President Obama claims to be a serious student of Realpolitick. If this were so, he would have predicted that most businesses would seek to avoid compliance with his Affordable Care Act (ACA).
And the remedy would have been simple: Require all employers to provide insurance coverage for all of their employees, regardless of their fulltime or part-time status.
This, in turn, would have produced two substantial benefits:
- All employees would have been able to obtain medical coverage; and
- Employers would have been encouraged to provide fulltime positions rather than part-time ones.
The reason: Employers would feel: “Since I’m paying for fulltime insurance coverage, I should be getting fulltime work in return.”
If the President ever considered the merits of this, he apparently decided against pressing for such a requirement.
Obama is one of the most rational and educated men to occupy the White House. So what accounts for this failure to expect the worst in people–especially his self-declared enemies–and prepare to counter it?
Niccolo Machiavelli’s brilliant assessments have repeatedly proven invaluable to understanding the failures of the Obama Presidency. Once again, he provides a shrewd insight into what may be the central reason for all of them.
Writing in The Prince, his classic work on the realities of politics, Machiavelli states:
I also believe that he is happy whose mode of procedure accords with the needs of the times, and similarly, he is unfortunate whose mode of procedure is opposed to the times….
On this depend also the changes in prosperity, for if it happens that time and circumstances are favorable to one who acts with caution and prudence he will be successful. But if time and circumstances change he will be ruined, because he does not change the mode of his procedure.
No man can be found so prudent as to be able to adopt himself to this, either because he cannot deviate from that to which his nature disposes him, or else because having always prospered by walking in one path, he cannot persuade himself that it is well to leave it.
And therefore the cautious man, when it is time to act suddenly, does not know how to do so and is consequently ruined. For if one could change one’s nature with time and circumstances, fortune would never change.
Obama is by nature a supreme rationalist and conciliator–not a confronter nor an attacker. And his career before reaching the White House greatly strengthened this predisposition.
From 1985 to 1988, Obama worked as a community organizer–setting up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants’ rights organization. Such activity demands skills in building consensus, not confrontation.
He then taught at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years—as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996, and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, teaching constitutional law.
University of Chicago Law School
Law professors spend their time in clean, civil classrooms–far removed from the rough-and-tumble of criminal defense/prosecution.
If Obama had accused President George W. Bush of conspiring with Al Qaeda–as Republicans have repeatedly accused Obama–retribution would have been swift and brutal.
In short: Obama–who believes in reason and conciliation–is paying the price for allowing his sworn enemies to insult and obstruct him
Obama Mistake No. 6: Failing to closely study his proposed legislation.
Throughout his campaign to win support for the ACA, Obama had repeatedly promised: “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.”
But, hidden in the 906 pages of the law, was a fatal catch for the President’s own credibility.
The law stated that those who already had medical insurance could keep their plans–so long as those plans met the requirements of the new healthcare law.
If their plans didn’t meet those requirements, they would have to obtain coverage that did.
It soon turned out that a great many Americans wanted to keep their current plan–even if it did not provide the fullest possible coverage.
Suddenly, the President found himself facing a PR nightmare: Charged and ridiculed as a liar.
Even Jon Stewart, who on “The Daily Show” had supported the implementation of “Obamacare,” ran footage of Obama’s “you can keep your doctor” promise.
The implication: You said we could keep our plan/doctor; since we can’t, you must be a liar.
As a result, the President now finds his reputation for integrity–long his greatest asset–shattered.
All of which takes us to the final warning offered by Niccolo Machiavelli:
Whence it may be seen that hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil….