So who’s your daddy now?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

The dilemma of Barack Obama and his loyal Democrats is the gift few Repub­li­cans could have imag­ined only a fort­night ago. It’s the gift that keeps on giv­ing, and Oba­macare is no bas­tard child. The pres­i­dent is the daddy who used to be a prouder papa than he is to­day. The cigars he passed around to cel­e­brate this baby are ex­plod­ing all over the place.

Ev­ery­thing the pres­i­dent does puts him deeper in the hole. His grudg­ing con­ces­sion Thurs­day that Oba­macare stinks like the baby’s di­a­per was fol­lowed by the new prom­ise that he would fix it with in­struc­tions not to en­force the law.

All the pres­i­dent’s men and some of his women are rac­ing for the ex­its, hur­ry­ing to catch a bus, train or plane to any­where but here. Bill Clin­ton bailed (though Bubba may have Hil­lary’s pres­i­den­tial prospects more in mind than the pain of oth­ers that he says he can still feel). Howard Dean, he of the fa­mous shoutout of all the states, says Oba­macare is the dis­as­ter that the daddy can’t fix. “I won­der if he has the le­gal au­thor­ity to [fix it], since this was a con­gres­sional bill that set this up,” he says, per­haps not hav­ing heard the news that this ad­min­is­tra­tion sus­pended the Con­sti­tu­tion long ago.

The bar­rage of sad sto­ries quick­ens: A black col­lege must dis­pense with insurance be­cause un­der Oba­macare man­dates, it can’t af­ford to pro­vide it any longer. The bad news is that only 100,000 cus­tomers have signed up for Oba­macare; the worse news is that 5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have been dropped by their insurance providers. Another woman with can­cer tells how she was dropped from her insurance, a vic­tim of Oba­macare fan­tasy guide­lines. Even Jimmy Carter’s grand­son, a state se­na­tor run­ning for gov­er­nor in Ge­or­gia, calls it “a mess.”

The Democrats are sore afraid of the fall­out, and as the comic Brother Dave Gard­ner fa­mously said, “when you are sore afraid, you are flat scared.” The temp­ta­tion for the Repub­li­cans, who want it un­der­stood that they never went near the love nest where the Democrats were con­ceiv­ing the pres­i­dent’s baby, is to watch the pres­i­dent twist slowly, slowly on the rope he so ea­gerly sup­plied. They must re­mem­ber the first rule of pol­i­tics, as any back­woods sher­iff or big-city al­der­man could re­mind them, is that when your op­po­nent is hard at work de­stroy­ing him­self, your only role is to stand clear and give him room.

Tip to the pres­i­dent’s Se­cret Ser­vice de­tail: Keep the pres­i­dent off the streets. That stam­pede of en­dan­gered Democrats rac­ing down the street en route to next Novem­ber is likely to be as mind­less as any­thing that ever stam­peded on the Chisholm Trail, and just as lethal. We don’t want the pres­i­dent to wind up with foot­prints down his back.

Oba­macare was un­touch­able last week — “how dare you sug­gest that my baby isn’t the beau­ti­ful baby in the ma­ter­nity ward.” But this week, the pres­i­dent has to con­cede that a baby with two or maybe three heads isn’t as beau­ti­ful as he first thought. He still doesn’t want any­one to touch the law, he said Thurs­day, but he’s will­ing, re­luc­tantly, to al­low cer­tain insurance com­pa­nies to sell poli­cies that no longer ex­ist to cus­tomers who can’t legally buy them. He didn’t ex­plain ex­actly how his dis­obey-the-law so­lu­tion would work in ac­tual prac­tice.

The pres­i­dent’s promised fix is less to help the peas­ants than to head off Democrats who will be tempted to vote for the Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tion in the House to grand­fa­ther all the threat­ened insurance. This bill may come to a vote Fri­day. Some of the pres­i­dent’s friends in the Se­nate, wor­ried that they won’t be here af­ter next year, are des­per­ate to ap­ply any Band-Aids they can find.

Sev­eral of the last re­main­ing Demo­cratic se­na­tors in the South, who wouldn’t lis­ten to ear­lier pleas of their con­stituents to lis­ten to them in­stead of the White House, are on the cusp of panic. They’re try­ing to come up with leg­isla­tive patch­work fixes of their own.

Mr. Obama sounded un­usu­ally plain­tive Thurs­day, in­sist­ing that he “gets it” why the Amer­i­cans he be­trayed with prom­ises he never in­tended to keep are so an­gry now. He’ll get no sym­pa­thy from most of them. They’re an­gry at the baby daddy be­cause it’s his baby that’s mak­ing life mis­er­able for the neigh­bors. Wes­ley Pruden is ed­i­tor emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“I said I would do ev­ery­thing we can to fix this prob­lem and to­day I’m of­fer­ing an idea that will help do it,” Pres­i­dent Obama says as he an­nounces a re­prieve for insurance plans that fall short of the health care law’s stan­dards.

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