For the last three weeks, the conservative media and Republican Internet sites have been up in arms about the monstrosity that is the de facto nationalization of the American health-care system. It goes without saying that the Obama health-care bill is an ideological nightmare as well as a masterpiece of budgetary fiction, and there can be little doubt that it will significantly reduce both the quality and availability of health care while increasing its cost for the average American. Increased government intervention has never been the harbinger of either improved service or reduced expense.
However, it is more than a little disingenuous for Republicans to decry the way in which Obama and the congressional Democrats are running roughshod over the will of the American people. It is more than a little hypocritical for Republicans to complain that Obamacare is going to cost far more than the oft-cited Congressional Budget Office estimates. And it is completely shameless for Republicans to complain that nationalizing health care is an unconstitutional expansion of federal power.
It wasn't all that long ago that Republicans held the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. With the exception of an 18-month senatorial interregnum from May 2001 to November 2002, the Republican Party held unilateral control of all three branches of the federal government for six years. And what did it do with it?
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Republicans wasted their electoral popularity on two unnecessary and unpopular military occupations. They foolishly transformed what had briefly been a bipartisan budget surplus into what were then thought to be nearly unprecedented deficits. They stupidly created a new federal entitlement program that has turned out to cost far more than was originally estimated. And, to top it all off, they arrogantly ignored the clearly expressed wishes of the American public and handed over $700 billion to a collection of corrupt and insolvent bankers.
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I do not support Obamacare. I have absolutely no doubt that it will be every bit the disaster that its opponents claim it will be. Last summer, I even wrote a column demonstrating that the government-dictated extension of health care insurance to the uninsured will combine an artificial expansion of demand for health care with a reactive contraction of supply that must inevitably result in a rationing of the health-care services that are utilized by the average American. In fact, I am as strongly opposed to Democrat-imposed Obamacare as I was opposed to the Republican-imposed banking bailout.
So do the American people. They hated the bailouts, and they hate Obamacare. And they are not fooled by the Republican rediscovery of financial responsibility, statistical unreliability and the inherent dangers of expanding federal power.
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Both the Democratic Congress and the Obama administration are the direct result of the Republican leadership's sacrifice of principle to pragmatism. They are also the direct result of the Republican masses' rejection of the principled leadership offered by Ron Paul in favor of the "electable" leadership of John McCain. Unless and until Republican voters and the conservative media realize that supporting the lesser evil only guarantees more and more evil, they will continue to be responsible for creating the very monsters that they so vehemently oppose.
As I write this, the fate of the reconciliation package between the House and Senate bills is unknown. I have no crystal ball, but I tend to suspect that it will pass, one way or another. Such an outcome is, after all, rather in keeping with the general theme of American decline and fall that has been chronicled over the last nine years of this column. But even if this most recent expansion of central state power is defeated, the important lesson that must be learned is that the acceptance of evil through the pragmatic sacrifice of principle achieves nothing more than the advancement of evil. One does not reach Canada by driving more slowly towards Mexico. The Constitution is not honored by giving up smaller portions of the rights it describes. And liberty is never won through the continued surrender of human freedom to the state.