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  • Karl Rove: Repealing Obamacare Will Be Easier If Congress Skirts Normal Process

    “Deeming” and “reconciliation” are hardly household words, but for the next week Americans will come to know them as key procedural maneuvers that could push Obamacare across the finish line. But while they might deliver a bill to President Obama’s desk, they will also make it easier to repeal the measure, says former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove.

    On the road for his “Courage and Consequence” book tour, Rove chatted with The Heritage Foundation about Obamacare, his defense of President George W. Bush’s conservatism, the growth of Tea Parties and anger toward government spending.


    Download the MP3 file.

    Rove, who joined Heritage for the launch of our San Francisco Community Committee last September, recalled how even in the heart of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) district, conservatives were teeming with energy and enthusiasm. Rove will appear at a Heritage Foundation community committee event in Naples, FL, next week.

    During the interview, he did not hold back his criticism of conservatives, particularly those who took issue with Bush’s support of No Child Left Behind, the Medicare prescription drug benefit and TARP. He also singled out conservatives, in addition to congressional Democrats, for the failure of Social Security reform in 2005.

    Rove, however, has a positive vibe about the future of conservatism, particularly leaders such as Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ); and Govs. Tim Pawlenty (R-WI), Mitch Daniels (R-IN) and Bobby Jindal (R-LA).

    What follows is a partial transcript of the interview.

    This is crunch time in Congress for Obamacare, and Rove said he was surprised at the procedural tactics Democrats are willing to use:

    They’re going to use every tool at their disposal, no matter how weird and perverted its use will be. This idea that they’re going to take a major piece of legislation and use in the House what’s called deeming … is pretty extraordinary. And then for the Senate to use budget reconciliation—not to adjust the dials on spending and tax rates on existing law, but in essence to create new law—is an enormous perversion of the system.

    If they pass this bill using these procedures, they will come to regret that because the procedures used to pass it may also be used to repeal it. And if they use 51 votes in the Senate to make a major substantive change in legislation, that’s going to be a problem.

    Rove also debunked claims by liberals about reconciliation, specifically its use during the 2001 tax cut legislation signed by Bush:

    We used reconciliation on the passage of the tax cuts in 2001. Well, guess what? One-quarter of Democrats in the Senate were supportive of the tax cuts, so there was bipartisanship. Reconciliation is generally used as a way to smooth the consideration of budget and tax measures that are changes in existing law. It was not designed and was never intended to be used to pass major, dramatic, big, huge, economy-affecting policy that the Democrats are trying to do in this instance.

    Rove also spoke at length about Bush’s conservatism, specifically programs such as No Child Left Behind, the Medicare prescription drug benefit and TARP, which have raised questions about his fiscal conservatism.

    His defense of No Child Left Behind:

    [Rep.] John Boehner and [Sen.] Judd Gregg were the two Republicans who worked with [then-Sen.] Ted Kennedy and [Rep.] George Miller and the administration to put No Child Left Behind into place. I believe it is conservative legislation. It says states are in charge. If you get federal money, a state has to have standards. We don’t care what those standards are; you just have to have standards.

    The education oligopoly doesn’t like to be held to account. And having standards—expectations about what children are expected to learn and when they’re expected to learn it—is a conservative principle. …

    What’s so odd to me is that a lot of conservatives have come to join with the teacher unions in objecting to children being tested. … Conservatives should not get in bed with the teacher unions and give them what they want, which is weakening or an end to a tool that gives parents and communities a chance to demand success and to blow the whistle on failure.

    His defense of the Medicare prescription drug benefit:

    We had two competing plans: We had an $800 billion Democratic plan that was government-run. The government set the formulary. It decided what drugs you got and set their prices. And it was not paid for. The Republican plan was free-market oriented and was scored by the CBO at $450 billion, and included other reforms of Medicare and the creation of health savings accounts.

    Because it was based on free-market principles, in which private companies competed to deliver the benefit, guess what? The program is costing one-third less than what CBO anticipated. … Why? Because it’s based around markets and markets have a wonderful way of lowering prices and increasing benefit. …

    It’s the only government-sponsored health program in the history of the country which has come in under its original estimates. …

    I understand if a conservative says to me, ‘I think we ought to repeal Medicare and it ought to be gone. And I, therefore, object to a Medicare prescription drug benefit.’ I salute them as being consistent. But if Medicare is going to exist, then we need to have Medicare driven by market forces and we need to have it as modern as possible. …

    It was a wise decision for conservatives to say, while we have this moment—a Republican President, a Republican House, a Republican Senate—let us pass a conservative, market-oriented version of this benefit, rather than allowing them to pass a much more expensive, much larger, big government, price-fixing form of service.

    On the use of TARP I, supported by Bush, and TARP II, supported by Obama:

    The difference between those two are clear: We have one where a Republican, conservative president said, I don’t like doing this, but if we’re going to have to do this to save the economy, we better make certain the taxpayer is protected and at the end of the day we get made whole and we make money. And we have a Democrat president who says, I’ve got a big pot of money, let me use it to reward my friends, punish my enemies and engage in industrial policy.

    What went wrong in the Social Security reform debate of 2005:

    When it came to Social Security reform, we had problems on the left and the right. The political left in Congress was not the same as thoughtful liberals like [the late Sen.] Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who said we better repair the safety net before it breaks. We had no political support among Democrats. …

    Let’s be candid about this. Republicans applauded when Bush talked about this in the 2000 and 2004 campaigns, and there were a lot of reformers like [Sens.] Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Jim DeMint who got elected to the Congress by talking about this. But when it came time for the rubber to meet the road in 2005, there was little enthusiasm among Republicans for taking this up, and particularly striking among some conservative leaders whom you would’ve thought would’ve understood the special moment we had and the responsibility we had to save this program, who said, nope, sorry, not going to do it.

    The role of Tea Party groups:

    I don’t want them to become an adjunct of the Republican Party. I think they are far more powerful and influential if they remain as they are today, which is a movement that holds the feet of elected officials in both parties to account for what they do on spending, deficits, debt and powers of government.

    The best reporter to cover the Bush White House:

    I hate to sound like I’m flacking for my friends at Fox, but the Fox reporters were always good in that they were tough but fair. I thought also, surprising enough, that Jake Tapper, who is an ABC reporter, who is a lefty, was nonetheless reasonably fair and tough. You could count on him to ask you tough questions.

    Rove’s thoughts on those who call Obama a “socialist”:

    We’ve got to be very careful about our language in order not to give our adversaries cheap shots to make at us, while at the same time making the case against President Obama and liberal policies. …

    President Obama wants things to remain in the hands of private owners and operators. It’s just that he wants them to be subjected to a level of regulation, scrutiny and restraint by government that would be stifling.

    We have to remember our target: It’s not our fellow conservatives. Our object here is to say things and make the case to people whose ears and eyes are open, but who don’t necessarily view themselves as conservatives.

    How technology is changing politics:

    We need to as a movement avail ourselves of all these channels because they are ways to reach people, particularly younger people who are otherwise not available to us. Just remember this, 2008 in the presidential election, it’s the first election in history that more people said they got their information about the election from the Internet than from local newspapers.

    Posted in Education, First Principles, Obamacare, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Karl Rove: Repealing Obamacare Will Be Easier If Congress Skirts Normal Process

    1. DSmith,Gainesville F says:

      Counting Lobbyists. When a university professor joins the Obama administration and still receives his salary paid by the trustees of the university, how is this different from a corporate lobbyist who is still paid by the trustees of his corporation? Take a closer look at who is working for this President.

    2. darryl bryant, color says:

      the people must do more to make their representatives fully aware of their displeasure with obamacare, anyone who believes that it is revenue neutral must live in a different country than the usa, all one has to do is observe our government and see the inefficiency, waste, deficit spending, earmarks, etc; and try to convience themselves that our government really knows how to run something, anything!! and making insurance companies fall guys is a subtrafuge that only someone with no business sense would fall for, costs are set by providers not by those that monitor costs or pass them along to the payees. we are in for a long haul in deficit reduction without obamacare!! by passing it I can't imagine what we are doing to my 2 college age children.

    3. CJ Nies Cincinnati, says:

      The Republicans best be protecting the American people from the passage of the health care. We need to show the "Democrats we can fight the same thug tactcis and back room tactics, what happened to everything on Cspan?? We can not let these evil, corrput people win, they say they know best, the American people have told them want they want and it is NOT this health care bill. Can u hear me now>>>

    4. Drew Page, IL says:

      If the House decides to pass the Senate Health Care Reform legislation it will be immediately signed by the President and become law. Regardless of what independents and Republicans say about repealing this law, it will be almost an impossibility because the President would surely veto any legislation attempting to repeal it. A supermajority would be needed to override a presidental veto and even with gains in the House and Senate, it is unlikely that Republicans will have enough votes to override a presidental veto.

      As I see it, the only hope of reversing this law would be if it's Constitutionality were successfully challenged in the Supreme Court. If the House passes the Senate bill using Reconcillation, or the so-called 'Slaughter Rule' a legal arguement could be made. But one never knows if the Supreme Court justices will rule on the legality of the process, or on what they feel will benefit society.

    5. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Drew, you are correct in your assessment of repealing the law. It will be exceedingly difficult to accomplish – but not impossible (ask FDR). However, Obamacare will be the poster for the conservative movement. Once the shine begins to fade and the reality of the costs and effects begin to surface my guess is that the Tea Party principles will prevail and Congress will receive lots of pink slips in November. At least I can hope.

    6. Tim AZ says:

      I refuse to accept the argument that republicans should construct entitlements like a prescription drug benefit just because if we don't the liberals will construct more and bigger entitlements. This was nothing more than how fast should we advance towards socialism. These clowns know that govt. has no chance of delivering on the entitlements that already exist let alone adding new entitlements. This is about republicans retaining the invitations to liberal cocktail parties at the end of the day. The country be damned line up another shot and the flavor of the evening.

    7. Carol N. Michigan says:

      My stomach is turning over how little the President cares about what the people of this country want. It used to be that missed-truths were hidden. Yesterday, Obama proclaimed bald-faced lies when he spouted that "his" bill has all the best parts of both Parties' ideas…when there is no such bill. I don't know about the people he knows, but most American I know have more intelligence than to swallow that swill. What on earth is going on with all this procedural stuff; how much more corruption will we allow. In my part of the country, you have to actually get the taxes from the people before you can use them. Good luck on that. We only have so many jails.

    8. Pingback: Tuesday Happenings « Columbus, Georgia: Theresa Style

    9. Richard Fletcher, Sa says:

      Re: Drew's comment,

      I wonder what h would happen if Obama is declared ineligible to be president! As far as I know, there is still a lawsuit d seeking to declare him ineligible. If this should occur, and survive appeals, what happens to l all the legislation &he has signed?

    10. Norma in Nebraska says:

      If you are wondering who will "enforce" all the new rules, regulations and taxes, think about the expected growth in government employees for THIS YEAR: 2.5 million!!!!

      Like our elected officials they will want their paycheck and their benefits and even though they may know what they are doing is morally wrong, they will do it because they have to in order to be paid!!!

      It is all about the money and power!!! This President is NOT concentrating of Jobs, Jobs, Jobs because he knows that the more people that are out of work and COUNTING on the government unemployment, the easier they will be to control. No job = no food, no house, no insurance.

      I used to joke that the difference between Russia and the US was that the people in the US just think they are free and the people in Russia KNOW they are not. Well, in this day and age we are becoming more like Russia every single day . . . . hope our grandchildren will learn how to survive in a dictatorship!

      The liberals have waited for YEARS for this opportunity, and they are not going to go down easily. In fact, I fully expect they will fight until their last breath. Therefore, we have to be as determined and as willing to fight if we want our way of life to survive this hijacking of America.

    11. Peyton, a Libertaria says:

      SCOTUS has already ruled against deciding whether what the Legislative branch does is constitutional. I think it would be difficult for them to do so on this issue.

      We, The People, need to stand up to the thugs we've repeatedly elected to "represent" us. We need to have a constitutional amendment that puts term limits on those in D.C. then We, The People, can end these endless legacies we have "serving" us now!

    12. Desirre in Dallas says:

      If obamacare is so good, why did obama have to bribe LA, FLA and Nebraska to vote FOR it?

      If obamacare is so good, why do they ( Pelosi) threaten you with incarceration if you don't buy / pay for it?????

    13. Dr. Edward Kimble, C says:

      I strongly disagree with Mr. Rove in one respect. I remain a strong critic of the "No Child Left Behind" program. While standards such as the SAT or Iowa tests serve to allow some comparison of student and school abilities, programs that encourage yearly tests, with no regard to special teaching needs, activities, and abilities, often serve to often dumb down the general population by forcing good teachers to abandon their areas of expertise and ability to address whatever is emphasized on the yearly standards tests. "Resistance is futile!!!" This strongly discourages good schools from offering dedicated programs or programs that don't cow-tow to state standards, programs that society as a whole so desperately needs to remain healthy. In addition, it removes much of the control from local administrators and discourages those administrators from using common sense to balance school output against community needs. There is no local way to make schools better or to balance teacher abilities against programs. You end up with a very fancy ant colony with a particular ISO9000 certified worker ant that just can't do all the jobs. Not one student understands calculus, milling machine capability, how to play a trumpet, or how to simulate a cannon ball, all because they spent every waking minute "learning THE TEST"…. This kind of insanity needs to stop. And Mr. Rove is smart enough to see this is not the way.

    14. Marcello, DC says:

      I don't buy the arguement that the GOP should pass small entitlements to prevent the Dems from passing bigger ones.

      I would argue the GOP should take up financial reform to reduce top-end leverage to 10-1 from the 30-1 it is now. The market fallouts from 30-1 leverage are too dangerous since if they happen during GOP administrations they lead to huge democratic majorities. It's huge democratic majorities that lead to entitlement creation.

      So too much financial leverage causing a bubble to burst during a GOP presidency gives birth to entitlements. The GOP recapturing all three branches of govt due to Dem overreaching is little consolation for a new entitlement program that has its pincers in the fabric of american society.

      If 2008-2009 was a "normal recession" the dems would likely have majorities now but not enough to do what they are doing with shoving Obamacare down everyone's throat.

      It pisses me off when the GOP doesn't understand this.

    15. Zeb, IL says:

      obamacare is really obama-could-care-less.

      I think it's more of showing Hillary, his opponent, that he did it first and not Bill.

      It's sad and despicable that his megalomania is destroying this country and has further divided it – completely the opposite of what he ran on in the elections. Proves once again that a Democrat cannot be trusted.

    16. J. Hardy, Chesapeake says:

      I find myself disagreeing with most of what Mr. Rove says here. I respect him as a smart man but feel that his arguments for the Bush policies do not hold water. Republicans, if they want to be the spokespoeople for conservative ideas, need to stop espousing middle of the road policy ideas. Saying something like NO Child Left Behind is conservative because it gives states some choice, is disingenuous. It is still a big government program that bribes states with federal money. Federal spending needs to be cut and the federal government needs to skrink, not grow.

      Of course, I am one of those people who Mr. Rove mentioned that does not agree with Medicare as a program at all. So, I am being consistent. We need some balance in Washington between true conservatives and those with more progressive ideas. Right now the representation in congress is largely limited to progressive democrates and progressive republicans.

    17. Larry, West Jordan, says:

      The root of the republican's problem lies in the defense of no child left behind in this article. If the States are in charge why does the federal government have ANYTHING to do with it. Taking the money in federal taxes and then telling the states they can have back their share if they do things the feds way is PROGRESSIVE not conservative. Every time I start liking a republican politician they go and start supporting some big government scheme. I was one of Bush's biggest supporters until immigration soured me and TARP I made me go scrape the W bumper sticker of my truck. I figure 95% of dems are socialists and 50% of republicans are socialist lite. I will never again vote for anyone of any party who can't convince me they know the true meaning of budget cuts and limited government. The republican party will have to come to me, I am through coming to it.

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