July 11, 2012

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Pat Caddell wrote a long piece for Breitbart on the campaign. We have Part One which is 4,000 words so it’ll be the sum of Pickings today. Part Two will come soon.

The Supreme Court’s Obamacare-affirming decision–which can be summed up as “Read John Roberts’ lips, it’s a tax”–has put a political cudgel in the hands of Republicans.  The cudgel, of course, is taxes.  But a huge nail is also embedded in the cudgel: the fundamental deceit of Obamacare.  Yet in the week since the Court’s decision, Republicans have yet to demonstrate that they truly grasp the significance of this weapon–or that they can effectively wield it.  

Why?  Some Republicans are worried that the fight over Obamacare distracts from the issue of the economy. What these Republicans fail to realize is that healthcare and the economy are inextricably linked; Americans now realize that Obamacare was a detour on the road to economic recovery, so to remind them of one is to remind them of the other.  And the two issues, compounded, are all the more powerful.

Other Republicans believe that the healthcare battle has been lost, that Obamacare is just another permanent ratcheting of the welfare state.  What these Republicans fail to see is that the “ObamaTax” issue provides an opportunity to reignite healthcare into the white-hot issue that it was in 2010.   And if the 2012 elections were to be a repeat of 2010, huge changes in the status quo would be not only possible, but inevitable.  

This November, if President Obama goes before the voters on the defensive–that is, on a rickety platform of defending Obamacare as a tax increase–it is he who has a huge problem.   After all, his healthcare program was sold as a boon to the middle class, with a few regulatory sticks included therein.  But if Obamacare can be exposed for what it is–a huge tax increase, the reality of which Obamacare proponents did their best to obscure–then the probability of his survival shrinks dramatically.  To be sure, such an exposing of Obamacare as the ObamaTax will not be easy; the White House and the Democrats, as well as their handmaidens in the Main Stream Media, will do their best to armor up against any attack on the tax issue.    

So Romney must wield that cudgel, and wield it hard.  And so must Republicans, because if the campaign against Obamacare–the ObamaTax–is to be truly effective, it must be a top-to-bottom message.  Indeed, as we shall see, the anti-ObamaTax message could be even stronger for down-ballot Republicans than for Romney himself.  

The challenge is to keep the focus on the tax–the ObamaTax.  Obamacare is many things, but the biggest single thing is the thing that they said it wasn’t–the ObamaTax.   

The American people have shown that they can tolerate incompetent policy.  But what they will not tolerate is being lied to.  As a Jesuit might say, incompetence is a venial sin, but deception is a mortal sin.  And so if troubling questions about Barack Obama’s incompetence turn into serious concerns about his character, the President will lose. …

… While many on the right are angry about Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision, the importance of that ruling–flawed as it might have been–in exposing the health-insurance mandate as a tax cannot be underestimated.

Why? For two reasons, both starting with “T.” The first reason is “taxes,” and the second is “trust.”  

Let’s start with the obvious: Does anybody think that Obamacare would have been enacted in 2010 if it had been honestly billed as the largest tax increase in American history?  No, of course not.  Indeed, does anybody believe that Barack Obama would have been elected president back in 2008 if he had campaigned honestly on a tax-increase-to-pay-for-healthcare platform?  Not bloody likely.  

And Obama knew that, too.  That’s why he felt compelled to make the no-tax promise on many occasions; on September 12, 2008, for example, he offered this very specific commitment in tax-phobic New Hampshire: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.  Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” …

… Still, facts are stubborn things.  And as now we know, thanks to Chief Justice Roberts, it’s a tax.  Moreover, thanks to the Court, we know that it was all a lie all along–Obamacare is, and always was, a tax increase.  So the “T” word of taxes is now joined by the “T” word of trust–as in lack of trust.  Even ABC News’ Jake Tapper had to admit that the breaking of that pledge makes for “a sticky situation” for the president.  Some might say that “sticky” is a polite way of saying “quicksand.”  

Indeed, Obamacare contains many tax increases, a point that Republicans have failed to seize on.  Taking note of the GOP’s lack of interest in contesting new payroll taxes in the legislation, …

… From the night that Obamacare passed more than two years ago, I said that the American people would reject this legislation as a Crime Against Democracy.  That is, it was conceived, gestated, birthed, and weaned in corruption.  It was enacted thanks to unsavory deals–with Big Pharma, with health insurers, with trial lawyers–as well as through the buying and selling of US Senators.  And since then, it has been corruptly administered by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services; as we have discovered over the last two years, those with enough clout can get a “waiver” from Secretary Sebelius, finagling their way out of health taxes that other people have to pay. …

… President Obama did not act alone.  He has enjoyed the deep complicity of the permanent political class in Washington that admires cleverness, even deviousness, in the pursuit of power and tax money.  So if the Democrats said that Obamacare was not a tax, and it wasn’t–what’s not to like?  Inside the Beltway, such fibbing is never a big deal.  The overlords owe nothing to the peasants.  

Indeed, even when the Obama administration’s Solicitor General, defending the bill before the Supreme Court, conceded that the Obamacare mandate could be construed as a “tax,” or “tax penalty”–that is, freely admitting the lie–the Beltway looked on with bemusement.  The New York Times headlined its March 26 story on the Supreme Court arguments: “Arguing That Health Mandate Is Not a Tax, Except When It Is.”  Ha ha.   

But indeed, it is not the Democrats by themselves; it is also the Republicans who show a disdain for the American people, and the need to always speak the truth.  And that disdain is the fundamental reason why Republicans are having such a problem grasping the centrality of taxes and trust. …

… Those politicians who voted for Obamacare–including the Democratic Senators, each of whom were the crucial 60th vote needed to pass it–must answer some fundamental questions: Were they part of the deception?  And if not, will they vote to repeal the ObamaTax?  Will they vote to repeal the lie? …

… Yet now, the grave danger to Obama is that if he is seen as untrustworthy on this issue, he could be seen as untrustworthy on other issues.  And if the door to even deeper concerns is opened, it must be asked: If Obama is untruthful on this, what else has he been untruthful to the American people about?  

Because now everyone is starting to sense the harsh truth.  As the only American leader elected by all the people, the president holds a special place in our hearts.  In school we memorize the Presidents, not the Presidents Pro Tem.  By the same token, when that bond of affection is severed, a moral disturbance erupts in the political cosmos; the process of good-naturedly celebrating the uniqueness of a president–all about his loved ones, and his personal life and history, all the way down to the family dog–is inverted into a sour ceremony of debunking and demystifying.  

So today, the sacred narrative that led to Obama’s improbable but inspiring election–our first African American president, the finest triumph yet of the civil rights movement–has been desacralized.  …

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