Government power plus insecurity plus arrogance: the health care consequences for all of us.
“Do me a favor, can you say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am’?
It’s just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d
appreciate it. Thank you.”
— Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh of the Army Corps of Engineers
“Quit apologizing and never call me
anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone
who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we
clear on this? Like I said, it’s a hot button for me. And please
don’t call the office and not leave a message. My colleague told
me you called while I was away at the Ladies’ room. I do
sometimes leave my desk.”
— Elizabeth Becton, scheduler/office manager for Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) in an e-mail to a lobbyist.
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of
her experiences would more often than not reach a better
conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
— Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor in remarks at the Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley.
It’s about the power, stupid. That’s before you even get to the finer gradations of gender and race..
To think that there are white guys rolling around Washington, D.C. or state capitals not capable of some version of the attitude exhibited above in these incredibly abusive or racially charged statements is to terribly misunderstand the potent mixture that is human beings and government power.
As you can detect in the words above, from the lowliest congressional office manager all the way up to a multiple-term United States Senator and a long-time sitting federal judge now on the verge of a lifetime seat on the United States Supreme Court, the instinctive, gut reaction from all three is precisely the same in response to some sort of challenge, whether real or imagined.
It does not matter a hill of beans who is on the receiving end of this kind of thing. You may be a brigadier general sitting across from Barbara Boxer. A lobbyist e-mailing Elizabeth Becton. Or the lawyer for a group of white firemen appealing a case to Sonia Sotomayor unaware of the Judge’s now much publicized racial sentiments. Message to recipient? “You (General, lobbyist, fireman) are screwed. Big time. And if you don’t like it? Well, how does ‘go pound sand’ sound? I have the power — now grovel. I am also a member of a (fill-in-the-blank) certain gender or politically correct ethnic group. To question or challenge me means you are a sexist or racist. Besides which, even if were a garden variety white guy — I still have more power than you do. I work for the government. So shut up and do as I say. Exactly as I say.”
In another time and place this kind of behavior might be written off as an unpleasant or annoying curiosity, a cause to muse on insecurity or ego. The recipient of this kind of treatment simply swallows hard and moves on. The problem is that this is the here and now of the Obama era. When this attitude is coupled to a massive expansion of government power — the takeover of banks or car companies or your health insurance to name but three — Americans are headed for very serious trouble. In fact, trouble is already here.
• On March 29 Rick Wagoner, chairman of General Motors, is told by President Obama that he is out — fired. Reason: the government has waded in and taken control of Wagoner’s company. Barack Obama was displeased with Wagoner — and in this case threat and execution are one and the same: Wagoner, you are history. Get out.
• Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis tells Congress that when he hesitated on a merger between BOA and Merrill Lynch, then Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson threatened to fire Lewis and the entire Bank of America Board. In Lewis’s words, the government officials “gave that threat to a bank in good standing” — meaning to BOA.
• Tom Lauria, an attorney involved in the Chrysler bankruptcy, says one of his clients was “directly threatened by the White House” with use of the “full force of the White House press corps” to destroy his client’s reputation if the client didn’t do as the government wished.
Notice too that the government official in the middle example above involved George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary — not Obama’s.
Now imagine you have a health problem. And the American health care system has been changed by the Obama administration to inject the government into your health care. As Canadians are busy frantically warning Americans, our neighbors to the north have already discovered that when they wish to be treated the Canadian government must “approve” their treatment — the hospital, the surgery, the length of time you are on a waiting list etc., etc., etc. Knowing this, imagine that the American government official you have to deal with to get your treatment “approved” in the Obama era is — Barbara Boxer. Or Elizabeth Becton. Or Sonia Sotomayor.
Already burdened with a serious health situation, you now are put in the position of worrying whether you have said the wrong thing to the government health official. It might work like this.
• “Do me a favor,” says the haughty woman sitting across the desk from your anxious self as you struggle to deal with shooting pains in your gut or your prostate cancer ticks away like a time bomb. She peers over a pair of glasses. “Can you say ‘Health Administrator’ instead of ‘ma’am’? It’s just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it. Thank you.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?