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September 14, 2009
by Hendrik Hertzberg

After the tea-partying, town-meeting-disrupting, pistol-packing mensis horribilis of August, more than a few commentators complained, as one of them put it, that “Obama should have seen it coming.” No one doubted that the current attempt to overhaul America’s uniquely wasteful and unjust system of health insurance and non-insurance would touch off the kind of demagogic, misleading attacks that have greeted every past attempt at ambitious reform, successful (Medicare) and unsuccessful (all the rest) alike. The plan is socialism; government bureaucrats will choose your doctor and prescribe your treatments; the economy will be ruined; taxes will crush you—all that and more was to be expected. But the predominant tone of opposition to the emerging Democratic health-care proposals, and to the President personally, came as a surprise to the White House and a profound shock to many who voted for Barack Obama last November. more

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