Fourth estate or fifth column?

One aspect of the healthcare reform that I can’t get past is this: In order to secure the vote of Sen. Ben Nelson from Nebraska, provisions were added to the bill to exempt Nebraska from the effects of the healthcare reform! This compromise demonstrated that the administration and its legislative deputies don’t see the effects of the bill as advantageous. This was a tacit admission that the bill is not advantageous and, indeed, will likely be quite expensive for all involved.

Nevertheless, on Friday, the Washington Post editorialized that the House should vote “Yes, with trepidation.” So the Washington Post, which prides itself on taking on and ousting a President, has decided to meekly encourage the current administration’s an Congress’s power grab. How do the Post’s editors justify their acquiescence?

First, it is a bet that the potential of controlling rising health-care costs will be fulfilled, thus justifying the fiscal risk of a $1 trillion entitlement program. Second, it is a judgment that the benefits of expanding coverage to 32 million Americans and giving new protections to those who are currently insured outweigh the dangers of restructuring such a huge chunk of the economy — dangers heightened by the party-line and likely razor-thin margin of the vote. Finally, it is an assessment that the pending measure represents the best that is achievable and that the choice is therefore between the bill and the status quo, not between the bill and a notional better version.

If you were looking for reticence over the Constitutional or financial overreaches of the bill (and associated maneuvering) you won’t find it. The paper, that three and half decades ago, fought against a corrupt government, no longer sees the need to to act as a watchdog.

How’d we get here? Perhaps not enough passion and a lack of scrutiny that’s routinely applied to other areas of government, matched by a false sense that anything historic is necessarily good.

What are the possible responses? Perhaps enough states have been provoked to take legal action against the overreach to convene a constitutional convention.

What’s next? Immigration reform or did this overreach doom that effort?

I focused on the Washington Post because its editorial position often can be sensible. But the Post has failed to do its job and protect us from governmental excesses. In that, it has been emblematic of a failure. The major overhaul that the Post and the rest of the MSM championed is unsustainable and too fraught with contradictions to be successful.

The Washington Examiner sums it up nicely (via Instapundit)

Never before in American history has a measure of such importance been imposed on the country by the majority party over the unanimous opposition of the minority.

And the watchdogs who were supposed to guard us from governmental excess have, instead, acted foxes guarding henhouses.