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Cenk Uygur

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The Mandate Is the Perfect Symbol of the Central Mistake of Obama Administration

Posted: 06/25/2012 10:39 am

The individual mandate in the health care law was originally proposed by the Heritage Foundation, the most conservative think tank in the country. It was supported by almost every Republican in the country, including the first President Bush, Mitt Romney and conservative stalwarts like Orrin Hatch. Simply put, it was a conservative idea. There is no question about that; it is a fact.

Let me immediately digress to point out how terrible our media is since about 2% of the country knows that fact. If you asked the average American now, I'm sure they would say it was a liberal idea originally proposed by Barack Obama. Another fact -- Barack Obama was originally opposed to the mandate during his campaign for president.

So, this brings us to the central problem with President Obama's administration. They were under the unbelievably mistaken impression that if they worked with the Republicans, compromised with them and gave them what they wanted, that the Republicans would react likewise. Progressives (and anyone that was paying attention to politics in the last decade) warned them that would not be the case. We were dismissed. Now look at what's happened.

Not only did the Republicans not thank the president for including their mandate in the health care law, they have turned around and pretended they are against it. But of course it goes much deeper than that. In fact, they are now using it as the principal argument to take down the whole law.

They have no sense of shame or propriety. They're not embarrassed at their legendary hypocrisy and mendacity. They will do whatever it takes to win and support the corporate interests they are sworn and paid to defend. They also know that Democrats, generally speaking, are horrible at defending themselves and the media will help them tremendously by calling everything even.

So, we warned the president -- don't ever, ever agree with the Republicans, they will only use it against you. I must have said this on our show a hundred times over the last three years. It's not because Republicans are always wrong or I am always opposed to compromise. It's because we've seen this movie -- it's a trap. It's like the feckless, young girl walking outside into the barn at night in a horror movie -- bad idea, we know how that ends. She is not going to be able to compromise with Jason. Jason is going to rip her face off. Don't go into the frickin' barn!

And now we wait as the Supreme Court is getting ready to rip the face off President Obama's signature legislation because he thought the Republicans would appreciate it if he switched his position and adopted their mandate. They must have laughed long and hard. Now they ready their steely knives to gut that same law with the same provision they argued in favor of for decades.

President Obama thought compromise, conciliation and agreement with Republicans was the correct path in his first term. He was dead wrong. The correct course is to be as progressive as possible and argue strongly for your own principles (if you have them). The country is on your side. Look at almost any poll on any issue, the country sides with the progressive position -- tax the rich, stop the wars, don't cut Social Security or Medicare, and on and on.

And after all this, I'm not sure President Obama has learned anything at all from this debacle. He now says he's sure they'll work with him if he gets a second term. Come on! Didn't we just see this movie?

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