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Jewish World Review
August 20, 2009
/ 30 Menachem-Av 5769
Debra J. Saunders
At a recent Colorado town hall, University of Colorado at
Boulder student Zach Lahn asked President Obama how private insurers could
be expected to compete with a public health care plan. Lahn, 23, also told
Obama, "I'd love to have a debate just all out, anytime, Oxford-style, if
you'd like" on health care.
Obama answered that UPS and FedEx are a doing a lot better than
the Post Office. (If I were Obama, I wouldn't mention the post office while
touting public health care.) Then the president observed, "It's good to see
a young person who's very engaged and confident challenging the president to
an Oxford-style debate." And: "I like that. You got to have a little
chutzpah, you know."
A little chutzpah? Methinks Obama is losing the air of
genuineness that served him so well during the 2008 campaign. Me also thinks
I could have been that kid 30 years ago. Except then, the adults around me
would have scolded me later for not showing respect for the president's
office and experience.
For all his mouth, Lahn ended up espousing his views on CNN.
"And you're ready to debate others in an Oxford-style debate as well, I
assume?" CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked him Monday. Well, Lahn replied, he might
be willing to debate those "making decisions for this country."
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center
for Politics, told me he thought Lahn was one of his students. "I've seen so
many exactly like him." If our generation was arrogant, this generation is
over-endowed with "a sense of entitlement. They expect (to start in)
upper-middle management, if they're not running the place."
That said, this sense of entitlement is not limited to young
voters. Consider the town hall attendees who hectored Sen. Arlen Specter,
D-Penn. whom I don't particularly like with the chant, "You work for
us." Like he's their waiter.
Senators and members of Congress don't "work for" voters like
kitchen help. They represent voters. Sabato described the distinction
thusly: "A member of Congress works for close to 700,000 people. That means
that any given individual is a grain of sand upon the shore and needs to
recognize that. It's not to say we're unimportant, but we are not
individually their boss. As a group, we are their boss. It's their
responsibility to interpret the group as a whole, and not simply take
instructions from every one of the 700,000 individuals."
And: Elected officials are not mere order-takers, but trustees
who learn things on the job and are duty bound to give voters not what
they want at a moment, but what is in the public's best interest long term.
Sabato believes some voters are angry because they see a D.C.
health care plan being shoved down their throats. At another town hall,
plainspoken Montanan Randy Rathie, told the president: "That's all we get is
bull. You can't tell us how you're going to pay for this."
I look at ObamaCare and see the California Budget Mess all over
again. When lawmakers promise European-style services at American tax rates,
the only sure result is more debt.
But that's what American voters chose when they went for the
candidate who promised universal health care with no new taxes for 95
percent of American families. Entitlement is a rush until the bill comes
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