his life, never run a convenience store, decides he has the awesome superpowers to governmentalize one-sixth of the economy. Thanks for finally figuring out that the real world is more complicated than your faculty lounge abstractions. At some point, you know, Americans who voted for this guy, voted for a guy who’d never done anything in his life, and had just been wafted onwards to the next do-nothing gig before he was ever required to do anything, ought to cringe under the bed in embarrassment at voting for this guy twice.
HH: The genius of the bill was that they postponed its rollout until after the presidential election. But I think the incredible stupidity of today’s move is that it postpones the final collapse until just before next year’s elections, Mark Steyn.
MS: Yes, I think that’s true. I mean, he keeps using this line, oh, it’s, he’s only inflicting catastrophe on fewer than five percent of the population. That’s because he unilaterally decided to suspend the employer mandate for a year. Otherwise, a lot of spouses and children, for example, just to take the most obvious thing, would be getting kicked off of employer-based plans round about now. Now obviously, this is unbecoming to a republic, to any kind of theory of responsible government. One of the indictments of George III that you excitable revolutionary colonials made was that he was arbitrarily suspending laws that had been passed and refusing to implement them according to his regal whims. Obama, having wrecked people’s lives by forcing insurance companies to comply with Obamacare is now telling, is now ordering them not to comply with Obamacare. I don’t even think that’s doable. But if it were doable, then this would no longer be a free society.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, this is the serious question that grows out of this. And then I want to play some clips from today. Will the policy failure, and it’s epic, and the political crisis, and it’s deep, that we are in the middle of, lead to a credibility transfer that is lasting? In other words, are people going to stop trusting Democrats because of this?
MS: I would like to think that were the issue here. I think it’s slightly bigger, I mean, to be fair, I think it’s slightly bigger than that. Everybody thought they could do this. And everybody thought he could do this. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for those Democrats like Mary Landrieu and some of these other senators up for reelection who are running away from this thing, because they voted for it, and they voted for it in what has become the traditional Washington way now, where the bill is actually physically impossible to read. That guy, Conyers, John Conyers in the House, he said there’s no point in me reading the bill, because I couldn’t even understand what’s in it anyway. This is a guy who was filmed flying back to Michigan, by the way, reading a copy of Playboy. So he’s got time to read the latest edition of Playboy, but not the Obamacare bill. These guys voted for it in that American way where they basically subcontracted it to their staffers who all met in the smoke-filled rooms and came up with this deal. And that way of doing business, that way of legislating, which ought to be an affront to any free peoples, needs to be kicked into the garbage can of history.
HH: One of the things I’m afraid of, though, is that Bill Clinton began the strategic withdrawal from Obamacare on behalf of his wife this week. And that ought not to be allowed, because Hillarycare was even worse. I had on MIT Professor Jon Gruber yesterday, the architect of Obamacare, and many people say one of the contributors to Romneycare, and I wanted to drive home and get him on the record on this point, Mark Steyn, and here is Jon Gruber on my program yesterday.
JG: She had a plan which was much more interventionist…The Clinton health care plan was much to the left of Obamacare. It would have more radically changed our health care system. The original Hillarycare as proposed in the early 90s would absolutely, would have been much more disruptive.
HH: Do you think, Mark Steyn, people get that, that Hillarycare was even worse than Obamacare and ought to figure in our assessment of her ability to be president?
MS: Yeah, I think that’s right. I slightly disagree with him. It’s well, Hillarycare was well to the left in terms of far more directly government controlled health care system. And I think Hillary, if she were really ambitious, would be going around saying oh, no, no, my plan would not have been such a complicated train wreck of a plan as Obamacare is. But I don’t think she’ll be able to get away with that in this election cycle. I think, you know, she’d have to wait a couple of generations until people have forgotten that, because I think what this does is to say that ambitious liberalism in a nation of 300 million people is potentially ruinous. And that’s a big lesson. We talk a lot about Obama. I mean, Obama looked pitiful today.
MS: And this is supposed to be his signature achievement. During his first term, he spent a lot of money to no effect. So like his trillion dollar stimulus, it didn’t actually do anything. So he blew through a lot of money, but he didn’t actually wreck people’s lives. This is the first thing he’s ever done in his life, and it’s a disaster.
HH: I still don’t think he gets it, either. I want to go to the analogy he used today at the disaster press conference number 400, cut number 22.
BO: The way I described this to, I met with a group of senators when this issue first came up. And it’s not a perfect analogy, but you know, we made a decision as a society that every car has to have a seat belt or air bags. And so you pass a regulation. And there’s some additional costs, particularly at the start of increasing the safety and protections, but we make a decision as a society that the costs are outweighed by the benefits of all the lives that are saved.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, it’s not like the regulation saying seat belts. It’s like a regulation saying you’ve got to buy a brand new Lexus, even if you’re happy with your Accord, your Camry, or even the used, battered Ford truck you’ve got out there. And his diminishment of what he’s caused is still deeply embedded with him. He still doesn’t get it.
MS: Yeah, I think that’s right. He’s basically came along, and he said if you like your pickup, you can keep your pickup. And then he passed a law in which he opened up your gas cap and put a ton of sugar into your pickup so it wouldn’t work anymore.
MS: And that’s basically it. And then he says well, it doesn’t matter, because you have the opportunity now to buy an Aston Martin. And yeah, it costs a little more than your pickup did, but I think you’ll like the better performance.
HH: And today, he said, and if your old car mechanic can get the sugar out of the system, you can run that car again. That’s what he said.
MS: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s right. I mean, and again, this is crazy. He’s saying now, oh, I like King Cnut. Yes, I couldn’t keep the water from coming in and washing over my feet, but I’m now passing a regulation to de-un-grandfather your plan. I mean, that is, I mean, I don’t know how those guys can sit there in that room and not roar their heads off laughing at him.
HH: All right, now here’s Nancy Pelosi talking today about this, whether or not to go with a law or a regulation, cut number 27:
NP: Stay tuned, and just see what, it could be an administrative fix, it could be a legislative fix. I would rather it be done administratively, because that can be done much more quickly without any accompanying agendas.
HH: Stay tuned, I want Mussolini, Mark Steyn. That’s what it is.
MS: (laughing) I mean, yeah, basically, that’s what she, but you know, that’s what’s failed here, Hugh. All the clever people like Thomas Friedman in the New York Times is always saying oh, if only we could be China for a day and be ruled by an enlightened dictatorship that have the foresight to get things done without all this messy business about democracy and elections. And that’s what happened this time. He passed Obamacare through procedural trickery without a single Republican vote. He annexed an economy bigger than France’s without a single bipartisan vote, and left it to the genius technocracy, all the people Kathleen Sebelius put in charge of this, and she was sure, and he was sure that all the clever technocrats would make it work. And they can’t make it work. They’re losers. They’re chumps. They’re not good enough. Nobody would be good enough to actually make sense of this thing. And actually, what they’re trying to find a way to do now is to wind back, wind all this back to the day before Obamacare.
HH: This is the chump change that we all bought into in 2008, the change we hope for is the chump change we got. Mark Steyn, www.steynonline.com, America.
End of interview.