- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No reading required

The 1,000-page-plus climate-change bill the House passed last week, as was the case with President Obama’s economic stimulus bill, was written with very little time for many to have read the final version. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, doesn’t have any intention of changing that with upcoming health care legislation.

Republicans tried to stall for time, complaining that the massive climate bill was only posted the night before the vote and a 300-page amendment was added after 3 a.m. But the speaker only permitted five hours of debate on the final version of the bill, which passed the House that evening by a narrow seven-vote margin, including the votes of eight Republicans.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, read sections of the 300-page amendment before the vote, making fun of items added at the last minute, such as energy loans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the creation of “green” banking centers.

Mrs. Pelosi said she would follow a similar process to bring health care legislation for a House vote and didn’t see a problem doing so, because the issue had been debated for years.

“This is something that has been unfolding before the American people for a long time now,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters in a press briefing. “The areas of controversy are well-known.”

She added, “We had a month before the Memorial Day break for everyone to see what was happening there, to take ideas from our members. So it was in the public domain, but not as a bill.”

A draft of the health care bill is already 600 pages, and the final version is expected to be one of the most expensive pieces of legislation passed yet. The Congressional Budget Office scored the draft and estimated it would cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Conspiracy

MSNBC’s “Countdown” host, Keith Olbermann, conspiratorially took to the Daily Kos site to warn the left-wing bloggers who dare to criticize him that they are giving ammunition to conservatives.

“You may be part of a plan to make it look like I’m under siege by the Left,” he wrote in a Daily Kos blog under his byline.

Mr. Olbermann referenced a report by Newsmax, a right-leaning publication, which had included remarks from a Daily Kos blogger who was upset with the MSNBC personality’s commentary about the affair involving Gov. Mark Sanford, South Carolina Republican, and an Argentine woman.

“Keith Olbermann made Rush Limbaugh look like Albert Schweitzer tonight on his program,” complained Larry Wohlgemuth in a post on Daily Kos. “Have you no decency, man?”

Mr. Olbermann said he wasn’t asking for a free pass, but made it clear this kind of liberal infighting would detract from their shared causes.

“Again, no request for amnesty, agreement, criticism-free zones, or universal love is implied here,” Mr. Olbermann wrote. “Just watch out: There’s nothing better for the lunatic fringe when a Mark Sanford hits an iceberg, than to throw up some phony Liberal-on-Liberal-Violence sabotage chaff in front of the torpedoes headed towards a Republican-In-Crisis.”

New coalition

GOP campaign operative Ralph Reed has launched a new grass-roots group aimed at uniting Christian voters on conservative issues.

Mr. Reed, formerly executive director of the Christian Coalition, announced the creation of the Faith and Freedom Coalition last week, an organization that supports pro-life policies, traditional marriage defined as being between a man and a woman, free markets and lower taxes.

“The Obama administration and the dominant media are leading us in the direction of bigger government, higher taxes, extreme social policy, liberal judges and exploding debt,” Mr. Reed said in a message posted on his Web site. “We are standing in the gap to oppose these policies.”

Mr. Reed’s group appears to be aimed at re-creating his successful efforts at the Christian Coalition, which supported the same planks, at the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

He’s long been a forceful presence in GOP politics. He led the Christian Coalition through the early 1990s and worked on then-Republican Sen. Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. He later did consulting for the scandalized Republican fundraiser Jack Abramoff and helped mobilize Christian voters for both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns. In 2006, Mr. Reed unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in his native Georgia, losing the Republican primary to Casey Cagle.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] times.com

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