WE'RE ON TWITTER, GO HERE WE'RE ON FACEBOOK, GO HERE
Please note that you can leave a comment on any of our posts at our Facebook page. Subscribers can also comment at length at our Angel's Corner Forum.
OUR DAILY SNIPPETS ARE HERE.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2010
POLL: AMERICANS WANT HEALTH PLAN FOUGHT – AT 8:57 P.M. ET: A CBS poll, out today, offers encouragement to those who believe that our side should continue to resist the new health bill:
A CBS News poll released Wednesday finds that nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.
The Senate version of the legislation was passed by the House Sunday night, and President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday. The House also passed a separate reconciliation bill, which cannot be filibustered, that is now being debated in the Senate. That bill would make changes to the bill already signed into law.
Senate Republicans are now challenging whether the bill is truly a budget reconciliation bill (which is what makes it filibuster-proof) and inserting amendments designed to slow down passage. Republican attorneys general are also planning to challenge the constitutionality of the law.
The poll finds that 62 percent want Congressional Republicans to keep challenging the bill, while 33 percent say they should not do so. Nearly nine in ten Republicans and two in three independents want the GOP to keep challenging. Even 41 percent of Democrats support continued challenges.
COMMENT: Once again the key problem for Obama is that he's lost the support of independents. Two thirds of them want Republicans to keep challenging the health bill. If that loss of independent support lasts into November, we could see a major turnaround in both houses of Congress.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
BUMBLING CLOWNS – AT 8:18 P.M. ET: What can we say about the conduct of American foreign policy under Barack Obama and his little poodle, Hillary? The ideological rigidity, joined by a lovely incompetence, makes for a package that we show off to the world.
Nothing exposes the sheer blundering of this crowd than the handling of Israel, one of our closest allies, in the last two weeks, and, indeed, since Obama took the oath. It rivals Obama's humiliation of Britain, which has been an outrage. Jackson Diehl of the liberal Washington Post expresses his dismay at a president who wants to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians:
So it’s now been two weeks since President Obama chose to seize on a poorly-timed Israeli announcement about new Jewish housing in Jerusalem to launch another public confrontation with the government of Binyamin Netanyahu...
...Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has adopted Obama’s original demand as his own: He’s saying he won’t begin even the indirect, “proximity” talks he previously agreed to until Israel accepts the Clinton terms on Jerusalem. How could he do otherwise? The Palestinian leader cannot be less pro-Palestinian than the White House. But Abbas cannot climb down from his position so easily -- which means that, for the second time in a year, the Middle East peace process has been stalled by a U.S.-engineered deadlock.
The Palestinians oppose Israeli settlements on the West Bank, but that never stopped them from negotiating...until Barack Obama came to office and made settlements an obsession. Big, big mistake.
Finally, Obama has added more poison to a U.S.-Israeli relationship that already was at its lowest point in two decades. Tuesday night the White House refused to allow non-official photographers record the president’s meeting with Netanyahu; no statement was issued afterward. Netanyahu is being treated as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms length. That is something the rest of the world will be quick to notice and respond to. Just like the Palestinians, European governments cannot be more friendly to an Israeli leader than the United States.
At least the Brits probably feel they have company now. This is obnoxious behavior for an American president. Even presidents who were somewhat distant from Israel, like Carter and Bush 41, never behaved this way.
U.S. pressure on Netanyahu will be needed if the peace process ever reaches the point where the genuinely contentious issues, like Palestinian refugees or the exact territorial tradeoffs, are on the table. But instead of waiting for that moment and pushing Netanyahu on a point where he might be vulnerable to domestic challenge, Obama picked a fight over something that virtually all Israelis agree on, and before serious discussions have even begun. As the veteran Middle East analyst Robert Malley put it to The Post’s Glenn Kessler, “U.S. pressure can work, but it needs to be at the right time, on the right issue and in the right political context. The administration is ready for a fight, but it realized the issue, timing and context were wrong.”
And Malley tends to be sympathetic to the Arabs.
A new administration can be excused for making such a mistake in the treacherous and complex theater of Middle East diplomacy. That’s why Obama was given a pass by many when he made exactly the same mistake last year. The second time around, the president doesn’t look naive. He appears ideological -- and vindictive.
COMMENT: He is both. And peace will pay the price. Small timers don't make it in international diplomacy.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
A LITTLE LANGUAGE PROBLEM – AT 7:47 P.M. ET: As they used to say in the Army, "Sorry about that." It turns out that one of the big promises made in the health-care bill may evaporate because of sloppy drafting. You can't make this up:
You've seen a lot of hype about a provision in the health bill that will bar insurance companies from rejecting children with pre-existing conditions, to be effective this fall. Uh, apparently, there's a bit of bother with the language in the bill, and the provision is actually effective in 2014.
How many months did they work on this bill? How many months?
So now the White House is scrambling to come up with an explanation, and assurances that the problem will be fixed. But it reflects the mess that we've seen in the creation of this not-so-brave new world.
UPDATE: Just an update on the health saga. The Senate, later tonight, will begin what's being called a vote-a-rama, about nine hours of voting that will presumably vote down every Republican amendment offered to the reconciliation package. The package is designed to fix things in the health bill that the House didn't like. It doesn't look like the GOP will be able to stop the plan.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
ARTIFICIAL DRAMA – AT 7:19 P.M. ET: The Democrats are milking every ounce out of the story that some House members have gotten death threats because they voted for health-care "reform." They're also milking the story, about which there are real doubts, that black members of Congress were subjected to racial catcalls on Saturday.
Some members of the House are increasing their security, and the FBI is investigating some of the threats.
Look, no one, obviously, should make death threats. Sadly, threats occur all the time. There are always some nuts out there, as the Secret Service knows very well. The Republican leadership has already denounced any such threats, which is the proper thing to do.
However, the obvious attempt by the Dem leadership to link threats to Republicans, to the tea party groups, or to opposition to the health bill, is dishonest. It's a throwback to the "we are victims" mentality of the 1960s, and once again we see an attempt by the left wing of the Democratic Party to return to that era, for which it is plainly nostalgic.
There is also increasing criticism of conservative talk-show hosts for "extreme" language.
Do some hosts on the right go overboard? Yes. Do some on the left? Yes. Both should stop it.
I'd be a lot more generous toward these complaints of extremism if they were made equally - denunciations of both right and left for going over proper limits. I was monitoring the cable news networks today, and saw resident leftist Rick Sanchez of CNN report on this story, telling us only about threats against liberals. But there have been any number of threats against conservatives who've tried to speak on college campuses, and the bleeding hearts are entirely indifferent to them.
When we get some equal reporting, then we'll talk.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
IT'S THE ECONOMY, BARACK – AT 10:14 A.M. ET: Amidst all the White House euphoria over the passage of health-care "reform," with its attendant price tag, attention has been diverted from the continuing economic crunch:
March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in February to a record low as blizzards, unemployment and foreclosures depressed the market.
Purchases decreased 2.2 percent to an annual pace of 308.000, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median sales price climbed by the most in more than two years.
The new-home market is vying with foreclosure-induced declines in prices for existing homes in an economy where unemployment is forecast to average 9.6 percent this year, close to a 26-year high. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner yesterday said it would take a “long time” to repair the housing market as the administration takes steps to overhaul real-estate financing and regulation.
“It’s going to be a long, slow slog and the lagging sector will be new home sales because they have to compete with existing sales and foreclosures,” Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association in Washington, said before the report. “New home sales probably have until the fourth quarter until they start recovering.”
COMMENT: It's hard to know where the money to pay for Obamacare will come from unless the economy improves dramatically. And there doesn't seem to be any real improvement in the actual economy. Yes, Wall Street has shown some progress, but it showed progress in the depths of the Great Depression as well.
The unemployment rate still approaches 10%, and that doesn't include the underemployment rate, as desperate people take jobs far below the ones they've lost, or employees see their income and hours cut back.
It might have been wiser for The One, saint though he be, to concentrate on the economy before tackling surgical procedures.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
THE DEM DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS – AT 9:32 A.M. ET: The Rasmussen tracker continues to show some gain for the president as a result of the health care vote. But when you look at the details, the gain may be less significant than it appears:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 31% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -11 (see trends).
The Approval Index rating today represents a seven-point gain for the President compared to a week ago. The bounce comes entirely from increased enthusiasm among Democrats. Today, 60% of Democrats Strongly Approve while only 9% Strongly Disapprove. A week ago, those figures were 46% Strongly Approve and 14% Strongly Disapprove.
Among Republicans, the President’s Approval Index was at -66 a week ago and is the same today. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, the President’s Approval Index rating was -25 a week ago and -26 today.
These results are based upon daily telephone interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, one-third of the interviews for today’s update were completed before the House of Representatives passed health care legislation on Sunday.
COMMENT: So, the bounce comes entirely from Democratic enthusiasm. That may, of course, ultimately mean more Dems coming to the polls in November. But without an improvement in independent support, which is really down the drain for The One, it's hard to see how the Dems can avoid major losses.
Wait, I know one way – if the Republican Party becomes overconfident, its traditional problem, and doesn't do the job. Now is the time for Republicans to run as if they're 20 points behind.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
ALL ABOUT OUR LEADER – AT 8:21 P.M. ET: Michael Goodwin, of the New York Post, is one of the most clear-headed conservative columnists around. He has the aura of an old-fashioned newspaperman, not "journalist," who feels the streets and the people who walk them. He knows what, and who, Obamacare is about. It is about Obama:
Don't think for a second the whole last year was about reducing the deficit or bending the cost curve. Nor was it ever really about helping Americans who need better medical care. A handful of those poor souls were there again yesterday, human props for his show.
As he smugly read the roster of predecessors who tried and failed, from T.R. to Bill and Hillary, there was no pretense of modesty. This was about him...
..."You're the reason we're here," Vice President Joe Biden said obsequiously to his boss. Never has a phrase been more pregnant with double meaning.
The whole notion of "The One," the deity come to save us, was back.
Obama is also the reason more than half the country could feel uninvited to the party in the people's house. They made clear every chance they had -- from elections to polls to demonstrations -- that they were voting no.
For their trouble, they were ignored and often demonized. Their government does not represent them.
Their government represents itself.
Their disconnect from the people who pay for their imperial courts is now complete. They acted like children at a birthday party, oblivious to the pain in a nation where perhaps 15 million are out of work.
Obama's the reason they are unbothered. He has reduced the jobless to a statistical annoyance.
The new entitlement will create a gusher of red ink and there is a very good chance the world's finest health system will be diminished by longer waits, shoddy care and higher costs.
This is Obamaism. It is sold with claims so false they are odious.
Washington is now a one-party town, determined to work its will on a nation increasingly united against it.
It is not the change Americans want.
If we are smart and brave, the good change, the change that will rescue the nation, comes in November. Oh, hurry.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
FASCINATING FOREIGN VIEW – AT 8:01 A.M. ET: Reader Jean Spik alerts us to a column in Germany's Spiegel Online, expressing one foreign view of Obamacare and its impact on America's standing in the world.
Of course, there is the usual gloating. The big, bad, behind-the-times United States has finally become at least semi-civilized and turned to its government for health care. Europe couldn't be more pleased by this affirmation of European superiority, even as Europe, with falling birth rates, troubled economies and massive Muslim immigration, heads toward its own self-destruction.
But then there's the sober second thought. The writer, Gregor Peter Schmitz, worries that the total focus on Obamacare, the exhaustion in passing it, will damage American foreign policy:
The debate will dominate the next few months -- and will no doubt also have an impact on the other projects that Obama is finally planning to tackle. The attention that the president will have to continue to pay to health care, in fact, makes further successes that much more doubtful.
Every other issue has become a sideshow, particularly those outside the borders of America. The Afghanistan mission: of marginal interest. Protecting the environment: postponed. Peace in the Middle East: off in the distance. Sanctions against Iran: delayed. Europe: not even worth a trip.
The one remaining global superpower has succumbed to navel gazing. The nature of Obama's hard-fought victory means little will change in the near future. On the contrary: Now he must explain to the country and to his own party why the entire health care journey, as all-encompassing as it turned out to be, was worth it in the end. He will have little time for anything else.
Such a realization should not spoil the celebration over health care for the Americans themselves. But the rest of the world won't be joining the party quite so enthusiastically.
COMMENT: What? You mean the rest of the world really wants a strong United States to act internationally? What a strange idea.
I just wonder how many officers in foreign ministries around the globe are privately saying, "You know, that Bush wasn't so bad. A bit abrasive, with that cowboy style. But I'm not so sure this Obama can protect us. What do we do?"
I don't know what the "sophisticates" abroad, especially in the Europe that is not even worth a presidential trip, can do. They invested so much in a rock star. Maybe next time they should put their money on a statesman.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
VULGAR – AT 7:50 A.M. ET: As the nation absorbs the meaning of our depraved new world of health care, one thing has become certain: Many liberal commentators are not inclined to show the slightest "in victory, magnanimity," posture recommended by Winston Churchill.
In fact, some of the comments by the usual suspects are downright vulgar. Consider this, from Maureen Dowd, who had actually been showing some signs of reform in the last year:
Some base members of the Republican base showed themselves as the racist Neanderthals they are.
Protesters outside the Capitol on Saturday called two black congressmen, the civil rights hero John Lewis of Georgia and Andre Carson of Indiana, a racial epithet as they walked by. Another, Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, was called that epithet and got spit on. Barney Frank of Massachusetts was called an anti-gay slur. The anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak was called a “baby killer” by Texas Republican Representative Randy Neugebauer, who says he’s had a “tremendous outpouring” of support for his outburst.
It was disgusting. And for the Democrats who had battled each other through every twist and turn of health care, it was unifying.
Dowd accepts as fact a number of charges that seem dubious at best. We have a number of videos of the famous walk of the black congressmen. No microphone on any of the videos recorded any racial slurs. Now, of course, it's possible that a few nutbags did mutter some unacceptable things, but we have no direct evidence of it, and to link them with the Republican base is outrageous.
Bart Stupak was not called a "baby killer." Representative Neugebauer, for better or worse, labeled the bill a baby killer. There was nothing personal.
The use of the term "racist Neanderthal" is itself a slur, but Dowd uses it freely, and will not be challenged by The New York Times, her newspaper. She is one of a number of liberal writers who are using the passage of Obamacare to paint the opposition in the most vulgar ways. That has become accepted practice.
At the Angel's Corner tonight we will give the coveted Pompous Fool Award to another one of these liberal writers.
March 24, 2010 Permalink
TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2010
BUZZING – AT 7:03 P.M. ET: Much buzz today about Hillary Clinton's remarkable blunder in her speech yesterday to AIPAC, the pro-Israel group. You know, in diplomacy you've got to get the basics right.
Clinton, in an obvious and award attempt to appease the pro-Israel crowd, which is none too pleased with her recent confrontation with Israel, officially denounced the naming of a square in Ramallah after a Palestinian terrorist. She blamed Hamas.
Trouble is, Hamas isn't in control of Ramallah, which is on the West Bank. Hamas controls Gaza. The Palestinian Authority controls Ramallah.
The secretary has to go to a better bookstore and buy a book of maps. It need not be expensive in these tough times. Softcover versions are available. Better prices can be had online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
That kind of mistake, coming from someone who sometimes appears to know every neighborhood in Jerusalem, and even the street signs and graffiti, is inexcusable.
There's a lot of amateurism in our foreign policy, a foreign policy that produces no results. At first I tended to blame only Obama, but it's time Clinton took her lumps as well.
March 23, 2010 Permalink
REPEAL! – AT 6:18 P.M. ET: That is the rallying cry of Republicans. Repeal the monstrous "health" bill. But is it possible? Some say you can never repeal a benefits bill because people get used to the benefits. Bill Kristol disagrees:
The editors of National Review sensibly counsel conservatives, in the wake of last night’s victory for Obamacare: “‘Nil desperandum’--never despair.” I agree, though I’m more inclined to the mock-Latin motto of the Harvard band: “Illegitimi non carborundum”--don't let the bastards get you down.
Why not? Because we can repeal it.
As National Review’s editors explain (and see also the strong Wall Street Journal editorial this morning), this legislation “will increase taxes, increase premiums, and increase debt, while decreasing economic growth, job growth, and the quality of health care.” So it will--if it is allowed to go into effect.
...the message will have to be not just repeal but also replace--replace Obamacare with sensible reforms. What’s more, working out exactly how to repeal and replace the parts of the legislation that will already be in effect is an important task, one to which I know Paul Ryan has already given some thought.
But the details of the replacing and reforming are secondary. Repeal is the heart of the matter. It should be the heart of the message.
Finally, on Obama's role:
He won a short-term victory, but one that will turn out to mark an inflection point on the road to defeat, and the beginning of the end of the Democratic party’s dominance over American politics...Obama’s Waterloo will be November 6, 2012.
And then comes repeal, and the opportunity for renewed and revitalized conservative governance.
COMMENT: From Kristol's mouth to you-know-who's ears. Our side is in a fighting mode. But let's make the fight intelligent. Kristol is right that we can't just yell repeal. It's repeal and replace. Get rid of the burden, but solve the problems in the health-care system. Then we shine.
March 23, 2010 Permalink
GREAT REPORTING – AT 5:44 P.M. ET: Nobody knows more about explaining the economy, and economic history, than Amity Shlaes, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, now of Bloomberg. She demolishes a lot of the propaganda used to sell the health bill:
Everyone knows the bill will widen deficits over time. Entitlement and mandate expansions always do. And everyone knows that health-care reform isn’t about fiscal rectitude. As Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote last summer, the point of the proposal “was never to generate savings over the next decade.” It was to insure the uninsured.
Oh. I guess we were misinformed.
The question is how can lawmakers get away with their misrepresentation? One answer lies in the structure of the Congressional Budget Office, the government’s official accountant. Its job is to establish an honest price: to tell legislators and voters what a policy will cost in the short, medium and long terms. That CBO work is important because Americans rightly sense that the politicians’ math is rigged...
...The CBO’s rules make it hard for the group to fulfill its own mandate. You’d think, for example, that the CBO would use its own parameters when it crunches numbers. Instead, the CBO must use the same mathematical assumptions supplied by the very lawmakers who wrote the bill the group is evaluating. No matter how improbable those formulas are.
Former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, writing in the New York Times, described the group’s process as “fantasy in, fantasy out.”
And that is how those numbers were sold to us, or at least sold to those who weren't watching too carefully.
CBO rules often preclude common sense. Its forecasters can’t take into account any other legislation when studying the price tag of a proposed bill. That enabled the forecasters costing out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill to overlook this fact: Medicare spending increases will force tax increases, which in turn will hurt growth.
Oh. Maybe we should tell the Dems to write that down.
This dynamic is permitted because the answers the CBO supplies make it easier for politicians to sell their bills. They’re happy. And so, for the moment, are voters who are painfully aware that the U.S. federal budget can’t cover new entitlements, yet accept such legislation as a balm for that pain.
The CBO’s structural failure benefits the Democrats this week. Indeed, Pelosi is teaching Republicans something: the bigger the misrepresentation, the greater the credibility with voters. Croon to them a tune about entitlement, and they forget that you’re clearing a path for a tripling of the tax on dividends.
COMMENT: Hitler once said that people would sooner believe a big lie than a small one. Many politicians eventually learn that. Sad, isn't it?
March 23, 2010 Permalink
A MODEST BOUNCE FOR OBAMA – AT 9:44 A.M. ET: We've been cautioning that public reaction to the health bill might not be as favorable to Republicans as they think. Success in passing the legislation brings a kind of "we love winners" mentality. Rasmussen confirms our caution:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 31% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -10 (see trends).
The President is enjoying a modest bounce following the weekend of health care activity in Congress. The number who Strongly Approve of the President has not been higher than today’s total since November. The Approval Index rating of -10 is the President’s best in over a month.
The bounce comes from Democrats who are pleased with the passage of the health care plan. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats now Strongly Approve of the President’s performance while 70% of Republicans Strongly Disapprove. As for those not affiliated with either major party, 23% Strongly Approve and 45% Strongly Disapprove.
Overall, 48% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove.
That's also a very strong showing for this president at this time.
COMMENT: Most bounces last only a few days for the bouncee. We'll see how long this is sustained. There are some pundits warning that health care can turn out to be a net plus for the Dems, depending on how it's sold between now and November. That risk is there. The Republicans should take nothing for granted.
March 23, 2010 Permalink
MARCH OF THE FRAUDULENT CLAIMS – AT 9:03 A.M. ET: As readers know, we've been following the Toyota saga. We've watched as an overheated initial reaction to claims of unintended acceleration turned to skepticism. The skepticism is justified.
Now we have one more claim that's been debunked. The action occurred about six miles from where Urgent Agenda is written. From Fox:
According to Police Captain Anthony Marraccini, driver error caused the crash of a Prius on March 9th 2010 in Harrison N.Y. and not faulty brakes.
In an investigation of the incident, Harrison Police Captain Marraccini said the brakes had not been applied, a finding that contradicted claims from a 56 year old woman who told police that the car had accelerated as she drove down her employer’s driveway and hit a stone wall. The woman told police that she had hit the brakes but the car did not respond.
A number of people have "come forward" to claim faulty Toyotas after the original publicity, but this police officer has done his job. From his statement:
"The vehicle accelerator was compressed and there was no brake application. We looked at data extracted from the car’s computer system. We looked at the vehicle diagnostic trouble code and we have video taped every key stroke that Toyota made while they extracted the data so we know the data is reliable and trustworthy..
"...Sensors on the gas pedal showed that the throttle position was depressed fully by the driver. The data indicates the accelerator was depressed. There was no pressure applied to the brakes at the time. The shift sensor was in drive and the accelerator sensor indicated that accelerator was fully depressed. There is no indication that the brake lamps were on."
COMMENT: There is now a move on to install "black boxes" in all newly manufactured cars. It should be done. We will learn a great deal about actual accidents, and authorities will be able to debunk false statements made to the police.
March 23, 2010 Permalink
SOWELL ON THE HEALTH BILL – AT 8:34 A.M. ET: One of the most brilliant conservative writers of our time has weighed in on what has just happened in Congress. As usual, attention must be paid to Tom Sowell:
With the passage of the legislation allowing the federal government to take control of the medical care system of the United States, a major turning point has been reached in the dismantling of the values and institutions of America.
Even the massive transfer of crucial decisions from millions of doctors and patients to Washington bureaucrats and advisory panels-- as momentous as that is-- does not measure the full impact of this largely unread and certainly unscrutinized legislation.
Nobody says it better.
With politicians now having not only access to our most confidential records, and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters?
I hadn't thought of it that way. Now I'm thinking of it that way.
The corrupt manner in which this massive legislation was rammed through Congress, without any of the committee hearings or extended debates that most landmark legislation has had, has provided a roadmap for pushing through more such sweeping legislation in utter defiance of what the public wants.
The problem is that Democrats don't believe the public is smart enough to know what it wants, so more enlightened souls, graduates of our "best" universities, must do it for them.
They say that, in politics, overnight is a lifetime. Just last month, it was said that the election of Scott Brown to the Senate from Massachusetts doomed the health care bill. Now some of the same people are saying that passing the health care bill will doom the administration and the Democrats' control of Congress. As an old song said, "It ain't necessarily so."
The voters will have had no experience with the actual, concrete effect of the government takeover of medical care at the time of either the 2010 Congressional elections or the 2012 Presidential elections. All they will have will be conflicting rhetoric-- and you can depend on the mainstream media to go along with the rhetoric of those who passed this medical care bill.
The last opportunity that current American citizens may have to determine who will control Congress may well be the election in November of this year. Off-year elections don't usually bring out as many voters as Presidential election years. But the 2010 election may be the last chance to halt the dismantling of America. It can be the point of no return.
COMMENT: Tom Sowell is not a man who writes wildly. Take his comments to heart. The left has gathered more power in Washington than it has ever had. It intends to use that power. If you want to know how ruthless the exercise of that power can be, just look at our colleges and our school systems. Case closed.
March 23, 2010 Permalink
IN THE SENATE – AT 8:17 A.M. ET: Even though President Obama is expected to sign the health bill into law, it having passed both houses of Congress, Republicans will still try to block changes in the bill in the Senate, requiring the package of changes to go back to the House. From The Washington Times:
President Obama on Tuesday is expected to sign into law the health care overhaul, but the battle over alterations demanded by House Democrats is just beginning in the Senate.
Republicans are preparing a series of amendments and objections to the secondary bill designed to force Democrats to take difficult political positions.
Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa said Monday he plans to introduce an amendment to require the president, Cabinet members and White House staff to buy their insurance through the government exchanges. As written, the overhaul prevents them from going to the exchanges because they get their insurance through their employer.
No chance that will pass. Democrats consider Obama administration officials as royalty, and one doesn't tamper with royalty.
Senate Democrats are expected to have the 51 votes they need to pass the package of changes under reconciliation rules. So the drama will rest with the Senate parliamentarian, who will decide whether the Republicans' objections are legitimate, and with Republicans, who will decide how long they plan to try to block the bill.
Any change the Senate makes to the legislation would force the House to take another tough vote to pass the plan and possibly kill it.
Top Senate Democrats have said that they have asked the rank-and-file to vote against every amendment to the bill -- even if they agree with them.
Why let principle stand in the way?
Look, these are parliamentary maneuvers. They probably won't work, but at least the GOP is giving it a shot. Chances are we'll have Obamacare. And we'll have the bill that goes with it. It will be up to the Republicans to come up with an alternative that is so well put together that the public will demand that it replace Obamacare. Can the GOP do it? Well, we're not talking about a bunch known for great imagination, but this will be the challenge that will define them for a long time.
March 23, 2010 Permalink