A well-connected friend of mine has been giving me his assessment of the health care battle since the beginning of the year. In January, he told me conservatives could “rest easy” because House Democrats told him that health care would not come up in 2009. In May, he said that conservative activism was a waste of time because there was no chance we could win. At the end of August, he advised against grass roots efforts because there was no way we could lose.
Now, in November, the press is telling us we’re hopelessly defeated. To be a little crude about it, Barack Obama is advising us that “we’re going to be raped, no matter how loudly we scream, so we might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
I don’t agree with that.
Now and since the beginning of the year, history has been teetering on a fulcrum. If we field a smarter strategy than the White House, we will defeat Obamacare. If Republican compromisers continue to pursue “the politics of dumb,” as they have until now, we will lose — and America will be transformed in a really nasty way for the rest of our lifetimes.
We Can Win If We Do Four Things
1. Denounce this bill for the lying fraud scheme it is: Just as an example: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “scored” the Pelosi bill to cost $1.055 trillion — far above Barack Obama’s $900 billion ceiling. Pelosi immediately held a press conference and announced her bill would cost $894 billion — a figure that did not appear in the CBO report and which could be reached only by subtracting projected IRS-administered penalties from the actual cost.
Furthermore, when you consider the $247 billion bribe to the American Medical Association, that Reid and Pelosi are trying to sneak through in separate legislation, the actual cost is $1.3 trillion. The increase in the deficit is at least $150 billion. And, if you assume the $426 billion in Medicare “secret cuts” will be no more achievable than the $247 billion Medicare cuts promised in 1997, the increase in the deficit will be at least $569 billion.
2. Make it clear that cloture is the only important vote: The corrupt and ethically challenged Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) is using fraud, intimidation and threats to force Senators Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman to vote for “cloture on the motion to proceed” to Obamacare — a motion that would require 60 votes to succeed.
After that, promises Reid, these “swing votes” would be free to pretend to oppose Obamacare by voting against it on meaningless votes requiring only 50 senators (plus Biden) to succeed. In the meantime, having gotten Obamacare on the Senate floor, Reid would be free to use the amendment process to play “let’s make a deal” and use taxpayer money to buy the votes he needs for final passage.
3. Don’t let Reid play "Let’s Make a Deal:" Reid’s current proposal is impassable.We should not repeat the mistake we made in the Senate Finance Committee and allow Reid to tweak an impassable bill until it becomes passable. If Reid intends to block out Republican “killer amendments” by putting in place a procedural structure known as the “amendment tree,” fine. Let Reid’s amendment tree serve as a bar to his “let’s make a deal” efforts. The good news is that, having risked her neck to vote to “allow the process to go forward” only to be thrown under the bus, Maine GOP Sen. Olympia Snow and the other “swing votes” are unlikely to give up their power while they have it, in the expectation that they will be consulted later, when they don’t have power.
4. Don’t be afraid of reconciliation: None of the bills thus far produced could be passed under expedited reconciliation procedures created solely for legislation to reduce the deficit. This is because of limitations in the “Byrd Rule,” but also because of the budgetary requirements of the 1974 Budget Act itself. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) and MSNBC are too stupid to understand the Budget Act, but we aren’t.
Most importantly, fight like the future of America depends on it. Because, surely, it does.