Posts Tagged ‘Pelosi’
Sometimes even I can be shocked by the hubris of Washington, D.C. politicians. It takes a lot, given that I have worked in the town in one way or another for the last 16 years. This quote from Nancy Pelosi about the health care reform issue even leaves me shaking my head.
“They’ve had plenty of opportunity to make their voices heard,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning. “Bipartisanship is a two-way street. A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes. Republicans have left their imprint.”
No, Madame Speaker, a bill cannot be bipartisan if it receives the votes of only one party.
Even if you bought her line that it’s bipartisan because “Republicans have left their imprint,” you would be hard pressed to see what imprint that might be. The truth is that there was no imprint on the House bill passed last November. The only imprint that was something that Pelosi did not want was the language banning federal funding of abortion. That was an amendment drafted by Democrat Bart Stupak. That was Democrat Bart Stupak.
This is how Democrat’s define issues. Call it the “Democrat Dictionary.” Speaker Pelosi can maintain her delusional belief that the health care bill is bipartisan, but in doing so she greatly enhances the chances that “Speaker” will be dropped from her title after the elections in November.
President Obama’s “health care summit” last week broke very little new policy ground, but one thing is clear: Democrats are determined to pass their health care bill no matter what the American people want.
Some people have asked me why the Democrats would so willfully reject the will of the American people and push try to push this through. Obama and Democrat leadership know that with every passing day, reform becomes harder to pass because the closer we get to election day, the less likely moderate Democrats are to support it. Obama, Pelosi and Reid also know that if they don’t get it done this year, it will never happen, because they are going to lose seats in both the House and the Senate in November.
Another thing to consider is the dynamic of the 2012 election. Rahm Emanuel is the smartest Democrat operative in the nation. He knows politics, and he knows history and he recognizes that if Republicans capture the House in 2010, Obama’s reelection chances in 2012 at least double. Think about Clinton’s ability to “triangulate” with the Republican majority, thereby making him look more reasonable.
So, Rahm and Obama are willing to throw as many House members into the wood chipper as it will take to pass a bill, majority be damned, because a majority is actually bad for Obama after next year. The thing to watch is whether Democrat House members will be more influenced by White House pressure, or by pressure of constituents and voters back home.
In watching the summit, I was struck by a number of things. First, I was very impressed with the Republicans strength on the policy of health care reform. President Obama repeatedly tried to cut off any Republican who spoke about portions of the current plan with which they disagree. On several occasions, the President cut off the speaker and announced that he was interested in what they liked about his plan, not what they didn’t. In other words continuing his theme that bi-partisan reform consists of Republicans agreeing to Democrats ideas.
The Democrats also attempted to dominate the amount of speaking time. The Democrats/President spoke for 233 minutes, with Republicans getting 110 minutes of speaking time. However, the Republicans were very efficient with their time and Sens. Lamar Alexander R-TN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and House members Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) stood out in particular as hitting the main points with devastating precision. spoke about the need to eliminate (or at least reduce) waste, fraud, and abuse in health care.
At first, the Democrats were somewhat successful in appearing to agree with Republican principles and claiming their bill did many of the things Republicans were proposing. For instance, many Republicans suggested allowing the purchasing of insurance across state lines. Several Democrats insisted that their bill did just that. They were attempting to claim that their “exchanges” would do that; they do not. However, as the summit progressed, Republicans made it clear they were better prepared and had mastered the facts better than the Democrats.
At one point Senator McCain (R-AZ) made a very effective speech, noting how corrupt the process of crafting the legislation had been, including the many sweetheart deals included in the bills to buy votes. This clearly stung Obama, and the best he could come up with was a remark that the election is over – as if McCain’s points were mere political talking points used in campaigns. This was a big win for Republicans.
Finally, President Obama ended the summit by declaring that he has come a long way towards the Republicans by offering his latest proposal (which is largely the Senate-passed bill) and that now it is up to Republicans to decide which Democrat proposals they could accept. He intimated that they had the next several weeks (he mentioned 6 weeks once) to help Democrats pass their bill or he will pull it and Americans will know that Republicans put their political interests before the best interests of Americans. And then, the President noted, “that’s why we have elections.”
The media has played this as having been a “tie, going to Republicans.” If that is the MSM take, than clearly Republicans gained the most out of the summit. As has already been discussed by many commentators, Republicans brought their “A” game, while Democrats came across as mostly parroting talking points, not actually discussing solutions. Even Rush Limbaugh has said that Republicans proved him wrong by how well they did.
Here is a sampling of some of the immediate reaction in the press.
CNN’S DAVID GERGEN: “Intellectually, The Republicans Had The Best Day They’ve Had In Years. The Best Day They Have Had In Years.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)
· CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The Folks In The White House Just Must Be Kicking Themselves Right Now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
NPR’S MARA LIASSON: “I Think That The Republicans Made Their Arguments Very Well.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)
CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “It Looks Like The Republicans Certainly Showed Up Ready To Play.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
· CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “And The Republicans Had Less Speaking Time, But They Took Full Advantage Of Every Minute They Had.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)
THE HILL’S A.B. STODDARD: “I Think We Need To Start Out By Acknowledging Republicans Brought Their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform. I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)
CNN’s GLORIA BORGER: “The Republicans Have Been Very Effective Today. They Really Did Come To Play. They Were Very Smart.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
· BORGER: “They took on the substance of a very complex issue. … But they really stuck to the substance of this issue and tried to get to the heart of it and I think did a very good job.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
· BORGER: “They came in with a plan. They mapped it out.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
POLITICO: “By The Afternoon, However, Both Sides Took A More Substantive Approach That Played To The Republicans’ Benefit, given Democratic attempts to portray them as unreasonable and partisan.” (“Six Hours Later, Stalemate Remains,” Politico, 2/25/10)
FOX NEWS’ CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: “The Republicans Really Helped Themselves. The argument against them, it’s the party of no, they have no ideas, they are against anything, they’re nihilists. In fact, they spent seven hours, I think, presenting a very strong case. They’re knowledgeable. They have ideas. They are interested in reform, but they have differences. Lamar Alexander was dazzling, Paul Ryan was rapier sharp in rebutting all of the smoke and mirrors that the democrats had presented.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)
JAMES CARVILLE: “First, In General, You’d Have To Say, By The Most Part Most Of These People Were Pretty Knowledgeable, They Had Done Their Homework … I Thought That Senator Alexander And Senator Coburn Did Great…” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)
FOX NEWS’ BRET BAIER: “Republicans Had A Strong Day Making Their Points.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)
WASHINGTON POST’S MICHAEL GERSON: “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed”(Michael Gerson, Op-Ed, “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed,” The Washington Post, 2/25/10)
President Obama is telling the Justice Department to find a different location than New York City for the terror trial. Mayor Bloomberg had expressed concern about the trial taking place in Manhattan and even liberal Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer wanted it somewhere else.
It begs the question: if you can’t do it in New York, where, pray tell, do you think you can do it? It certainly won’t be well received anywhere else. Maybe since Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid have been so gung ho about civilian trials of terrorists, they should do the trial in either San Francisco or Las Vegas.
Actually, Vegas seems like the perfect venue. It’s all for show anyway.
This whole episode is going to continue to damage Obama’s credibility on the war on terror, or whatever his administration calls it these days. The bottom line is that terrorists should not be tried in civilian courts in the first place.
This is powerful, and should make Democrats very nervous.
There is a reason that this tax on cosmetic surgery (included in Reid’s Senate healthcare bill) was not in the House healthcare bill.
November 3, 2009 will go down as the day that began the end of the Democrat stranglehold on Washington, D.C. If the huge win by McDonnell in the Virginia Governors race, and the solid win by Christie in the New Jersey Governor’s race say anything, it’s that Obama’s focus on a government takeover of health care, at the expense of doing anything of actual benefit to create jobs, will cost the Democrats the majority in the U.S. House.
Watch for the jobs report that comes out on November 6. It is likely to show unemployment at a full 10 percent. This will put the nail in the coffin of Obama’s claims that a stimulus bill was needed to keep unemployment below eight percent, and send the Democrats into the 2010 elections sucking wind.
And yet they still don’t get it. Speaker Pelosi is going to force a vote on a government takeover of healthcare on the House floor this weekend, and the arms she breaks to get to 218 votes will be dozens of House Democrats that will not be back in 2011. It’s clear that she is willing to lose seats to pass government run healthcare, but the risk she runs is that she will lose the majority.
And they think they have it all figured out…
“This leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history” – Speaker-Elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Press Release, November 16, 2006
Compare that with this.
“Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry” – Washington Post headline, Oct. 30, 2009
Here is the lede to the Post story:
House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.
The problem for Democrats is that the vast majority of the Members under investigation are fellow Democrats, and some of them are pretty high-ranking Democrats. You have Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (for tax fraud), Appropriations subcommittee Chairmen Jack Murtha and Alan Mollohan, and other big time and small time Dems.
On the Republican side, you have Appropriations subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Young and Appropriations committee member Todd Tihart.
Not only is the current Congress among the most corrupt in recent history, it is also one of the least “open”. The health care bill that is supposed to go to the House floor for a vote late in the week hasn’t even been written yet. Sure, Pelosi held a press conference to announce the bill, but she is still negotiating the language, and it will get to the floor using a process called a “mangers amendment” which will go through the rules committee the night before it goes to the floor and no one will have time to actually read the bill.
Let’s just say that Democrats are facing a drumbeat of bad news – and that bad news is only going to get worse after Tuesday’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey. The Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia is a near certain lock for a strong win, and it’s too close to call in New Jersey, which is usually a Democrat stronghold.
Pile on top of the ethics challenges and a shifting political environment, Pelosi continues to push a too-far left agenda making her conservative Democrats walk the plank. And the problem with walking the plank is that you don’t survive.
U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Charlie Rangel, is a politician on life support. The Ways and Means Committee is the tax writing committee, responsible for our tax code and overseeing the IRS. And the Chairman is under an Ethics Committee investigation for cheating on his taxes.
The Ethics Committee has announced that it has expanded its investigation into Rangel. This came on the heels of a resolution in the House seeking Rangel’s removal as Chairman of Ways and Means until the investigation is concluded. Not surprisingly, that resolution was turned down on a 246-153 vote. Two Democrats voted with all Republicans to remove Rangel. It’s pretty unlikely that they’ll get a campaign contribution from Rangel any time soon, but it is Rangel’s fundraising prowess and his huge contributions to fellow Democrats that likely kept more Democrats from voting for the resolution.
Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to remove Rangel as Chairman will only hurt the image of Congressional Democrats and will likely be used against any vulnerable Democrat who has taken contributions from Rangel’s campaign committee or PAC.
I predict that the patience of rank and file Democrats is going to wear thin and they are going to start to grouse that they need this millstone removed from their neck. I suspect Rangel won’t be Chairman by next fall.
The folks at Patients United Now, a project of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, are asking a simple question to Members of Congress: Did you read the bill?
They are launching an ad campaign that is meant to cause Members of Congress to stop and think about whether they want to vote on a bill that is rushed to the floor by Speaker Pelosi with no time to read the entire thing.
This has become a bit of a habit for Pelosi – if she can’t get a bill through Committee because it’s so big, complicated and expensive (think Stimulus and Cap and Trade) they rush it to the floor, giving Members of Congress no chance of actually knowing what all is in the bill. With the Cap and Trade bill, the Democrat leadership introduced a 300 page amendment to a 1,000 page bill. There was exactly ONE copy of the amendment on the floor of the House during the compressed debate.
This is not “the most open and honest Congress in history” that Pelosi promised.
Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf dropped a nuclear bomb on Congress when he was asked about legislation reforming health care and whether it would actually save money: “On the contrary,” Elmendorf said, “the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”
This is huge news because the main argument Democrats, including Obama, have been using for their health care reform is that they need cut cost. Now they have an independent agent telling them that it’s going to cost a lot of money – just the opposite.
Of course Sen. Harry Reid, ever the class act, had this to say: “What he should do is maybe run for Congress,” Reid said.
Keep in mind, Elmendorf was appointed to be the CBO Chief by Reid and Nancy Pelosi. But now that he doesn’t toe their line, Reid dismisses him.
Reid can try to distract all he wants, but the issue creates a huge problem for Democrats as they try to rush through a bill that will hurt Americans. Make no mistake about it, when they talk about reduced costs, they are talking about reduced care.