We all know that Barack Obama doesn't think much of the Constitution. And he certainly won't let it get in the way of the government takeover of health care.Courtesy of Kim Strassel at the WSJ today comes some insightful commentary about what we can now expect from Obama and the merry leftists in Congress. The Baucus Bill has been subject to Congress' death panel and is DOA. Baucus attempted to craft a bipartisan bill that would enjoy a modicum of Republican support, but he ultimately caved to enough liberal demands that it got sufficiently watered down to appeal to precisely nobody. The Republicans find it too costly and pernicious in its penalties and taxes, and the left finds it far to soft on the insurance companies and other villains of the health care industry. Max tried, but in the end he truly made "mischief of one kind...or another" and got promptly "eaten up".
In any event, Strassel makes the very good point that we should all prepare ourselves for a renewed leftward turn in the health care debate as our President caves to the demands of his leftist base:
...Our bipartisan White House grew weary of the bipartisan process and pressured Mr. Baucus to produce. He jettisoned his colleagues and pushed out a product that Messrs. Grassley and Enzi promptly condemned. The White House did such a good job of suggesting that Ms. Snowe was its GOP patsy—a Republican who'd vote for a ham sandwich, if only they asked—that even the miffed Maine senator has stepped back.
The result is two-fold. With no, or little, GOP support, the only way Mr. Baucus can pry his bill out of committee is to allow the left to have its way. The White House knows this, which is why the president—despite seizing on the Baucus legislation in his speech last week—is already abandoning the finance chief and his bill to the tender mercies of West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller and New York's Chuck Schumer. The White House wants a bill, any bill, and this bloc now holds all the votes in committee. Pity Mr. Baucus, who just got used.
Into the hands of Rockefeller and Schumer we fall. And you can bet that what comes now is a highly partisan bill that will attempt the "public option" in one form or another, and a price tag that will be (conservatively) in the Trillion Dollar range. Worse yet, it will be couched in all sorts of creative accounting and political double speak that the public will think its getting steak when it is really horse meat with lots of sauce on it. Those who were gullible enough to elect Mr. Obama may likely be gullible enough to take his latest sleight of hand at face value.
Worse yet, it is apparent that Obama wants a bill -- any bill -- and will do whatever is necessary to force it through, even if it involves using the reconciliation tool that requires just 51 votes instead of the 60 needed to overcome an inevitable Republican filibuster.
What has changed is Mr. Obama's determination to push a bill through, regardless of what his party, or the public, thinks. The White House will make the case to waverers that the political fallout of a health-care failure will be worse than backlash that comes with voting for a bill. Maybe. Behind that is the further threat that Dems will go this alone, via 50-vote reconciliation, if necessary.
Reconciliation was meant to be used only for finance bills, not for momentous, life-altering legislation like major health care reform. The Framers of the Constitution created a system where major political initiatives such as this would be subject to the normal process of debate, with the rights of the minority (in the form of the filibuster) in place. The system of checks and balances was put into place for a reason -- to slow down the system so that radical change would be difficult and would require the support of the minority party.
But no matter. In the power play now going on in Washington, the left wants its way no matter who gets trampled. Obama is already on record as saying that the Constitution "is an imperfect document", and this might as well apply to the rules around health care legislation as well. He, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer and the others know best, after all -- and they clearly don't care what the people think or want.
We are in for a rough ride. Keep up the pressure on your local Congressional delegation. The only chance we have is that those in Congress will care more about getting elected than actually reforming health care.
Let's make it clear that an "aye" will result in a "nay" next November.