Liddick: Why are the Democrats jamming health care reform down America’s throat?
“A government in which one party has control over all the decisions is bad for America and bad for all our people…the right to an extended debate is never more important than when one party controls both the Congress and the White house.” – Senator Harry Reid, 5/23/2005″This president has come to the … Senate and basically said, ‘Change the rules. Do it the way I want it done.’ And I guess there just weren’t very many voices on the other side of the aisle that acted the way previous generations of senators have acted, and said … You have to restrain yourself, Mr. President.” -Senator Hillary Clinton, 5/23/2005″We are at the precipice of a constitutional crisis … the checks and balances at the core of this Republic are about to be evaporated … the checks and balances which say that if you get 51 percent of the vote, you don’t get your way 100 percent of the time…” – Sen. Charles Shumer, 5/23/2005″Why have a bicameral legislature? The Founders … understood that there is a tyranny of the majority.” – Sen. Chris Dodd, 5/18/2005What a difference five years makes. And for those not yet queasy, fear not. More will follow.In case anyone missed the point of the political Kabuki theatre at Blair House last Thursday, here it is: the president and his senatorial posse need cover before they shove an unwanted, unwieldy and ungodly expensive health care bill down the nation’s throat. They intend to get it by blaming as “obstructionist” those who want only to take this very important and complex process incrementally, and who want to make certain that the myriad moving parts don’t actually make things worse, as the CBO suggests it might.Prudence in handling the nation’s future aside, there is a very cogent reason to move slowly and carefully: that’s the way the Founders intended the federal government to work.To elaborate on Senator Dodd’s comment, most of the Founders agreed that purely democratic government would be dangerously unstable and would allow a few populous states to ride roughshod over the interests of their smaller brethren. To address this concern, they created a bicameral legislature. The lower house was popularly elected to represent the interests of “the people;” members of the upper house – the Senate – were appointed by state legislatures, to defend the interests of the states. This situation obtained until 1917, when senators too would become popularly elected.One of the functions envisioned for the Senate was as a brake on the legislative process. Many of those at the Constitutional Convention recognized the mercurial nature of democratic government. They knew, from their own experiences and from a historical study of governments, that voters might be susceptible to the influence of attractive, glib-tongued demagogues who would win election by promising favors. They saw the Senate as a balk to the impetuous actions such men might stir up.We are now face-to-face with such an action. It is clear that the Democrat party, seized with an ide fixe, will have its way regardless of consequence, the public and future be damned. They fully intend to muscle a complex health care bill fraught with unknown consequences, a multiplicity of demands and astronomical costs into law, using a parliamentary parlor trick formerly reserved for issues relating to the budget. A facet of this campaign is to block any input from the opposition, who may be in closer touch with the American people on this issue. The incremental and experimental approach they advocate can be initiated immediately with little or no expense and the promise of almost immediate benefits. Further additions and improvements would be easily undertaken after the effects of the initial steps are absorbed. This solution seems closer to what the public has indicated in polls that it wants, but that is irrelevant to the Senate’s Democrats. They will have their way, for the glory of the president, and reconciliation – which they once reviled – is their instrument of choice.Do not be deceived. This is an example of the majoritarian tyranny about which Senator Dodd spoke. It’s done for our own good, of course, by people who know better than we what’s good for us. But it’s tyranny nonetheless.Oh, the other examples I promised? “You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward …” Senator Barack Obama at the National Press Club, 4/25/2006. “This (reconciliation) is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power … a fundamental power grab … I pray to God that when we return to power, we won’t make the kind of naked power grab (this is).” Sen. Joe Biden, 5/23/2005. Amen, Joe. Amen.Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. E-mail him at email@example.com.
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