ObamaCare: Embrace the New Deal spirit within, Barry!

After I listened to a few angry town-hall meetings on the radio, the situation was clear to me. Democrats had to meet this pseudo-populist challenge by rolling out the real thing, the New Deal vision that is their party’s raison d’être.

So far, however, many in the party’s leadership haven’t been able to awaken from their bipartisan reverie. When Mr. Obama found his plans under attack, for example, he promptly began to downplay the “public option,” an obvious predicate to cutting a deal and placating the insurance industry. In other words, the prospect of a populist outburst from the right apparently moved him toward abandoning the most populist element of his party’s plans and toward an even more Beltwayist position—to move that much closer to the caricature of Democrats traditionally drawn by the right…

Maybe Democrats are afraid it will hurt their standing with those generous fellows on K Street if they channel Harry Truman and say what needs to be said: That government can be made to work for average people. But it will hurt even worse if they refuse to say it.