If you thought the tea party was over, think again. Kathleen Sebelius just shot a flare into a dynamite factory.
On Monday night, Ms. Sebelius’s Department of Health and Human Services released a final decree concerning a troubling codicil in the individual mandate section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Boil it down, and it comes to this: Next year, every American adult will be required by law to pay for abortions.
It’s not easy to pull the pin from the same grenade twice, but the Democrats continue to amaze.
I love this scandal. It doesn’t even have a name yet. It hasn’t even begun, and I’m already head-over-heels. It’s beautiful from so many angles. Let me count the ways.
First: There’s no way out.
Republicans aren’t interested in fixing the law. They’re committed to repealing Obamacare in its entirety, and the vast majority of Americans agree with them. As a corollary, the Democrats can’t even enter the “fix-it” conversation publicly because it’s a Pandora’s Box. There aren’t a few flaws that need to be fixed in Obamacare. As written, the law is flawed to its core. One policy analyst whose full-time job is to study Obamacare said, “It’s as if a bunch of plumbers, electricians and contractors showed up at the same work site and started to build without a blueprint.”
One fix would lead to another and another until the whole program became a laughingstock. Right now, over 60% of Americans disapprove of the law. The Democrats know that sunlight would be Obamacare’s death knell.
Second: Taxpayer-funded abortions
That hideous phrase is going to be tattooed on every local, state and federal Democratic candidate from now until November.
Roughly half of America believes that abortion itself is immoral and should be illegal, but a full 75% of our citizenry are against the use of our hard-earned tax dollars to pay for them. It’s difficult to get 75% of Americans to agree on the color of the sky. But when it comes to taxpayer-funded abortions, their minds are made up, and they are firmly in the GOP’s corner.
Third: This will kick-start the tea party.
Many on the left want to believe that the tea party is dead and gone. It isn’t. They haven’t been demonstrating, but they’re still meeting regularly in local chapters all over the country. They still send out email updates. They still get together to hear and vet candidates.
In June of 2009, they rose up and organized against Obamacare. They made their congressmen brave when they went back to Washington. Taxpayer-funded abortions are just as likely to draw their ire in 2012. And today, they’re battle-tested, seasoned activists.
Expect to hear from them soon.
Fourth: It was foreseeable and entirely avoidable.
When Scott Brown won “The People’s Seat” and Ted Kennedy’s old office, the Democrats knew that they couldn’t send Obamacare to the Senate. Brown won his historic election on the promise that he would be the deciding vote against Obamacare. With the path to remedial arbitration gone, the Democrats had two choices: Scrap the bill and try again in a bipartisan fashion or ram through the fatally flawed, politically toxic, abortion-laden HR 3200. They chose the latter, and their just deserts are about to be served.
Fifth: Obama gets caught in a bald-faced lie
I don’t have personal enmity for the president, but he lied and lied big on March 21st, 2010, and I’m glad he’s getting caught on such a public stage.
Just shy of two years ago, pro-life Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak and a small band of his cohorts became the final Democratic House votes needed to pass Obamacare. The federal abortion provisions in HR 3200 made Stupak’s group uncomfortable. As they were getting ready to buckle, Bart Stupak asked Barack Obama to lie for him, so that he could lie to his constituents. And the president did. He issued an executive order which stated that no public funds would be used to pay for abortions.
Of course, the executive order was as meaningless then as it is today, but at the time, people believed him. Obama used the weight of his office to intentionally deceive Americans so that he could pass legislation they didn’t want. And now his deceit is public.
Sixth: Political climate change
God knows that if anyone can screw this up, the Republican Party’s leadership can. But, for the moment, the GOP was just dealt a fistful of aces.
Enough of the lachrymose wailings about weak candidates. Enough with the detail-quibbling. It’s time to go on offense. Our activists and candidates need to start every interview with “taxpayer-funded abortions” and end them with “abortions, funded by American taxpayers.” There’s no effective defense for that part of Obamacare. That line is a weapon. We need to wield it ad nauseum.
Politically, conservatives should be thrilled with the opportunity this new dynamic presents. The one thing that the Democrats do infinitely better than the Republicans is attack. Because we stand on principles, we get too comfortable in a defensive posture. The Democrats stand on emotion, so they have no choice but to attack. In politics, unfortunately, the general perception is that whoever is on offense must be making the better argument.
On the broader scale, this unfolding abortion fiasco is deeply troubling. It’s beyond politics. Our president and his administration have shown a unique and truly breathtaking combination of thoughtlessness and arrogance. Even if one believes all of the silly, hideous motives and actions that were assigned to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the run-up to the Iraq war, at least their evil was wrought on non-Americans. At least it could be written off plausibly as national defense, an agreed-upon public good.
Obamacare, as it stands, forces Americans to buy something they may not want and subsidize something they find morally reprehensible. Both the individual mandate and taxpayer-funded abortions are attacks on American citizens’ freedom. The latter, according to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, essentially compels the religious citizen to sin in the eyes of God. These mandates are unique in American government and foreign to American history and culture, yet our president doesn’t seem to be struggling with their issuance.
Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”
Judging recent activity, I think it’s pretty clear that our government isn’t afraid of us anymore. If we’re at a point of balance, last night’s news from Sebelius’s office could well be a catalyst that drives us toward either of Jefferson’s endpoints.
Yates Walker is a conservative activist and writer. Before becoming involved in politics, he served honorably as a paratrooper and a medic in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.