- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 8, 2010



Barack Obama’s sex-change surgery for America continues, without even the consolation of anesthesia. (A lot of voters have been asleep, anyway.) Dr. Obama hopes to get the surgery finished before the patient wakes up in November to his considerably altered bodyscape.

His assistants with the big knives no longer try to disguise what they’re about. No more empty assurances that they’re merely taking out a swollen appendix or tightening a droopy eyelid. It’s time to carve, slash and slice.

Dr. Obama had to use a little presidential sleight of hand to get his surgeons in place, to appoint Donald Berwick to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services before even the dopiest Democrat in the Senate figured out who Doc Berwick really is, and learn that he can’t wait to issue a rationing book to one and all as the first order of government health care.

Charles Bolden has been in place as the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for some time, but only this week he announced that the president had charged him with a “foremost” duty to “reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science.”

A succession of Democratic and Republican presidents, some liberal and some conservative - John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush the elder, Bill Clinton and George W. - charged their NASA administrators to send men to the moon and to encourage scientific exploration on Earth. The men who put that American on the moon have never before been asked to help anyone, Muslim, Methodist or Hottentot, “feel good” about himself.

But we’re in a brave new world, invented by quacks, charlatans and mountebanks. Just how the man responsible for overseeing the science of aeronautics and rocket technology is supposed to find common ground with religionists who regard science as blasphemy is not yet clear, but we can be sure the theologians at the White House are consulting the Koran for hints, tips and clues on how to spread Islam to Mars and Pluto.

This sounds scary, or at least hilarious. But we have the reassurance of Hillary Clinton, who famously scolded the whisperers who said during the 2008 presidential campaign that Mr. Obama is a secret follower of Islam. He isn’t a Muslim, Mrs. Clinton said, adding darkly, “as far as I know.”

Mr. Obama has described himself as a born-again Christian, a follower by faith and not merely by inherited culture, and Christians should be glad he is. But Mr. Obama waxed lyrical only about Islam in Cairo, first stop on his famous appeasement tour of the Middle East, boasting that he hails from “generations of Muslims” and that he “heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk.” Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. won’t even recognize Islamic radicalism as the driving force of terrorism, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano insists on calling terrorism by the blatantly sexist term “man-caused disasters.”

Alas, the president’s wax job, lyrical or not, didn’t survive the first rain, and one recent poll shows that Mr. Obama’s favorability rating has fallen all across the region. He’s almost as unpopular in Lahore as he is in Louisiana.

The NASA director’s assigned quest, silly as it is, will come to naught - no harm, no foul - but the new director of Medicare is in position to inflict real harm. Donald Berwick is a big fan of the crumbling British medical-care system. He once told a London audience that he even feels “romantic” about it. Who’s to say what makes a man’s fancy turn to romance? Even bedpans need love. But he means to make everybody a romantic. “Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane,” he told that London audience in 2008, “must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional.”

You can see why President Obama couldn’t allow senators, Democrats as well as Republicans, to ask Dr. Berwick what he meant by such a ditzy remark. “Excellent health care,” as everyone else understands it, is health care that makes a patient well, or at least better. A quack understands that much.

*Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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