The Wall Street Journal as tagged the present majority Democrat Congress “Tom Delay Democrats” as they have now, plainly, become everything they complained about when Delay was running the show and more. And at least some of them (Pelosi excepted for being terminally clueless and claiming the present system of passing health care reform is the “most transparent” in history) are hitting the exits knowing their day is done.
First Senator Byron Dorgan announces his retirement and now Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-CT, is expected to announce his. As Rich Lowery says, while it is good news, it probably saves Connecticut for the Democrats. But you never know. Maybe Dodd’s next stop is “Dancing With The Stars”.
But back to the Democrats in general. This monstrosity of a health care bill has shown them for the hypocrites they are:
Evading conference has become standard operating procedure in this Congress, though you might think they’d allow for the more open and thoughtful process on what Mr. Obama has called “the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the 1930s and the most important reform of our health-care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s.”
This black-ops mission ought to be a particular embarrassment for Mr. Obama, given that he campaigned on transparent government. At a January 2008 debate he said that a health-care overhaul would not be negotiated “behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-Span so the American people can see what the choices are.”
There are no “choices” for Americans in this bill. Plans for these “negotiations” are not at all based in transparency and they certainly won’t be bringing “all parties together”. In fact, precisely the opposite will be the case. Republicans will be purposely excluded (don’t want them “gumming” up the works, by gosh) as will progressive Democrats as I pointed out yesterday. In fact, a very select group of Democrats only will “negotiate” the compromise behind closed doors and without input from anyone outside their chosen circle.
And they certainly don’t plan on doing this in the sunlight and in front of the American people via C-Span – so Brian Lamb ought to just shut up and quit asking. The darkness is where legislative cockroaches work best, and they like it for a reason:
Democrats know that a conference forces the majority party to cast votes on awkward motions and would give the Republicans who have been shut out for months a chance to participate. This sunlight, and the resulting public attention, might scare off wavering Democrats and defeat the bill. Ethics rules the Democrats passed in 2007 also make it harder to “airdrop” into conference reports the extra bribes they will no doubt add to grease the way for final passage.
Now that the inconvenient charade of getting CBO to score the previous bills and get them below the threshold necessary to pass them (even though the projections are based on data manipulated to score well in the statutory 10 year window in which the CBO must work), they are free even from that constraint. Once they cobble together their final bill “informally” in the dark, they can rush it through both the House and Senate for final passage and on to the desk of the president for signature. No telling, at that point, how much it will really cost .
Democrats howled at the strong-arm tactics Mr. DeLay used to pass Medicare drug coverage in 2003, and so did we. But they’ve managed to create an even more destructive bill, and their tactics are that much worse. We can’t even begin to imagine the uproar if the Republicans had tried to privatize Social Security with such contempt for the democratic process and public opinion.
Yes we can imagine the uproar. But as the WSJ points out – this is nothing new, just worse. Both sides play these destructive and ridiculous games when they’re in power. They make a mockery of the process, destroy the legitimacy of their institution, alienate the people and then wonder why there’s so much anger out there in flyover land.
Surely they can’t be that clueless, can they?
UPDATE: WordPress is giving me fits this morning, so please excuse all the workaround attempts I’m having to take to post