"So if the Supremes let Obama's health care thing fly, there's no way to stop him from four more years, eh?"
In the course of attending many social functions, columnists become inured to the inevitability of being approached by strangers anxious to propound their political viewpoints. These are usually presented with great aplomb, indicating that the speaker attributes to his idea a large measure of originality. Sadly, that is all too rarely the case. Mostly we get thoroughly pre-chewed morsels culled from the leftovers of the wisdom convention.
This may not prove that few people think for themselves. It may simply be that those deliberative types are less disposed to accosting authors while armed with sloshing cocktails. In any case, this is an occupational hazard which the scriveners of our time endure as a sort of penance; suffering for their art, as it were. There is no known defense for this affliction but a strong dose of disarming politeness.
The one thing one must never do, no matter how extreme the onslaught, is to argue. You will never win the argument and you will always lose the reader. But at a dinner for a worthy institution in Skokie, Illinois, the other night, my third such event in several days, my resistance was down -- or perhaps up -- and I foolishly let fly when a colorless enough chap offered that colorless enough analysis. My response, I fear, was too colorful by half.
"Quite the contrary. The irony is that Obama will be virtually guaranteed four more years if they strike the law down.
"Look. This law is the thing that broke the back of the impasse between the two parties. Basically we get forty percent Democrat and forty percent Republican in this country, and the twenty percent independent vote gets to settle every election. You win that pot 11-9, you win the whole shebang 51-49. It's that simple. A guy like Obama, nice demeanor, clean-cut family guy, pulled out of Iraq, killed Bin Laden, chances are he can pull those 11 even with eight percent unemployment, although that has never been done before.
"Now the deficit creeps out independents when you take it up from 400 billion to one and a half trillion and make that happen again and again year after year. It looks like you are driving the ship of state right over the cliff, mixed metaphor and all. The chances of pulling more than half of independents with this kind of blatant disregard for any part of the country's balance sheet are slim, but they do exist. He could maybe still win 50.1 to 49.9, if the electoral votes fall right.
"But Obamacare is the killer. That is the ultimate wedge issue to chase away independents. The shorthand goes like this. A Democrat is a guy who thinks health care should not be based on private wealth and government should be running it even if they do it badly. A Republican believes the government has no right to be managing private decisions and needs to stay out of it even if they can do it better. The independent is the guy who skips the ideology and says the government can run it if they show him they can do it better.
"Obama comes along and puts through a plan. He does no experimentation first. He does no market research first. He does not invite input from experts in the various fields. He does not put a committee of geniuses together to produce a report. Instead a couple of congressional aides with pimples and nerdy shirts who nobody ever sees and who have no experience on the one hand or accountability on the other write some huge opus that nobody can decipher and they dump it on an unsuspecting country.
"You think an independent voter is ready to risk the lives of all 300 million citizens and untold trillions upon trillions of dollars on a plan that nobody fully understands and that has no research or experimentation to back it up? No self-respecting business would risk one million dollars on such an untested concept. "
"Bottom line, if the Supremes toss Obamacare, they take the albatross of his neck. Then he probably wins, so he gets to dump our nukes and sink Israel and who knows what else. If they let it stand, the country reacts by putting in Romney or Santorum, plus a Republican Senate, so they can vote the nasty thing out of existence."
That felt good, to good that off my chest. That poor guy who asked me the question? Last I saw him he was just standing there frozen in place, looking stunned. For all I know, he may still be there.