PBS Dem Pundit Mark Shields: If Obamacare Fails, 'This Is The End...of Liberal Government'

Barack Obama being clear that his team messed up Obamacare made it hard for liberal PBS NewsHour pundit Mark Shields to try Democrat Happy Talk.

Instead, Shields joined the liberal gloomfest: “If this goes down, if the Obama -- if health care, the Affordable Care Act is deemed a failure, this is the end -- I really mean it -- of liberal government.” He even acknowledged Obama lied about Keeping Your Plan:

MARK SHIELDS: That is -- wasn't a true statement. And you're driven to one of two conclusions. Either the president was almost -- almost negligently uncurious in not asking about what the answer was, or he made the choice to trade his considerable reputation and record of integrity for short-term political gain. That's why they had to come and that's why there was such consternation in the ranks.

JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you explain it, David, what happened, with the president acknowledging yesterday that he wasn't on top of it?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I think it is politics. They knew that they -- getting this thing passed -- we were there -- it was hard. And so they were pulling out every political stop in the book. And a lot of those political stops have made it harder now. The first early one was, they were really late in issuing the regulations because they didn't want them to come out during the campaign so Romney could attack them.

As a result, the whole implementation got pushed back, and that's part of the reason the Web site is such a mess. And then they made this political calculation. Then they made the -- that they weren't going to tell you there will be losers here. And they made the political calculation there would be no deficit effects. They made a whole series of political calculations.

Shields didn’t think Obama made enough of a personal apology, like John F. Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and it looks grim:

SHIELDS: It wasn't this is mine and I'm going to make sure that it never happens again. I mean, this has got to work.  Judy, this is beyond the Obama administration. If this goes down, if the Obama -- if health care, the Affordable Care Act is deemed a failure, this is the end -- I really mean it -- of liberal government, in the sense of any sense that government as an instrument of social justice, an engine of economic progress, which is what divides Democrats from Republicans -- that's what Democrats believe.

And that's what Democrats believe. Time and again, social programs have made the difference in this country. The public confidence in that will be so depleted, so diminished, that I really think the change -- the equation of American politics changes.

WOODRUFF: Is your view that dire?


BROOKS: I agree with that. I think it's -- I don't know if it's permanent, but it will be a severe blow to the idea of expanded liberal governments. My big thought is, are we no longer the kind of country in which you can pass this sort of thing? And by that, I mean, when you were passing the New Deal or the Great Society, there were winners and losers.

But the losers felt part of a larger collective and they said, OK, I'm going to take a hit for the team. We may no longer have that sense of being part of a larger collective, so when you're a loser, you just say, I'm a loser. And, as a result, you're just not willing to be part of the group.
And the penalty for being part of the loser just makes you want to hit whoever made you the loser.

Shields then turned back to those awful Republicans:

SHIELDS: The we-ness of our society, the we, that we're all in it together, has really been diminished. Now, the one thing that could save the Democrats, having given that apocalyptic assessment, is the Republicans. I mean, nobody in his right mind or her right mind looks at a hearing, a statement, an investigation, a press release given by any Republican and comes to the conclusion that they're really interested in covering people who aren't covered.

They are rooting for failure. I mean, it's so transparent, and so obvious, whether it's Darrell Issa, whether it's Reince Priebus, the chairman. They're just cheering for failure. There's not a sense of what we can do to make this work, or this isn't going to work, but we're going to come up with something better. There just isn't.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis