Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Republicans Beware: The Health Care "Fix" is really a Cover-Up

Now that this bloated, bankrupting, health care debacle has passed the House and will likely become law in the next several days, the statists who supported it are now laying the rhetorical groundwork to convince Republicans to come on board. The Democrats need cover. They are well aware that they've jumped over a political cliff and they are anxious to make sure they don't have to face gravity alone. (Politics is one of the few venues where suicide isn't fatal if you can convince others to fall on their swords, too. They know that the people aren't ready to throw everyone out at once.)
Their tactic will be pretty straightforward, "The bill passed and you crazy libertarians, and conservatives, and defenders of the Constitution, and proponents of fiscal sanity, and others we characterized as "extremists" didn't like it, so help us make it better." To wit: this is the time to Fix It. I'm warning Republicans: Don't fall for the gimmick, don't go back to the pre-Tea Party, Beltway mindset that "doing The People's work" means passing legislation, even if it's bad. The People's don't want more government and the best work to be done is opposing more government. The legislators who opposed the extraordinarily unpopular bill that just passed must understand that popular opposition to this bill isn't simply because of all of the undeniable corruption involved in its passage. That provided some sound bites, but the opposition goes far deeper than that. The bill is fundamentally flawed because there simply is no way to make health care more affordable by giving more control over health care to the most fiscally irresponsible player ever to enter the field, the U.S. government. Miraculously, people saw through the statist baloney and understood that a government takeover was a bad idea. That takeover is the essence of the bill that passed and it can't be fixed by rearranging the pork used to tempt Democrat holdouts. Any attempt to recast the fundamental problem with the bill as simply embarrassing pork or some other form of mere political excess is a betrayal of that understanding and the many tens of millions of voters who got it. To define the problems of this bill in the typical Beltway terms of this or that political misstep is to really misunderstand the popular opposition that it spawned. And, such opposition will drive the 2010/2012 elections if the GOP doesn't fumble the ball.

So, don't go along with the Fix It bill. In fact, don't even use that terminology. The upcoming legislation to "correct" things like the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, etc. isn't a Fix It, it's a Cover-Up. The GOP message on this should be: We didn't commit the crime and we won't take part in the cover-up. Let those who passed this corrupt pig stand alone in putting lipstick on it. You Dems passed the bill without any Republican support and the bill you passed is an abomination, both in process and in substance. We warned you and the American people warned you and you arrogantly defied that warning. Don't ask us to give you cover so that you can pretend you didn't vote for a corrupt bill. You did. We gave you better options and you ignored them. The bill that passed is entirely yours. You will be judged on that bill in November, not on some other bill.

Meanwhile, if the changes the Dems are proposing are such obvious improvements, then the coalition that passed the original legislation should have no trouble getting "the fix" passed. (Though it begs the question of why the original bill was so bad if a better version was politically viable...) Maybe the tricks used to get the original through will help get the cover-up through. Of course, using pay offs and arm twisting to cover up pay offs and arm twisting may not be such a great idea, but one expects the corrupt to stick to their strengths. Whatever approach taken to pass the cover-up, the GOP would be downright stupid to lend legitimacy to it.

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