Morgen on March 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm
Naked Emperor News put out the definitive clip on this topic last month, with then Senator Obama and other leading Democrats railing against the so-called “nuclear option” back in 2005. But with Democrats barreling forward with their strategy to pass healthcare reform using reconciliation, I thought another reminder that the President has not always been in favor of naked power grabs couldn’t hurt.
But the American people sent us here to be their voice. They understand that those voices can at times become loud and argumentative, but they also hope that we can disagree without being disagreeable…
What they don’t expect is for one party – be it Republican or Democrat – to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet. The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster – if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate – then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.
I understand that Republicans are getting a lot of pressure to do this from factions outside the chamber. But we need to rise above an “ends justify the means” mentality because we’re here to answer to the people – all of the people – not just the ones wearing our party label.
If the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party and the millions of Americans who asked us to be their voice, I fear that the already partisan atmosphere of Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything. That doesn’t serve anyone’s best interests, and it certainly isn’t what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind.
We owe the people who sent us here more than that. We owe them much more.
Of course defenders of the President would rightfully point out that unlike with the “nuclear option”, Senate rules do not need to be changed in order for Democrats to use reconciliation to pass healthcare reform. But of course they are still effectively changing the rules in the middle of the game: by resorting to reconciliation solely to resolve policy disputes within their own party (not for budget reconciliation), and only after they lost their super-majority in the Senate. Willfully disregarding the expressed will of voters in Massachusetts, the most liberal state in the nation, as well as clear opposition from a majority of Americans around the country.
The unstated message from the President is that those of us who don’t agree should in fact just sit down and shut up.
Clearly, as far as the President is concerned, the end does justify the means when it comes to the long-time liberal dream of government-run healthcare. Sure, proceeding with reconciliation will result in the Senate grinding to a halt, just as he warned back in 2005. It will likely also result in his party losing control of one or both chambers of Congress in November. None of this matters now, not when they are so tantalizing close to something so unbelievably precious to them.
There is another thing that the patriots who founded this country most certainly did not have in mind. Not for one minute would they have ever envisioned that the government they and their fellow countrymen fought – and in many cases died – to establish, would one day, and against the will of the American people, attempt to seize effective control of the means by which we provide for the health of our citizens and families. It is a brazen attack on private enterprise and individual liberty, and if the President and his allies do not heed the will of the American people on this now, they will answer for it starting in November.