Political commentator and former presidential advisor Dick Morris writes:
“Count the corpses:
1. Hillary Clinton’s healthcare proposals led to the Democrats’ loss of Congress in 1994.
2. Newt Gingrich’s proposed cuts in the rate of growth in Medicare led to Bill Clinton’s reelection in 1996.
3. Obama’s and Pelosi’s cut of $500 billion in Medicare led to the Republican victory in the House in 2010.
Now, the GOP, unmindful of the odds, is falling into the very same trap. As George Santayana said, ‘Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.—
This may be true. But if it is, then what does this say about America?
Medicare is one of the biggest parts of the federal budget. It cannot sustain itself by any actuarial
analysis. If Medicare were a private program or business, it would have been shut down long ago for a host of offenses, none the least of which fraud. Government promises to pay for medical care that constantly expands in scope and cost, financed through deficits so far into the future that even economists have lost count.
We live in the information age and this fact is well-publicized enough that people should be aware of it. Or at least willing to investigate it. Instead, majorities — as Dick Morris points out — consistently punish any politician or party who even suggests that Medicare isn’t OK.
If Morris is correct, voters are punishing politicians for even hinting at the truth. If so, who’s more to blame: The politicians who evade reality, or the voters on whose behalf they keep doing it?
The late comedian George Carlin had it right. The longer he’s dead, the truer these words of his sound:
‘You may have noticed that there’s one thing I don’t complain about: Politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says, ‘They suck.’ But where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. No, they come from American homes, American families, American schools, American churches, American businesses, and they’re elected by American voters. This is the best we can do, folks. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out—
He goes on:
“Ignorant citizens elect ignorant leaders, it’s as simple as that. And term limits don’t help. All you do is get a new bunch of ignorant leaders. So maybe it’s not the politicians who suck; maybe it’s something else. Like the public.”
George Carlin was a comedian. One definition of humor is the ironic expression of what cannot be true. When Carlin said these words, most who enjoyed his comedy took them as funny by that definition. But he was right on target, ahead of his time in recognition of this fact and probably knew it.
The best proof of Carlin’s assertions lie in what happened to the Tea Party and the federal budget — most of all, Medicare. Americans in huge majorities will not have Medicare tampered with, because they feel entitled to it. But what if the program cannot be sustained? No matter. Get it done anyway, is the message of most Americans to their politicians. Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush and Obama all have this in common: Government as we know it must be preserved, and even expanded. They only differ on the manner and speed with which to expand it, and the identities of the personalities who will do it. (Remember that Bush expanded Medicare and Gingrich expanded Medicaid.)
The Tea Party was a little different. It seemed to convey the view, “We have to reverse course. Not expand, but dismantle.” But their leaders are not interested in doing that. Even Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman who controls much of the budget and is the best of the bunch, insists that we have to “reform” Medicare. Liberals complain that he’s insincere, but I maintain he really means it. And therein lies his weakness. When the best of the bunch won’t tell Americans, “Face the truth,” but then helps enable the denial of the truth from which 80 or 90 percent of Americans routinely avert their eyes — he exposes himself to the sort of political vulnerability that Dick Morris points out.
Let’s face facts. Capitalism and liberty are slowly dying out in the United States, the only place where they once flourished with any intensity at all. Capitalism and liberty have not yet been fully replaced by their opposites, but only their remnants remain. There’s nobody to save them because there’s nobody in power defending them. You cannot restore what you will not defend. The hideous alternatives about to be paraded for President in 2012 as a response to the socialists who control much of the government are enough to make a lover of genuine liberty and capitalism say, “Let the socialists have it. If the ship’s going down, they should be in charge.”
In actuality, this is not a wish so much as a statement of fact. If you think that Mitt Romney, or Donald Trump, or Newt Gingrich — none of whom show the slightest understanding or concern for individual liberty and economic freedom, none of whom oppose Obama on that basis — will reverse course for a land filled with Americans in denial, you’re living in a fool’s paradise of your own making.
Romney is a fool who favored socialized medicine in Massachusetts before he opposed it. Actually, he still favors it in Massachusetts while still opposing it for America, and simultaneously opposing it in Massachusetts. (I guess we now understand how he buys into Mormonism.) Newt Gingrich accuses Tea Party types who want to dismantle Big Government as being just as guilty of “social engineering of the right” as liberals and socialists are on the left. Excuse me? By limiting the power of government you’re a social engineer? If Gingrich is the voice of intellectual conservatism, then conservatism is more clueless than even I ever realized. Donald Trump really doesn’t care what happens, so long as he gets some personal power and a chance to yell and scream at the Chinese. Trump will expand Big Government in his own way. You can only imagine what he’ll do with the military.
Stop blaming the politicians, America. Blame yourselves, if you’re in that 80 percent or so who will not hear of confronting the moral and fiscal bankruptcy of our toppling welfare state. Or, if you’re part of that minority who’s not to blame, then freely blame your fellow citizens. They’re the ones doing it. Stop feeling powerless because you cannot control what the politicians do. It’s your fellow citizens you have to blame. Tell them to wake up and stop pretending we have no problems at all, when in fact our problems are huge and getting bigger all the time.