03/19/2010 (10:37 am)
The 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.