Medicare May Be Obama's 'Waterloo'
By Matthew Vadum
In the Battle of Waterloo a resolute leader defeated a dangerous, imperious tyrant. The metaphor lives on today in American politics.
During congressional hostilities over Obamacare Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) famously urged Republicans to push hard “to stop” President Obama’s signature legislation because killing the bill would “break him.”
It would be Obama’s “Waterloo.” It would “show that we can, along with the American people, begin to push those freedom solutions that work in every area of our society.”
After Democrats used gangster tactics that made defeat impossible, former Bush speech writer David Frum scolded “conservatives and Republicans.” He blamed “[c]onservative talkers on Fox and talk radio [who] had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible.”
“We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat,” he wrote. The process ended in “Waterloo all right: ours.”
It now appears both DeMint and Frum were wrong.
Obamacare, it turns out, is not Obama’s Waterloo – but Medicare just might be.
Through a preternatural confluence of events Republican Mitt Romney could evict the Saul Alinsky radical in the White House by running a successful campaign on reining in the obscenely expensive Medicare program and introducing market reforms.
Yes, you read that right.
Moreover, Romney may be able not only to touch this supposed “third rail” of American politics and survive but to ride the lightning all the way into the history books.
This is because the coolest, smartest president ever is hellbent on extracting $716 billion from the popular health care entitlement for senior citizens. The effect on Medicare patients will be devastating but Obama doesn’t care. He’s got to have the money in order to pay for Obamacare, an unproven, unpopular, and largely unknowable program that makes patients and businesses justifiably nervous and alienates seniors, a hugely important voting bloc.
And he’s locked into the ultra-toxic Medicare cuts. In late 2009 Obama gave an authoritative “yes” as an answer when Jake Tapper of ABC News asked if he would “veto any bill that tries to restore funding you took from Medicare?” The election is now less than three months away. Obama is committed.
In 2008 candidate Obama went on record against a similarly sized Medicare cut.
“How would your golden years turn out under John McCain? His health care plan would cut Medicare by $800 billion — that means a 22 percent cut in benefits. Higher premiums and co-pays … after a lifetime of work, senior’s health care shouldn’t be a gamble. John McCain’s plan, it’s not the change we need.”
All of this is a political godsend. Republicans get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play Santa Claus while normally spendthrift Democrats become Christmas-stealing grinches. Paradoxically, GOPers also get to position themselves as compassionate defenders of Medicare while acting like fiscally responsible grownups saving America from the monster of Obamacare.
Democrats created this elegant mess for themselves and it forces Obama to contort himself into a pretzel over Medicare. Democrats may be able to routinely conceal increased government spending through the accounting sleight-of-hand known as baseline budgeting, but they can’t spin Obama’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts.
Obama also has to defend his health care plans by saying he somehow strengthened Medicare. He can’t do it.
It cannot be emphasized enough that no one, except for the most hardened Obama zombie, will buy the argument that Medicare cuts make Medicare stronger. No matter how much they personally may like their president there is a limit to what Americans will believe. Obama simply cannot credibly claim to be putting Medicare on a more sustainable footing while vivisecting it in order it to protect Obamacare.
Conservatives have been weighing in on the political ramifications of Obama’s assault on Medicare.
This week David Horowitz wrote that “Opposing Medicare – which Obama has plundered — to Obamacare, which a majority of voters already dislike, is a brilliant strategy that can neutralize the unprincipled attacks and the calculated distortions of the conman in the White House and his ethically challenged thugs.” He’s right.
At the same time Fred Barnes suggests in the Weekly Standard that it was all part of a grand scheme, a “political trap” Republicans set for Democrats on Medicare.
Anyone familiar with Republicans’ track record is unlikely to attribute such Sun Tzu-like genius to the Grand Old Party. It seems much more likely that Republicans bungled their way into a perfect storm. But whether this glorious situation that promises to undo Obama was planned or inadvertent won’t matter to American patriots who want to save their country.
Ultimately a Medicare fix and Obamacare repeal performed by a President Romney won’t solve America’s colossal problems but they may buy the country a few more years to sort things out.
It gives America a chance – which is more than Obama has given America.