Anticipated/Unanticipated Consequences

By Dave Andrusko

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

With the Supreme Court scheduled to expend an almost unprecedented six hours on ObamaCare next week, not surprisingly reporters and columnists are expending a huge amount of time this week on a case running over with explosive economic and political and legal ramifications.

Let’s talk for a few minutes today about the law of unanticipated consequences in the context of the no less real law of anticipated consequences. The former refers to effects you never saw coming; the latter refers to effects you anticipated coming to pass which never materialized.

Democrats simply steamrolled over Republicans to pass what columnist Charles Krauthammer described in these terms:

“Rarely has one law so exemplified the worst of the Leviathan state — grotesque cost, questionable constitutionality and arbitrary bureaucratic coerciveness. Little wonder the president barely mentioned it in his latest State of the Union address. He wants to be reelected. He’d rather talk about other things.”

They did so for many reasons, but right near the top was the anticipation that the public would embrace a program that threatens to spiral out of control on any number of levels—an intuition the public had from the get-go.

Pro-lifers, in particular, were never fooled. Even as ObamaCare was being constructed, National Right to Life warned and warned and warned that all the assurances Obama and the Senate Democrats were making were hollow. To take just one example during the 2009-2010 congressional debate, President Obama repeatedly told the American people that he was not seeking federal funding of abortion in his healthcare legislation. Not, as in N-O-T, not.

In fact, on March 12, his Administration took still another step in what amounts to a four-year plan to make abortion-covering health insurance, subsidized by the federal government, commonly available in the United States. (Without getting into specifics it has to do with a Department of Health and Human Services regulation that spells out how some of the components of ObamaCare will be implemented.)

Put another way, Obama anticipated he could win if he and the truth never came into contact. He, unfortunately, was correct (in the short-term). We anticipated his assurances were useless and, unfortunately, we were proven correct.

But what Obama and a bevy of Democratic strategists did not anticipate was that the a majority public would never—not from day one until today—be in favor of ObamaCare. The unanticipated consequences were that Democrats were crushed in the 2010 elections, both at the federal and state level, as the electorate made its feelings clear.

Nonetheless Carrie Budoff Brown, writing in POLITICO today, illustrates that neither many reporters nor Democrats understand the breadth and depth of the resistance or, more importantly, its root cause. The headline is “5 things Dems got wrong on health care.”

But all five have to do with (1) messaging, (2) drawing the wrong lesson based on a complete misrepresentation of how Obama treated Republicans during the negotiations; and (3) how much Obama personally invested in selling ObamaCare once it became law. None of them address the substance, the core: the public doesn’t like ObamaCare.

Finally thought on anticipated/unanticipated consequences. The Obama Administration anticipated that it could shove its mandate down the throats of employers who have religious or moral obligations to providing birth control or sterilization for their employees. How? By pretending that legitimate opposition was one front in a bogus “war on women.”

But instead of stifling dissent, the mandate has united people of all faiths and none. There is a grassroots movement springing up around the nation.

How’s that for an unanticipated consequence?

Your feedback is very important to improving National Right to Life News Today. Please send your comments to daveandrusko@gmail.com. If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/daveha