The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Obamacare debate becomes liberalism’s last stand

Lliberals, interestingly, have stopped defending what is in Obamacare and made the battle over the implementation of the flawed plan; it is now for them merely a fight to prevent those meanie Republicans from blocking a plan the public doesn’t want or like. Republican critics, however, do talk about what is in Obamacare — unprepared exchanges, an invitation for fraud (income verification is on the honor system), dropped coverage, reduction in work hours and premium hikes. That is in and of itself telling.

What is also noteworthy is how exercised Big Labor has become over the imposition of legislation that will tax and thereby wreck generous health-care plans they have negotiated (and in some cases struck over) for decades. It is as if labor bosses just figured out how rotten Obamacare is for their members. The Hill reports:

A top labor official is pushing the AFL-CIO to ratchet up its criticism of  ObamaCare at its annual convention.
Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North  America (LIUNA), on Tuesday said a draft resolution that bashes the  healthcare law doesn’t go far enough.
O’Sullivan and LIUNA have raised concerns about the healthcare law and its  effect on union plans, and have been pushing to debate the law out in the open. . . .
We are supportive of fixing parts of ObamaCare and our primary objective is to  change it. But if it can’t be changed, then it needs to be repealed. [Emphasis added.]

This is Big Labor, not the Republican National Committee, mind you. Labor leaders know Obama is a lame duck, who can deliver nothing for them. Big Labor, unlike the liberal punditocracy, isn’t blindly following Obama to the detriment of a chunk of middle class Americans.

And that takes us back to the ferociousness with which liberal pundits cling to Obamacare. They know all too well it is the only “get” from this president, and without it the most liberal president ever elected will not have advanced their agenda one iota (unless you count slashing defense). Their agenda, however, doesn’t include protecting union employees. Nor does it include sheltering young voters from the burden of buying insurance they don’t want and can’t afford. It doesn’t include protection of medical device companies (that produce those STEM, manufacturing jobs everyone’s so keen to get), all the spouses of employees who lost employer coverage or the low-wage workers whose hours were slashed. The modern, liberal welfare state is a goal unto itself; the “people” be damned.

When liberalism is revealed to be solely about the expansion of government and the partisan defense of liberal politicians, you know it has returned to the same intellectual and policy cul-de-sac of the pre-Clinton years.

This is certainly a huge opportunity for Republicans to point out that Obama-style liberalism isn’t for the benefit of working people, the poor, the young or the old (Medicare Advantage has been chopped, remember). Republicans however have to show that they do have policies that will benefit all these Americans and the country at large. This they have yet to do.