In a world defined by nearly 100,000 iPhone apps, a world of seemingly limitless, self-defined choice, the Democrats are pushing the biggest, fattest, one-size-fits all legislation since 1965. And they brag this will complete the dream Franklin D. Roosevelt had in 1939.
The culture still believes the U.S. has a hipster for president. But the Obama health-care bill, and maybe this whole administration, is starting to look totally out of sync with the new zeitgeist, the spirit of the age.
Everything about the health-care exercise is looking very old hat, starting with the old guys working on it. Max Baucus, Patrick Leahy, Pete Stark—all were elected to Congress in the 1970s, and live on as the immortals in Washington's Forever Land. But it's more than the fact that Congress looks old. The health-care bill is big, complex, incomprehensible and coercive—all the things people hate nowadays.
It's easy to make jokes about how insubstantial the millions of people seem to be who are constantly using technologies like Twitter. But these new digital and Web-based technologies, which have decentralized virtually everything, now occupy most of the average person's waking hours at work or at home. Mass media is struggling to stay massive in a world whose people want to break up into many discrete markets.
The one lump that won't change is government. Government in our time is looking out of it. It'd be one thing if government were almost cool in an old-fashioned way, but it's not. When everyone else's job gets measured by performance, its hallmark is malperformance—whether in Congress, California or New York.
We define the past 25 years in terms of entrepreneurs and visionaries in places like Silicon Valley who took a small idea and ran with it. Congress does the opposite. It take something already big . . . and make it bigger.
Excellent points all. Why are we trusting our future to fossils of the past, people whose main accomplishment is adding trillions to our debt and destroying the financial and real estate sectors, all the while calling our troops terrorists and extolling the virture of no choice at all?
There was a time when contributing to the common good meant joining something relatively small like the Peace Corps or Teach for America. Now it means being willing to just fall into line behind some huge piece of legislation.
Read Mr. Obama's speech last week at MIT on climate change: "The folks who pretend that this is not an issue, they are being marginalized." This, ironically, sounds a lot like the 2007 antiHillary "Big Brother" TV commercial. Its message was that Hillary represented something big and ominously coercive. Boot up that ad now and put Obama's face where Hillary's is.
The larger point here isn't necessarily partisan. It's a description of the way people live their lives in a 21st century world, and how disconnected politics has become from that world.
If we were really living in the world of leading-edge politics that many people thought they were getting with Barack Obama, he would have proposed an iPhone for health care—a flexible system for which all sorts of users could create or choose health-care apps that suited their needs. Over time, with trial and error, a better system would emerge.
No chance of that. Our outdated political software can't recognize trial and error. What ObamaCare is doing with health care—the "public option"—may be fine with the activist left, but I suspect it's starting to strike many younger Americans as at odds with their lives, as not somewhere they want to go. Wait until EPA's ghost busters start enforcing cap-and-trade.
People thought something small, agile and smart was coming to government, but so far it's turning out to be just big-box politics.
Exactly. We are tackling a Windows 7 problem with Windows 3.1. We are trying to solve a pentium problem with an apple IIc. It just doesn't compute. Where is the choice? Where are the true options? And what are the Republicans doing, aside from MORONS, IDIOTS, AND SUCH like those who support the lefty in that New York race (see Gingrich, Newt) or those who support retreads like Mike DeWine in Ohio (see Ochocinco, Jason and John)shooting the cause in the foot? The article gives them an opportunity and a warning:
None of this is to suggest the Republicans are any better. They do, however, have a better chance of breaking out of the ancient political castle. So long as the Democratic Party is the party of the Old Hat People, dependent on public-sector unions with Orwellian names like the Service Employees International Union, it will remain yoked to a pre-iPhone political model that will increasingly strike average everyday American voters as weird and alien to their world.
So, instead of saying, when history calls, history calls and going along to just get along like that insipid pus bucket emptyheaded moron Olympia Snowe did, instead we should boldly go out and present real alternatives, real choice. Real solutions.