Conservative clarity is suffering, but cliches to the rescue. Here's Rand Paul, with Palinesque syntactical precision, answering a question about whether Kentucky's 'Obamacare-Kynect' should be put to the sword:
You know I'm not sure--there's going to be--how we unravel or how we change things. I would rather--I always tell people there's a fork in the road.
Yes, forks abound. Wise.
Paul's answer gets better:
I was in healthcare for 20 years so we had problems in healthcare but we could have gone one of two directions.
Paul was in healthcare therefore there were problems in healthcare? He may want to tighten up that portion of his rambling. But, back to the wisdom of bifurcating forks:
One was towards more competition and more marketplace and one was toward more government control. The people who think that the government can efficiently distribute medicine need to explain why the VA's been struggling for decade after decade in a much smaller system. And they also need to explain, even though I think we all want Medicare to work better, why Medicare is $35 trillion short. There's a lot of questions that are big questions that are beyond the exchange and the Kynect and things like that. It's whether or not how we're going to fund these things.
Adding millions of veterans to the VA's already underfunded programs had something to do with the VA's "efficiency" (does this really need to be explained to a United States Senator?) just as adding millions of baby boomers to Medicare is, uh, likely to add to Medicare's encumbrances. As for Medicare's current efficiency? It operates at roughly one-tenth the administrative cost of private health insurance.
Paul's penultimate line is less a monument to obfuscation than a knowing tribute to the perils of ideological simplicity. "There's a lot of questions that are big questions that are beyond the exchange and the Kynect and things like that." In other words, My radical libertarianism says kill 'em, kill 'em all, but I'm not about to attack any popularly beloved socialist programs.
Paul's final line, though--"It's whether or not how we're going to fund these things"--is unsalvageable. The question is whether or not to fund them, or, if the first, how to fund them--not whether or not how to fund them.
Still, however he butchers the question, shouldn't Sen. Paul be at the ready with a decisive, intelligible answer?