I always knew that when Obama took over the White House, with a Democrat Congress led by leftist radicals, they would be arrogant, uncompromising, and drunk with power, but even I’m surprised at the extent of their disdain for the will of the people.
The President, today will announce his plan to pass his Precious by reconciliation:
The president will call for an up or down vote on health care reform, as has happened in the past, and though he won’t use the word “reconciliation,” he’ll make it clear that if they’re not given an up or down vote, Democrats will use the reconciliation rules as Republicans have done in the past.
White House officials will make the argument these rules are perfectly appropriate because the procedure is not being used for the whole bill, just for some fixes; because reconciliation rules are traditionally used for deficit reduction and health care reform will reduce the deficit; and because the reconciliation process has been used many times by Republicans for larger legislation such as the tax cuts pushed by President George W. Bush.
Yes, the President and other Dems will keep repeating their cute talking point that this same exact thing has been done many times before, by Republicans.
But it hasn’t.
The Foundry explains:
Reconciliation has been used in the past, but only for procedural reasons, not because the underlying policy change was unable to muster 60-vote support. So, for example, the 1996 welfare reform law signed by President Bill Clinton was passed through reconciliation, but it also ended up getting 78 votes in the Senate (28 of them from Democrats). President Ronald Reagan also passed seven bills through reconciliation, but every single one of those bills passed through a Democratically-controlled House and won Senate votes from both parties. Never has reconciliation been used to pass any bill on purely partisan lines.
And the Wall Street Journal, this morning, calls the President’s plan to ram the bill through using Reconciliation, an abuse of power:
The vehicle is “reconciliation,” a parliamentary process that fast-tracks budget measures and was created in 1974 as a deficit-reduction tool. Limited to 20 hours of debate, reconciliation bills need a mere 50 votes in the Senate, with the Vice President as tie-breaker, thus circumventing the filibuster. Both Democrats and Republicans have frequently used reconciliation on budget bills, so Democrats are now claiming that using it to pass ObamaCare is no big deal.
Yet this shortcut has never been used for anything approaching the enormity of a national health-care entitlement. Democrats are only resorting to it now because their plan is in so much political trouble—within their own party, and even more among the general public—and because they’ve failed to make their case through persuasion.
“They know that this will take courage,” Nancy Pelosi said in an interview over the weekend, speaking of the Members she’ll try to strong-arm. “It took courage to pass Social Security. It took courage to pass Medicare,” the Speaker continued. “But the American people need it, why are we here? We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress.”
Leave aside the irony of invoking “the American people” on behalf of a bill that consistently has been 10 to 15 points underwater in every poll since the fall, and is getting more unpopular by the day, particularly among independents. As Maine Republican Olympia Snowe pointed out in a speech last December, Social Security passed when Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House, yet 64% of Senate Republicans and 79% of the House GOP voted for it. More than half of the Senate Republican caucus voted for Medicare in 1965. Historically, major social legislation has always been bipartisan, because it reflects a durable political consensus.
Reconciliation is the last mathematical gasp for ObamaCare because Democrats can’t sell their policy to Senator Snowe, any other Republican, or even dozens of Democrats. This raw exercise of political power is of a piece with the copious corruption and bribery—such as the Cornhusker kickbacks and special tax benefits for union members—that liberals had to use to get even this far.
Which brings us to Byron York’s edifying post, For Obama and Pelosi, health care is ego trip, which I linked to yesterday. It deserves to be revisited because it explains so much. Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama was elected as a Democrat in 2008 and was part of the House Democratic caucus until he switched sides to become a Republican, last December:
Given Griffith’s unique perspective — he is also a doctor, with 30 years’ experience as an oncologist — perhaps he has some insight into why the White House and his former Democratic allies in Congress continue to press forward on a national health care bill despite widespread public opposition.
It’s gotten personal, Griffith says. “You have personalities who have bet the farm, bet their reputations, on shoving a health care bill through the Congress. It’s no longer about health care reform. It’s all about ego now. The president’s ego. Nancy Pelosi’s ego. This is about personalities, saving face, and it has very little to do with what’s good for the American people.”
I think Pelosi’s ego also explains her bizarre handling of the Rangel affair. This is a woman, who is so full of herself, and so hyper-partisan, she sees the removal of a fellow corruptocrat from his powerful perch on the Ways and Means Committee as a personal failure, and a triumph for the other side, which she is determined to foil.
What else could explain, this:
After huddling with Rangel for 45 minutes, Pelosi initially said, “No comment” when asked if Rangel remains panel chairman.
She later added, “I guess he is still chair of Ways and Means…”
Pelosi spoke to The Hill after Rangel denied reports he would leave his perch at the top of one of the House’s most powerful committees.
As he emerged from the meeting, Rangel was asked whether he is still chairman. His response: “You bet your sweet life!”
He then said Pelosi told him not to say “a damn thing” about the meeting.
The Republicans would have cut him loose a long time ago.
Peter Wehner, at Commentary, reminds us of Obama’s campaign promises to be a different kind of politician:
This victory was made possible only because he portrayed himself as “a figure uncorrupted and unco-opted by evil Washington,” as Harry Reid told Obama. David Axelrod believed the road to success was in Obama’s promise to be “a unifier and not a polarizer; someone nondogmatic and uncontaminated by the special-interest cesspool that Washington had become,” in the words of the book Game Change. Obama’s public appeal derived from his “rhetoric of change and unity, his freshness and sense of promise.”
“We have something special here,” Axelrod reportedly said. “I feel like I’ve been handed a porcelain baby.”
Pushing reconciliation to pass ObamaCare — and in the process, overturning the tradition and misusing the rules of the Senate to get his way — shows yet again that Obama’s campaign was built on cynical, misleading, and downright untrue claims. He simply could not have meant what he said, based on his conduct in office. Now, it’s true that his rhetoric was so soaring, and the bar was set so high, that no person could have met the expectations Obama created. But to have fallen this far so quickly is still hard to believe.
The public doesn’t like to be played for fools. Obama has done that. And he’s only compounding his problems by pushing for reconciliation. Mr. Obama has decided to take a massively unpopular piece of legislation and abuse his power to get his way. This is not what a figure uncorrupted and un-co-opted by evil Washington would do.
The unmasking of Barack Obama continues. It is not a pleasant thing to watch. And he and his party will pay a huge political price for what they are doing, perhaps unlike any we have seen.
This was never about what the American people wanted….as their behavior now makes clear. For the Dems, the spoils of this bruising fight, is 1/6 of the US economy, well worth the sacrifice.
ObamaCare: Burning down the House
Karl in The Greenroom explains why it is going to be tough for Pelosi to flip votes in the House.
First, the AP itself reported that Minnick will not change his vote, according to his spokesman — which is no surprise, given his record and the heavy GOP tilt of his district. Jay notes that Boucher now has a top-tier opponent in his re-election race. Kratovil told the New York Times that he prefers a smaller bill. (Both Kratovil and Boucher represent districts that went 58-59% for McCain in 2008.) The NYT also reports that Tanner has told colleagues he has no intention of switching his vote. And the AP did not bother to check with Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania:
I do want to say one thing to those who claim that Nancy Pelosi has special powers, and that she doesn’t lose a vote in the House ever, which has been floated by commentators and members of Congress alike. Let’s be clear about this – Pelosi DID lose the vote in November. She won final passage of the health care bill, but if she had her way, the Stupak amendment would never have gotten a vote. She ignored and ignored Stupak for several months, hopeful that she could round up enough votes for the bill without him. And ultimately, she was unsuccessful, forced to roll back women’s rights as a consequence of passing health care reform.
Now, she doesn’t have that out. The Nelson amendment governs the abortion language in the Senate bill, and as changing that through reconciliation is unlikely to pass the Byrd rule, basically that cannot be changed.
This is by no means, a done deal.
Don’t believe all the bravo sierra you’re hearing out of Washington, right now.
Ed Morrissey:Abortion still the stumbling block for ObamaCare
Gateway Pundit: Obama Flashback: Dems Should Not Pass Healthcare With 50-Plus-1 Strategy (Video)
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