It was obvious at the outset of the much-ballyhooed health-insurance conference engineered by President Obama on 25 February and including mostly Congressional participants from both parties that a campaign/charade was in order. Always in speech-mode, the president started off by mentioning two ailments suffered by his daughters, one of which ailments required three days of antibiotics, and rambled. Senate Majority Leader Reid followed closely behind with a recounting of a problem suffered by a child with a cleft palate in Nevada. Later, a democrat Congresswoman mentioned a lady who was forced to wear her dead sister’s dentures. Get the picture?
Actually, the republicans came off looking quite well in the process, going on the attack early, often, and pressing it. The president did a lot of talking that featured enough hemming and hawing to convince anyone that without a teleprompter he’s forced to search desperately for remarks that won’t come back to bite him. But the charade was actually defined and magnified in his final remarks when he mentioned almost off-handedly that six weeks would be a good time-frame to wrap up the whole question. In other words, the passing of health-care legislation, at least as conceived by him, would be done through the “reconciliation” protocol, thus nullifying the filibuster threat in the Senate.
The president’s excuse for this ramming through legislation by the democrats that will eventuate in the government operating 17% of the Gross Domestic Product – the entire health industry – is plain, simply that bi-partisanship is impossible, given the recalcitrance of the nasty republicans in Congress. The president said as much at the end of the meeting when he indicated a time-frame in which to get it over with. The truth, of course, is that the legislation in both houses was constructed by the democrat majorities virtually in caucus, who nearly all of last year had a filibuster-proof Senate and an overwhelming majority in the House. His problem is with his own party-members who just can’t agree with each other.
In the process, the government (Obama) will take over the medical-insurance establishments, as he has already done with General Motors, the banks (although not altogether successfully), Chrysler and Freddie/Fanny. Ironically, the owner of General Motors (U.S. government) was harassing its main competitor, Toyota, in Congressional hearings the day before. One wonders if Obama will go after Ford next, especially since that auto company has done quite well, thank you, without any government bailout. The objective seems to be the taking over of the nation’s highest-profile entities, both financial and manufacturing. The administration is so cozy with Wall Street that Main Street is not in the picture.
Actually, if the current legislation is enacted and signed into law, private insurance companies will likely go out of business eventually since the government, with unlimited resources (the tax base), can undersell them with little trouble, thus inculcating the so-called “government option” or “single-payer.” This is no doubt the intention of the administration, making the nation conform much more closely to the countries in “Olde Europe.” This is socialism, the approach obviously favored by the president, with the greatest surprise being furnished by democrats who seem to lack the ability to either understand what’s made this country great or are so drunk with power that it doesn’t matter.
One laughs at the hypocrisy involved. The Senate democrats used the filibuster thing, obviously an un-Constitutional ploy, to deny George Bush’s court nominees a chance at being approved. Only after the famous “gang of 14” (seven members each of the parties) said “either enough or the loss of precious cloture,” threatened by the majority republicans, did anything get done, in this case, the approval of Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Alito. Now, in a matter far outweighing in importance the approval of judges, the democrats consider the filibuster rule of no importance.
Actually, the Senate democrats, before the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, passed their health-care bill with the super-majority, filibuster-proof 60 votes on last Christmas Eve. However, the House, having already passed its own bill by a slim margin long before, wouldn’t go along in the conference to hash out a compromise to be handed to the president for signature. But not to worry since the Massachusetts seat, held by Ted Kennedy since the 1960s, would certainly not go republican, but along came Brown, the political fly in the ointment, on 19 January. Now, since the bill hammered out in conference, if ever, must be re-submitted to each House, the Senate does not have the 60 votes needed to pass it, thus the hypocrisy of doing the deed via the reconciliation option, which has always been available.
The public, meanwhile, has watched the unbelievable shenanigans in the Senate, especially, to get a bill. For instance, the votes of senators from Louisiana and Nebraska came only after unbelievable and unfair deliveries of large amounts of cash to their states, not even to mention the inordinate gifts to the labor unions – cash paid by all other citizens. So…President Obama sat for hours before a bunch of opportunists, especially in an election year, and presided over what amounted to little or nothing. The repubs demanded a brand-new start and the dems demanded reconciliation…back to square one. The word is that Obama is already in campaign mode for 2012…so what else is new?