August 19, 2011

"Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes"

Because you can't argue with all the fools in the world. It's easier to let them have their way, then trick them when they're not paying attention. ~Christopher Paolini

I take my common sense wherever I can find it, nowadays.

This unexpected bit of coherence showed up in today's Arizona Republic, from a columnist who is decidedly not a liberal.

Left's lack of gratitude is hard to fathom

You should really read the whole thing, but here are some salient points.

The hostility and contempt from the left toward Barack Obama is difficult to understand. By any objective analysis, he has done more to advance the liberal agenda than any president other than Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. 


While driving spending and deficits to record levels, Obama got enacted the largest expansion of the social welfare state since Medicare and Social Security. Under Obamacare, families earning up to $95,000 a year will be eligible for federal subsidies to purchase health insurance. 

Most of the left would prefer a government-run system, similar to Great Britain. And they are mad that Obama didn’t get a government-run health insurance program, the so-called public option, included. 

But Obama couldn’t get enough Democrats in Congress to support the public option. Instead, he turned private insurance companies into basically government regulated utilities. The federal government will determine what insurers can offer and heavily limit their profits and pricing flexibility. 

Liberals have been unsuccessfully pushing for a government guarantee of universal coverage for over a half century. Obama got it done. Caviling about the details is small. 


For all the sound and fury, all Republicans gained from the debt ceiling agreement was a slight shaving from Obama’s 25 percent of GDP spending base. And the Bush tax cuts still expire at the end of next year. 

Perhaps liberals think Obama should have allowed the federal government to start bouncing checks in hopes that would convince House Speaker John Boehner to commit political suicide by bringing to the floor a Democratic tax increase plan his caucus would overwhelmingly oppose. If so, they’re nuts.

This is spot on, and even more valuable, I think, because it comes from an outsider's viewpoint. Unfortunately, I'm sure it will be lost in all the firebagger shrieking.

Doubly unfortunate, this column is paired with Charles Krauthammer's latest excrescence. As far as I can tell, he's mad because the Republicans are putting politics above country, and Obama is (albeit in a roundabout way) calling them out on it.

Never mind that Mitch McConnell plainly said the party is doing just that.

Mitch McConnell doubles down against President Obama

But McConnell's comments suggest that Obama will face a far more confrontational Senate, particularly if he doesn't dramatically overhaul his agenda. And the Republican leader suggested that he's prepared to tie up the Senate floor and unite his party against some Democratic bills, which could lead to legislative gridlock and have profound repercussions across the 2012 campaign trail.

The entire Republican agenda since 2010 has been proof of this, with the debt ceiling travesty being only the latest example.

However, the title to Krauthammer's column gives away the entire debate.

"President has a lot of gall for demonizing Republicans for standing up for beliefs."

You mean beliefs (not facts) like these?

Climate change isn't man-made; and

Tax cuts increase revenue; and

Abstinence education works?

That's what ticks me off. That the Tea-pubs consistently push hackneyed canards that are demonstrably, empirically, factually wrong; and continue to push them in spite of all rational debunking to the contrary.

When you want to run a country based on false beliefs, yeah, that does strike me as being a little bit treasonous. Treasonous to reality, and certainly treasonous to the people you want to govern.

So: there's the contrast. Common sense and magical thinking.

Which do you prefer?

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