Maybe he’s just the Reuters of political prognosticators, or perhaps just a bit disingenuous. In an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Barack Obama tells viewers that he found himself surprised by the political cost of passing ObamaCare, despite the months of angry town halls, massive political rallies, and polling that showed the bill to be deeply unpopular all during the debate. Even losing Ted Kennedy’s old seat in Massachusetts didn’t give him a clue?
President Barack Obama says the political cost of overhauling the health care system turned out to be higher than he had expected. And he admits that he gets discouraged at times when dealing with the economy. …
“I made the decision to go ahead and do it, and it proved as costly politically as we expected — probably actually a little more costly than we expected, politically,” he said.
Perhaps the losses of gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey could be rationalized by local politics instead of a backlash against Democratic overreach. But didn’t Scott Brown’s surprise victory in Massachusetts provide some sort of clue? Kennedy had spent years pushing a government takeover of the health-care system, but when it came down to it, Brown’s promise to be the 41st vote to stop it won the election.
But don’t worry, because Obama knows exactly who’s to blame for his poor political skills. Republicans!
Obama said he thought that he would find common ground with Republicans by advancing health care proposals that had been introduced by Republican administrations as well as potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.
“I couldn’t get the kind of cooperation from Republicans that I had hoped for,” he said. “And that was costly, partly because it created the kind of partisanship and bickering that really turn people off.”
This is more than a little disingenuous. Obama spent months repeating a tired attack line that the GOP had no ideas on health reform when Paul Ryan had introduced a full bill on health-care reform that Nancy Pelosi buried. In fact, he offered the exact same rhetoric throughout the ObamaCare debate that he trotted out on Wednesday after the midterm debacle, claiming that if anyone had “good ideas” to bring, he’d be happy to hear them, all while Pelosi and Harry Reid locked the GOP out of the billmaking process.
It was the same strategy that Obama used on Porkulus, and it had the exact same result.
On the plus side, perhaps Obama has a glimmer of insight on why command economic policies don’t work:
“I do get discouraged. I mean, there are times where I thought the economy would had gotten better by now,” he said. “One of the things I think you understand as president is you’re held responsible for everything. But you don’t always have control of everything, especially an economy this big.”
Has Obama started reading Hayek? The sheer size and complexity of a national economy makes top-down planning impossible because you don’t ever have control of everything. That is why market-based approaches work best when government sets and enforces an unbiased environment for a market, and gets out of the picking-winners habit. Obama took the exact opposite approach to both health care and the economy with ObamaCare and Porkulus, and that’s why he’s paying the political price now.