Michael Cannon: Hero of the Republic

The left's latest scapegoat for their own enormous failure

The left—stunned by the ineptitude of their precious technocrats—is flailing in every direction trying to find a scapegoat for The Big O's Big Headache, a/k/a, The Disastrous Rollout of Obamacare. It's Tea Party anarchists! It's obstructionist Republicans! It's a lizard race* arrived from the heavens to thwart the will of Earth's One True Hope!

But the New Republic has found the real villain in this sordid little story: The Cato Institute's Michael Cannon. Cannon, you see, criss-crossed the country informing state legislatures of the actual language in Obamacare and making the eminently reasonable point that, you know, we should follow the law as it was written. The language in the Affordable Care Act pretty clearly states that those who sign up for federally run exchanges—the marketplaces through which individuals are required to purchase insurance—are not eligible for the same subsidies as those who sign up on state exchanges.

Instead of treating this as an object lesson in the insanity of rushing through legislation that no one has read and no one understands that drastically impacts a gigantic portion of the economy and impacts literally every single person in the country, the left has decided that Cannon is a villain. One can practically see him sneering as he ties Obamacare to a set of railroad tracks, twirling his mustache all the while:

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Well, a disproportionate share of the credit or blame [for Obamacare's remarkably inept rollout]—depending on how you’re looking at it—goes to a person you’ve probably never heard of: Michael Cannon.

Cannon is a health care policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute. He is engaging and sharp-witted. He is also an avowed opponent of the Affordable Care Act, and has for several years now been embarked on a legal crusade that, while a ways from triumphing, may have inadvertently played an outsized role in suppressing the number of states setting up their own exchanges, thereby greatly confounding the law’s implementation.


Cannon, of course, couldn't do this alone: Writer Alec MacGillis cites Americans for Prosperity (with a bonus mention of the super duper evil KOCH BROTHERS!!!1!) and the American Legislative Exchange Council as well. Throw in Sarah Palin and Fox News and the left has a veritable Sinister Six ready to bring down the state with little more than a nod and a wave.

"Cannon himself is not one to toot his own horn for his role in limiting the state exchanges," MacGillis writes. So allow me to do it for him: If his work plays even a limited role in bringing down, he should get a medal. When the story of Obamacare is one day told, might I suggest using whatever time travel devices we've acquired to get a pull a younger Bruce Willis in from the past to portray Mr. Cannon? The resemblance is uncanny:

Cannon Willis

If we have yet to develop that sort of technology, how about Luke Wilson?

Cannon Wilson

*I may have made that last one up. Then again, I have neither the time nor the wherewithal to read the entirety of the left's rantings on how Republicans are sedition-minded monsters for continuing to oppose a piece of legislation that they have opposed every step of the way. So I might have just missed the lizard-men argument.