Obama’s Spiteful Legacy

President Barack Obama. (Evan Vucci/AP)
President Barack Obama. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Post-election analysis falls somewhere between amusing and clueless.

In the amusing camp are Democratic strategists who intone that more Democrats would have won if only more people had voted. The gods surely blush with envy.

And of course, there’s the conventional wisdom that Democrats always suffer in midterms because they lack “intensity,” meaning they don’t care, and that presidents are always unpopular in their sixth year in office.

So much for insight.

Next we visit the clueless camp where professional pundits gather. The consensus here is that the election wasn’t a mandate for Republicans to overhaul government. I confess that I was one of these, but (mark your calendars) I was wrong. There is a difference between warning victors against the end-zone prance, as many of us wrote , and denying that Republicans were hired to do a job.

There’s also no denying that the midterms were a referendum on President Obama. The president prefers to say they were a referendum on his policies, which is perhaps an easier pill to swallow. But Obama is his policies, which happen to rub many Republicans (and at least a few Democrats) the wrong way.

Moreover, people don’t like being insulted and misled, as many feel they have been by this administration. This is not just a feeling but a demonstrable fact, especially vis-a-vis the Affordable Care Act. And it’s not just the far-right fringe who object to the strategic misrepresentations along the way.

These obfuscations include telling the American people that they could keep the insurance they had if they liked it and also writing the law in such a way that the ACA’s mandate to purchase government-approved insurance was not a “tax,” despite the Internal Revenue Service’s role in policing its compliance.

The keep-your-insurance ruse is history now, but the memory still lingers in the minds of voters, who, contrary to what the Obama White House thinks, are not stupid. There’s no dishonor — and it certainly isn’t stupid — to not understand the ACA. The then-Democratic-controlled Congress that passed the thing didn’t even understand it. I’d wager that most still don’t.

Punditry aside, there’s no mystery to the midterm shellacking. It was a loud, clear shout-out to Congress to Just Stop It. Not only stop Obamacare, which more likely will end up being tweaked, but to stop executive overreach and disinformation to sway votes while betraying voters.

Those who feel defrauded by their own government got third-party confirmation recently when remarks by one of the ACA’s chief architects, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — invoking the stupidity of voters and lauding the political advantage of a lack of transparency in government — went viral.

It is a beautiful thing when Truth trots out the door before Oops can catch him.

Click here to continue reading.

SOURCE: The Washington Post – Kathleen Parker

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