Blogs » Politcs Plus » The final push


As I listened to President Obama speak to the enthusiastic crowd in Strongsville, Ohio; I wondered why more Democratic representatives and senators were not out there on the stump making the case for health care reform as passionately as he was. If Nancy Pelosi garners the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate version of health care; it probably will go into history as the most remarkable achievement by any speaker of the House. Why? The Democratic House members do not like the Senate's bill but they have to trust that their Senate colleagues will make the needed changes in reconciliation. That's a hard sell; especially in an election year. The wavering representatives might as well sign on because many of them will lose anyway; so they might as well go down, on principle.

I have always laughed at conservative news columnist ,Walter William's examples, but this week's column "Is health care a right,” took the cake. He tried to make the constitutional (true rights) case that exercising a right by an individual should not diminish those held by another. He was trying to say that Congress should not take money from one taxpayer and give it to another. That's the basis for “rich get richer" and "I've got mine “theory. We have a progressive tax system; which is a redistribution system, so we continuously take money from one group of taxpayers and reward another. We provide a free attorney if one cannot afford one, we give prisoners health-care or anyone else that cannot afford it. That's the American I grew up in, before it became fashionable to call it socialism or theft. Mr. Williams facetiously tries to make a case that in order for the government to give one American citizen a dollar, it must first, through intimidation, threats and coercion, get that dollar from another American. You can make that case for defense spending or any government expenditure such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and foreign aid. They pay this guy money to write a column? There are a lot of middle-class workers that are one lay off away from not having health care insurance or if they do have it, they will not be able to afford it ten years from now, without serious health-care reforms. The final bill will not be perfect by any means but I think that universal health care is a right because a prosperous nation should set aside funds for those most vulnerable.

I am amused the Republicans are shocked that something as important as health-care reform could be passed in reconciliation; even thou, pundits, newspaper columnists, and Democrats continue to show the Republicans where they have used it, in similar circumstances. I guess they are shocked that turnaround is fair play. The GOP is advising the Democratic House members not to vote for this bill because it would be their undoing, as if the Republicans have their interest in mind. As the president continues to say "let's have an up-and-down vote.”

This issue has become a great civics lesson and it will continue to be. I know more about reconciliation, parliamentary procedures, and its history than I will ever use. Who knows, we may drag them all out again when it comes to climate change, finance reform and illegal immigration Reform.