Last Man Standing Sits Down
It’s official: there is no one left in the United States federal government with an ounce of integrity. No minority faction prepared to stand on principle, come what may. No “happy few” who can claim, without reeking of hypocrisy, any allegiance to the Constitution above career and party. The House Freedom Caucus now supports the path to socialized medicine.
Okay, that may be slightly hyperbolic, as we do not know that every member of the HFC will vote to toss his conscience onto the Trumpster fire. Still, things being as they are, and all trends seeming to point downward, the safe money is certainly on the side of assuming that any member of Congress who hasn’t sold out yet is merely holding out for a better deal for himself before doing so, whether it be on healthcare or on some other issue lurking in the muck up ahead.
As explained by prominent HFC member Mark Sanford, speaking to Glenn Beck:
The truth is, we’re not repealing the Affordable Care Act, even though we had a lot of fanfare when we had a Democratic president, and it couldn’t go into effect…when push comes to shove, now that we have the chance, the conference was not willing to bring that bill forward….
Right, and that was the objection all along, wasn’t it? The HFC was supposedly unwilling to participate in perpetrating a massive (though predictable) swindle, in which the entire Republican Party pretended for years to be desperate to repeal Obamacare — “if only we had the Congress and Presidency at the same time!” — only to turn around, Trump style, and say “Well, when we said ‘repeal,’ we meant ‘further entrench.'”
But no, Sanford, claiming to be speaking on behalf of the HFC as a whole, has now changed his tune, claiming that the issue all along was not the Constitution, principle, and his soul, but rather the narrow issue of loosening certain Obamacare restrictions on how individual states may regulate insurance companies:
Insurance is not being able to buy your homeowner’s policy when the house is on fire. You have to buy your homeowner’s policy ahead of time to be covered…. So Title I (of Obamacare) was preventing insurance from being insurance, and it was our belief that if you were ever going to affect the cost of insurance for that small business person out there struggling to make it…you had to let insurance be insurance. And so that’s what the fight has been about. And what this MacArthur amendment did was it said, “Okay, we’ll split the baby, and we’ll do a federalism experiment. States that want to let insurance be insurance, they can do that. States that don’t, won’t. If Vermont wants to go a single-payer system, they may; if South Carolina wants to go to a more market-based system, they may.”
You can ignore almost everything Sanford says up to the key turn: “And so that’s what this fight has been about.” That’s Washington speak for, “No, we’re not hypocrites; our whole objection all along was merely about which color of polish we should use to shine Trump’s shoes, and now we’ve worked that out, so we’re satisfied.” And of course the stock Republican hymn to “that small business person out there struggling to make it.” The GOP always focuses on the shiny objective of “reducing costs for small businesses and families struggling to make ends meet” when they don’t want voters to notice that principles, promises, and oaths of office are going up in smoke yet again.
No, as if Sanford didn’t know this, the objection to Obamacare was never that Title I was too restrictive on how insurance companies do business — this was never a war between government and the government’s corporate cronies. That’s exactly the phony war that Washington has manufactured to create the illusion of debate between factions that all agree on one essential thing: American citizens are no longer the rightful owners of their republican government; they are mere ballast — dead weight — to be used as needed for the stability the statist juggernaut piloted by their owners in Washington.
The real objection to Obamacare was — and is, among people who will never have any say in the matter — that its purpose from day one was to serve as a gateway drug to tempt America into full-blown socialized healthcare. (Obama actually promised exactly that before he got close enough to the presidency to learn the value of not publicly announcing your plans for a Marxist bait-and-switch.) Not repealing it when one has a clear path to doing so is a tacit acceptance of the Affordable Care Act’s founding premise, namely that America is heading towards full-blown socialism anyway, so why not soften the public up for it now with a little “market-based” hyper-regulation.
And for the Freedom Caucus to sign on to this surrender under the rubric of “reducing costs” is as likely to play into the progressives’ hands as it is shameful. For by turning this into an issue of cost-reduction, the Republican Party is inviting defeat. As the rest of the world has learned, and America is about to, the majority of our logically-challenged world is highly susceptible to the specious socialist argument that “free” is the ultimate cost-reduction.
The House Freedom Caucus was, briefly, the last man standing in the battle to resist the ratchet mechanism of government-run healthcare — of literal state proprietorship over the private citizen’s physical existence. Now, paradoxically, the same group seems poised to take the role of ribbon-cutter on that very outcome.
If you are inclined to ask, “What else could they do under the circumstances?” you need to reread your George Washington:
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.