Late last night, Senator Harry Reid found the last vote he needed and forced through a cloture motion to cut off debate over the Senate’s version of a health-care “reform” bill. Under the rules, the bill is now scheduled to come to a final vote and all-but assured passage sometime on Christmas Eve. (And if you noted the profound irony of voting for a bill that includes federal money to fund abortions on Christmas Eve, you’re not alone.)
It wasn’t easy for Harry. Republicans are unanimously opposed, while Several “moderate” Democratic senators had qualms about the bill because of the cost or (try not to snicker) over principles. So, the Majority Leader from Nevada had to wheedle and bribe work for his 60 votes. In the end, he got what he wanted, and we learned how much it would take for thoughtful moderates to set aside those concerns about wrecking the US budget costs and violating the Constitution principles. Don Surber shows us the price tags for a six-pack of senators:
Ben Nelson of Nebraska gets:
“As Part Of The Deal To Win Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s Support, The Federal Government Will Fund Nebraska’s New Medicaid Recipients.” (“Ben Nelson’s Medicaid Deal,” Politico, 12/19/09)
“In Addition To The Medicaid Carve Out, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) Negotiated An Exemption From The Insurance Tax For Non-Profit Insurers Based In His State. The Language Was Written In A Way That Only Mutual Of Omaha Insurance Company, As Well As Blue Cross Blue Shield Nonprofit Plans In Nebraska and Michigan, would qualify, according to a Democratic Senate aide.” (“Nelson Wins Insurance Tax Exemption, Too,” Politico, 12/19/09)
Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democrat leadership are counting on creating a fait accompli, that once a national medical entitlement is in place, no matter how poorly crafted or harmful to the nation, the public will resist having it taken away. They may be right: one of the great weaknesses of democratic government is that the people can be bribed with their own money – and the Democrats know that. Speaker Pelosi is so sure that this reform will in the long run create a large class of voters beholden to the Democrat Party, thus ensuring that party a long-term majority, that she is willing to sacrifice Democratic seats in the near-term, even her majority, to get it.
She may get the first part of her wish.
Jay Cost of Real Clear Politics thinks we may be approaching one of our country’s periodic “Jacksonian moments,” when the public grows so disgusted with the ruling party in Washington that they throw the bums out en masse:
People in Congress and the lobbyists who court them have pretty good gigs. They have nice offices, make big salaries, and have lots of people hop to at their say so. Yet ultimately, all of their money, power, and prestige come from the people. The people are the sole source of sovereignty in our nation. Our Constitution opens, “We the people of the United States” – not “We the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of the United States” or “We the senior members of Congress with plum committee assignments.” Everything about our system is the way it is because the people allow it to be that way. This is why it’s best for the entrenched interests and the politicians to keep their under-handed means and particularistic ends from affecting the people. They can take it all away in a single instant – so the smart approach is not to give them a reason.
This Congress and this President seem hell-bent on ignoring that maxim. It started last year with TARP. It continued into this year with the pork-laden, wasteful stimulus bill. It moved to the auto bailouts, reckless deficit spending, and coziness with Wall Street. And now, it has moved to health care “reform.” The people are taking notice, they don’t like it, and they’re starting to blame the government for the weakened state of the union.
We might be on the verge of another Jacksonian moment: a time when the people awake from their slumber, angrily exercise their sovereign authority, and mercilessly fire the leaders who have for too long catered to the elites rather than average people. The first time this happened was in 1828 – when the people rallied to the cause of Old Hickory to avenge the “Corrupt Bargain” of four years prior. It’s happened several times throughout the centuries. Most relevant to today, it happened time and again in the 1880s and 1890s, as the people hired then fired one Republican and Democratic majority after another in search of leaders who could attend to the people’s interests instead of the special interests. That age saw the birth of the Populist Party. It was a time when so many felt so disgruntled by the political process that young William Jennings Bryan – just thirty-six years old and with only two terms in the House – came within a hundred thousand votes of the presidency.
I wonder if we’ve returned to that kind of dynamic. In true Jacksonian fashion, the country fired the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 because they bungled the war in Iraq and allowed the economy to sink into recession. They might soon have another Jacksonian moment, and fire these equally useless Democrats for hampering the recovery, exploding the deficit, and playing politics with health care.
Be sure to read the whole thing: it’s a long, angry fist-shake at our so-called leaders, who in their arrogance don’t seem to care a whit what we, the People think. In a similar vein, Michael Goodwin, a liberal who supported Hillary Clinton and voted for Obama, unleashes his own inner Jackson. I wonder how many people out there are similarly realizing they were duped by Obama and the Democrats?
We’ll find out next November.
As for the irrevocable fait accompli, I’m not so sure. To create the image that this bill is deficit-neutral in the first ten years, Reid has had to structure it so that all the new taxes come into play immediately, but the “benefits” don’t begin until 2014. That’s four years in which the people will suffer from more money being taken from their checks, but get nothing in return. Assuming the Jacksonian wave hits in 2010 and/or 2012, this just might be one of those rare entitlements that gets repealed.
We can but hope.