Following last Tuesday’s election, the last thing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted to do was allow Members of Congress to go home and talk to their constituents about the $2.6 trillion health care bill she was marshaling through Congress. The centerpiece of Pelosi’s trap and pressure campaign was a Saturday address by President Barack Obama in the Cannon Office Building, where Obama warned Democrats: “Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit [Democratic voters] and it will encourage the extremists.”
The extremists. That is how the President of the Unites States describes Americans who do not want to see the federal government control over half of all health care spending. And just who are some of these extremists? Looking over just today’s papers we find:
- Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria: “Obama’s message to the country appears to be, “We have a dysfunctional health-care system with out-of-control costs, and let’s add 45 million people to it.” Americans see a health-care bill that has been produced by the old Democratic machine rather than the new Democratic technocrats — more Lyndon Johnson than Larry Summers. It might be the only way to get a law passed, and it might please the party’s base, but it will dismay independents.”
- The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt: “Health-care reform should not add to the deficit. It should control health-care costs. And, once reform is passed, the government will get serious about deficit reduction. Unfortunately, the House bill fails his first test.”
- Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT): “If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote.”
Everybody listed above acknowledges we desperately need to fix health care policy. They just do not believe that the House plan is the best way to go about doing so. Conservatives have our own, patient centered, vision for health care reform. There has even been some legislation introduced, some better than others, that reflect this vision. Supporting health care policy that empowers patients, and not a new Health Czar, is common sense, not extremism.
There is a reason the leaders on the left are desperate to keep Members of Congress in Washington and away from their constituents. If they had to face real Americans, defenders of the House health care bill would have to defend the facts that their bill:
- Has a true ten year cost of $2.6 trillion while our country already faces record deficits.
- Raises taxes by $700 billion while our country already faces 10.2% unemployment.
- Massively expands a Medicaid program that already provides substandard reimbursement rates, is bankrupting states, and is bankrupt itself.
And that does not even include the possibility that Obama’s Health Czar would use the authority granted in the bill to use the public option to destroy private health care entirely. Perhaps most striking about the President’s performance on Saturday is that he opened his 20 minute health care pep rally with some remarks about the tragic shootings at Fort Hood, Texas. That, Mr. President, is extremism. Opposing policies through democratic means is not.
- President Barack Obama will be absent when Germans celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall today.
- The Army’s top general, who has long raised concerns that repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan could damage the military’s readiness, said he backed an increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
- China has offered oil and mineral rich African governments $10 billion in low-interest development loans over the next three years and forgiveness on some remaining debt.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the military and civil militias today to prepare for war as a deterrent to a U.S.-led attack after American troops gained access to military bases in neighboring Colombia.
- State worker at the California Franchise Tax Board says members of the local SEIU 1000 beat him up and sent him to the hospital all because he wanted to expose alleged corruption within the union.