Dealing with the Mea Culpa of Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer is regretting Obamacare, but is that enough?


The Wall Street Journal, in its editorial “Schumer’s ObamaCare Mea Culpa” this morning, made the following observation:

Now that 28—soon probably 29—of the 60 Senate Democrats who voted for ObamaCare are out of office, one of the surviving believers is confessing a crisis of faith. New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s striking remarks on Tuesday suggest that the church of ObamaCare is losing congregants even in the front pews.

The editorial goes on to describe in Schumer’s words his crisis of faith.

Democrats can only win elections, Mr. Schumer said, as “the pro-government party”—and ObamaCare is undermining that larger political project.

The Senator called the law a distraction from the “middle-class-oriented programs” his party should have pursued after 2008: “Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: health-care reform.”

Mr. Schumer said he still supported the entitlement’s goals, but “it wasn’t the change we were hired to make. Americans were crying out for the end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs.” We’re glad he’s finally taking our advice from 2009-2010.

The editorial encourages Republicans to put Schumer’s new health-care reform realism to the test in the next two years.

This is encouraging news but not as much encouraging news as it is a sober reminder of Schumer’s continuing faith. He is still a priest of “the pro-government” faith, if not one of its high priests. In a rare moment of honesty departure from the Gruber scheme, he says he still wants government control. He is simply recognizing a failure in strategy or execution, not a change of faith. Schumer still wants to “compose ‘a symphony’ that includes liberal themes other than ObamaCare.” No doubt, government mandated healthcare would come again as part of that symphony. The editorial recognizes this fact when it observes, “Mr. Schumer is still missing the crucial point. ObamaCare is not merely a disaster for big government but a disaster of big government.” This is the key point with which Republicans and freedom loving people will have to recon.

If ObamaCare has taught us anything, it is that government does not construct anything of value. It is designed for one thing and one thing only: to execute justice. It is incapable of providing valuable services. Government must take in order to provide. It must destroy in order to form. And the destruction it inflicts is always worse than what it forms.

Freedom-loving people must recognize this and engage accordingly. (I refer here to freedom-loving people because there are many Republicans who want a symphony of government as well; they just want a different symphony.) Freedom-loving people must remember the words of Jesus, “Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Jesus came to give freedom, not government. Government has no right to my health care, my children’s education, or my labor that it takes in the form of confiscatory taxes every year. Freedom loving people must not build a symphony but a three piece concerto of a small executive branch, a legislative branch and a judicial branch. As the 10th Amendment provides, they should leave the symphony to the people and the states, in that order.

Perhaps freedom-loving people should take a page from the Gruber play book and tell Schumer that ObamaCare should be dismantled for something better. But that something better should be the free market. Perhaps they should tell him that the EPA should be dismantled for something better. But that something better should be the states. Perhaps they should tell him that the Department of Education should be dismantled for something better. But that something better should be parents.

Unfortunately, Republicans will have to do something. Republicans, as it is in the nature of political parties, will seek to ensconce their power in the new federal regime. But they must act differently. If they truly want to make a difference, they must get on board with freedom loving people. They must give up the Gruber approach. They must adopt a new faith. They must give up power. We must see things dismantled. We must see regulation eliminated. We must see power returned to the people and to the states. We must see the failure that is the federal government diminished. Only then will there be freedom. Only then will Republicans be saved.

Thank you Mr. Schumer for confessing your sin. We will accept your confession, but you must actually change your faith and give us liberty. May we learn from your honest confession and demand liberty until it is given.


David Linton writes at the Blackstone Initiative.