Walter Russell Mead: The Health Care Disaster and the Miseries of Blue

After oral arguments before the Supreme Court this week, the odds that the Court will strike the individual mandate rose sharply; Intrade markets after the hearings showed bettors thought there was a 62 percent chance that the mandate will fall.

I can’t tell you whether the law is unconstitutional; I can’t even tell you whether the Supreme Court will uphold it — or, if the mandate goes, what else might stay.

But the health care law’s troubles shed some further light on the crisis of American progressivism and the blue social model it has built. Those who believe in the blue model and want to extend it have lost their touch; the dream machines of the blue social engineers don’t sail serenely across the azure sky anymore. Think of the various carbon exchanges and environmental planetary schemes; think of high speed rail proposals like California’s $100 billion train to bankruptcy; think of Obamacare. These days the experts, “social entrepreneurs” and smart young blue twenty somethings fresh out of the Ivy League whomp up social programs with as much verve and dedication as their New Deal and Great Society predecessors, but the new Dreamliners don’t take off. At most they roll around the runway, emitting clouds of noxious smoke; wings fall off, windows pop out, turbines misfire and the tires go flat.
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