One such springtime account began: “Ronald Reagan used to joke that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ Barack Obama is making those words welcome.”

No he’s not. The public reaction to the health-care proposal, evident both in public-opinion polls and town halls, tells us that the misgivings Ronald Reagan identified 25 years ago remain a potent factor in American politics. There’s a reason why the United States motto on the back of its currency reads “In God We Trust,” not the other G-word.

The left likes to say that conservatives hate government. The truth, and it holds for many people beyond conservatism, is closer to what Alfred Hitchcock said when he was accused of hating the police. “I’m not against the police,” Hitchcock said, “I’m just afraid of them.”…

President Obama in his public pleas for the plan appears to be truly upset that his benign view of it isn’t obvious to all. In his op-ed Sunday for the New York Times he said, “We’ll cut hundreds of billions in waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid.” Hundreds of billions? Just like that? This is nothing but an assertion by one man. It’s close to Peter Pan telling the children that thinking lovely thoughts will make them fly.