I have seen the future and it doesn't work.
- Robert Fulford
After Obama got his stimulus package passed, he budgeted another $634 billion for health care. (And before his stimulus package passed, he budgeted $33 billion to cover children's health care.)
Now it used to be that $634 billion was a lot of money. Nowadays, it goes without notice. I hate to say this, but Obama is beginning to remind me of a teenager with his first credit card, more impressed with how easy it is to buy than mindful of how hard it is to pay.
One of my many, "he must be smoking crack" moments of the Bush administration was when he launched two invasions while cutting taxes. This had never been done before - tax cuts during war. It was stupidity on steroids.
But the two things that most excite conservatives are wars and tax cuts. Combining the two was like promising a diet of pastries and ice cream. It was simply irresistible for a party whose domination was so complete that they didn't need to even let Democrats onto the floor of Congress to pass their legislation.
Now, the liberals have seized the reins of government. What are two things that most excite them? Stimulus packages (read, spending bills) and health care reform (read, more money for more coverage for more people).
You can't remain a good liberal and suggest that perhaps health care reform should wait. This is like telling a conservative that tax cuts aren't always the best thing. It is blasphemy, no matter how accurate the assessment.
So, we're stuck with the consequences of who we have in office and these people seem unable to change who they are. The result seems to be that certain truths are simply verboten - impossible to utter because true believers would never be so craven as to actually take into consideration something as unprincipled as budgets or economic conditions.
Maybe it is true that considering conditions would lead to inaction. I doubt it, though. I think that a party that actually considered reality before trying to change reality would end up adapting policies that would be so effective as to actually sustain their time in power.
Yet, this seems to be the catch-22 of politics. You can't get elected without the support of some group of true believers. If you deny them their diet of pastries and ice cream when they finally have their day in office, they will hate you. And this is one of the ways that what makes for good politics seems to make for poor policy.
I remain an optimist, though, about the possibility of policy that works and, specifically, the possibility that this Obama administration will formulate and enact such policy. All the data, though, seems to support the most cynical pronouncements of my good buddies Davos, Allen, and Bill who regularly express the opinion that there is something about working inside the Capitol dome that distorts good thinking.
Hmm. Maybe they need to replace the dome with a pyramid. If a different group of true believers is right, this could sharpen thinking.