Friday, August 14, 2009
Glenn Reynolds (implicitly) raises a good question: Is it worse to invade a country without an endgame in mind, or to set in motion the restructuring of almost 18% of GDP without one?
obviously invading another country without an endgame strategy is less destructive than having an incompetent healthcare legislation.
For invading another country, you can simply leave. America showed that in Vietnam.
Healthcare legislation will endure until another round of policy change is politically feasible. That may be a period of 20-30 years.
You suggest a false question. When you invade a country, there is always an endgame strategy, to win. The "no endgame" criticism was raised by ultra-left wing, America hating, Bush hating whackos, and no plan would ever have satisfied them.
At the same time, Obama has a precise endgame plan but one he can't talk about. His goal is the destruction of the middle class in America and ruining our health care system is simply one aspect of his plan.
Although it sounds clever, this is a false analogy.
To be fair, no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. Wars evolve, and circumstances evolve. There was plenty of planning for contingencies that never emerged, just as the unforeseen also emerged; plus the dispute between State and Defense about just how the occupation of Iraq should be handled. Colin Powell's State Department got their way more than not (Bremer was his choice), and it turned out poorly, but you will never seem him excoriated in the popular media. It was all the evil Rumsfeld and Cheney, and of course, Boooosh!
The "no planning for the endgame" also doesn't account for how badly Iraqi society was wrecked by +30 years of the Baath party ruling Iraq.
The so-called "health care crisis" in America is the same crisis we have been having for years.
1) Insuring the un-insured at a reasonable price in a reasonable way. Making sure they have access.
2) slowing down the faster-than-cost of living increases in health care costs to prevent the erosion of benefits.
There are some viable good alternatives and ideas. There have been a few things tried in different states. The Obama Administration seems bent on not learning from anything previous and creating an outcome that is anathema to the majority of the people.
It is frankly bad domestic politics, and they (and the rest of the Democrats) will be justly rewarded as such at the ballot box in the next two elections. They could have done better, they were supposed to know better, and they have bungled it.
I lean toward anon's view. Bush and Obama both had/have clear, if general endgame strategies. Bush's was to win in Iraq sufficiently that the Iraqis could take over. Obama's is to eventually have a government - or oligarchical and highly regulated - system of paying for health care. But Bush could articulate some steps along the say, while Obama must keep many of his steps obscured.
Interesting that you'd equate invading Iraq with Obama's health care plan. As I've ranted here before, to me Obama is a continuation ... and a worsening ... of bad trends that developed under Bush-Cheney. Bill Clinton -- after being schooled by Gingrich & Co in 1994 -- was actually a model of what we used to call a moderate Republican.
The real political split anymore isn't traditional left vs right. It's between those who want "big government" vs the rest of us. Both political parties have been co-opted by Big Government Statists -- the Democrats more obviously so as that has always been their mission; the Republicans more cynically so.
What's amazing to me is that this isn't an academic debate -- big government has proven a failure at nearly everything it touches. Does anyone believe that Obamacare won't turn into a big DMV? ... that it'll be less bureaucratic than what we have now? Hubris isn't only on the left -- witness the Iraq debacle.
Here's a poll that measures the political map "up and down" as well as "left vs right": http://www.theadvocates.org/quizp/index.html There are other similar polls out there, but this one is very short. Like the other polls, you have four quadrants. I'm firmly in the libertarian camp -- as I'm for individual economic and personal liberty. I'd have plenty of company with our Founding Fathers.
Interestingly, Cheney and Obama would actually both fall in the Big Government Statist quadrant, ... firmly so if you scored them on what they do, not what they say ... they're almost fellow travelers. Cheney is for "corporate welfare" and barriers to free trade, when it helps his friends. Cheney doesn't really believe in slashing federal taxes -- you'd need to have a plan to slash federal expenditures to go with it. Obama's not really a social liberal -- not in the 1960s flower power sense. Obama doesn't believe in a free press -- he wants Pravda. I suspect Obama doesn't give a shit about gays ... happy now, David Geffen? Are we getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan any faster ... happy now, Rachel and Keith?
Cynical me believes that Karl Rove packaged Bush to look like he was from the traditional Conservative quadrant -- but once in power Bush & Co acted as Statist Big Government.
Cynical me believes that David Axelrod packaged Obama to be the anti-Bush -- but once in power Obama & Co are all about Statist Big Government.
So far the debate is clear as mud: You actually have seniors on Medicare rebelling against the idea of socialized medicine ... Obama gets away with saying the burden for everything will only fall on the top 5%, when the top 5% don't have enough money to close the structural spending gap we already have.
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