Thursday, November 7, 2013

Are the Democrats on the Ropes?

As the laughably named Affordable Care Act simultaneously self-destructs and wreaks havoc, the right grows more and more optimistic that this boondoggle may be the beginning of the end for the Democrats. Finally, a glimmer of hope on the horizon for America! But we mustn’t kid ourselves – it would be a fatal mistake to believe that we have the left on the ropes.

This conservative optimism stems not only from the undeniable failure of the Obamacare rollout, but from the hopeful signs that President Obama is losing his sycophants in the mainstream media and Hollywood – a sea change that would have seemed as likely as icicles in hell during his first term. Even those normally steadfast supporters are no longer publicly pretending that Obamacare is anything but a disaster right out of the gate.

For example, NBC actually reported that Obama lied about Obamacare when he repeatedly claimed that people who like their current health insurance policy could keep it – again, this was NBC, not “Faux News,” formerly Obama’s only media critic. That rare brief foray into objective journalism was cut short, however, when the article was pulled offline, then reposted with edits tempering NBC’s original criticism. But it’s a start.

Earlier that week, Lara Logan’s report on CBS’ 60 Minutes about the Benghazi debacle did not mention Obama by name, and stopped short of directly condemning our government for ignoring warnings and security requests prior to the murderous al Qaeda attack in Libya; but it was noteworthy for at least lobbing some criticism, however tentative, at the administration over Benghazi.

The Daily Show’s host Jon Stewart, the most trusted news source for young progressives, has not only been ridiculing the Obamacare rollout, but also mocking Obama himself for his “total ignorance of what the administration is doing,” and for seeming so out of the loop on most issues, that “there appear to be very few loops he’s in,” including the NSA surveillance scandal. “Does the president believe in surveillance fairies?” he asked. Add to this the fact that late night talk show hosts like Jay Leno now regularly take comic jabs at a president they previously considered too cool and too infallible to target.

Hollywood, normally ready and willing to do Obama’s every bidding, initially helped spread the word about the Obamacare leviathan but quickly pulled back from promoting it. In the wake of the Obamacare website incompetence, and revelations about millions losing their health insurance, public relations teams are reportedly cautioning their celebrity clients to lay low. Even Oprah Winfrey is said to have refused to lend her influence.

Some celebs are doing more than just keeping a low profile. The civil liberties organization Electronic Frontier Foundation recently put out a star-studded video called “Stop Watching Us,” condemning the National Security Agency for spying on American citizens. Backed by a diverse group including the ACLU, the conservative Freedom Works, and the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, it features actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, John Cusack, and Wil Wheaton, as well as activist/director Oliver Stone, denouncing the growing surveillance state under Obama – although they weren’t brave enough anywhere in the video to assign responsibility to Obama himself. Instead, as an example of presidential deceit and abuse of power, they dredged up Richard Nixon. Again, it’s a start.

It is comforting to believe that if our pop culture-wallowing president is beginning to lose Hollywood and Jon Stewart, then he must be floundering. But Stewart himself put the brakes on that optimism on Thursday’s show when he cautioned the media not to read too much into his criticisms: “Don’t act like us making jokes about a certain program or president is evidence that that politician or issue has reached some kind of tipping point for action.” I feel sure Stewart never issued such a disclaimer during the Bush years.

Peter Wehner at the Weekly Standard perfectly exemplified our understandable but premature overconfidence when he wrote that “the political ramifications [of the Obamacare failure] could be enormous. Precisely because the Affordable Care Act is the realization of a half-century long liberal dream, if it fails, it will be a crushing blow not just to Barack Obama but to American liberalism itself.

That would be nice, although his use of the word “liberalism” is frustrating because the radical left is totalitarian, not liberal. In any case, cracks in Obama’s armor may be showing, but not enough to constitute a breach. He and his people are in power and will not easily relinquish their hold on that, now or ever. They will not go gentle into that good night.

Do not assume that disillusioned Democrats and independents will vote Republican next time around. We are going to need an absolute rock star as a presidential candidate, and even then, do not assume that the mainstream news media will treat him or her with anything less than their usual full-on hostility. Meanwhile, we may think we can hammer candidate Hillary Clinton about Benghazi lies, but unlike her husband’s intern, Hillary isn’t going to go down easily. The election is three long years away, plenty of time for the left to push that scandal and others further down the memory hole.

Do not even take it for granted that there will be an election in 2016. We have tyrants deeply entrenched and they will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to retain power and expand it, including disarming American citizens. If worse comes to worst and the merde hits the ventilateur, do not assume that law enforcement everywhere will side with patriots – Homeland Security has shifted from preventing terrorism to gearing up to quell a domestic uprising. Look too at the disappointing willingness of the National Park Service to abuse its power during the government shutdown.

Regardless of how much damage Obamacare and scandals like the NSA and IRS abuses have done to this administration, and the seeming rift in the administration’s relationship to the mainstream media, the right cannot afford complacency or overconfidence. We have a long, unpredictable three years ahead.

(This article originally appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 11/4/13)