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April 28, 2014

Rand Paul: Realistically, It's Going to be Super-Hard to Repeal Obamacare at This Point

Well, here's the problem.

There are two elements to this statement, as there are to many statements. One doesn't have to get into all the details of "Speech Act" linguistic theory to know that Paul's statement is comprised of the following:

1. The surface statement about Obamacare itself, and

2. A hint about his planned level of action about Obamacare.

We tend to know that when a politician describes something as "very hard, politically," it usually means he has decided that thing is outside the Overton Window of political possibilities and he will not push for it very hard at all.

Defining a goal as "very hard" is generally a sign that the speaker intends to categorize that thing as a velleity. A velleity is the lowest level of wish, a goal that one wishes for without intending to take an action at all in furtherance of that goal.

It's hard to criticize Paul's statement, from a conservative point of view, as regards the first level of meaning of the statement: Repealing Obamacare will in fact be very, very hard.

We all understand this. Indeed, this understanding spurred the urgency last October to defund Obamacare before it ever took root. We understood that "Free" crap creates constituencies who will fight politically to keep their ill-gotten pile of free crap.

And it feels obnoxious to criticize someone for saying something that's True.

Nevertheless, it's this second level of the speech act that bothers. By declaring repeal very hard, Paul is offering, in advance, an excuse for failing to repeal it. And we can take him, then, as expecting to fail to repeal it.

I'm not sure how much different he is in this way from other potential candidates, except that he's said it.

So again we're back to the obnoxious thing of criticizing someone for saying something that's True, and yet Forbidden.

He does offer some stuff we've discussed as a Plan B in lieu of repeal -- making Obamacare a purely voluntary thing.

But of course that would still result in taxpayers' being forced to subsidize the program, to pay for other people's health care.

We discussed this on the podcast a long time ago. I think our own Overton Windows have shifted so much that many of us would be happy, at this point, for such an outcome. Yes, we'd be paying more in taxes (which we were told we wouldn't ever have to do by President Lies to Your Face). But we'd be free to pick our own insurance.

Obamacare has put many people in such an onerous position -- it has harmed them so badly-- that they would gladly, at this point, pay more in taxes to be free of the harm of the system.

Well played, President Lies to Your Face.

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posted by Ace at 04:05 PM

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