It was a military intelligence course. The subject of the day was “traffic analysis.” “This has nothing to do with rush-hour traffic jams on the highway,” explained the instructor. “This kind of traffic analysis deals with what we can learn from the enemy’s radio ‘traffic’ even when we haven’t broken his code.”
It was interesting. You can tell a lot by noting who starts the radio exchanges. Who and how many recipients then chime in with replies, what is the schedule, the daily routine and what kinds of things take place when the regular schedule is replaced with “emergency” radio traffic – things like surprise attacks, invasions, powerful leaders being arrested or suddenly visiting Moscow from Beijing, etc.
I’m applying those lessons to Obamacare, and my conclusions are unsettling. Forget what the actual bill contains. I don’t pretend to grasp it, and I have doubts about all those who think they do. Thousands of pages, many months and absolutely no agreement on major questions such as: Is there “rationing”? Will older people be denied treatments accorded to younger ones? What happens to Medicare with its sharply reduced funding? Abortion? Illegal aliens? Forget the actual content of the bill; let’s just analyze the “traffic.”
What’s obvious is desperation. There are times when desperation is appropriate. President Roosevelt was understandably desperate to prepare for war in 1940. America was understandably desperate to spirit Gen. Douglas MacArthur to the safety of Australia as Japan overwhelmed the Philippines. Allied intelligence was understandably desperate to smuggle nuclear scientist Niels Bohr out of Nazi-occupied Denmark during that war to help beat the Axis powers to the nuclear bomb. Why, however, the obvious desperation to jam Obamacare through before anybody even understands it?
Many a gold-digging woman has been foiled by failure to conceal her curiosity regarding the extent of a man’s fortune over getting-to-know-you cocktails. Many a man’s intentions have become clear to discerning women when all his suggestions for their first evening together involve proximity to a bed. We constantly preach, “Don’t sign on the dotted line if you’re being pressured or rushed!” And we have laws here and there that even allow the customer to “take back” his signature for up to three days after signing. Dogs, we are told, smell fear. Don’t voters smell desperation?
OK, you say, “45 million Americans without health care is unacceptable.” I say one American without health care is too many. But why all those comic-opera complications running into thousands of pages? Why not just take a few pages and say, “If you can afford health insurance, buy it. If you can’t, come get means-tested and we’ll subsidize you, or jail you if we catch you lying and concealing assets.” That would be so much less expensive and would preserve that which is healthy inside American medicine.
The verdict, to me inescapable, is ugly. The fact that this obese document is deliberately unfathomable and the administration is in such a peculiar panic to ram it through plays directly into the hands of those who accuse the president of wanting to pull off a nonviolent version of a political coup. Let’s be polite and call such a coup “socialist.” The full deck of deals invoked to pull off this coup is not yet faceup on the table, but what we do know – the “Louisiana Purchase,” the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the like – would have caused outright counterrevolution in an earlier, more intelligent America.
Not one single poll tells us Americans want this bill to pass. It has a terrible political fragrance, and that fact, added to the administration’s pounding insistence that it be passed immediately, makes any explanation other than “socialist coup” seem somewhere between unlikely and ridiculous. George Orwell would have loved it that the most divisive, shattering parliamentary device invoked to push Obamacare through is called “reconciliation”!
Fitting the glass slipper on Cinderella’s stepsister’s foot and the glove over O. J. Simpson’s hand were like the snug reunification of pea with pod compared to the awful alchemy of transforming this odious bill into law.
Henri Christophe, the first dictator of independent Haiti, inhabited a citadel, high in the mountains, which has been called the Eighth Wonder of the World. Less wonderful was the way he chose to entertain visiting dignitaries. He would line up a few of his soldiers and give them the order to march across an upper deck. Never rescinding that order, he reveled in watching those obedient troops dutifully march right over the edge and plunge to their deaths.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding the modern political equivalent of her troops in the House. She’s demanding they cast a noxious vote in March in hopes the foul smell will have dispersed by the November election.
It would seem that suicide by obeying orders to march over the edge works better with the vassals of dictators in the early 1800s than with freely elected U.S. legislators today.
But maybe not.