Thursday, August 13, 2009

Byzantine Beyond Belief

The brilliant Camille Paglia, whose rambling columns over at are often incendiary, has written the finest overall analysis of President Obama's health care initiative and the subsequent political battles that I've read by any author, anywhere. In writing Obama's Healthcare Horror, Paglia is witty, biting and, most of all, insightful in her look at the strange progress of what she calls, "one of the most vital issues facing the nation."

Paglia is an Obama supporter. She voted for him in the election and has high praise for his handling of foreign affairs and other issues. But, in this article, she dissects his political team and his handling of the healthcare debate alternatively with a razor sharp knife and a sledge hammer! She leaves no bodies unbloodied.

I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama's chief of staff, and hope it's a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.

Case in point: the administration's grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises -- or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

Where Paglia is especially sharp is in her analysis of the various competing healthcare bills floating around Congress this summer. These bills do not do the very things the President promised. Worse yet, it is increasingly clear President Obama doesn't even know the content of the bills he is championing.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups

Camille Paglia echoes my exact sentiments in her review of the current, keenly orchestrated, Democrat effort to brand any concerned citizen as a member of an AstroTurf "mob." It simply isn't possible for a political party to so stunningly betray the American People.

And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

Be certain to read Camille Paglia's complete article: Obama's Healthcare Horror


Chris said...

Welcome to the brave new world.

This is exactly what I would expect from a radical neophyte like Mr. Obama. He is simply carrying out his agenda of grabbing as much of the private sector that he can. I'm sure he realized from the moment he took office that the clock was ticking, until enough people recognized that he will not be the President he claimed he would be as a candidate, but the President that people who opposed him based on the ideas and associations he had exhibited all of his adult life predicted he would be.

The people he has surrounded himself with and the way he has reacted to being balked in his pursuits speak volumes about his leadership skills. People like Paglia are only skimming the surface. It sounds like the old excuse "If only Stalin knew" that was bandied about by previous fellow travelers and useful idiots.

Chris said...

Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about, just written much better:

"In the normal course of events, the process takes a while. But Obama believes in “the fierce urgency of now”, and fierce it is. That’s where all the poor befuddled sober centrists who can’t understand why the Democrats keep passing incoherent 1,200-page bills every week are missing the point. If “health care” were about health care, the devil would be in the details. But it’s not about health or costs or coverage; it’s about getting over the river and burning the bridge. It doesn’t matter what form of governmentalized health care gets passed as long as it passes. Once it’s in place, it will be “reformed”, endlessly, but it will never be undone. Same with a lot of the other stuff: Keep throwing the spaghetti at the wall. The Republicans may pick off the odd strand but, if you keep it coming fast enough, by the end of Obama’s first year the wall will be a great writhing mass of pasta entwined like copulating anacondas in some jungle simulacrum of Hef’s grotto. And that’s a good image of how government will slither into every corner of your life: You can try and pull one of those spaghetti strings out but it’ll be all tied up with a hundred others and you’ll never untangle them."

Read the whole thing.

Bob Keller said...

Chris, I really appreciate your contribution to the discussion here and the excellent link. The case you make is fascinating and, I'm sorry to say, compelling. I can't buy in to Steyn's theory, but perhaps I'm naive.

Regardless, the various bills before Congress are horrific and, worst of all, completely unnecessary. We can achieve Universal Health Care WITHOUT destroying the current system.

Stella by Starlight said...

Chris, I think corporate conglomerates are similar to government. You can try and pull one of those spaghetti strings out but it’ll be all tied up with a hundred others and you’ll never untangle them." I love that analogy: one can direct that point to both public and private sectors.. Consider the vast Mediaocracy that runs the news, entertainment, and music. I'm still trying to pull those spaghetti strings. Your comment crosses so much of our lives.

Wizard, the Metaverse is a wonderful, new name for your blog. I am glad to hear that Paglia is still able to adhere to her progressive beliefs while able to see the problems in government health care. Ann Coulter once stated that only stupid people sit on the fence. Paglia proves her wrong. The people that sit on the fence and ponder both sides of the issue are usually the most intelligent.

Chris, I never gave thought to your comments about the potential of continual revisions to the health care system. I need to think about the contrast between government-sponsored health care vs. private health care. I do know that 25% of all Americans are either uninsured and many more are under-insured. Certainly, that must change, but I cannot adequately respond: both sides have negative and positive attributes.

After my necessary blog break, it's wonderful to visit you again, Wizard. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

Chris said...

Those weren't my comments, Stella, they were Mark Steyn's. Credit where credit is due.

Vigilante said...

Wizard, I note this is a wide-ranging & rambling article, not specifically about healthcare reform and contains these two paragraghs:

Both major parties have become a rats' nest of hypocrisy and incompetence. That, combined with our stratospheric, near-criminal indebtedness to China (which could destroy the dollar overnight), should raise signal flags. Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?

What does either party stand for these days? Republican politicians, with their endless scandals, are hardly exemplars of traditional moral values. Nor have they generated new ideas for healthcare, except for medical savings accounts, which would be pathetically inadequate in a major crisis for anyone earning at or below a median income.

I never have knowingly read anything from Camille Paglia, a self-described hater of the Democratic party since she voted for Nader in 2000. She is a loose canon who voted for Obama in 2008.

Paglia describes herself as a feminist and as a registered Democrat whose 2000 presidential vote was Ralph Nader. A libertarian, she would be a Republican except that she embraces fetishism, pornography, prostitution and homosexuality which puts her at odds with American social conservatives.

In short, you have based a complete column on a complete nut who devoted only a 3rd of her article to healthcare reform. Nice going, Wizard.

Unknown said...

So nothing to say on the content Vig? Regardless of the spot on analysis of President Obama's health care initiative? Because she is counter to your beliefs she is a complete nut and should therefore be dismissed...

Hmmmm, good thing Wiz doesn't adhere to your sociopathic standards. He tends to look at the idea's rather then the presenters. In a true show of Liberal ideology.

Bob Keller said...

A true liberal ALWAYS puts principle above party.

shoo said...

Corporations are only superficially like government. When they get so big and convoluted that they become grossly inefficient, then ultimately they fail: unless the government steps in and bails them out either with funds or laws and regulations that restrict the entry of competition. Look at history: what were the top 10 companies of 50 years ago? Where are they now? How about the 50 years before that. The seeminly invincible companies of today will be gone or greatly humbled in 10, 20 or so years.

On the other hand, when Government fails, it is always assumed it is because they didn't try hard enough: the solution is more money and more power. Always. It is amazing, but the Government manages to create problems, blame them on others, and then expand and acquire more power.

Anonymous said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Karim - Positive thinking

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on belief .It should be very much helpfull.

Karim - Creating Power