It's Healthcare or the Highway
Tony BeamDr. Tony Beam's Weblog
- 2010 Mar 08
Never have so many done so much to accomplish something that so few want. That about sums up the Obama Administration obsession to ram the so-called healthcare reform package through a reluctant Congress. Republicans are united in their opposition and the President's own party has to be bought off, roughed up, or talked down to in order to bring them in line. The limits of reconciliation in the Senate is forcing the Obama Administration to go for broke in the House. If somehow, Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel can get enough democrat representatives to agree to fall on their swords and vote for passage of the Senate bill, reconciliation will be a moot point. All that has to happen is for the House to pass the Senate bill without amendments. It would then go straight to the President's desk where he would sign into law the largest, most bitterly partisan bill in history…a bill that has been soundly rejected by majority after majority in poll after poll.
How did an Administration that promised to move "beyond politics" and "unite the county" end up being so partisan with a bitterly divided country? It's really not that hard to understand. For nine months leading up to the mid-term elections of 2006 I tried to get as many people as I could to realize we were about to turn the county over to hardcore leftwing ideologues. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer, and the rest of the democrat leadership are all committed to as much government control as the country will tolerate. Candidate Obama ran as a moderate, a centrist, who promised to avoid the partisan divides of the past and bring the country to a place of broad consensus on a host of issues. The rhetoric of the campaign quickly gave way to the reality of governing. President Obama bore almost no resemblance to candidate Obama. He began governing from the Left from day one, promising to fix our broken economy by mortgaging the prosperity of future generations by piling up an unprecedented mountain of debt, all while increasing the size and scope of the federal government.
Americans were shocked by the $767 billion price tag of the stimulus package but the administration was young so many people were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Then came the takeover of General Motors and the bailout of Chrysler. Then President Obama presented and democrats passed a $3.53 trillion budget that is guaranteed to add $1.2 trillion to the national debt by the end of this fiscal year.
By the summer, the grassroots response to the Obama Administration's runaway spending had blossomed into a serious rebellion among the electorate. Congress went home in August to face overwhelming opposition to the President's healthcare plan. Town hall meetings, that were supposed to be opportunities for democrats to tout the President's healthcare plan turned into raucous roasts as Americans sent a clear message that they believed their government was out of touch and out of control.
On September 12, hundreds of thousands of protestors showed up in Washington calling for an end to healthcare reform but the President and his majority party were not in the mood to listen. First, they tried to ignore the Tea Party protestors hoping the mainstream media would follow their lead and leave the Tea Party with no place to go. When that didn't work, the administration tried to vilify the movement by calling it an "Astroturf" movement funded by special interests like "big Pharmaceuticals" and "big insurance companies." Last summer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the Tea Party movement "un-American" and accused them of using Nazi symbols. But in a recent interview with Elizabeth Vargas on ABC's This Week, Pelosi, speaking about the Tea Party movement said, "Some of it is hijacking the good intentions of lots of people who share some of our concerns that we have about the role of special interests." I must assume Pelosi's strategy now is if you can't beat the Tea Party movement just hijack it and make is sound like your idea.
The latest shoe to drop in the healthcare or highway effort by the White House comes from Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY), who is being investigated by the House ethics committee for allegedly making inappropriate comments to a staffer on New Year's Eve. Massa announced his resignation on Friday saying, "This administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this heath care bill. And now they've gotten rid of me, and it will pass. You connect the dots."
On Sunday, Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of trying to block healthcare reform. Yet it was fellow democrats Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana who demanded the "cornhusker kickback' and the Louisiana Purchase" in order to secure their votes.
The question is why? Why is the President and the Democrat leadership so determined to have healthcare or the highway? The answer is simple. They really believe they know what is best for the American people. And they are willing to go to any lengths and to walk over the will of the people to get their way.