“Have your cake and eat it.” With these six aggressively monosyllabic words, the redoubtable Boris Johnson came clean, almost despite himself, about the contradictions of Brexit, and perhaps those of today’s right-of-center populism altogether. In time, the phrase may be seen as the defining utterance of the post-truth era in trans-Atlantic politics.
The Washington corollary was minted by an aide to Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell regarding Obamacare – “repeal and replace.” Less elegant, perhaps, but the inherent hubris and contradictions are much the same: After throwing them off the system, we can then provide more than 20 million Americans health insurance, without patient costs, government expenditure or regulation, since our ideology forbids considering those policies.
Of course, in real life, and even eventually in politics, one must choose to either eat cake or have it. Britain currently seems to have a slightly stale piece of cake, and a largely hungry populace. Their American cousins, meanwhile, have a simple homespun saying: “You can’t replace something with nothing.” Yet, for the time being, that is precisely what congressional Republicans plan to do regarding Obamacare.
Continue reading at Real Clear Politics.