Picture courtesy Slublog and read his related post at Ace.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid decided yesterday to forgo conferencing the health care bill. One sixth of the economy is now in the hands of the few people locked behind closed doors doing backroom deals to get this bill done.
The Democrats have evidently decided to stake everything on this bill. Or maybe, they figure they have nothing to lose so pushing, manipulating, bribing, black-mailing, coercing, padding and generally screwing the American people is okay. They know what’s best for you. And what’s best is for you to shut-up and to be shut out.
Meanwhile, Democrats who see the handwriting on the wall are not seeking re-election. They are stepping aside to allow other Democrats a chance.
And now House and Senate Democrat leaders are reportedly preparing to cut dissenters out of the reconciliation process by bypassing the formal conference committee.
In Hill parlance, this legislative short-cut is called “ping-ponging.” A better game analogy: Dodgeball. With mounting opposition from both conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats, President Obama’s water-carriers must use every trick in the book to speed the final merging and passage of the bill before the end of the month.
The hypocrisy reeks stronger than rotting garlic. In 2006, House Democrats asserted that “House-Senate conferences are a critical part of the deliberative process because they produce the final legislative product that will become the law of the land.” That same year, Harry Reid railed on the Senate floor against informal deal-making that circumvented the conference committee process – and he attacked the use of manager’s amendments to avoid public scrutiny:
“Of course, nobody can see the managers’ amendment. It is composed of over 40 amendments. How could anyone vote for a piece of legislation such as that — a managers’ amendment with 42 separate amendments? Now, these amendments were not put in a conference committee. People complain about that. But at least in a conference committee, you have people working together, sticking things in…Here, you have one person making a decision as to what is going to be in the managers’ amendment. There is no way to know what is in it.”
But four years later, it was Reid who snuck his 383-page manager’s amendment – stuffed with payoffs, special breaks, and concessions on health care – into the Senate hopper on the Saturday before Christmas break. Four years later, it is Reid stifling the open, collaboratively conference committee process he so fiercely championed.
Michelle smells garlic. I smell desperation.
The Democrats will be throwing everything at Americans in the next year. Health care, Card Check, Cap-n-Trade….the Triune of Doom(TM). They have one chance, perhaps a last one, to remake America into the socialist, Europe-lite dream they desire. They see power in socialism. Power for them. They seek to ensure that they have a stranglehold on governance forever, if possible, by sinking their claws into the American people…creating a symbiotic relationship where they need each other.
The American people don’t need the government. They don’t need Democrats. They need to believe in themselves. This health care fight is just the first battle in what is going to turn out to be a brutal 2010.