Will President Obama endorse the use of reconciliation by majority Democrats in order to get his way with health care?
Given that the Republican minority performed well enough at the summit to crack the political mirrors mounted by Mr. Obama and his party, and now that the rhetorical smoke has cleared, the use of reconciliation in Congress is almost certain.
In fact, Obama telegraphed as much when, near the end of last Thursday’s political soap opera, he said the two parties “could not bridge the gap on several major issues”.
Perhaps, without realizing it, President Obama was bemoaning that Republicans did not fall for the rope-a-dope’ gimmick at the health care summit.
Further, the president’s statement gives added credence to those who suggested the major objective of holding a summit was to use the public perception of bi-partisanship to either pressure minority Republicans to move away from their largely principled positions; or set up incumbent Democrat talking points that the minority are obstructionists, or both.
The truth regarding any charge of obstructionism is quite different.
Here are the facts:
Throughout the last year, Democrats could have passed whatever legislation they wanted. That’s because Democrats have had a virtual lock on congressional legislation with overwhelming vote majorities in both the House and Senate.
Yes, it is true that Republicans have stood up on issues they believed were not in the people’s interest. But, it is also true that a number of Democrats have as well. While fewer in number in the Senate versus the House, those Democrats joined Republicans to slow left-wing progressives in their party who were attempting to steamroll legislation. As one TV panelist said “the American people aren’t eating this dog food.”
That said, it is also true that incumbents are still politicians. Almost all always want cover—because incumbents always prefer cover.
Thus, in the case of the intended massive federal takeover of the American health care system, any incumbent would prefer a sufficient number of the other party to come aboard as willing co-conspirators.
Then, all can sing the incumbents favorite song: “Bipartisan Kumbaya.”
So, President Obama called a health care summit.
And during the run-up, most in the media called for Republicans to be bipartisan. That’s code for fall in line.
But, the Republicans would have none of it – especially the fall in line part.
Instead, Republicans showed up at Blair House prepared… to listen, respond, propose, and suggest.
And, many Americans watched the proceedings live.
While a number of attendees from the majority party burned precious time telling sob stories for viewer consumption without proposing a single new approach (Obama and other Democrats spoke for six hours versus Republicans 2 hours) , attendees from the minority party were more to the point and persuasive.
Noteworthy, minority party attendees made reasonable, realistic, and principled points.
Here are two that make common sense:
-Washington should not be controlling citizen medical care; and
-Washington should not be setting insurance rates for anyone.
And, should I note that both points are constitutionally correct.
That reality should be enough to get all Democrat incumbents currently onboard with the ‘Reconciliation Express’ to get off at the next station. To paraphrase, one TV panelist ‘the American people aren’t eating this dog food’.
Unfortunately, when those incumbents realize the wisdom of getting off they will likely have to jump off because the signals coming from White House controllers suggest that – in his seeming quest to take over yet another large chuck of the American economy – Mr. Obama does not intend to stop for anything – or anyone… including the American people.
Richard Olivastro is president of Olivastro Communications, a professional member of the National Speakers Association and founder of Citizens For Change. He can be reached at RichOlivastro@gmail.com or 877.RichSpeaks.