[C]onservatives' resolve to repeal the health care act induces apoplexy among liberals. Conservatives are supposed to be good losers, resigned to the Left's control over the steering wheel and accelerator but cheerful about getting to apply the brakes (not too suddenly or firmly, please) in the curves. The notion that the clock could be turned back, that some limit to the state's growth could be discovered and enforced, that the people would hold in their hands, inspect carefully, but at last reject the Holy Grail of welfare state programs, for which the Left has been questing, just as Obama said, for a hundred years--why, the liberal mind reels. Even more than Reagan's victories, or Clinton's ignominious failure to pass nationalized health care, this reversal would raise doubts in the liberal mind about the liberal project.See also last year's National Review.
Losing Obamacare after winning it would, at the least, be a serious blow to liberalism's sense of its own inevitability--the quasi-religious faith so central to all progressivism, and so crucial in disarming the Left's opponents. So conservative resistance to Obamacare must begin by confronting the historical voodoo by which liberals will try to frighten the Right into believing that resistance is futile, that repeal is doomed. These gestures are best understood as a kind of war dance, like the Haka performed by New Zealand's rugby team before a match, designed to intimidate the opposing players. But nothing is inevitable in politics, at least nothing of this sort; and conservatives should laugh at this attempt to get them to cooperate in their own defeat.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Charles Kesler in the Claremont Review of Books: