Many Americans say they're unhappy about the Health Care Law but the popularity of the law is something of a red herring. Sometimes government must lead. Sometimes government must demand people accept change they are not yet ready for. Those are the moments when leaders with vision can change society and create the crescendos of history. In freeing the slaves, desegregating schools, enacting Title IX, and legalizing gay marriage government led America into a new world much of the country wasn't ready for. But in time we adjusted. And this too shall pass.
Mandates that run counter to public perceptions are politically risky but governing based on the whims of the public makes for a weak leader. Sometimes government must pull us into the future even as a large swath of the electorate kicks and screams against it like petulant children. You see, the leader who's playing a long game knows that time heals all wounds. Because the public mind is fungible. The public is maneuvered one way by misinformation and then back the other way by things like the imprimatur of the Supreme Court. Why, I can hear it coming over the hill now: a change in the national mood. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Sunday showed support for the Health Care law is rising among registered voters. Where voters were polling 57% against and 43% for, now they are 52% against and 48% for. And of course many of those who are lumped into the against pile like the law and believe it doesn't go far enough. A new Gallup poll finds 46% in favor and the same number against. Resistance is fading, acceptance is growing. And this too shall pass.
The people are sometimes like Mikey from that old Life cereal commercial. They hate it until they don't. Perhaps if there is a second term for Obama, after health care is enacted and people see it working well and get used to it, he'll float to a new level of power. So maybe he'll go even further, trying to bolster his legacy, by enacting new paternalistic mandates meant to make the nation better. Say mandate that all Americans must vote, because government works better when all participate in selecting leaders. Eat your vegetables. Maybe mandate that all citizens must go to some sort of post-high school college, maybe liberal arts, maybe technical, because America works better when we are better educated and trained. Eat your vegetables. How about a mandate of a year or two of public service after college because service builds character and the country. Try this... mandate extensive pre-marital counseling and maybe even a review board that can determine whether or not a couple can get married, and pre-divorce counseling to try to save marriages, because teaching relationship skills is critical to building strong nuclear families. Eat your vegetables. And then, as one last legislative flourish, a law that mandates Justice Scalia must eat broccoli. Every day. All Obama has to do is find a way to frame it as a tax. Drink. Obama can send a plate of steaming broccoli up to the Court and just as they place it in front of Scalia's crestfallen face, Obama will call him on the phone and say, "Eat your vegetables. It's Constitutional. Bitches."