Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Off-topic: Americans are stupid

No one should complain about the outcome of this election, whatever it might be. Americans don’t deserve a good president because they don’t demand one.

Mrs. Clinton and her news media allies (pretty much the entire mainstream media) are only interested in talking about Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour. For his part, Donald Trump is primarily interested in attacking leaders of his own party who aren’t supporting him. The rest of the GOP and its media outlet, Fox News, are more interested in catching Clinton in lies about old emails or maybe even hoping she faints again.

The American people are even worse. We just witnessed the most dramatic presidential debate in history--and the most talked-about thing is what? A guy in a red sweater who asked a question that wasn’t important.

So what's so important that we should be discussing, you ask?

For one thing, Americans ought to be talking about Obamacare. Barack Obama considers it his signature accomplishment, and Mrs. Clinton is running as an Obama acolyte. Obama sold it to Americans with his Pajama Boy ad campaign and promises that it would “reduce the costs of most Americans” and that “no matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor . . . .” In fact, Obama made those claims repeatedly.

The Pajama Boy campaign turned out to be a dud—akin to trying to peddle New Coke (younger readers may not know--in the mid-1980s, Coke changed the formula of its iconic drink--it didn’t last). And the promises turned out to be wrong, to put it charitably. An architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, later admitted in a moment of arrogant candor that the promises were deceitful—because “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in this instance. Health care premiums have skyrocketed to the point that Bill Clinton—the man Mrs. Clinton said would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” in her administration--last week said this: "So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world."

At this week’s debate, a questioner asked: “Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up. And the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?” Even Mrs. Clinton agreed with the questioner. “. . . I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs . . . .” And: “. . . we've got to get costs down. We've got to provide additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance.”

The most important accomplishment of the Obama administration is a mess, and you'd think this would be the principal issue in this campaign. So why aren’t we holding both candidates’ feet to the fire and insisting that they lay out detailed plans about how they’re going to fix Obamacare, or replace it?

Because we're too busy talking about a guy in a red sweater.

And . . . maybe we’re stupid?