- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ONLY THE BEGINNING

“Final passage of this health bill will be historic, but not in the way President Obama intended,” the Heritage Foundation’s Conn Carroll writes at Heritage.org.

“Never before has such a large restructuring of the U.S. economy been passed on a straight party-line vote. Never before has legislation so unpopular with the American people been passed on a straight party-line vote. Never before has the fate of one-sixth of our economy been so dependent on backroom deals and payoffs the full extent of which may not be known for years,” the writer said.

“To defend this abomination of a bill on the Sunday shows, the White House did not send health reform director Nancy-Ann DeParle or budget director Peter Orszag. Instead they sent White House sent political consultant David Axelrod to defend the bill on three of the five top Sunday shows. But there simply is no defending the policy substance of this bill. …

“This bill will only make every single problem with our health care system worse: higher spending, higher deficits, and worse care. Former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean said on ‘Meet the Press’ [Sunday], ‘[This bill] simply sets us on a track in this country which is expensive and where we’re going to have lots more political fights.’ Dean is dead on. President Barack Obama’s signature on this health care bill settles nothing: it is only the beginning of a much larger health care fight.”

RAW EXERCISE

“And tidings of comfort and joy from Harry Reid too. The Senate majority leader has decided that the last few days before Christmas are the opportune moment for a narrow majority of Democrats to stuff ObamaCare through the Senate to meet an arbitrary White House deadline. Barring some extraordinary reversal, it now seems as if they have the 60 votes they need to jump off this cliff, with one-seventh of the economy in tow,” the Wall Street Journal said Monday in an editorial.

“Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world’s greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new ‘manager’s amendment’ that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what’s in it, not that any senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. [Monday] morning. After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.

“Even in World War I, there was a Christmas truce,” the newspaper said.

“The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that ‘reform’ has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.”

TARGETING BAYH

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana has issued an excellent statement on the health care bill,” William Kristol writes in a blog at WeeklyStandard.com.

“He calls it ‘Washington at its worst,’ and especially urges ‘senators with the privilege of representing the great state of Indiana, to give special consideration to Hoosier families and their values and reject this bill.’ Pence continues, ‘The American people and the people of Indiana will remember which senator stood for freedom and our values by opposing this legislation and which senator followed the party line in support of a government takeover of health care.’

“Here’s one way to help the people of Indiana remember: Mount a serious challenge to Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who’s up in 2010. And here’s an obvious challenger: Mike Pence,” Mr. Kristol said.

“Sure, it’s a long shot (Bayh got 62 percent of the vote in 2004). But if voters are as upset as they may well be, Pence could make the race competitive. If he won, he’d be a leading possibility for national office as soon as 2012. If he loses, but runs a respectable race - which surely he’ll do - he’d have a good shot to succeed Mitch Daniels as governor in 2012.

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