Ground Hog Day Deceptions

It seems that we, like Phil Connors, leading character in the movie Ground Hog Day, are stuck in a insipid time warp.  We awaken every morning to yet another rerun of the political pitch for Extreme Makeover, Health Care Edition.ObamaCare

Saturday morning it was the President’s “weekly address,” posted in video form on the White House website.  President Obama began with:

This week I asked Congress to hold a final vote on reform that will give families and businesses more control over their health care…

As anyone who hasn’t been in a coma for the past year knows, the central purpose of each of the two, 2,500 page health care bills now pending in Congress is to give government not just more, but total control over health care.  The idea that families and businesses would have more control is perhaps the most preposterous of a constellation of health care deceptions.

This comes after nearly a year of debate, as well as a seven hour summit with Democrats and Republicans where we had a public and substantive discussion on health care.

Wow!  After Congressional Democrats and their twenty-something staffers spent months writing massive bills in closed sessions the President actually allowed a few elected Republicans in the room for seven whole hours!  Are we supposed to be impressed?

Since then I’ve said I’m willing to incorporate some ideas offered by Republicans and we’re eliminating special provisions that had no place in health care reform.

Like most of the public communication from the Obama Administration, this sentence was designed to deceive those who don’t have the time or inclination to monitor the political process every day and keep track of the details.  “I’ve said” is simply meaningless.

Democrats in Congress have already embarked on a two-step legislative strategy that does not include any Republican input.

Step 1: The House is to pass the 2,500 page Senate version with no changes, even though scores of House Democrats are dead set against several of its provisions.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has spent the past two weeks twisting arms among her 255 Democrats in a so-far futile effort to round up the 216 votes needed for passage.   If she finally succeeds…

Step 2: Write a bill of amendments to reconcile enough of the differences between House and Senate versions to pass the the Senate with 51 Democrat votes and the House with 216 Democrat votes.

After step 1 the President will sign the Senate Bill and it will become the law of the land, even if step 2 never happens.  So far, Pelosi does not have enough votes for step 1, because House Democrats  don’t trust Senate Democrats to complete step two.

Even as he talked of incorporating Republican ideas Obama knew that if any Republican ideas were added to the bill of amendments, even more Democrats would vote no, guaranteeing failure.

Regardless of Obama’s protestations, the health care stalemate is not due to Republican opposition.  It’s due to lack of agreement among his own Democrats.

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