What If Obamacare Sold Homeowner’s Insurance?

If homeowner’s insurance worked like Obamacare, in no time at all homelessness would be a viable option for residents trying to lower their insurance cost.

Under Obamahome, construction contractors would talk endlessly about how compassionate their employees are. Edgy companies would assert that dealing with an English–speaking crew makes rebuilding your home a breeze. But no company would be talking prices or making binding estimates.

Instead homeowners would hire the company that was closest or had the most caring spokesperson. Really shrewd homeowners might check a Yelp review, but that would be the extent of the research. When it came time to sign the contract the homeowner would pay his deductible and the bill for the covered procedure would go direct to the insurance company.

The homeowner would remain blissfully unaware of what his newly repaired roof, siding, basement or deck cost to fix.

Under Obamahome, renters are also covered, but renters wouldn’t be required to pay a premium. And homeowners who had a loss, but weren’t covered by insurance — because they opted to make the final payment on their Sistine Chapel tattoo — can both buy a policy and file a claim during the same transaction.

At premium–setting time, homeowners would discover Obamahome rates had to be set high enough cover their house and their prorated portion of the renter’s and the pre–existing damage claims.

Soon they’re confronted with Obama’s Choice: To get an affordable premium, homeowners must choose between a much higher deductible for the same coverage or the same deductible for much less coverage.

The result is a $12,000 deductible that covers everything up to and including Hurricane Stormy or a $1,000 deductible that covers tornados and fire, but excludes hail, wind, lightening and floods.

Fortunately, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t malfunction like Obamacare, and with any luck the Texas Supreme Court may force hospitals to adopt pricing reform.

The Dallas Morning News reports Crystal Roberts was rushed to an emergency room after a car crash. The good news is she was home three hours later. The bad news is accompanying her was a bill for $11,037.35 for X–rays, CT scan, lab tests and ‘other’ services. Crystal was charged the ‘This Is Gonna Hurt’ rate because she lacked insurance.

But she didn’t lack a lawyer, so Crystal sued. The Texas Supremes ruled that if the hospital intended to prove Roberts’ bill “reasonable” it must “share … details about the discounted rates it had with health insurers, data that’s generally seen as proprietary and confidential.”

I’ll say it’s “confidential.” You’d have better luck finding Trump’s tax returns. The only price information a patient gets on a visit to the hospital is what it costs to park.

One wouldn’t know that from the story, though. Economics illiteracy among journalists continues unchecked, “While few dispute costs are out of control and transparency would help, the ruling is seen as unprecedented by some, who worry it could deal a big blow to free market competition in health care.”

The statement couldn’t be more wrong. It’s like saying if we banned Consumer Reports Car Buying Service and prohibited window stickers on new cars it would increase competition and lower prices.

The ability to compare prices encourages competition, while concealing prices encourages price–fixing.

The decision is a tentative step toward my simple, Constitutional, solution for increasing healthcare competition. First, require any hospital taking federal money to post turnkey prices for the 25 most common hospitalized surgical procedures; the 25 most common out–patient procedures and the 25 most common tests. All charges must match the best price offered insurance companies – the information the Texas hospital doesn’t want to share.

Second, allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, creating a national market. Any national policy won’t be subject to state-level regulations. This means state politicians with itchy legislative fingers can’t force companies to cover pap smears, prostate exams, birth control, or any medical fad do-gooders want to force on consumers. Individual buyers will be able to pay for the coverage they want and not be forced to pay for coverage a major campaign contributor wants them to have.

Policies must be offered in all states to escape individual state regulation. Any company selling a policy within a state must conform to that state’s financial stability rules.

Third, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions if the patient can prove continuous coverage for the prior six months. Otherwise, a six-month waiting period. Patients who don’t want to buy private insurance can participate in a federal high–risk pool.

Depending on judges to reform healthcare is spotty and imprecise.  We need Congress. The only negative impact my reform might have is on hospitals and the Medical Industrial Complex. That’s why it won’t happen. Those insiders make large campaign contributions and the likes of Crystal Roberts don’t.

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Congressional Obamacare Hypocrisy: They Get the Subsidy, Taxpayers Get the Bill

Sen. David Vitter (R–LA) is in lonely fight against Congressional Obamacare hypocrisy.

Republicans claim to be against Obamacare, yet many protect their staff, along with their health plans, from the same federal meddling, cost and inconvenience taxpayers must suffer. One expects that from Democrats but it’s infuriating from Republicans.

Vitter has been trying to end this shuffle for more than two years.

Now there may be hope that Vitter will succeed with a little help from you over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Complete details in my Newsmax column at:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Congress-Staff-Taxpayers-Vitter/2014/12/12/id/612685/

Veterans Are the Healthcare Canary in a Coal Mine

JeffDarcy VA scandalBetween today and June 6th’s 70th anniversary of the D–Day landing I want you to find a veteran and talk to him. This doesn’t mean cornering some unsuspecting vet and ambushing him with the latest insipid leftist cliché: ‘Thank you for your service,’ which manages to be both pretentious and condescending.

(However, it is an improvement over the left’s former greeting for vets: ‘How many babies did you kill today?’ But it’s still rote trivialization.)

Ideally your vet should be a veteran of either the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam War. Not because the fighting was far enough in the past be non–controversial, but because this vet has had plenty of time to experience the tender mercies of the Veterans Administration health care system.

And that system should be the main topic of conversation, because if the left has its way, everyone will experience this type of health care under the coming Obamacare regime. Don’t make the mistake — encouraged by the cheerleading mainstream media — of believing the VA is a problem unto itself and has no relation to civilian health care and certainly no relevance to the future of Obamacare.

That is spin and it is completely untrue. The VA hospital system is essentially the pilot program for Obamacare. It’s been a single–payer system from the beginning and single–payer is the ultimate goal for Obamacare. The VA system was designed to accommodate a smaller subset of the population and it was immune to competition from the private sector. Think of it as the United States Postal Service with syringes.

The theory is after the bugs have been worked out of the pilot program, then a benevolent government can expand it to accommodate the entire country. Unfortunately with leftist big government, when a pilot program fails the verdict is always the failure was due to a lack of resources. The cure is to take the same program, bulk it up with taxpayer dollar injections and make it mandatory for the entire country.

So the VA is very relevant to Obamacare

Our veterans have been used as guinea pigs since 1930 when the VA was founded. One would think 84 years is long enough to get the kinks worked out of the program, but one would be wrong. VA hospital horror stories have been a staple of government scandal coverage for years.

If you fall for the ‘it’s just the VA and won’t affect civilians’ cover story then you are believing what the Obama administration wants you to believe. The goal of the White House is to keep the VA scandal bottled up in a silo off to one side. Obama wants you to think it’s just a rogue VA hospital in Arizona that cooked the books.

But it’s not just Arizona. It’s Florida, it’s West Virginia, it’s Missouri, it’s all over the country. And the problem can’t be solved because there is no real penalty for failure and no competitive pressure to excel. And the same government that runs the VA will soon be running Obamacare if the left can expand it into a single–payer system.

My family has it’s own story of an encounter with the Oklahoma – Texas VA administration. One of my uncles — a WWII veteran — fell ill and went to the VA for treatment in the 50’s. The good doctors said he had suffered a nervous breakdown and they hospitalized him in the mental wing.

Today suffering a nervous breakdown means you are forever immune to negative job performance reviews and the Angel of Downsizing will probably pass over you, too.  But in the 50’s a mental problem was the kiss of death.

My uncle lost his career, his wife and his future. He was in and out of VA hospitals for two decades trying to find a cure so he could reassemble the shards of what had been a normal life. And then one fine day he got a new VA doctor. This doctor announced that my uncle had never had any mental problems and that all his difficulties had been caused by an undiagnosed and untreated brain tumor that had been growing in his skull since the first time he saw the inside of a VA hospital.

So my uncle went home to the bedroom he’d inhabited in my grandmother’s house since he lost everything he held dear. And he thought about his life. And he thought about what he had lost. And he carefully took a blanket off his bed, went over to the gas space heater, sat down on the floor, covered his head with the blanket and turned on the gas.

So my family knows all about VA medical care and we want no part of it.

These poor vets were promised first–class health care in return for going to war. Instead they received secret waiting lists, bureaucrat cover-ups, buck passing and incompetent care.

On the other hand the rest of us, that haven’t gone to war, have been promised we could keep our doctor and our insurance.

So find a veteran and ask him how the government keeps its promises.

The continual problems of the VA health care system are what the rest of the country will face if Obamacare isn’t stopped in its tracks. Government can’t run a smaller health care network and it certainly can’t run universal health care.

Our veterans have been the canary in the health care coalmine for decades, but Uncle Sam just keeps replacing the dead canaries with new ones.

Constituent Service Gone Wild

Toll Road pay up

Football fans everywhere are indebted to Virginia Delegate Joe May (R–Leesburg) whose invention of the electronic first down marker added much needed precision to watching the game on TV. Unfortunately, May’s understanding of the free market is much less precise and is in danger of throwing taxpayers for a significant loss.

According to Liz Essley in a series of stories from Washington Examiner, May wants the state to buy the privately–owned, 14–mile–long Greenway toll road located west of Washington Dulles Airport. He is joined by Randy Minchew (R–Leesburg) and David Ramadan (R–Prince William), who also confuse the role of constituent service in conservative governing philosophy. It’s a troika of Republicans who should know better.

May wants the Commonwealth to issue hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bonds to buy the Greenway from the Macquarie Group. Joe contends this would be good news for commuters because he believes the state will be reluctant to raise the tolls, which is not been the case with private ownership where peak period tolls can run as high as $5.80.

And why not? The government body that runs the Dulles Toll Road doesn’t even bother to bill 90 percent of the drivers who use their pavement but refuse to pay. Let them annex the Greenway and commuter’s troubles are over, as the taxpayer’s are just beginning.

Plus everyone knows overall operations for a government–run toll road will be so much more efficient than in the free market. Just look at the pioneering work done at Metro. During the past twenty years the Metro bureaucracy has discovered that escalators installed outdoors without protection from the elements have a tendency to break down and need replacement. Metro’s study of the effects of failing to conduct even routine maintenance on subway infrastructure led to the discovery that the system will become unreliable and subject to unpredictable shutdowns and track work that will consume most of the coming decade.

And don’t overlook the Smithsonian parking lot where attendants stole over $1 million in parking fees with management none the wiser.

And of course government involvement means low prices, which is why the IRS estimates the lowest priced insurance policy under Obamacare will cost a family of five $20,000 a year. If you want a policy that lets you see an actual doctor, as opposed to a Jiffy Lube professional, that will cost extra.

So what could go wrong with Virginia buying the Greenway? If it becomes too expensive to operate without raising the toll, they can just shut it down on Saturday, like the Post Office wants to do with mail delivery.

Del. Minchew echoes May, “I really want to protect our citizens from having tolls reach higher amounts than they should,” he explained.

And Ramadan wanted to try something called “distance–based tolling,” but says Macquarie was not interested.

And there it stands, constituents complain about the price they pay to speed their commute and they want government to “do something!” Followed to its logical conclusion, this type of activist, meddlesome thinking regarding the role of government lead us to the door of Nancy Pelosi’s office. Conservatives do not rush to meddle in a situation the market is uniquely qualified to handle.

The Greenway has been a troubled project from its inception with wildly inflated traffic estimates justifying too much spending. Fortunately, government wasn’t involved, so the first set of owners took a financial bath on the project and sold the tub, ring and all, to Macquarie.

The cost to taxpayers was zero.

Average daily trips on the Greenway peaked in 2005 with a bit over 61,000 with the average toll was just over $2.00. Proving the economic demand curve is alive and well and living in Virginia, as the price for tolls has gone up, traffic volume has gone down. Until in 2012 average daily trips are about 46,500 and the average toll is $3.93.

Yet with traffic down 24 percent, Greenway management was still able to increase average daily revenue by almost $61,000. So the toll is obviously not too high. Otherwise market forces would mean fewer drivers AND less money. Now the price is obviously too high for at least 14,500 drivers because they are now taking another road to work.

And that’s how the market operates; consumers balance cost and benefit and make their choice. Democrats and confused Republicans run to government and plead with them to intervene.

I wonder if any of the esteemed troika members has priced a rib roast at Wegmans lately? Driving on the Greenway is mere transportation, but eating is life itself.

I haven’t had a rib roast in the last year, because they are too expensive and the Philistines at my house can’t tell the difference from a pot roast anyway. But if the state buys the Greenway, I may start talking about the cattle cartel at the next town meeting.

And what makes those particular Greenway drivers so special? How about, God help them, Metro riders? Or Virginia Railway Express passengers? Everybody has a gripe about something.

Del. May is “optimistic we’re going to find a deal that works for both sides” and believes buying the Greenway could cost Virginia nearly $1 billion (which is $21,500 per current trip or 14 years worth of toll charges), making the road green in more ways than one. Hard–bargain Joe’s $1 billion is an interesting figure, because according to TollRoads News the owners carry the Greenway on their books as a net liability of $490 million dollars, meaning the road is worth almost half a billion dollars less than it cost.

As the reporter points out, Macquarie could PAY Virginia $450 million to take the road off its hands and have the books come out $40 million to the good.

It’s time to throw the challenge flag in front of Del. May. Having the Commonwealth buy the Greenway is a bad idea, bad economics and profoundly anti–conservative. In this case what’s private sector should stay private sector.

Conservative Pacifists in the Culture War Part 2

The Obama Inauguration Committee features a new "Heretics Only" water fountain policy.

The Obama Inauguration Committee features a new “Heretics Only” water fountain policy.

Christ was no doubt on to something when He limited His public ministry to three years. Any longer and a mere human may forget what he said before or, even worse, lose enthusiasm for an earlier message as the culture changes.

Which is evidently what happened to the Rev. Louie Giglio. Until recently he was scheduled to give the benediction at Obama’s second inauguration. Giglio — founder of the “Passion Conferences” that are marketed to college–age Christians — had lately been in the news for his work against human trafficking and had said grace, so to speak, over the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the White House.

But then an aggressively homosexual lobbying group dug up a sermon Giglio delivered in the mid–90’s and accused him of being an orthodox Christian that believes in the Bible. Well, that was that and Giglio lost no time beating a hasty retreat from the inauguration.

Giglio might have made a better decision if he’d listened to his own sermon before deciding to run up the white flag.

In it the reverend is addressing the homosexual onslaught that traditional culture was just beginning to experience. Giglio wisely pointed out, “We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but many in the homosexual community. Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive movement. That movement is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to the family.”

That was not only wise, it was prophetic. Then Giglio mentions what both the Old and New Testament have to say regarding homosexual practices and concludes, “…homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle…homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin according to the world of God…That’s God’s voice. If you want to hear God’s voice, that is his voice to the issue of homosexuality. It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear.”

Again, there is nothing that a plain reading of Scripture does not tell one. Giglio was not embellishing and he was certainly not personally condemning homosexuals. He just stated the obvious at it applies to the Bible and observant Christians.

Homosexual practices are not a lifestyle. The practice is a rebellion against God at the most fundamental level. God created woman for man and blessed the union. Any other arrangement is a perversion of God’s plan and God’s intent. And it remains a perversion in spite of the fact the only perversions elite culture recognizes today are smoking, obesity and magazines with a capacity larger than 10 rounds.

Giglio also said, “We must not sit quietly by and stick our heads in the sand and let whatever happens happen in our country. We’ve got to respond to the world we live in. That is the mandate that comes to us as people of God. And this issue is coming more and more to the forefront every day.”

Unfortunately, that is exactly what Giglio did not do. Instead he issued a weak statement that reads, “Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15 to 20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer that I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.

“Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past 15 years. Instead, my aim is meant to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.”

This reads like it was written by the same people covering up the massacre at our consulate in Libya. And “ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ” means exactly what?

Christ is significant with or without Giglio’s help. What He needs are teachers who will engage the culture. My fellow conservatives are off the mark when they view this incident as another instance of a politically correct culture that hostile to Christianity.

The culture has always been hostile to Christianity. Good grief, Herod murdered all the male children in Bethlehem aged two or under in an effort to end Christ’s ministry before it began. You can’t get much more hostile than that.

What Giglio has done is acquiesce in the disparagement of the truth of the Bible. What kind of message does this send to the young Christians that Giglio is supposed to be leading? Does Giglio hope the culture will be at least as accepting of him as it is of tobacco executives?

Does it mean Christianity has some vaguely disreputable beliefs that we only share privately with our friends, but the philosophy is not something we want to identify with in public?

How, exactly, does that differ from a meeting of the Klan?

We are losing the culture war because Christians are lead by pacifists, as I wrote about earlier. Giglio has “evolved” from confronting the culture to surfing cultural waves. His current cause is “human trafficking,” which has a number of advantages for a timid Christian. One, all the right organizations are against human trafficking. Two, you get to hobnob with celebrities. And three the chances of offending someone in the congregation are infinitesimal.

Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, asked the Washington Post: “Are all Orthodox clergy now to be banished from civic life if they openly affirm their faith’s teaching about marriage and sexual ethics?” “Are only clergy from declining liberal denominations now acceptable according to hyper–political correctness? Will the same standard also apply to Muslims and members of other faiths who don’t subscribe to the views of Western secular elites?”

Giglio evidently thinks refusing to confront the administration’s “Heretics Only” drinking fountain policy is being polite. But the message it sends the flock is one of weakness and vacillation when it comes to the plain language of the tougher parts of the New and Old Testament.

And it really compares poorly with the Catholic bishop who is preparing to go to jail rather than comply with the Obamacare abortion mandate.

Lou Giglio is building a ministry designed to attract the young in Atlanta. Up until now the name was “Passion City.” In light of his failure to affirm his own message, I suggest Giglio might want to consider changing the name to “Mildly Enthusiastic (But Not to the Point Where We Would Offend Anyone) City.”

House Republicans Have More Than Two Options

fiscal-cliff-boehner

There were a few anxious moments in the White House last night and early Thursday morning. For a brief moment it looked liked John Boehner’s re–election as Speaker might be in trouble. This would have been a disaster for the Obama administration — equivalent to the French hiring Gen. George S. Patton as their commander–in–chief in the fall of 1938.

It’s quite possible that Boehner is the favorite Republican of Oval Office denizens. He’s never won a showdown with Obama. He huffs and he puffs and he blows his own House down. Cong. Boehner is the Ambrose Burnside of GOP strategists. He’s always a pontoon or two short of victory.

Which is why his three–vote margin was uncomfortably close for the Obama administration.

Speaker Boehner — and admittedly much of the Republican brain trust both in and out of elective office — is trapped in a binary, tactical battle with the White House. A battle he manages to re–fight and re–lose on a regular basis. The fiscal cliff confrontation was simply not a choice between passing Obama’s tax and spending increases or plunging headlong off the cliff.

A truly strategic thinker would have seen there was a third option. An option that was difficult in the short run, but promised a lasting victory in the long run.

I outlined that strategy here in mid–December. I contend that Obama has a legitimate mandate to raise taxes, so let him raise taxes to his heart’s content. Instead of fighting and losing, House Republicans step aside and let the Democrats pass a bill that gives the public a mandate right upside their head.

Only the Democrats do it without a single Republican vote.

Instead, Boehner states very plainly the GOP believes this bill is wrong and raising taxes will damage the economy. Unfortunately, the people have spoken, so the GOP will abstain on this vote. Making the 2014 off–year election a referendum on the Obama plan.

A referendum Republicans will win in a landslide, if we are correct. If we are wrong, and the voters actually want big, bigger and biggest government, then it doesn’t matter anyway.

Using a political rope–a–dope strategy means Republicans can’t be blamed for pushing the country over the fiscal cliff, nor can they be blamed for the recession redux that follows passage of Obama’s Christmas list.

Instead, binary, short–term, tactical thinking has saddled the nation with a terrible deal: $41 in new spending for every $1 in elusive spending cuts. And what’s worse, because the House GOP leadership helped pass the bill, Republicans now have part ownership of the blame for Obama’s failure!

Ss long as Boehner is speaker, this willing participation in mutually assured economic destruction undercuts responsible conservatives in the future.

On the other hand, Republican governors, when presented with an almost identical situation, made just the type of choice I’m advocating.

GOP governors loathe Obamacare. They believe it to be bad policy, bad medicine and bad government. Now Obamacare is the law of the land and the next step is implementation on a state–by–state basis. In any potentially chancy political situation Democrats can be certain to monopolize all the credit and outsource the blame if things go wrong.

Acting on this principle, Democrats established a system where each state is supposed to create a health insurance exchange, which insulates national Democrats from blame. When Obamacare goes horribly wrong, state governors will be in the line of fire, since they created the exchange.

If Boehner had been governor of say Virginia, he would have fallen right into the trap and worked to create an exchange that implemented Obamacare and dispensed blame to Republicans.

Fortunately Bob McDonnell is governor and he — along with other wise Republicans at the state level — refused to create an exchange. Leaving Obamacare a Democrat sole proprietorship, since the exchange will be run by the feds. Obama owns the law and he owns the outcome, because Republicans refused to participate.

Looking ahead, our next defeat will be the vote on increasing the debt limit. Sure Boehner has pledged that he won’t negotiate with Obama in the future, but I fail to see where being buffaloed by Harry Reid is an improvement.

Unfortunately for conservatives, Boehner is an excellent strategist when it comes to protecting his career. As Virginia Del. Rich Anderson (R–VA) points out, back in 2009 Boehner was a strong supporter of a secret ballot for union elections.

Boehner declared that a public vote with union organizers watching would “actually would strip workers of free choice in union organizing elections…. Instead, it would leave them open to coercion and intimidation — from either union officials or company management — to sign or not sign a card expressing their desire to join a union.”

Which makes the 12 Republican members of the House who voted against Boehner on Thursday all the more noble. Since he was watching teamster–like as each one of them voted against him.

Voting as a conservative in the Boehner House is not conducive to career advancement. As the four freshmen Congressmen who lost their committee assignments last month, in retaliation for failing to toe the company line, will be happy to tell you.

The Media Beats a Dead Macaca

Macaca, the Republican gift that keeps on giving.

Former Virginia GOP Senator George Allen has always been more politician than movement conservative. Allen throws us the occasional social issue vote — he opposes abortions, except in the politically expedient case of rape and incest, and he’s on record as supporting gravity and man/woman marriage — but George is also a big spender and crony capitalist, which come to think of it, is also politically expedient.

But after watching his performance in the Fairfax County Chamber’s Senate Candidate debate with former Governor Tim Kaine, one starts to wonder if he’s much of a politician.

In 1994 Republicans took the House after Hillarycare collapsed. In 2010 Republicans took the House in response to Obamacare. A majority of the public still opposes Obamacare and wants to see it repealed. Discussion of and opposition to Obamacare should be a given for any conservative Senate candidate.

Yet during the debate Allen uses the leaden euphemism “healthcare tax bill” instead of the more obvious Obamacare.

This is a mistake on two levels. “Healthcare tax bill” is a term that only saw light after Chief Justice John Roberts applied for asylum at the White House and ruled Obamacare constitutional. To understand the term a listener must be reminded of the decision — something conservatives want to forget — and then connect it with Obamacare.

So it’s a descriptor that’s once removed from the topic at hand. Secondly this bloodless term has none of the baggage and negative connotations that Obamacare has acquired. So why use it at all unless your goal is to discourage your own vote?

Does some consultant think that using Obamacare will alienate independents? Good grief, even Obama embraces Obamacare as a label. And is that also why Allen talks about reforming the “healthcare tax bill” rather than repealing it?

Even in Minnesota — a state that sent Al Franken to the Senate! — a majority of likely voters want Obamacare repealed. In 2010 Virginia voters didn’t defeat Democrat incumbent Congressmen Glenn Nye, Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello because they wanted to send Obamacare to rehab.

Voters want it sent to Restland.

Consultant–pecked candidates pledging to tinker around the edges of Obamacare are everything that’s wrong with conservative politics today. It sucks the enthusiasm out of your own base in a futile effort to seem less threatening to people who won’t vote for you anyway.

However, I know this discussion is inside political baseball. Readers are really asking: What about Macaca? The term Allen used to describe a Democrat tracker during the Senate re–election campaign he lost over six years ago.

It just so happens 34 minutes and 31 seconds into the debate Macaca reared its ugly head (on second thought this particular topic might not be the best candidate for personification, so let’s just say the question appeared).

Holy smoke! What’s the statute of limitations on stupidity? George Allen is a serial apologizer for his Macaca comment. Allen personally endowed the Macaca Studies chair at the University of Virgina. He journeyed overseas and built a school in Macaca’s village. The entire Allen family sends him a non–denominational “Season’s Greetings” card every winter solstice.

What more does the media want?

Why does the MSM have a memory like an elephant for Republican mistakes, but when a Democrat sounds like a jackass interest dies in a month? In mid–August Vice Buffoon Joe Biden tells a campaign audience full of blacks that Republican policies are designed “to put y’all back in chains.” By mid–September the controversy is gone.

By comparison, what would the MSM would do if Paul Ryan told an audience of Jews that Democrat policies on Iran are designed to “put y’all back in the ovens?” Let me save you the trouble. For the next decade demonstrators dressed as kitchen appliances would appear outside Ryan events as the media jostled each other for the chance to interview the burner with a brain.

And should Ryan participate in a debate, he would be peppered with penetrating questions from Anderson Cooper, just as soon as Andy was able to remove his Jenn–Air costume.

If George is paying attention, there’s actually a lesson in semantics buried here among the bias. The debate questioner didn’t ask George about “an unfortunate slip of the tongue” during a campaign rally. She asked about Macaca because she knew the word had impact, would put Allen on the spot and would reaffirm her caring credentials among peers and watching Democrats. (Save your email. I know this is redundant.)

Obamacare does the same thing for public policy. The word is motivational. It shows conservatives that Allen is on their side and the unpopularity of the issue puts Kaine on the spot.

Allen’s consultants appear to be telling him otherwise, but I suggest if he has any doubts, George should call former Congressmen Boucher, Nye or Perriello and ask whoever answers the phone if Obamacare is a good word for Republicans and a bad one for Democrats.

Conservative Pacifists in the Culture War

What the Occupy DC movement failed to accomplish last November, Americans for Prosperity did quite nicely on their own last Friday. You may recall last winter when the AFP held its “Defending the American Dream” summit in downtown DC, those rollicking, goodtime Occupiers tried to storm the convention center so they could harass attendees and disrupt the conference.

That Occupy effort failed. Now that the freebies have run out, there were no Occupiers at this year’s conference. But that didn’t prevent AFP organizers from disrupting their own event.

The showcase for Friday’s session was the “Hands Off My Health Care” rally with featured speaker Cong. Paul Ryan. Shuttle buses were scheduled to take conference attendees to Capitol Hill.

I was part of a large group that waited outside the hotel for almost an hour. During that time tour buses, double–decker buses, jitneys, large vans and even Metro buses all rolled tantalizingly by, but no shuttle. Staffers informed us there was a problem— obviously — but not to worry, the rally was being delayed until we could arrive.

When shuttles finally materialized, we quickly boarded and slowly made our way to Union Station. Inside the parking garage we were told the bus would be returning to the hotel, because the rally was over.

So I have no insight on the current intensity of opposition to Obamacare, the size of the rally crowd or chances for repeal.

Fortunately the day was not a complete loss. During one panel guerrilla videographer James O’Keefe was asked what he thought was the greatest problem confronting conservatives. His answer was both pithy and pertinent: “Conservatives lack (a vulgar word for courage).”

Chick–fil–A President Dan Cathy proves O’Keefe’s point. A mere two days after conservative Americans made it a point to eat at his restaurants on appreciation day, Cathy canceled his scheduled speech in Prince William County. And he canceled every other public appearance scheduled for 2012.

That’s a fine how–do–you–do to all the customers who waited in line and helped set a one–day sales record so that Cathy and his company would know they are not alone in their struggle to uphold Biblical tradition in the face of a hostile culture.

Instead of publicly thanking them and continuing to conduct his business and professional life in a confident and visible manner, Cathy flees inside the bunker.

There are times in life, commerce and politics when you just have to buckle up and ride it out. And who would have thought that alleged squish Mitt Romney would provide a sterling example of just that.

Romney released two years worth of tax returns to braying Democrats and media (although I repeat myself) and said that was it.

Naturally, the failure to completely drop his drawers whipped the opposition into a frenzy. Democrat apparatchiks speculate on what’s Romney’s hiding. The media echoes the speculation. Sen. Harry Reid (D–Demented) escalates by claiming Romney hasn’t paid taxes for ten years.

Even the Weekly Standard and respected conservative columnists have surrendered and said it would be better if Romney released all his tax returns and ended the controversy.

But that would just be the beginning of the controversy and Romney knows it.

Frankly, Romney’s steely refusal to give in to the mob speaks well of his character and makes me a little more optimistic regarding his administration.

On the other hand Cathy’s ignominious retreat sends two harmful messages. The first is mom–and–pop conservatives are wasting their time when they try to resist the decline and decay of secular commercial culture. They will get little, if any positive reinforcement from the businesses they try to support and they will be either ignored or attacked by media and cultural elites.

The second message tells homosexual activists, other libertines and the left that they are winning the culture war. All that is necessary for final victory is to continue the pressure until the resistance of Middle America collapses once and for all.

Conservative leaders need to start leading. Conservatives in the House of Representatives should to stop ducking confrontation with an administration that ignores the law. Conservative business leaders are either going to have to start fighting back or acknowledge the fact they’ve made a career of exploiting the decline of American culture. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Tom Coburn (R–OK) and Rush can’t do it all.

Without leadership the majority of everyday American conservatives are going to leave the field to the leftists with disastrous consequences for the future. For as the Apostle Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 14:8 “…If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

Refresh My Memory; Is Justice Kennedy the Wobbly One?

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts prefers to dress casually in his off hours.

Last Thursday dawned bright and clear. It was shaping up to be a great day for conservatives. More than one observer — waiting for the Obamacare decision outside the Supreme Court — noticed aircraft coming in low on the horizon. Everyone assumed it was ICE drones searching for illegal aliens deserving of amnesty and a college scholarship.

But as the aircraft passed overhead the full weight of our mistake hit home. That wasn’t the Army Air Corps insignia on the underside of the wing. That circular logo was the Obama meatball and it was Pearl Harbor all over again! Obamacare was legal and conservatives were caught completely unprepared as plans to roll back Big Government exploded in their face.

Make no mistake. Chief Justice John Robert’s decision is a total, crushing and potentially unrecoverable defeat. Roberts joins with Chief Justice Roger Taney of Dred Scott fame as another Maryland chief justice responsible for a Supreme Court decision that will live in infamy.

“I always say…that if my fellow citizens want to go to Hell I will help them. It’s my job.

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Chief Justice John Roberts

Justice Holmes, a crusty veteran wounded three times during the Civil War, was being cheerfully cynical. Justice Roberts, who appears to be suffering from PTSD induced by State of the Union criticism following the Citizens United decision and potential criticism prior to the Obamacare decision, is merely being pathetic.

Berkeley law professor John Yoo contends Robert’s doesn’t agree with his own ruling but intended to “pull the court out of political fight.”

Unfortunately, Robert’s job is to uphold the Constitution regardless of Democrat political pressure. His failure to do so removes one of the few remaining limits on the growth and expansion of federal power.

This type of judicial temporizing in the face of political pressure is the same thing that happened during the 1930’s. A gutless Supreme Court stood idly by while FDR and the Democrats twisted the Constitution and began the long, legislative march toward intrusive, domineering Big Government.

If conservatives had not been lulled into a false sense of security, much like radar observers at Pearl Harbor, the Robert’s decision earlier in the week to overturn most of Arizona’s illegal alien law would have served to warn us of impending problems.

Deluded optimists claim the decision was a clever rope–a–dope and now Obama has to run for re–election with Obamacare and its hidden tax hung around his neck for all the voters to see.

I don’t know what election these optimists have been watching, but the failure of Obamacare was already part of his campaign. Now, thanks to Roberts, he can run on the success of Obamacare, which serves to solidify a base that was becoming increasingly disillusioned. Protecting the fruit of this Supreme Court decision becomes a strong motivator to get out the Obama vote.

If this is a victory for conservatives, God save us from defeat.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) is already whining that it’s going to be difficult to repeal the entire law because it’s so complicated. But it doesn’t require a 2,400–page bill to repeal a 2,400–page bill. You could do it with a bill no longer than a single page. What it does require is a certain strength of will and Sen. McConnell is telling us he and the majority of Republicans in the Senate lack that will.

They would rather file a lawsuit and let the Supreme Court do the heavy lifting, an option that after last Thursday no longer exists. This, in fact, will increasingly complicate life for Congressional Republicans as an imperial presidency continues to trample the Constitution. The legislative branch can no longer delegate Constitutional protection to the Judiciary.

The second rationalization for our famous victory is that Roberts ended the abuse and misuse of the Commerce clause. But that’s wrong, too. As Rick Richman notes in the Commentary blog: “Part III-A of the Roberts opinion – concluding the Obamacare mandate was not valid under the Commerce Clause – was not in the portion of his opinion that represents the opinion of the Court.” Which means the Commerce portion does not set or overturn precedent.

What a difference a week makes. Last Thursday a powerful conservative fleet was ready to weigh anchor. Eager to catch the high tide of the Obamacare decision and sail to victory in the fall. Today we’re tapping on the barnacle–encrusted hulls of capsized battleships trying to find survivors.

Some are using hammers. Me? I’m using my head.

South of the Border, Down Washington Way

Doing business in the US and Mexico has a number of similarities, although the medium of exchange is sometimes different.

Here’s an outrage: sleazy government officials approach a major business interest and want to enter into “negotiations.” The officials casually mention, “You’ve got a nice little business here. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”

Both sides know the business needs permits to operate, current regulations could be changed or delayed and the bureaucracy’s normally glacial pace could begin to approach that of plate tectonics. All it takes is a little ill will on the government side and costs and delays start to escalate for the business side. And there’s no one to complain to for obvious reasons.

The government officials say this doesn’t have to happen. We can all cooperate for “the greater good.” Spend a little money now and it will pay off tenfold in the future. Everybody’s happy. It’s just a cost of doing business in this locale.

Yeah, yeah, you’re thinking: Wal–Mart in Mexico. Old news. The bad guys have already been treed in Bentonville.

But it’s not old news and it’s not in Mexico. It’s how Obamacare was passed in Washington, DC.

The Washington Times reports that internal Obama administration documents just released by House Republicans reveal “those negotiations violated the promises of transparency Mr. Obama made during his 2008 campaign.” Well whoop–tee–do. My question is: why didn’t those “negotiations” violate the law?

Let’s compare the two stories. In “progressive” circles all cultures are relative until a non–union US corporation decides to ‘go native,’ so to speak, and conform to the cultural norms where it’s attempting to do business.

Wal–Mart is now in a heap of trouble for potentially violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Specifically, Wal–Mart is accused of paying “mordida” translated as the “little bite” to local officials. These bribes meant the officials didn’t “lose” paperwork, invent environmental problems or arbitrarily change the rules for building permits in the middle of the process. “Mordida” is a way of life when dealing with officialdom in Mexico, as many US drivers who’ve received a traffic ticket South of the border know from personal experience.

As a result, Wal–Mart’s Mexican division rapidly built stores all across the country and became the fastest growing part of the corporation with one in five stores now located in Mexico lindo.

Now compare that with the Obama administration “negotiations.” The Washington Times reports White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina and health care honcho Nancy–Ann DeParle met with major drug company representatives and told them that if the drug companies didn’t publicly support passage of Obamacare, the administration would demand a 15 percent rebate on Medicare drugs and urge Congress remove the tax deduction for consumer advertising. Times reporters estimate this would have cost drug companies $100 billion over the next decade.

This little problem went away, just like Mexican permit difficulties, when drug companies agreed to changes in Medicaid and new fees that would raise $80 billion to offset Obamacare costs. And drug companies also agreed to spend millions of their own money on an ad campaign supporting “healthcare reform.” As a bonus, druggies also got a new captive market and Obama dropped support for importing cheaper Canadian drugs.

Right here you’ve got your quids and your pro quos. In Texas, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a doyen of “progressive” circles, indicted Attorney General Jim Mattox for fund–raising calls that weren’t nearly as blatant as these “negotiations.” Yet it’s business as usual in the capital as Attorney General Eric Holder spends his time attempting a posthumous indictment of Pitchfork Ben Tillman.

Here’s another similarity between the two cases. In Mexico not one government official went public when Wal–Mart money crossed his palm, which is saying something because even in the District of Columbia’s government you can occasionally stumble across an honest man. And of course Wal–Mart paid because that’s how one gets things done in a corrupt environment.

Similarly, not one White House minion felt the least bit unclean about participating in the Obama protection racket and the drug companies paid because that’s how you get things done in a Chicago administration.

Once you get past the general atmosphere of third–world sleaziness, the really insulting fact is the Mexicans got the better deal!

Wal–Mart is the largest employer in Mexico and it is planning to add an additional 23,000 new jobs. Mexican shoppers have new, modern stores with “everyday low prices” and senior citizens asking if you “want a sticker on that” when you enter the store.

On the other hand, US taxpayers are going to get a health care system that will soon resemble Mexico’s along with ballooning Obamacare deficits and fees the drug companies will pass along to them.

Progressive moralizers passed the Corrupt Foreign Practices Act to protect the third–world from its own culture. When are they going to get around to passing a Corrupt Domestic Practices Act to protect us from “negotiations” like this?