Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

No, Republicans have not shifted on Obamacare

Over the weekend, Capitol Hill was aflutter with news that Republicans in the House and Senate were coming together to finally propose a “fix” to Obamacare. The “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” sponsored by Fred Upton in the House and Ron Johnson in the Senate, would essentially overrule the HHS grandfather rules for what insurance plans can continue to exist after certain dates so that people can keep their current plans no matter what, as the President promised. It would be a fix for the millions of Americans being cancelled by their insurers to comply with the new regulations.

Reporters and pundits saw this as a “shift” in strategy, to finally start working with Democrats to reform the calamitous reform rather than stonewall it. I used to think that helpful collaboration would be the better option, but had a change of heart after the implementation proved so disastrous. So I was horrified when I read the headline suggesting Republicans were coming around. As soon as I decide that stonewalling is the best strategy, the party reverses course. Typical! Then I read the story.

Virginia elections (almost) justify GOP base election strategy

There are generally two competing election strategies: move to the middle to appeal to independents and moderates, or move to the margins to fire up the party base and increases turnout. The media universally assumes the former is the only real chance of victory outside local races or unusually partisan districts. The Virginia governor’s race nearly proved them wrong.

Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the state Attorney General, ran as an unapologetic social and fiscal conservative. Democrat Terry McAuliffe, former Clinton handler and DNC chairman, ran as an unapologetic social and fiscal liberal. Neither candidate really tried to appeal to moderates outside of the standard pitch that their policies are good for everyone. The polling and pundit-driven consensus was that Cuccinelli was too conservative to win in a state that is rapidly moving from purple to blue. Two weeks ago, McAuliffe was polling an average of 10+ points over Cuccinelli, 50-40. In the last week, that margin shrank to an average of 6 points, mostly by McAuliffe falling but Cuccinelli staying steady around 40%.

In the end, McAuliffe won by only 2.5%, less than half his previous poll average margin. Cuccinelli won 45.5%, to McAuliffe’s 48%. Only 55,000 votes separated the two, in an election where more than 2 million cast ballots. That’s incredibly close for a candidate who was supposed to be too radical to even be competitive in a purple state.

Abandon the Obamacare ship!

Since at least last year I have opposed the stonewall strategy on Obamacare. I’ve thought we should fix what we can, especially given the low probability of full repeal over the next two election cycles. However, as implementation proceeds, the news worsens, insurance policies drop like flies, and polls fluctuate, I am questioning my position.

The Obamacare 2014 train wreck no one sees coming

Although Hot Air noticed it this morning, there have been few media reports about what could be an even worse insurance avalanche coming next year than what we’re seeing now.

Fire Sebelius: Mitt Romney for HHS Secretary

Former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius was appointed by President Obama to be Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2009. After Obamacare’s passage in 2010, she had one job - to make its implementation smooth, and the timeline in the law gave her almost four years to do it.

Three weeks after the federal insurance exchanges opened, it is clear that she has failed miserably at that job. The calls for her resignation are mounting, and an upcoming appearance before a House committee will only accelerate the outrage. Most cabinet secretaries don’t make it through a president’s full two terms, whether because of stress, scandal, or a desire for new energy at those high profile positions.

So with Sebelius potentially on her way out, who should replace her? There is only one man for the job: Mitt Romney!

[pause for laughter]

Now now, hear me out! Think about it. Who else has the experience turning around failed national projects, reigning in out of control budgets, hiring the right people to clean up a wasteful operation, and right down to the details, implementing a health care reform plan with an insurance exchange and individual mandate?

No, Obamacare will not “fail” if we just get out of the way

Now that the anti-Obamacare defund “strategy” (such as it was) has been tried and failed, many on the right are suggesting we get out of the way and let it be implemented in full, on time, as written, so that it can be allowed to fail on its own. The theory is that when it doesn’t work, runs out of money, and breaks the insurance system, the public will demand its repeal just in time for a Republican president to be elected in 2016 and do just that. This, like “repeal and replace” and defund before it, is an unwise and short-sighted strategy.

What precedent is there for a government program, especially an entitlement, failing and just ending? Social Security is out of money, but no one will touch it. Medicare is out of money, Obamacare cut doctor payments rates under it, but no one will dare to truly reform it. Welfare was reformed, not ended or repealed, in the 1990s. Food stamps have exploded. Medicaid doesn’t work either, but was expanded under Obamacare. But we somehow think that if Obamacare runs out of money or doesn’t work as well as it was intended, it will just go away, unlike every other program ever?

Our PandaCam Media

PandaCam

The current media obsession with the National Zoo’s PandaCam is a perfect illustration of how everything is terrible. A federally funded program that should realistically be operated at no cost, to let the public monitor an evolutionally deficient species that needs extroardinary human intervention to survive, gets pointlessly turned off in the pointless government shutdown, and putatively professional journalists breathlessly announce updates to its status.

Beware the Obamacare concern trolls

Ezra Klein

While it was a coincidence that the Obamacare insurance exchange website launched on October 1, the same day the partial federal government shutdown began, there have been few coincidences since. It is thus no twist of fate that many prominent liberals seem to be worried that the GOP is wasting an opportunity to criticize the failure of the exchange roll-out. This is concern trolling at its transparent worst.

The most blatant example comes from a usual source of concern trolling, Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. In a “Wonkblog” piece titled “Five thoughts on the Obamacare disaster” (bait deployed), the first three of those “thoughts” are overt criticisms of the law and its implementation so far (bait taken). Then Klein gets to the GOP’s “missed opportunity” (reeling in):

Their decision to shut down the government on the exact day the health-care law launched was a miracle for the White House. If Republicans had simply passed a clean-CR on Oct. 1 these last few weeks would’ve been nothing — nothing at all — save for coverage of the health-care law’s disaster. Instead the law has been knocked off the front page by coverage of the Republican Party’s disaster.

Passing a federal budget is neither necessary nor wise

budget

As the partial federal government shutdown enters its second week, the calls for a “grand bargain” to solve all and sundry income and revenue issues have returned. The idea that Congress should pass a single, all-encompassing budget, even a balanced one, is a collective mental plague spread by inertia that must be eradicated.

Congress has not passed a full budget to fund the federal government since April 2009. Since then, unable to reach a deal on a full budget, spending has been controlled by successive continuing resolutions, adjusting total government funding levels for short periods of weeks or months each time.

Many say we have to be responsible and pass a real budget. But the truth is the concept of a single federal budget is actually pretty new. While the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 created the first federal budget process, it wasn’t until the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 that the current version of mandatory budget proposals and resolutions was adopted. For the 150-200 years before that, all federal funding was appropriated with specific bills for programs or departments.

The answer to government shutdown is less federal power, not more

In the wake of the now five-day long federal government partial shutdown, center-left pundits have wasted no time calling for drastic changes to the republic.

In the Washington Post, Dylan Matthews openly called for fascism:

Max Weber, in conversation with Gen. Erich Ludendorff, advanced my personal favorite theory of democracy: “In a democracy the people choose a leader in whom they trust. Then the chosen leader says, ‘Now shut up and obey me.’ ” People and party are then no longer free to interfere in his business.

Max Fisher, also in the Post, called for monarchy:

You might find yourself wishing that the United States could follow Australia’s example: Fire everyone in Congress, hold snap elections next month and restart from scratch. But we can’t, because we haven’t recognized the British monarchy or had a London-appointed governor -general in more than two centuries. Maybe, if we ask nicely, Britain will take us back?

The New Republic suggested the President dissolve Congress and then attack it:

Almost exactly 20 years ago, he dissolved parliament. The vice president and the speaker of the parliament dissolved Yeltsin’s presidency, and holed up with their supporters in the parliament’s headquarters, now known as “the White House.”

Then Yeltsin [sent in the tanks].

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

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