Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

03/19/2010 (10:37 am)

House Votes For Revolution

Reconciliation_Obama_MaksThe House yesterday passed the rule authorizing the vote for the Senate health care bill “fixes” to be deemed final passage of the health care bill, the so-called “Slaughter Rule,” by a margin of 222 – 203. All but 28 Democrats voted in favor of the rule; all voting Republicans voted against. Six Representatives did not vote. Michael Barone has the math and some analysis about what it all means.

We can be sure that no member of the House is so dense as to miss the intent of the rules legislation, so I think it’s actually safe to assert that voting “No” to the “fixes” will constitute voting “No” to the bill. That said, the maneuver guarantees extremes of ill feeling around the nation and especially in the House, and guarantees that whatever measure passes will trigger a flood of Constitutional crises unlike anything we have seen in this nation.

We have already seen the beginning of this flood in the Tea Party movement, in the actions of independent legal organizations, and in the actions of individual states to declare their intent to resist the national law. Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation has already posted its intended lawsuit against any bill passed through the procedural legerdemain the Democrats are attempting. Yesterday Idaho became the first state to sign into law a measure requiring its state attorney general to file a lawsuit against the federal government if the government passes a mandate requiring citizens to purchase health insurance. Idaho ran neck-and-neck with Virginia, which passed a similar measure through its General Assembly yesterday but did not have the bill signed into law by the Governor. Florida’s attorney general has already indicated that he intends to sue, and similar measures are being considered in 37 states besides Idaho.

It is not clear that these lawsuits will succeed, nor that they will fail. It is clear, however, that the citizenry will not quietly accept what it considers to be tyrannical dictate from Congress. If ObamaCare passes, campaigns for Congress in the fall will be filled with candidates running on reversing the health care legislation. Courts will be swamped with litigation attempting to stymie the implementation of many of the legislation’s mandates. Secession movements will rise in several states.

Libertarian cynics speculate that the chaos arising from the Democrats’ headlong effort to “kick through the door” is exactly what President Obama wants in order to impose martial law and take over the government altogether. While I find this far-fetched, I’m pretty sure that such an order to impose martial law would be resisted throughout much of the military, and would initiate the opening phase of a civil war pitting progressives against libertarian/conservatives. This is the cataclysm that timely secession could avoid, but it may be unavoidable if the President really does have takeover intentions. So be it. War is a horror, and I’m sure we all would prefer to avoid it, but as Earnest Hemmingway said, there are worse things than war, and they happen after defeat.

Speculation about cataclysms and conspiracies aside, the most likely scenario at this moment, assuming ObamaCare passes, is that the legislation will get tied up in the courts, Congress will change hands, and the new Congress will vote to rescind the measure. This is where the Democrats’ current accretion of ill will will become important. Democrats will need only 40 votes to stymie rescission measures as the minority, as opposed to needing 60 to pass as the majority, but Republicans will have no compunction against drastic measures to bypass the Senate filibuster in the wake of this spring’s procedural madness. Democrats will scream like stuck pigs, of course — when do they not? — but who will take them seriously this time around? Passing such unpopular legislation using such unsavory means amounts to a declaration of war.

Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Coburn has nailed a resolution to the Capitol door, declaring what is going to happen to those Representatives who think they’ll get cushy federal appointments when they lose their re-election bid over voting “Yes” on ObamaCare, or who want to hide the fact that they sold their votes. It’s good to know that a few of our Congressmen have something resembling a spine left.

We live in interesting times.

03/12/2010 (5:40 pm)

Democracy At Work. Don't Look.

470px-Obama_Health_Care_Speech_to_Joint_Session_of_Congress

The dictum says that one should never watch bills being passed or sausage being made. The Congressional machinations over the ObamaCare bills the last couple of days illustrate why. It’s not a pretty process, and it’s not easy to understand.

Chris Muir’s Day By Day cartoon today illustrates; it posits an attempt to pass legislation without voting on it. That’s not exactly what’s happening — any more than the Dept of Defense bundling 3 years’ worth of contracts into a single bid constituted a “no-bid contract” for Halliburton. Daniel Foster had a pretty solid explanation of the maneuver being contemplated by the Democrats at The Corner yesterday. The short version is that the House Rules committee decides before debate what the rules governing that bill’s debate will be, and the House votes on the rules by a simple majority. They thus have the ability to bundle bills together, such that the passage of one automatically produces the passage of the other by the same vote. However, the House does get to vote on the rule itself.

So, the current situation being the confused and confusing mess that it is, I’ve decided to summarize the parliamentary machinations. Health care reform for dummies.

The Federalist Society has about the simplest explanation of Congressional reconciliation that I’ve seen so far. In fact, it describes the entire health care reform process in a nutshell. But I’m going to try to reduce it even more here. Here we go:

Once the Democrats passed health care reform through the Senate on Christman Eve, the Democrats path to health care reform looked like this: (1) House and Senate Democratic leaders would meet off-line to agree on what needed to be changed to make the two bills compatible. (2) The House would pass the Senate bill, but with amendments stipulated that would make it acceptable to the House. (3) The Senate would consider the Senate bill with the House’s recommended amendments, and pass it. The bill would become law.

The Democrats super-majority in the Senate made it possible to pursue this path, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) would have been able to lock Republican amendments out of the Senate bill, and would have been able to defeat a filibuster.

The voters in Massachusetts, of which I proudly count myself one, threw a roadblock into that path on January 19 of this year by electing Scott Brown to the Senate. Brown, of course, ran on the basis of being “Number 41,” the vote to stop health care reform. Suddenly, Reid is no longer able to pass the amended House version of health care reform, as described above.

Democrats had two options: (1) scrap the current bill, and produce a version that would garner bipartisan support; or (2) find a way to side-step the filibuster in the Senate. They chose (2).

The only avenue they’ve found to side-step the filibuster is an arcane process created in a budget bill in 1974 called “reconciliation.” Reconciliation is designed to streamline the act of making a budget resolution conform to existing Senate and House budgeting laws — things like “Paygo,” spending caps, or required deficit reduction. Without reconciliation, dozens of committees would have to coordinate their separate processes, and each individual committee output would have to be debated and voted upon. Under reconciliation, the entire process gets bundled into a single resolution that gets voted on once, and gets debated under vastly restricted rules. The Senate’s version of reconciliation prohibits filibuster; it preserves the Senate’s tradition of empowering minorities only in that it gives the Senate power to excise from the reconciliation bill any measure that does not pertain to actually reconciling the budget — the so-called Byrd Rule. In other words, reconciliation was supposed to be used for fixing a budget, and only for fixing a budget.

Democrats have been engaging in their usual, steroid-enhanced rationalization since President Obama announced his intent to use reconciliation. Their rationalization has been that reconciliation has been used dozens of times, mostly by Republicans, and not only on budget matters. They omit that when used, it was used with bipartisan agreement to streamline a difficult process, not by a majority to bypass Senate filibusters. Be that as it may, Democrats are still restricted by the rules of the game; the Senate Parliamentarian still has the power to remove from the reconciliation bill any item that does not pertain to budgeting.

Wednesday, a report originating in the Senate Parliamentarian’s office claimed that the Senate could not begin the reconciliation process before the Christmas Eve version of the Senate bill had been signed into law. This cannot happen without the House voting on the Senate bill and passing it just as it stands, without any amendment. House Speaker Pelosi agrees that this is what must occur.

With reconciliation, and with this ruling, the Democrats’ path to passing health care reform now looks like this: (1) House and Senate Democratic leaders will meet off-line to agree on what needs to be changed to make the two bills compatible, just as before. (2) The House will vote on the Christmas Eve version of the Senate bill, unchanged, and pass it. (3) The President will sign the bill into law. (4) The Senate will engage in the reconciliation process to bring the bill into conformity to the pre-agreed-upon form that is acceptable to the House. (5) The President will sign the reconciliation bill, which will change the now-passed health care reform bill into agreement with what House and Senate leaders agreed upon.

This means that anti-abortion Democrats in the House have to agree to pass a version of health care reform that frankly forces the federal government to pay for abortions — trusting that the Senate will thereafter pass an amendment to nullify that fact. House Democrats likewise have to trust Senate Democrats to cooperate with them on any other particular with which they disagree. The outcome rests largely on the ability of Democrats in the House to trust Democrats in the Senate. Whether they can trust will say a great deal about the Democrats’ view of members of their own party.

Details of the differences between the House and Senate health care reform bills are here.

Bruce McQuain at QandO has the current magic numbers for the House vote on the unadjusted Senate bill.

MichaelW, also at QandO, has this neat summary of what the House Democrats are facing buried in his discussion of the latest legislative maneuvering:

Again, whether or not the “fixes” required by House members to get their vote will actually survive the Byrd Rule part of the reconciliation process is a huge question. In addition, Republicans will have other means of attacking the bill, such as challenging its long-term budget effect which could scuttle the entire thing. So, not only do the wavering House members need to be assured that the Senate will vote for their fixes in the reconciliation bill, they also have to know that those fixes will survive the process, and that the reconciliation bill as a whole will be capable of being passed under the budgetary constraints peculiar to such legislation. That’s a whole lot of “if’s” that need to be answered before the Senate bill comes to the floor for a vote.

What is happening here is democracy in action, making it well-nigh impossible for a well-entrenched majority to barrel-roll the minority. This is how the process is designed to work, and illustrates just how lucky we are that our forefathers were far-sighted enough to make the law-making process difficult for a simple majority to pass. The Democrats may be operating in bad faith, but by God, the system is still working.

03/03/2010 (9:52 am)

The Bunning Barometer

100225_bunning_ap_218Sen. Jim Bunning has just done the American people a huge favor, and we need to take careful note. He’s demonstrated for us all which Senators can be trusted to restore fiscal sanity to Congress, and which cannot. The number who can is small. I list them at the end of this post.

If you want the full description of the week-long flap Bunning created in the Senate, Michelle Malkin and the Heritage Foundation provide a reasonable level of detail. I will summarize the affair here.

A month ago, Democrats passed a bill in the Senate called “Paygo,” or Pay-As-You-Go, on a party line vote. Paygo basically requires the Senate to specify, in every bill that requires spending, where the money is going to come from. Its goal, on the surface, is to block bills that add to the deficit. Democrats passed the bill because they want to look like they’re concerned about the deficits (which they’ve quadrupled since they took over Congress.) Republicans opposed the bill because they suspected it was a cover to raise taxes dramatically.

I say “they want to look like they’re concerned” because the Senate has tried Paygo before, and it accomplished nothing. Paygo was in force from 1991 through 2002, During that period, the Senate approved $700 billion in entitlement expansions and tax cuts that were not paid for, in violation of the Paygo principle. They did it by adding to each bill a clause stating that the bill was an “emergency” bill, the exception permitted in Paygo. And yes, Democrats, the Republicans controlled the Senate for a good portion of that period. There are guilty parties on both sides.

Last week, true to form, the Senate proposed a $15 billion extension of unemployment and other benefits for which only $5 billion was paid for in the bill. They excused the other $10 billion by declaring the bill an “emergency” bill. And this is where Sen. Bunning jumped in.

Sen. Harry Reid, Majority Leader, attempted to pass the extension bill, which was actually a House bill (H.R. 4691,) by unanimous consent. Bunning simply stood up and said “I object.” This prevents the bill from passing by unanimous consent, and requires debate, cloture, and a roll call vote instead. What Bunning insisted on, in his objection, was that the Senate add specific measures to the bill that would explain where the $10 billion was going to come from; he suggested that they designate $10 billion from the TARP funds that have not been spent yet.

The Democrats proved what complete, vicious liars they are by demagoguing the matter for the better part of a week. They could simply have held discussion and the roll call vote, which would have prevented the delay. The delay was completely unnecessary, and occurred solely because the Democrats did not want their names associated with the passage of this bill that violates Paygo.

Rather than go on record, the Democrats went berserk. They blamed Bunning for the delay they were causing, by inaccurately calling the move a filibuster. They publicly flogged Bunning for voting against Paygo a month ago. They tried their best to make him look like a monster stealing bread out of the mouths of starving children. They screeched about Iraq war spending, as though that justifies irresponsible behavior here. They publicized it when he cursed from the back row. They kicked and screamed and lied like the infantile tantrum-throwers that they are.

And more than half the Republicans in the Senate blanched and ran away, too cowardly to stand by principle.

The nation is fiscally doomed. The dollar is about to collapse. Congress has created a fiscal nightmare over the past 70 years, and the concern being shown today is too small and too late by many orders of magnitude. But if the nation is ever going to return to sanity, and if the nation is even going to survive the coming collapse, we need representatives in the government who have the courage to enforce fiscal discipline. Specifically, what they will need the courage to do is what Bunning is doing here: 1) demanding that everything be paid for, and 2) withstanding vicious Democrats calling them names, because that’s what they’re going to do every time.

The Senate held the roll call vote last night, after dismissing on a procedural technicality an amendment to pay for the bill. We now know which Senators have the backbone at least to begin to actually solve the fiscal nightmare. Whether they have the stones to actually cut spending programs is another, more serious question, but one for another day.

Here are the names of the Senators who either voted against the bill in its fiscally irresponsible form, or did not vote:

rcui

Those who voted in favor of the bill lack the stomach to force the Senate to behave in a fiscally responsible manner. If your Senator’s name is not on this list, I recommend that you work to dump their cowardly ass on the pavement the next time they come up for re-election. It’s the ones on the “Nay” list who have been shown by the Bunning Barometer to have at least a little of the stuff that restoring fiscal sanity will require.

Note that there is not a single Democrat among the “Nays” — and frankly, we already know all we need to know about Sens. Byrd and Lautenberg, who did not vote. All the Democratic Senators deserve to be thrown into the sea with millstones around their necks. And they can take the 25 chicken-shit Republican Senators with them.

Thank you for the barometer, Senator Bunning. I’m sorry you’ve decided to retire. We need more like you.

02/25/2010 (10:31 am)

Two Videos We All Need to Watch

I’ll do the easiest one first.

Democrats are contemplating unmaking Senate rules allowing for filibuster, because the Republican minority has been using the filibuster effectively to impede the progressive agenda in Congress. Naked Emperor News produced a superb video reminding leading Democrats of the things they said back in 2005, when they were the minority and the Republican majority was considering a similar rule change. The topic then was Democratic obstruction of Bush judicial nominations. Republicans decided, for whatever reason, not to change the existing Senate rules. Let’s hope the Democrats decide similarly.

The key point is made by, of all people, Sen. Joe Biden, at around the 3:42 mark. “You may own the field right now, but you won’t own it forever.” He then prays that Democrats won’t make the sort of power grab that Republicans were contemplating but did not make. Wonder what he’s praying now?

This next video is a bit more troubling, because it involves sober consideration of civil disobedience, and it does so at a point where the danger of the governmental action is not immediately obvious — the census. An accurate count of citizens is mandated by the Constitution, and is essential for proper apportionment of representatives. However, the 2010 census asks for a flood of personal information for which the government has no Constitutionally-legitimate need. Given the hyper-partisanship of the Obama administration, and given his apparent proclivity for asserting government’s power to control individual decisions, it is crucial that we ask precisely what he intends to do with the information, and that we refuse to comply if we do not like the answer. And by the way, the information is said to include the GPS coordinates of your front door — whether you want them to have it or not.

There exist reasonable-sounding explanations for the census as it is being done in 2010. The questions to which this video refers occur in the American Community Survey, ACS-1, which is not directed to every citizen, but rather to 1 out of 10. The information is the sort that people give out to pollsters and researchers, and sometimes publish on facebook. I can see a reason why the local Fire Department might like to have the GPS fix on my address. The government needs valid statistics for the sake of regulation-making and policy evaluation.

However, all of these facts, which I’ve heard or read in defense of the current census, speak of information given voluntarily to those who have legitimate need of the information. The ACS-1 is information gathered by force of law, with statutory penalties for non-compliance, by an entity that has no legitimate need for it beyond the Constitutionally-mandated head count. If the government needs survey data for regulation-setting purposes, they can commission a survey that does not have the force of law, that can be answered anonymously, and with which citizens can choose whether or not to participate. The census is the wrong place for this sort of data-gathering.

So I’m saying, listen to Jerry Day’s questions, consider them carefully, and take the time to decide in advance whether you’ll cooperate with the ACS if you’re chosen to answer it.

There exists a separate question regarding President Obama’s attempts to bias the census in order to create a perpetual Democratic majority. That’s actually a separate topic. It occurs to me that by refusing to participate in the ACS, we could actually be aiding that effort; what if the Census Bureau decides to discard counts from houses that refuse to participate? Haven’t we self-selected a conservative cadre to be removed from apportionment considerations? I think it would be a violation of Census Bureau procedure to discard counts for that reason, but I would not put it past the progressive-activist volunteers that the government has commissioned to help with the census this year; in fact, I have to imagine that that’s the very reason he partnered with all those activist groups. We need to be on the watch for indications of fraud and mishandling of data with respect to the census.

A tip of the cap to Cal Twitty, a friend and one of my readers, for bringing the Jerry Day vid to my attention.

02/24/2010 (1:18 pm)

Democrats Launch a Little "Big Lie" In the Health Care War

Preparing for Thursday’s bipartisan meeting on health care reform, Democrats yesterday fired the opening shots in what is guaranteed to be 100% propaganda war. From WhiteHouse.gov’s own blog site yesterday (I wanted to say “from Barad-Dûr in the heart of Mordor,”) we heard this:

The President believes strongly that Thursday’s bipartisan meeting on health insurance reform will be most productive if both sides come to the table with a unified plan to start discussion – and if the public has the opportunity to inspect those proposals up close before the meeting happens.

How many ways is this disingenuous? Jules Crittenden points out that the Obama White House has been touting a plan for almost a full year, and finally made its plan public for the first time… Monday. Hot Air points to the Congressional Budget Office’s announcement that the Obama bill cannot even be costed because it is too vague. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor wryly observes that the Republican plan has been posted in plain view since July, and Michelle Malkin snarks and snickers that it’s actually linked to by the White House’s own web site. Dan Foster at the National Review called the White House’s tactic “Orwellian.”

170px-MordorThe purpose for the bipartisan meeting appears to be twofold. In the first place, they need to restore some of their lost political capital. They’re actually maneuvering to blame the death of health care reform on Republicans, so they will not look quite so… boobish. Good luck with that; the fact that they announced health insurance reform as their flagship project, and then failed to produce it even with a progressive President and huge majorities in both houses of Congress, does make them look remarkably lame.

They’re also hoping, against all likelihood, that perhaps the Republicans will fumble the public relations side of this meeting so badly that they can actually resurrect their sadly deceased health care bill. It’s not impossible, and it has precedent; it’s similar to how the North Vietnamese dragged their feet at the Paris Peace Talks to give the American left enough time to undermine the US’ will to fight.

In this brief interview at CPAC, Ann Coulter opines that the Democrats are merely mollifying their base by appearing to try to ram health care reform through Congress, but they really have no hope of success. Actually, she wields her usual satiric hatchet, evoking Rahm Emmanuel’s charming reference to his own base: “They are humoring the ‘effing retards’ right now.”

For all we complain about the growth of government, America is still ruled by the people, and a 2-digit majority of the American people think the Democrats’ plan is a bad idea. The Democrats are simply fighting the American public, and losing.

This is what produced Rep. Cantor’s pronouncement yesterday:

House Republicans are calling the entire media farce exactly what it is, “a taxpayer-funded media event,” and Senate Republicans are playing the game, using the fact of bipartisan talks as a sledge against any talk of using reconciliation.

Finally, I have to post one of the finest Photoshop projects I’ve seen in weeks, Michelle Malkin’s invocation of “Kabuki Theater to describe the orchestrated dance we’re seeing from the Democrats. It sports the whimsical name, “Obakabuki”:

obakabuki

02/09/2010 (8:56 am)

Congressional Republicans' Response

With a hat tip to reader John Cooper, here is the letter sent by Rep John Boehner (R, OH) and Rep Eric Cantor (R, VA) to Rahm Emmanuel in response to President Obama’s invitation to televised, bipartisan talks regarding the health care bill:

We welcome President Obama’s announcement of forthcoming bipartisan health care talks. In fact, you may remember that last May, Republicans asked President Obama to hold bipartisan discussions on health care in an attempt to find common ground on health care, but he declined and instead chose to work with only Democrats. Since then, the President has given dozens of speeches on health care reform, operating under the premise that the more the American people learn about his plan, the more they will come to like it. Just the opposite has occurred: a majority of Americans oppose the House and Senate health care bills and want them scrapped so we can start over with a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs for families and small businesses.

Just as important, scrapping the House and Senate health care bills would help end the uncertainty they are creating for workers and businesses and thus strengthen our shared commitment to focusing on creating jobs. Assuming the President is sincere about moving forward on health care in a bipartisan way, does that mean he will agree to start over so that we can develop a bill that is truly worthy of the support and confidence of the American people? Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today that the President is “absolutely not” resetting the legislative process for health care.

If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate. Assuming the President is sincere about moving forward in a bipartisan way, does that mean he has taken off the table the idea of relying solely on Democratic votes and jamming through health care reform by way of reconciliation? As the President has noted recently, Democrats continue to hold large majorities in the House and Senate, which means they can attempt to pass a health care bill at any time through the reconciliation process.

Eliminating the possibility of reconciliation would represent an important show of good faith to Republicans and the American people.If the President intends to present any kind of legislative proposal at this discussion, will he make it available to members of Congress and the American people at least 72 hours beforehand? Our ability to move forward in a bipartisan way through this discussion rests on openness and transparency. Will the President include in this discussion congressional Democrats who have opposed the House and Senate health care bills? This bipartisan discussion should reflect the bipartisan opposition to both the House bill and the kickbacks and sweetheart deals in the Senate bill. Will the President be inviting officials and lawmakers from the states to participate in this discussion?

As you may know, legislation has been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures, similar to the proposal just passed by the Democratic-controlled Virginia State Senate, providing that no individual may be compelled to purchase health insurance. Additionally, governors of both parties have raised concerns about the additional costs that will be passed along to states under both the House and Senate bills. The President has also mentioned his commitment to have “experts” participate in health care discussions.

Will the Feb. 25 discussion involve such “experts?” Will those experts include the actuaries at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), who have determined that the both the House and Senate health care bill raise costs – just the opposite of their intended effect – and jeopardize seniors’ access to high-quality care by imposing massive Medicare cuts? Will those experts include the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which has stated that the GOP alternative would reduce premiums by up to 10 percent? Also, will Republicans be permitted to invite health care experts to participate? Finally, as you know, this is the first televised White House health care meeting involving the President since last March.

Many health care meetings of the closed-door variety have been held at the White House since then, including one where a sweetheart deal was worked out with union leaders. Will the special interest groups that the Obama Administration has cut deals with be included in this televised discussion?Of course, Americans have been dismayed by the fact that the President has broken his own pledge to hold televised health care talks. We can only hope this televised discussion is the beginning, not the end, of attempting to correct that mistake. Will the President require that any and all future health care discussions, including those held on Capitol Hill, meet this common-sense standard of transparency and openness?

Your answers to these critical questions will help determine whether this will be a truly open, bipartisan discussion or merely an intramural exercise before Democrats attempt to jam through a job-killing health care bill that the American people can’t afford and don’t support. ‘Bipartisanship’ is not writing proposals of your own behind closed doors, then unveiling them and demanding Republican support. Bipartisan ends require bipartisan means.These questions are also designed to try and make sense of the widening gap between the President’s rhetoric on bipartisanship and the reality. We cannot help but notice that each of the President’s recent bipartisan overtures has been coupled with harsh, misleading partisan attacks. For instance, the President decries Republican ‘obstruction’ when it was Republicans who first proposed bipartisan health care talks last May.

The President says Republicans are ‘sitting on the sidelines’ just days after holding up our health care alternative and reading from it word for word. The President has every right to use his bully pulpit as he sees fit, but this is the kind of credibility gap that has the American people so fed up with business as usual in Washington.We look forward to receiving your answers and continuing to discuss ways we can move forward in a bipartisan manner to address the challenges facing the American people.

Sincerely,

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH)

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA)

Not bad. It’s got the recognition that “bipartisan” requires a bipartisan process, not just talks after the fact. It also has the recognition that Obama has spoken disingenuously, accusing the Republicans of having no plan just days after reading their plan. And, it has the recognition that the proposed plan does not address the alleged core justification of reducing costs, while the Republican counter-proposal does. But the core of the response seems to be “Why are you still trying to resurrect a bill that nearly everybody has said they don’t want?”

Me, I hope there’s no bipartisan bill, because the Democrats don’t really want to solve health care, they want government domination of the economy, and I don’t think there’s any valid compromise with that. Health care was not on anybody’s “most pressing issues” list before the Democrats ratcheted up the spin machine for their pet government takeover wedge issue; there is no health care crisis, and there never was. Improving American health care pretty much consists of fixing what Democrats have broken. Two of the chief reasons for high medical costs are government price-fixing and rampant fraud in Medicare and Medicaid, two of Democrats’ Great Society failures (and also the leading cause of our very real fiscal crisis.) Democrats financed by tort lawyers have been the chief impediment to tort reform, which is required in order to fix another main component in our outlandish medical costs, namely frivolous lawsuits. The remaining major cost-inflater is government regulation of insurance, also favored by Democrats. It appears to me that if the Democrats really want to fix health care in America, their best move would be to vanish.

But if the Democrats really want to fix health care using their favorite bludgeon, an oversized Nanny State, they could do it without a complete takeover. A comment I read at Blue Crab Boulevard yesterday pointed out that food stamps solved the food problem for the poor without disturbing the food industry, and health stamps could likewise solve the health insurance problem for the mythical 30 million uninsured in America without disturbing the medical industry. The bill to accomplish this would be about 30 pages long, and the cost would be less than 1/3 of the cost of the Democrats’ current monstrosity. There are sound reasons why this is not a good plan, but it’s far, far better than the Democrats’ current plan, and it’s been mentioned by lots of Democrats. That they’re not pursuing it is the proof that their goal is not solving health care, nor caring for the poor, but extending the reach of government.

01/20/2010 (9:27 am)

I Think We've Finally Gotten Through (Updated Twice)

The public has been railing at the Democrats for a year that the secrecy, the closed doors locking out Republicans, the bills passed without reading, the spending spree, cannot be tolerated. They’ve flat-out ignored the public up ’till now, attempting to ram the health care reform bill down our throats despite tanking poll numbers and clear public dissatisfaction with both the process and the result.

I think Coakley’s defeat has finally gotten the message across.

Senator Jim Webb (D, VA,) who obtained his seat in 2006 after the press “macaca’d” George Allen, congratulated Scott Brown 15 minutes after Coakley conceded the election, and then added this:

In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.

Then John Cooper, one of my readers, produced this little nugget from an AP story on Yahoo describing the reeling of Democrats in the wake of Coakley’s demise:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pledged to seat Brown immediately, a hasty retreat from pre-election Democratic threats to delay his inauguration until after the health bill passed.

All I can say is, “Wow.” I really expected Reid to fight this. They’re apparently seeing the writing on the wall very clearly.

We must resist the impulse to relax. The Democrats have shown their true stripes; they will force whatever they can on us at the first opportunity, and their goal is the end of democratic process. We must continue to hammer the imperative home: no more corruption, no more secrecy, no more socialism. The goal is not just to stop the massive and tyrannical takeover of health care, but to roll back every bit of the nationalizing of American industry, to roll back every unconstitutional measure that’s been foisted on us since the Great Depression and earlier, and to rid the political system of domestic enemies. Democrats have proved beyond doubt that they are that. This is only the first victory in a long war.


UPDATE @10:05AM: Rep Barney Frank (D, MA) adds his voice to the surrender. This is big; it means that not only is the Senate going to back off from jamming health reform down our throats, the House is going to go along. Moe Lane over at Red State points out that Frank’s district is the only one in Eastern Mass that Coakley carried (he reinforces with an electoral map on his own blog), which makes him just about the only safe US representative in eastern Massachusetts.

This is a major and unexpected victory.


UPDATE @ 2:51 PM: Call me paranoid, but allow me to warn that we maintain our vigilance. I do not put it past the Democrats to announce surrender in public, then engage in maneuvers to pass a version of the health care reform bill in the dark of night while nobody is watching. Actually, don’t call me paranoid: my suspicion is the natural result of having been lied to so many times by Democratic thugs and criminals over the past 30 years.

01/20/2010 (9:07 am)

A Little Lesson in Democrat Tactics

Nobody ever accused Martha Coakley or her campaign of unusual intelligence. Now, thanks to their ineptness, we have a clear lesson in Democrats’ campaign tactics.

The Coakley campaign circulated a press release sometime around 3 PM yesterday, according to Ed Driscoll at Pajamas Media. Here’s how it looked when first posted:

coakley-press-release-earlier

The date at the top of the announcement indicated that the release had been prepared the day before — reporting events from polls before the polls had even opened. After Twitter comments circulated regarding the incredible gaffe, the Coakley campaign fixed the posted date. But it was too late, the cat was out of the bag.

This, of course, is what happens when the pros let the amateurs get their hands on the play book. It’s a tactic. The accusation of fraud is prepared in advance automatically, to be used in the case that the election happens to be close enough for recounts.

These tactics were not new when Al Gore brought them to national attention in Florida, but the Democrats have been employing them routinely ever since. As we learned in Ohio in 2004, even when the election is not close, the Democrats’ political operatives can create the appearance of fraud in the minds of their brainless followers, whose ensuing, incessant noise-making will create a permanent taint on the outcome of the election. As we learned to our dismay in Minnesota in 2008, sometimes they manage to turn a close election with these sorts of shenanigans.

And as we knew back in 2000, the tactics are deliberate and not honest. But this instance is more transparent than most. It’s not just the date on the release, although that’s a dead give-away: I imagine their press-release-generating software automatically posts the date on the release, and they just forgot to change it. It’s the location: Massachusetts registers Democrats more than 2-to-1 over Republicans. Every public official is a Democrat. If there’s any election fraud here in Massachusetts, everybody knows it has to have been carried out with the cooperation of Democrats. So, if there were, in fact, ballots marked deliberately with Scott Brown’s circle filled in, then they were filled in with the knowledge and assistance of Democrats. QED.

The repetitive noise generated by this reflex tactic produces what I’ve called in the past a “screeching inversion” — the appearance in public that Republicans are jimmying elections, when in fact it’s the Democrats who are doing it. This is how it becomes possible for politicians with the character of a snake with a peptic ulcer, like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, to run a campaign against a “Republican culture of corruption,” one of the most stunning ironies of modern politics. There is no such culture, nor is there any significant evidence of widespread election cheating by Republicans. There is widespread evidence of cheating by Democrats, but Republicans do not engage in the same sort of dishonest posturing, nor do they have the cooperation of the press, so they can’t generate the same sort of heat.

According to AP, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, who appears to be an honest civil servant, has dismissed the Coakley campaign’s reports, saying that there were too few instances to indicate widespread fraud, and that they could not verify the reports. Greg Sargent at the Plum Line has the report pegged to a software engineer in Cambridge, but does not think it indicates anything significant.

Keep it in mind for future elections. The most effective response to the use of such a tactic is to calmly and correctly identify it as a tactic.

My thanks to Gateway Pundit, from whom I borrowed the graphic at the top of the column.

01/19/2010 (9:49 pm)

@9:38 PM Election Night, and Random Thoughts

Scott-Brown_APAlready 85% of the vote has been tallied, and Scott Brown maintains a 5-point lead over Martha Coakley, Joe Kennedy drawing only 1% of the vote. Coakley conceded the race between 9:15 and 9:30. Massachusetts has elected a moderate Republican to replace Sen. Edward Kennedy.

How political fortunes do change… In 2002, it looked as though the Democratic party was going the way of the Whigs. By 2008, Democrats were crowing that the Republican party was vanishing. Now the Democrats are heading for the ropes again.

But it seems as though it’s taking voters less and less time to decide that electing Democrats is a mistake. After electing Carter in 1976, it took four years before the country reacted and elected Ronald Reagan. In 1992, it took only two years before the country spewed Clinton out of its mouth and handed Congress to Newt Gingrich and the Republicans. And in 2008, it has taken only one year for the country to decide that Barack Obama was not the change they were looking for. One wonders when the country will develop enough of a memory to stop electing Democrats.

Rep. Barney Frank (D, MA) opined a week ago that if Brown won this election, health care reform would be dead. I’m predicting that he said that in an attempt to sway the race, and that he’ll renege within the next week. However, I suspect he was right the first time. Expect Harry Reid to refuse to seat Brown until the race has been certified. Seating Brown will be the political story of the coming week.

The temptation for the Republicans will be to declare moderate Republicans the new champions. This will be a terrible mistake, but expect them to make it. A moderate is the only sort of Republican that could possibly have won in Massachusetts. This is not an indication of the strength of moderates, but rather of the nation’s deep dissatisfaction with the Democratic majority. Insofar as Republicans continue to fit the mold of Democrat Lite, as they did during the Bush years, they will lose, and lose big. The winning strategy for Republicans nationally is pure conservatism.

Just a note on media bias: for the first hour after Brown’s victory, I tried to find a decent photograph to headline this article. Every major report on the Mass Senate race that announced Brown’s victory headlined the column with a photograph of… Martha Coakley. I freakin’ hate the American press. I had to borrow the photo for this column from a newspaper in the UK.

01/19/2010 (9:22 pm)

@9:15 PM Election Night…

@ 9:15 PM — Scott Brown ahead by 5 – 6 points, 53% to Coakley’s 47%. Brown apparently winning Quincey, which Democrats MUST win in order to win the state. Coakley leads in some Democratic strongholds like Holyoke, but not by enough to offset Brown’s lead. Looks bad for the Democrats.

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