Thursday, October 31, 2013
Trick or Treat
BY WILLIAM KRISTOL
Halloween has become, like so many things in modern America, nice. It's all treat and no trick, and far more amusing than terrifying. But the Obama administration is to be commended for reminding us—in an uncharacteristic moment of originalism—of the older meaning of the holiday, in which the trick was more important than the treat, the treat was often problematic, and the mood was more scary than funny.
The administration's trick was, of course, claiming you could keep your health care plan if you liked it. The administration's treat is the exchanges, where Americans can pay more for a plan you may not want that will provide access to a more limited choice of doctors and hospitals. The trick now fools no one, and the treat isn't much appreciated. And the whole spectacle isn't funny. It's scary.
The meltdown of Obamacare in the days before Halloween may eventually be seen as the beginning of its end. Those same days also featured the beginning of the next move in the appeasement of Iran. The administration is pleading that Congress delay imposing any new sanctions on Iran, including those passed a few months ago by huge bipartisan majorities in the House and now awaiting action in the Senate. So the Obama administration's position is this: No delay to help protect Americans from the effects of Obamacare. But plenty of delay to help protect the mullahs in Tehran from the effects of sanctions.
Needless to say, congressional Republicans should confront the Obama administration on both fronts. And they can take inspiration from another eve-of-Halloween development: The Red Sox triumph in the World Series. The BoSox, coming off a sixty-nine win season last year, their worst in almost a half century, clinched the championship in their own grand old park, Fenway, for the first time in almost a century. The Grand Old Party was also coming off a rough year. But the example of the Red Sox suggests things can turn around faster than everyone expects. And congressional Republicans probably don't even have to grow long and scraggly beards.
They just need to take the words of Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster to heart: "Really, we're a team of over-achievers. We don't have anyone out of the ordinary, but a lot of consistent guys who know how to win." And they have to rally the nation against an exposed and exhausted liberalism whose tricks no longer work and whose treats no longer appeal.