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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dems Break It, They Own It

The meme circulating today is that Republicans made a tactical error by failing to cooperate more with Democrats early on in the health care debate, pushing so-called moderate Democrats like Evan Bayh into the arms of Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

That meme is a bunch on nonsense.

As bad as the Senate bill is, it could have been much, much worse but for Republicans holding together.

Does anyone really believe that the public option would have been dropped willingly by Democrats back in June or July merely because Republicans were willing to vote for a smaller bill? Supporters of a public option, which remains in the House bill, are screaming over its removal from the Senate version to this very day.

It also is delusional to think that those hard battles could have been won without Republicans holding together, which allowed Joe Lieberman to succeed in forcing the public option (and substitute Medicare buy-in) out of the Senate bill. If even one Republican had supported a public option, it would be in the bill.

There also was no intention to compromise early on on the part of Democrats. Nancy Pelosi shut Republicans out of the process completely. In the Senate, the negotiations with Olympia Snowe went nowhere over key substantive and ideological points on which Democrats would not bend. Compromise actually meant Republicans acceding to Democratic ideology, which fortunately did not happen.

The rhetoric from the Obama administration also was uncompromising. Remember, Obama originally wanted these bills passed through the House and Senate before the August recess. Every message the White House sent was that Democrats should use their large majorities to just get it done, Republicans be damned.

Obama was willing to sign legislation last August, had it passed, which he later criticized as fundamentally flawed. The willingness of Obama to sign anything which passed through the Congress, so long as it was done quickly, did not signal a willingness to compromise.

Obama also insisted on an all-encompassing restructuring of the health care system in one fell swoop. Passing insurance reforms as a first step, which would have had bipartisan support, was rejected out of hand. It was Obama's way or the highway, and Republicans responsibly took the highway.

Any conciliatory overtures from Democrats earlier in the process were around the margins only. Republicans were permitted to offer amendments which made no real difference to the thrust of the Democratic versions, every single one of which focused on expanding government spending and bureaucracy.

Equally important was the fact that the Democratic bills, regardless of which version one picks, were monumental disasters waiting to happen, as I have written about almost 200 times in the past several months. I have analyzed, among other things, the unprecedented and possibly unconstitutional individual mandate, the use of the IRS as health care enforcer, the expansion of government bureaucracies, the increase in job-killing taxes, and a host of other fundamental flaws in Democratic proposals.

For Republicans to sign onto this manmade disaster would be to betray our traditions, our constitutional form of government, and individual liberties.

Republicans were right to say "thanks, but no thanks" to being a party to the worst piece of legislation "since the Great Depression."

Don't try to pawn this catastrophe off on us by rewriting history to claim that the bill is so horrible only because Republicans refused to play ball. That is pure fiction. The bill would have been worse.

Democrats are about to break the best health care system in the world. The store policy is: "You break it, you own it."

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  1. True 'dat....

    God help us all. Sounds like a good time for some states to grow some brass ones on the 10th Amendment.

  2. As it was in Canada in many of our political feeding frenzies, the "you broke it, you bought it" was the only thing holding back the controlling party. While MASH's theme song chimed "suicide is painless", political suicide makes a sacrifice of ego and nothing could be more painful to any politico. Your Democrats standing alone on this one is all good for the Republicans. In Canada we were willing to be massively taxed, from the lowest of incomes on up, in order ot fuel our Unihealth but that's our big expenditure. America is already in debt up to its eye balls, has little in natural resources to pay for this debt and has already lost its pole position in the global economy. If we can barely afford our worse quality of health care with more resources to pay for it with, how will America manage to keep its world's best health care with lower per capita resources? It can't be done even using Briffa-Mann style funky math.

  3. You Canadians "..were willing to be massively taxed...?" Our Nation was started because we WEREN'T willing to be massively taxed. Not back in 1774...not now...not EVER!!! Got it?

  4. NATIONAL STRIKE JAN 20, 2010 to coincide w/ STATE OF UNION SPEECH NATIONWIDE STRIKE over Obamacare...

    Call into work sick. Buy nothing. Find a union hall, congress creature office, State or Federal building and form picket lines. Come ready to party...

    NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE! Put that right back in their face!


  5. The best response to this "meme" is Olympia Snowe's experience with the Baucus bill. She voted to report the bill out of Baucus's committee and was promptly humiliated when the Baucus version evaporated before the ink could have dried on its printing. It's hard to see how any of the Senate's moderate GOPers could have taken seriously any attempts to woo them into support after that, regardless of the merits of any dem proposal.

    Also, viewed as a matter of Senate political dynamics, support from a two or three GOP Senators -- or even just Snowe -- clearly would have weakened the bargaining position and/or the willingness to put themselves out on a limb of those moderate Dems who did press for and get concessions from Reid.

  6. So about our only option is to goad our respective State Legislatures into protesting the unfunded mandates in this bill which require the states to pony up more for Medicaid?

    [ Or else we all become birthers, march on Washington, and refuse to budge until the original Certificate of Live Birth is produced... since if our esteemed Chicagoan-In-Chief isn't a citizen then he's not the President, and if he's not President, the bills he signed into law would be void. (I think.) ]

  7. The Dems WANT to break it, so that they can get their much beloved single-payer health care system. When premiums and/or taxes go up as the result of this awful legislation, watch the Dems say: those "evil" health insurance companies are "putting profits ahead of people" again, and it's the insurance companies' fault that premiums are so high. Or there's always the standby: "it's Bush's fault". Will the country let them get away with it this time?

  8. The Republicans should write and present two plans to the public, both in simple terms and backed up by some detail.

    (1) The Republican plan for healthcare reform. What they would change at this time, and why.

    (2) The plan for stepping back from this healthcare bill assuming it is passed now, and after regaining political control. What they would do after gaining control of Congress in 2010, and if given the presidency in 2012, with and without 60 votes in the Senate. This would address the practical problems of reversing the bill even after 3 years of implementation by Obama.

    The public would be encouraged to block the Dem's plan, and to vote for Republicans who had a plan to implement, rather than presenting the much weaker position that "the Dems screwed it up, so put us Republicans into power, so we can do something".