In the fledgling days of the personal computer industry, software vendors frequently announced products that were not yet ready for release. The term “vaporware” was coined to describe such software. Most of these products never reached the marketplace. Some that did should not have.
The recent health-care reform effort was nothing more than a modern-day, political version of vaporware or, more aptly, VaporCare. The VaporCare bill never reached a point where it was ready for “release.” In software terminology, the legislation was nothing but “spaghetti code.” It was written by dozens, all of whom brought their own coding styles, wants and objectives. There was no guiding objective to the legislation other than “we must pass something, quickly.”
No one, including the various writers of the bill, the Congress or President Obama, had a comprehensive understanding of the legislation. The bill was a “moving target,” changing whenever criticisms arose, decision-makers met or vote-buying was required. Few of the ad hoc changes had anything to do with improving the quality of health care. As stated in The Legend of Bagger Obama:
At the end, there was no discernible logic behind the plan. Inconsistencies, deals, falsified data and outright lies were evident to anyone willing to look. Despite the problems and unpopularity, healthcare moved forward not unlike an ancient pagan ritual. Congressional Democrats [were willing to sacrifice] the best healthcare system in the world and the American taxpayer to their God, Bagger Obama.
Vaporware or “sausage-making” might be foreign to voters, but their health care is not. The public quickly realized that they did not matter, at least in the eyes of the political class. Passage of a bill, any bill, was more important than the quality or quantity of health care. Monument-building was too important for normal folks to have input. The political elites knew what was best for the common folks and were intent on providing it, “good and hard.”
Blinded by ambition, Democrats believed they could ignore the electorate. Despite rising public discontent, the political class plowed ahead. Why not? They had a filibuster-proof majority. They had designed (and continued to modify) a great VaporCare plan. Their President had messianic powers that would enable him to sell any program they designed. It was a sure thing. Full speed ahead!
Democrats clearly misjudged. The largest ratings agency in the country, the voting public, rated the product defective, yet the Dems moved toward passage. Congress came across as imperial, and President Obama ultimately fared even worse.
President Obama’s ego and self-absorption apparently required him to be public all the time. According to CBS News, there were only 21 days in his first year where Obama did not make at least one public appearance. The statistics from CBS were amazing: 411 speeches comments and remarks of which 52 were on Vaporcare, 158 interviews, visits to 58 US cities and 21 foreign nations, 160 flights on Air Force One, 193 flights on Marine One, etc. etc. In short, it was Obama time, all the time.
While familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt, it appeared to be in play with President Obama, especially after a series of disappointments. Campaign promises were broken, promised transparency became a joke, foreign policy was seen wanting if not embarrassing, terror defenses seemed diminished, Chicago-type deals were worked, and other real-world inconveniences intruded on “The One’s” plan for his Camelot. These disappointments diminished the Obama mystique, but would not have killed his Presidency.
Obama’s continued hard sell, including obvious lies regarding the bill, revealed him to be little more than an unethical salesman attempting to foist off a defective product on a stupid group of customers. In Obama Wins Oscar, where his style was compared to the motley sales force from the movie Glengary Glen Ross, it was observed:
Quite the performance, just not something most would expect from the President of the United States. The exchange seemed more appropriate for used car salesmen or “boiler-room” stock scams. In short, the performance seemed both desperate and dishonest. My thought was, “Would I buy aluminum siding from this man?”
VaporCare cost Obama whatever credibility he had left. His campaign guise of nobility and omnipotence was revealed as fraudulent when he used the approach of an unethical used-car salesman. Messiahs don’t sell snake oil. Anointed Ones don’t engage in fraud. The high hopes and dreams that accompanied Obama’s ascendancy to the Presidency (and ultimately Mount Rushmore) came crashing down when he lowered himself to selling the VaporCare lie. His image changed from The Exalted Leader to just another Used Car Salesman from Chicago.
Obama jokingly referred to the ending of the movie Thelma and Louise, saying health care would not end that way. But VaporCare did go over the cliff (or Freudian slip, “precipice”). With it went what remained of Obama’s reputation, image and Presidency.
VaporCare tarnished all its proponents. The Democrats felt the voter wrath in several elections, none of which should have been close. All turned into spectacular, seemingly inexplicable, losses. VaporCare appears out of reach for now. The Left is angry, the Right is angry and voting results show that Independents are running from the Democrats in droves.
Polls portend bad results ahead for Democrats. That spells major problems for President Obama. A political animal’s first instinct is survival. When re-election is jeopardized, watch out! Already one can see the Democrats distancing themselves themselves from their President. As the 2010 elections approach, their feelings toward their own President are likely to be described by the , the following passage from The Legend of Bagger Vance:
“You know you can just go ahead and creep off somewhere I’ll tell folk you took sick… Truth be told, ain’t nobody gonna really object… In fact, they’d probably be happy as bugs in a bake shop to see you pack up and go home…”
This President was likely doomed to failure without the Vaporcare debacle, but realization would not have come so soon. All style and no substance can fool some of the people only some of the time. Form and flair work in a campaign, but they are no substitute for governance. VaporCare was the tipping point. Visions of Obama’s greatness were replaced with a tawdry picture of political opportunism and corruptness, self aggrandizement and Chicago-style gutter politics.
Stripped of his veneer, Obama was found to have no substance. Many feared this outcome from the beginning, but foolishly hoped that charisma, myth and sizzle would be enough to succeed. Obama quickly transformed from public celebrity to public nuisance. Talented people will be tolerated for self-absorption and arrogance. For incompetents, these traits are massive liabilities.
Obama’s Presidency has been reduced from the Messianic to the tawdry, all as a result of VaporCare. When his image died, so did his Presidency. Stick a fork in the Obama Presidency. It is over.
The political excitement, however, is just beginning. The 2010 elections will not be pretty. Dems will be fighting for their political lives and running away from Obama. This will be cruel, much like a Mexican bullfight with Obama as the bull and his own party as the matadors. Like the bull, Obama will not comprehend what is happening. His self-image and former cult-like status will add to his confusion. His propensity toward anger and intolerance towards anyone in his way will make for a glorious, bloody fight. But the matadors have both numbers and experience. They will finally overwhelm and kill the bull, but not without substantial losses in their own ranks.
Bullfights are never pretty. Especially ones that drag on for three years.