In a shocking victory, Republican Scott Brown was fortunately the candidate to replace the Democratic 46 year veteran, Teddy Kennedy, for the Massachusetts Congressional Senate seat. Given that Brown’s opponent was Martha Coakley, a Democrat who held the prestigious position of Massachusetts Attorney General, he really should have lost. Though some might disagree, Coakley was probably better suited for the Senate seat because of her laudable background. However, this particular election was not just a regular Senatorial election, but rather the election that decided the fate of the monstrous healthcare bill in Congress.
First, Scott Brown really only ran on one platform: to shut down the year long discussion on healthcare legislation. According to the Senator’s website, Brown writes, “I believe that all Americans deserve health care coverage, but I am opposed to the health care legislation that is under consideration in Congress and will vote against it. It will raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for elders on Medicare. I support strengthening the existing private market system with policies that will drive down costs and make it easier for people to purchase affordable insurance.” Now with 41 Republicans in the Senate, Americans have finally been blessed with the dues ex machina they needed all along, and that is the Senate’s automatic filibuster. It is clear that the will of the American people is for the government to stop messing with the free-market state of healthcare in the U.S. The Democrats in Congress now face a serious dilemma. As William Golston, Senior Fellow of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution writes, “…Democrats have only bad choices. If they proceed with health reform, they will be accused of arrogantly disregarding the will of the people. If they abandon the effort, they will be viewed as weak and feckless. In my judgment, they should proceed, but it is not hard to construct a reasonable argument to the contrary.”
Should the Democrats proceed with legislation or drop a year’s worth of debate on how to completely destroy America’s current healthcare system? There is one shady path the Democrats can now take to still pass their appalling legislation, which is budget reconciliation. On True/Slant, Rick Ungar explains the process of reconciliation, but also states how pointless it is for the Donkeys to employ this method.
Ungar writes, “Reconciliation is a procedure that requires only 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to block a filibuster. But it is a process designed to apply only to matters that affect the federal budget – not substantive social policy that does not speak to the budget. The idea behind the reconciliation process is to allow the Senate to more quietly pass unpopular tax and cost cutting measures that both sides of the aisle might believe are necessary, but would not care to speak to in public for political reasons.
The problem is that reconciliation is not designed to push through matters of social legislation not directly connected to the federal budget or the effort to increase or decrease the same. It is up to the Senate parliamentarian to rule on whether a policy change is anything more than ‘incidental’ to the budget cutting effort. If he rules that a provision is beyond incidental, then that provision must be subjected to the typical filibuster rules.”
Finally, the stars are signaling that the healthcare debate Congress has been wasting America’s time on is finally coming to a close. Though it should go without saying, there should never have been a debate on this issue to begin with. It was funny to watch President Barack Obama pour so much political capital into this science project of his, but especially so because he constantly changed his stance on how to reform healthcare. Pavan Vangipuram from the Reasoned Review explains by writing, “As a candidate Mr. Obama campaigned explicitly for a non-profit publicly owned health care provider (the so-called “public option”) and against an individual mandate, which would legally require all Americans to patronize our bloodthirsty private insurers. His opponent, Ms. Clinton, took the reverse position and so did Mr. McCain. Our vast pharmaceutical and insurance industry, unsurprisingly, supported the Clinton-McCain plan. Soon after election Mr. Obama reversed his position and embraced Clinton and McCain’s vision of “reform”, though he did so by degrees. Up until August he was still nominally for a public option. But we have known since then that Mr. Obama did not really favor a public option, from the moment he uttered those infamous words…The health insurance plan now on the table strongly resembles what Ms. Clinton or Mr. McCain would have preferred, and, it would seem, what Mr. Obama wanted all along.”
When it comes right down to the reality of the situation, most Americans already have health insurance. They should not have their liberty stifled by being forced to take care of the relatively minute and inconspicuous part of the country, which does not. Speaking of this minority, Marie Antoinette’s rumored words come to mind: “Let them eat cake”
Mann, Thomas E., William A. Galston, and Alan Berube. “Around the Halls: Scott Brown’s Special Election Victory and the Congressional Agenda.” Web log post. Up Front Blog. Brookings Institution, 20 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Jan. 2010. http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0120_halls_senate.aspx
Ungar, Rick. “There goes health care’s ‘Plan B’.” Web log post. True/Slant. 21 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Jan. 2010. http://trueslant.com/rickungar/2010/01/21/there-goes-health-care’s-‘plan-b’/
Vangipuram, Pavan. “What Brown Means.” Web log post. The Reasoned Review. Pavan Vangipuram, 21 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Jan. 2010.http://pavanvan.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/what-brown-means/
Scott Brown: United States Senate. Scott Brown for U.S. Senate Committee. Web. 21 Jan. 2010. http://www.brownforussenate.com/issues
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