By Robert Wallace
First of all: surprise that they got it done so fast. Pelosi violated her pledge to have the bill up for 72-hours before a vote, and forced a vote at midnight during a weekend. I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t.
Secondly: surprise that it passed. (The final vote was 220 – 215, it needed 218 to pass. Roll call from the NYT is here.) I was counting on stiffer opposition from Blue Dog Democrats.
Lastly: no surprise at the reason that Pelosi wanted to get this monstrosity passed. As the Associated Press put it: “A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.”
This is all about self-interest. Just as with Barack Obama’s campaign, we got the hope and change and optimism up front. The downside comes later. Here’s an example (from the Huffington Post) of the adulation that is going to come Pelosi’s way in the immediate future:
Cao’s vote was a mere bonus for Democrats, whose spontaneous floor celebration radically outdid the reaction of the Yankees to winning the World Series recently. The normally stoic Pelosi had tears streaming down her cheek. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) bent over and vigorously pumped her fist. Arms were thrown in the air; hugs all around.
As for the long-run cost, why worry? Social Security is essentially a giant Ponzi scheme but it’s already lasted almost a century. Medicare is a haven for corruption that is bankrupting our nation, but it’s also survived for decades.
When reality settles in this health care bill – if it passes – will be held in derision and contempt by folks who actually have to pay for it. They will decry the lies, manipulations, and selfishness that got it passed.
But why should Pelosi care? She’ll be long gone by then.
This bill – like Social Security and Medicare before it – is about allowing selfish people to get a cheap self-righteous high at the expense of the welfare of future generations.
So where do we go from here?
It’s by no means certain that this monstrosity will pass in the Senate. The longer the debate lasts, the less chance it has of passing. Pelosi knew this, which is why she broke her pledge to have it online for 72 hours before a vote. If the American people had enough time to peruse through the 2,000 legislative Goliath they would have found more than enough reasons to oppose it.
So Jeff’s analysis is correct: the only reason this bill got passed is that in the euphoria of passing the Stupak amendment (which banned funding for abortions) conservatives let their guards down. I don’t think this was a deliberate strategy from the Democrats, but it doesn’t matter. When you want to sell something for $25 you set the price at $30. Then, when you come down $5, the other guy feels like he’s getting a deal. That’s what happened here.
It’s going to come down to timing again in the Senate. Right now the Democrats have the momentum because they won in the House. The glory of victory fades quickly in Washington, however, and then attention will turn back to the bill itself. The faster we can get people to focus on the facts instead of the rhetoric the faster we can sap support for this bill.
That’s exactly what we need to do. We were winning in the House until Pelosi pulled a midnight vote on a weekend and a good amendment ironically got conservatives to lower the guard for just long enough to get the monstrosity passed. Our job is make sure that the Democrats don’t get away with such a trick again.
No more midnight votes on bills no one has read. It’s time we stopped letting the inmates run the asylum in Washington D.C.
Robert Wallace is classical liberal studying economics in graduate school. He and his wife work as business analysis consultants, and they live as undercover conservatives with their two small children in a socialist bastion of a college town. He has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.