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Reagan Would Have Trashed, Not Tweaked, Obamacare


Rather than running for cover, today’s Republican leaders should instead borrow a page from President Reagan’s playbook and be viewed as a party that respects human dignity and allows people to chose their own health care.

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Three weeks ago President Bill Clinton publicly criticized Obamacare saying, “I personally believe even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.” Other Democrats have begun to follow suit, and who knows? Obamacare’s failures may even end up getting criticized in the mainstream press.

What should the Conservatives be pushing for at present, a Republican-friendly version of Obamacare or a complete termination of the entire program?

Republican commentators are now cautioning that they themselves should be ready with a health care reform plan of their own. For example, FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume recently warned that unless this happens, the Liberals will eventually prevail, for the Republicans will be once again be cast as the party of the “No!,” one that does little but oppose the Democrats and their worthwhile initiatives.

Mr. Hume’s advice is extremely telling. It highlights the harmful tendency of many Conservatives to be shy about espousing their own core beliefs – in this instance that replacing freedom and self-reliance with a massive government bureaucracy always proves disastrous.

By saying in effect “You are correct that health care must be reformed” the Conservatives are ceding the moral high ground to the Democrats. In this spirit, many cowering Republicans are now speaking of tweaking, rather than trashing, Obamacare.

[sharequote align="center"]Many cowering Republicans are now speaking of tweaking, rather than trashing, Obamacare[/sharequote]

Why do so many Conservatives react this way? Can there be any explanation for this behavior other than timorous self-interest?

Ancient Jewish texts (Bamidbar Rabbah 20:23) teach that people typically have an extreme dread of being referred to as inhumane – even when the accusation is irrational. This may be a function of insecurity. But whatever the reason, people hate to be perceived by others as “the bad guy.”

Vietnam War veteran Bill Daley of Columbia, Pennsylvania touches the place on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where his friend Joseph Chatburn's name is etched on Veterans Day November 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

To illustrate: The Vietnam War took place because the brutal Communist governments of Russia and China sponsored the conquest of South Vietnam by the ruthless Communist government of North Vietnam. The U.S. entered the war to protect the South and to take a stand against the openly stated Communist goal of world domination through force.

Yet, the U.S. somehow ended up being mostly portrayed in that war as the bad guy, and incredulously, it became widely fashionable to favor the North – all in the name of humanism. The attitude then emerged that those who supported the war and other vicious far Left causes were insensitive, inhumane, and cruel. Eventually, it became unfashionable to publicly support the war due to the fear of being labeled unkind and cold-hearted.

This same fear, I believe, causes many modern Republican politicians to run for cover and avoid openly proclaiming their theoretical rejection of Obamacare. They fear being cast as heartless ogres who are setting out to deny medical care to the needy. Ultimately, many of these lawmakers end up becoming de facto supporters of the Liberal agenda.

Alternatively, it may simply be that the Conservatives have very little worthwhile thinking of their own on: “If not Obamacare, what then?” Have any of the Republican glitterati such as John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker or even Rush Limbaugh articulated a cogent and unambiguous response to this question?

President Reagan salutes an Air Force cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy Commencement in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1984.

Though not a student of presidential history, my sense is that Ronald Reagan was the last major Republican leader who openly and unabashedly embraced basic Conservative ideals. Once convinced that his beliefs were just, he didn’t much care about what others said; he was not one who muted his principles in order to get elected.

I believe that were Mr. Reagan alive, he would have forcefully denounced every last iota of Obamacare. Reagan would have then continued by saying:

Despite the fact that many are now uninsured, the traditional American belief in personal freedom, personal responsibility,  and private sector doctor/patient medicine is altogether more civilized and compassionate than the bungling, deceitful, and coercive wealth distribution of Obamacare.

Instituting medical care by government bureaucracy will result in disaster. Every single country that subscribed to this overall economic system soon destroyed its economy. When government becomes the provider, the prices of goods and services skyrocket and become far less available.

This will happen as well to the public’s medical care once the government becomes its purveyor. Why should anyone think that the government can manage medical care better than it can the Post Office? Also remember that the Post Office is a relatively small enterprise, while medical care makes up on sixth of the entire U.S. economy.

Ample evidence of the government’s inability to manage health care already exists. It had three and a half years to design the Obamacare computer system, and its roll-out failed miserably. The quality of one’s health care can literally make the difference between living or dying. Why should people be forced to entrust their lives to an entity that has proven itself to be so utterly inept?

The serial lying to the American public since Obamacare was first proposed and its inherent disregard of personal freedom are reminiscent of the Evil Empire of Communism. Do we really want to embrace that discredited political ideology? Russian-style Communism led to brutal dictatorships, the loss of all political freedom, and a dysfunctional economy where people had to wait in lines simply to buy bread.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1991 signified the end of Communist rule in Russia.

The Gipper might have ended his remarks with something like: “I hope and pray that our innately just citizens will see this dishonesty and tyranny for what it is and act to protect our beloved country by dealing Obamacare a resounding and crushing electoral defeat.”

He might have then added that he sympathizes with those who do not have medical coverage and that hopefully, the famously kind American People will voluntarily and generously contribute to charities that seek to provide a measure of medical coverage to all people.

Reagan’s amiable and respectful manner that was at the same time sincere, direct, and unbending would have likely won over the people and earned him their trust and support on this issue.

Rather than running for cover, today’s Republican leaders should instead borrow a page from President Reagan’s playbook. They would NOT be perceived as the party of negativity. Rather they would be seen as the party that respects human dignity and preserves human rights – including the freedom to decide upon one’s personal health care.

And as in the case of Mr. Reagan, the politicians who respectfully but unwaveringly pursue this approach will likely garner overwhelming election victories.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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