President Obama's halo has well and truly fallen off.
He has demonstrated lately what many of us have been saying since even before his canonization: that inside the Holy Father, a petty, radical misfit is struggling to get out. And finally has.
Having promised us that prosperity was just around the corner, for one low, low price of $787 billion, he finds himself as top dog in an economically blasted country with a thousand points of blight. The United States has not responded to his behavioral therapy: there has been a stimulus but no response.
He has sought to rescue us from the ravages inflicted on our health by private doctors and insurance companies. If only our doctors and insurance were ruled by a government bureaucracy, and health care for the many were rationed to allegedly benefit the few, we'd all be sound as a dollar. Wait, bad choice of words. Sound as a politician's promise. Uh, no …
But we cannot wait, Obama says. We cannot stop to examine the 1,018 pages of the healthcare reform bill, which it is safe to say he has not read in its entirety — briefings from staff members don't count, and it's unlikely any single staff member has read it all. However, it seems that Jeff Dircksen of Government Bytes has:
… A couple of things stand out. First, the legislation empowers a very busy bureaucracy. The term "Secretary" — as in the Secretaries of Health & Human Services, Labor, Defense, and Veterans Affairs — appears 1,124 times in the bill. The Secretaries -- along with Commissioners (199 references), Committees (76 references), and Boards (17 references) are busy conducting studies, developing methodologies, and receiving recommendations among other things — some of the other things [include] requiring, limiting, penalizing, regulating, taxing, and enforcing their way to affordable health care for all.Despite Obama's foot-stamping impatience, and his order that Congress will pass the thing before the August recess, it's not going to happen by his deadline. Maybe never. Too many people are questioning whether our undoubtedly imperfect healthcare system is actually that bad. Too many people are doubting that the answer is to have a national infirmary run by a dozen layers of managers and string savers.
It's even whispered in some quarters that those wonderful-in-theory systems in Canada and the U.K. aren't quite so wonderful when the rose-colored glasses slip off. Not when you're a file number with an illness that severely downgrades your quality of life or even chances of survival and you wait months till the functionaries in some monstrous cubicle farm decide you can have your operation. Canada and the U.K. have abolished capital punishment, except for patients in their national health services.
And not least, Obama acting stupidly in re Gatesgate. I suspect a few minds were opened like clamshells as a U.S. president delivered a judgment on an incident that was none of his business, and demonstrated that he is spring-loaded to perceive bias everywhere. As he told the NAACP, "The pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights."
Well, guess what. Ordinary, un-hyphenated, un-identity-obsessed Americans are getting a little tired of being taunted and attacked at home by their own president, when he's not traveling the world apologizing for our sick, discrimination-riddled souls.
Can tin haloes be recycled?