Former Labour Party leader Michael Foot, who led his party to a disastrous defeat in 1983, died last week at the age of 96. Foot, revered by some as the “conscience of the Labour Party,” pursued an agenda so radically left-wing – elements included unilateral nuclear disarmament, further nationalization of industry and withdrawal from the European Economic Community – that he ensured an overwhelming victory for Maggie Thatcher and her Tories. Thus did he serve his country by ensuring that Thatcher’s policy of allowing the free market to flourish and revive the U.K.’s economy was allowed to operate for many more years.
Now, it seems Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama are about to become the consciences of the Democrat Party. They’ve decided to fall on their swords over the Affordable Health Care Choices Act, forcing its passage despite strong evidence that the bill is widely unpopular with the electorate. Here in Pennsylvania, in fact, Sen. Arlen Specter’s support for this bill, which prompted him to change his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican a year ago, seems to be about to cost him his Senate seat.
In spite of all these facts, Pelosi, with Obama’s very persuasive assistance, is trying every legislative ploy in her considerable bag of parliamentary tricks to pass this bill and ram the initial version of government health care down our throats. Now that it appears that she can muster up the required 216 votes (normally, 218 are required, but there are four seats currently vacant due to deaths and resignations) to pass the bill using the reconciliation process, she’s continuing to twist arms to enact this unpopular legislation. Then, once the new bill gets back to the Senate, they’ll use a procedure known as budget reconciliation, to avoid the threat of a Republican filibuster in the Senate. So much for democracy.
Meantime, Obama himself continues to lobby wavering Democrat Congress members to try to get the vote count to the magic number of 216. Apparently, the Democrat leadership really believes that people will like this program so much once it’s been enacted that they’ll forgive Pelosi’s totalitarian maneuvering and return their legislators to office in droves.
There’s some evidence that Americans will indeed forget this whole sordid process by November, if they like the outcome, and some Americans will undoubtedly like the outcome, because they’ll get to pay for their health care with other people’s money. What people are much less likely to forgive, however, is when a bill that was passed using this sort of legislative maneuvering makes a mess of the economy, which it inevitably will. This unforgiving segment is going to include all the people who have to pay for this program, and you can bet there will be conservative Republicans standing by on a daily basis to remind them exactly who created this mess. The researchers who studied people’s reaction to the process didn’t study the effect on them of being consistently reminded who’s responsible for the subsequent associated problems.
Time will tell if Pelosi and Obama go the way of Michael Foot, but it’s looking good so far for Obamacare to become the nuclear disarmament-like folly of 21st century America.