In the great Rob Reiner costumer, “The Princess Bride,” the hired criminal Vizzini disdainfully objects to the hero Wesley’s efforts to free Princess Buttercup, charging “You're trying to kidnap what I've rightfully stolen!”
Back home in Chicago, we have a related saying about ethics in politics: “An honest politician is one who stays bought.”
In either case, the perpetrator of the first crime is offended by the very notion that anyone might dare try to reverse that crime. The first crime is fine; having once turned the tables on the laws of God and man, none may challenge the new status quo. In this world, there may be no honor among thieves, but there certainly is a sense of seniority…
…as we have been reminded, again and again, during the revived debate about The Unaffordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.
The Primary Crime of Obamacare
As yet another profligate Continuing Resolution – to fund the government in the absence of a proper budget – was debated on the Hill, concerned patriots attempted every parliamentary measure they could think of to minimize the damage that Obamacare is sure to do. Having passed bills to overturn it, dozens of times without effect (they just die in the Democrat-controlled Senate), the conservatives have tried other methods.
The conservatives have proposed defunding Obamacare – delaying its full implementation for another year – in exchange for raising the debt ceiling (a proposal so reasonable that Democrat Senator Joe Manchin has even acknowledged as totally reasonable). When the Democrat majority in the Senate refused to consider it, Senator Ted Cruz was joined by other conservative senators in a filibuster to increase public awareness of the issue.
These are reasonable measures, normal parliamentary procedures that the Congress has used since our nation’s Founding era. And yet, the Democrat leaders, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid – and their acolytes in the Mainstream Media – have summoned up a righteous anger at these normal tactics, a righteous anger that they can never seem to direct at the terrorist activity, street crime, and rampant unemployment that their own policies have created or enabled.
The Democrats attack Senator Cruz and his colleagues for using legitimate, traditional American tactics – the give-and-take of normal annual budget negotiations – as a route for saving the country from the destruction of Obamacare. With the haughty self-righteousness of the High Priests of the Temple of Socialism, they declare that Obamacare is “the law of the land,” one that none may dare oppose. To these self-appointed guardians of propriety, any effort to undo the destruction they have wrought is behaving rudely, disrespectfully, and unpatriotically. Of this, these Democrats and their lapdogs in print and on the screen are certain.
But, one may ask, where do they get the right to be the arbiters of morality in American politics? Do they sincerely believe that the nation has forgotten how they passed this bill in the first place? Well, we haven’t.
Reflections on History
The various bills that became Obamacare were cobbled together in 2009 from bits and pieces that had been lying around Washington for decades, much of it from the failed Hillary Clinton effort in 1993, much of it from prior efforts from the 1960s and 1970s.
On the November, 2009 weekend when the islamofascist terrorist, Major Nidal Hasan, committed a dozen murders at Fort Hood, Nancy Pelosi kept the House in session, not to address the nature of that shooting and investigate whether perhaps our military bases needed more security in this dangerous age, but to enable a vote on the House version of Obamacare. And sure enough, the Democrats in the House passed that bill, unread, because they felt that would be their only window in which to do so.
The Senate then voted to pass their own healthcare nationalization bill, a different bill than that in the House, a month later, on December 23, 2009. It was later revealed that the Obama administration had cobbled together the necessary cloture vote (the bare minimum of 60 votes) by offering sweetheart deals to various reluctant senators, now famously known as the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase, among others.
Due to various unavoidable parliamentary rules, they couldn’t have a normal House-Senate conference to resolve the differences between these two bills, so then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D, Moscow) decided to simply have the House disregard its own bill entirely and just pass the Senate bill exactly as-is… and so they did, in March, 2010.
There was no printed copy of the bill available for study and analyze before these votes; in fact, no member of Congress had read the entire bill before voting for it. No one could, as there was no copy to read. “You have to pass it to find out what’s in it!” she cockily snapped, when challenged at the time.
It was passed in the House 220-215, and it only squeaked through in the Senate by the number needed for cloture, 60-39. It was, even then, enormously unpopular… and illegal as well, because as a revenue bill, it could not originate the Senate. Only a House bill could have properly been passed that way, not a Senate bill, but the Congress merely voted to say that they “deemed it to have passed” according to the regular rules, even though, in fact, it had not.
The bill does things that no prior bill ever even tried to do. It assumes a Federal right to force individuals to buy a product; it assumes a Federal right to operate health insurance companies. It empowers government employees to deny individuals life-saving care. It rewards companies for reducing payroll below fifty employees, and further rewards companies for reducing employees’ hours from full-time to below thirty hours per week. The bill forces religious establishments to fund programs to which they are morally opposed, such as making Catholic churches and schools fund abortifacients for their employees.
The bill is in direct contradiction to so many specific provisions of the Constitution, it could not possibly be legally passed without first ratifying a Constitutional amendment to allow it. But the Democratic Party sought no such amendment, they just blatantly violated the Constitution, confident that the corrupt majority in the Supreme Court would fail to overturn it when the eventual Constitutional challenge reached the Bench.
The bill is therefore not only a statist dream of increasing government power; it is also a job-killer, an anti-recovery economic brake, comparable to no other calamity in American history. Sold as a measure to increase care and reduce costs, the program is quickly shaping up to be – as its conservative opponents predicted all the way back in 2009 – far costlier and less efficient than the system the preceded it. Instead of the unemployed lacking full coverage, today it’s more likely to be the employed who will lose their coverage, due to the havoc it’s wreaking on the employment sector.
And this is known and understood, better and better every month. Polling now indicates the popularity of the program is so low that fewer than ten percent of the population is under any delusion that Obamacare will be of a net benefit to them. Only ten percent? The public appears to be a good deal brighter than the Democratic caucuses in Washington.
The bill has been illegally written, illegally passed... and illegally amended by the White House, again and again, ever since. It is nothing but a seven foot tall stack of bureaucracy, overcharges, inefficiency, prejudice, fraud, and lies.
And yet, the Democrats complain when – as a terrified nation surveys a landscape of hospitals and insurance companies, doctors’ offices and clinics, all shrinking or closing from coast to coast as the effective date approaches – the Republicans start grasping at straws, looking for every proper, legal way they can to stop this train or slow it down.
The Republicans recognize its cost, and make that cost a negotiating item in a normal annual budget battle. The Republicans use a time-honored filibuster to gain public understanding and appreciation. A government shutdown is a possibility (we’ve had over a dozen in the past three decades, and we’ve somehow survived every one of them).
The Democrats brand these ordinary tactics – which have been used by members of every party since the nation’s dawning – “as political terrorism”… as “holding our country hostage”… as “jeopardizing our national bond ratings”… as “threatening to default on our obligations.” Outrageous claims, all of them, but very instructive. The Democrats know they have saddled the nation with the worst program ever, and in their horror at the damage they’re doing, they get more and more shrill in their attacks, trying desperately to think of something to do to evade the blame.
Methinks the statists doth protest too much…
We’ve looked at the
tactics used on both sides of the Obamacare debate; perhaps we should look at
other aspects of recent Leftist history to see if they ever use legitimate
They didn't mind making up a ridiculous (and malevolent) “Constitutional right to abortion” out of "the emanations from a penumbra..." (cf Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965)
And they didn't mind lobbing billions of dollars worth of rockets at Libya without the authorization of Congress... (cf the Libyan Civil War, 2011)
And they don't mind "winning" elections by stuffing the ballot box with the votes of moved, fictional, or dead voters... (every election for the past hundred years)
In fact, the Left hardly ever passes anything legally - they usually have to use some crooked tactic, from bypassing the Constitution to bypassing election law - and now they're complaining that the Republicans are using legal, proper, parliamentary procedures to try to stop this monstrosity.
And the MainStream Media remains impervious to objective reasoning, as
they continue to report every aspect of the story from the point of view of the
Obama White House.
The hypocrisy of the Left has indeed reached epidemic proportions. Hmm… an epidemic... I wonder if that's covered by Obamacare.
Copyright 2013 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade compliance trainer. His columns appear regularly in Illinois Review.
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