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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Sorry about the formatting - Best I could do.

Commentary NEW JERSEY SUNDAY HERALD Sunday, October 7, 2012

WASHINGTON — The presidential
campaign, hitherto a plod through a torrent
of words tedious beyond words, began
to dance in Denver. There a masterfully
prepared Mitt Romney completed a trifecta
of tasks and unveiled an issue that,
because it illustrates contemporary liberalism’s
repellant essence, can constitute
his campaign’s closing argument.
Barack Obama, knight of the peevish
countenance, illustrated William F.
Buckley’s axiom that
liberals who celebrate
tolerance of other
views always seem
amazed that there are
other views. Obama,
who is not known as a
martyr to the work
ethic and who might
use a teleprompter
when ordering lunch,
seemed uncomfortable
with a format that
allowed fluidity of discourse.
His vanity —
remember, he gave Queen Elizabeth an
iPod whose menu included two of his
speeches — perhaps blinds him to the
need to prepare. And to the fact that it is
not lese-majeste to require him to defend
his campaign ads’ dubious assertions with
explanations longer than the ads. And to
the ample evidence, such as his futile advocacy
for Democratic candidates and
Obamacare, that his supposed rhetorical
gifts are figments of acolytes’ imaginations.
Luck is not always the residue of design,
and Romney was lucky that the first debate
concerned the economy, a subject that to
him is a hanging curve ball and to Obama
is a dancing knuckleball. The topic helped
Romney accomplish three things.
First, recent polls showing him losing
were on the verge of becoming self-fulfilling
prophesies by discouraging his supporters
and inspiriting Obama’s. Romney,
unleashing his inner wonk about economic
matters, probably stabilized public opinion
and prevented a rush to judgment as early
voting accelerates.
Second, Romney needed to be seen
tutoring Obama on such elementary distinctions
as that between reducing tax
rates (while simultaneously reducing, by
means testing, the value of deductions)
and reducing revenues, revenues being a
function of economic growth, which the
rate reductions could stimulate. Third,
Romney needed to rivet the attention of
the electorate, in which self-identified conservatives
outnumber self-identified liberals
two-to-one, on this choice:
America can be the society it was when
it had a spring in its step, a society in which
markets — the voluntary collaboration of
creative individuals — allocate opportunity.
Or America can remain today’s
depressed and anxious society of unprecedented
stagnation in the fourth year of a
faux recovery -- a bleak society in which
government incompetently allocates
resources in pursuit of its perishable certitudes
and on behalf of the politically connected.
Late in the debate, when Romney for a
third time referred to Obamacare’s creation
of “an unelected board, appointed
board, who are going to decide what kind of
(medical) treatment you ought to have,”
Obama said, “No, it isn’t.” Oh?
The Independent Payment Advisory
Board perfectly illustrates liberalism’s itch
to remove choices from individuals, and
from their elected representatives, and to
repose the power to choose in supposed
experts liberated from democratic
accountability. Beginning in 2014, IPAB
would consist of 15 unelected technocrats
whose recommendations for reducing
Medicare costs must be enacted by
Congress by Aug. 15 of each year. If
Congress does not enact them, or other
measures achieving the same level of cost
containment, IPAB’s proposals automatically
are transformed from recommendations
into law. Without being approved by
Congress. Without being signed by the
These facts refute Obama’s Denver
assurance that IPAB “can’t make decisions
about what treatments are given.” It can
and will by controlling payments to doctors
and hospitals. Hence the emptiness of
Obamacare’s language that IPAB’s proposals
“shall not include any recommendation
to ration health care.”
By Obamacare’s terms, Congress can
repeal IPAB only during a seven-month
window in 2017, and then only by threefifths
majorities in both chambers. After
that, the law precludes Congress from
ever altering IPAB proposals.
Because IPAB effectively makes law,
thereby traducing the separation of powers,
and entrenches IPAB in a manner that
derogates the powers of future Congresses,
it has been well described by a Cato
Institute study as “the most anti-constitutional
measure ever to pass Congress.”
But unless and until the Supreme Court
— an unreliable guardian — overturns it,
IPAB is a harbinger of the “shock and awe
statism” (Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’
phrase) that is liberalism’s prescription for
curing the problems supposedly caused by
insufficient statism.
Before Denver, Obama’s campaign was
a protracted exercise in excuse abuse, and
the promise that he will stay on the statist
course he doggedly defends despite evidence
of its futility. After Denver, Romney’s
campaign should advertise that promise.

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