Barack Obama as Indiana Jones? Allow me to explain.
At the end of the trilogy starring Harrison Ford (let’s pretend moviegoers were never subjected to “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”), the swashbuckling archaeologist discovers the holy grail of holy grails: the actual cup of Christ.
But things go badly wrong and Jones soon finds himself suspended over a bottomless chasm, with one arm reaching desperately for the grail. The other is being held tenuously by his father, who wisely counsels him: “Let it go.”
If only the elder Jones could pay a visit to the White House.
Today is the big “bipartisan” health care meeting at which President Obama has agreed to hear Republicans’ ideas if they will just sign on to his latest health proposal, which is all of three days old and has yet to be scrutinized by the usual independent agents.
That’s the upshot of the meeting, anyway. Ever since Obama smoked a disorganized House Republican caucus at their televised debate in Baltimore last month, the administration has longed for a chance to repeat that very public schooling and regain the political high ground on health care.
Oh, the president claims to have included some conservative ideas in his plan. And it’s true that some of the lesser, unobjectionable ones are in there. For instance, the White House cites the “use of technology for real-time data review” as one GOP idea it’s adopted.
The alternative, one supposes, is to review data in real time without using technology.
Just kidding. But do data reviews, or tougher penalties for Medicare/Medicaid fraudsters, or “mechanisms to improve quality,” really qualify as meeting the GOP halfway?
Are these really compromises from Democrats? Ones that merit the support of Republicans — not to mention the majority of Americans who oppose Democrats’ various health proposals — for such sea changes as letting Washington bureaucrats control the prices of private health insurance plans, as Obama now wants to do?
Like Indiana Jones’ outstretched arm, President Obama’s summit is a last attempt to grasp the oh-so-close liberal dream of a middle-class health entitlement. The public option is not listed in the plan, but its creation will be a fait accompli once private insurance plans are transformed into utilities whose every move requires Washington’s approval.
Competition will decrease once the feds can dictate what insurers have to cover and force their premiums into the narrow band between a government cap and unprofitability.
Americans might not trust insurance executives any more than they do politicians and bureaucrats, but the execs’ standing will fall even further once they have to answer for the decisions that politicians and bureaucrats make.
Liberals still carping that Obama abandoned the public option either understand this and are just posturing, or they’re blinded by ideology.
Even if the latest health overhaul goes down in flames — and there are legitimate questions about whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi can muster a majority for Obama’s proposal — health reform is not going to disappear for 15 years as it did after Bill Clinton’s reform failure. Should Republicans regain power, they can’t ignore this issue. GOP leaders appear to understand this.
A truly bipartisan approach would be to start from scratch and begin with the handful of smaller items that most people agree on, before moving on to more contentious measures.
It’s the left’s denial of this reality that has turned its “Last Crusade” into a “Temple of Doom.”