Twelve Dimensional Chess

Barack Obama just won Gallup’s man most admired by US adults poll for the 11th straight time.

Also, in spite of the Republicans’ determined efforts including elimination of the mandate, Healthcare.gov signups are only 4% fewer than last year’s.

Finally, I am thinking about “eleven dimensional chess”. This was a joke about Obama and Obamaniacs who ascribed his amazing luck to brilliantly subtle strategy. To be honest I was thinking of Hillary Clinton (second to Michelle Obama after 16 first place finishes) as someone who managed eleven dimensional fools mate.

And I recall that the original 11 dimensional chessplaying was cleverly promising health care reform could work without an individual mandate. A merely sly politician would promise this, because he knew that reform was popular, mandates are not popular, and it is better to break a promise after being elected than never to be elected at all. But, it was argued, Obama campaigned in the obvious way on an obvious lie exactly, because he knew that reform without a mandate would be a catastrophe and especially catastrophic for the insurance companies. By making a promise which shouldn’t be kept, he scared them and their tame senator Max Baucus into supported reform if and only if there were a mandate. He also 11 dimensionally managed to cede control to the Senate as is necessary to flatter senators (and avoid the blame for the necessary tradeoffs). The Clinton’s sacrificed their king (and hurt the electoral chances of their queen) by setting up a committee and keeping Senators waiting for months.

But wait. Didn’t I just mention that health care reform is actually functioning without a mandate ? Is it possible that it can work with subsidies which prevent an adverse selection death spiral ? As Obama claimed in t008.

Now that, that is 12 dimensional chess. He was so brilliant that he managed to promise something which was possible (and hasn’t hurt the insurance companies) yet terrified them into supporting health care reform. In this way he 12 dimensionally convinced Republicans that they could destroy healthcare reform by eliminating the mandate, so they did, and we ended up with the policy he most slyly proposed.

Either he is a true genius of 12 dimensional chess or he is very very lucky.

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