On Thursday, November 5, 2009 a rally was held in Washington DC for the purpose of lobbying the House of Representatives, specifically our own Congressmen, to defeat the complete hijacking of the American health care system.
You probably already know that. You may not know that there were only about 2-3 days notice of this rally. You may also not know that with only that very short notice somewhere between 15,000-30,000 people made the time, found the precious resources and the guts to make the trip. In the middle of a work week. I was one of these. I can testify to the predominantly middle-class status of the rallyers. Like the TEA parties and Town Hall meetings of this last summer, this was no SEIU/ACORN orchestrated rent-a-mob complete with cookie-cutter signs placed strategically around the crowd. Look at the pictures taken by this author to the right. You will see just a handful of the signs and people we were able to see in the crowd (you can see these better in full-screen mode available on the far right of the option bar near the bottom of the picture carousel). Some of the signs were pretty good- both clever and articulate. Some were corny and/or mediocre. Some were awful, for instance the Lyndon LaRouche Democratic Socialists with their picture of President Obama with a Hitler-like toothbrush moustache and the caption “I’ve Changed.” The LaRoucheites, being agents provocateurs and therefore masters of mis-direction, know full well that it is not Obama that has changed. Obama is doing what he said he would do during the campaign. What has changed is that people have begun to realize that he was serious when he said them. The LaRoucheite presence at TEA parties and the health care rally with their inflammatory propaganda and signage is designed to provide a “look at the idiots” moment for the main-stream media, who know full-well who the LaRoucheites are but are more than willing to feature them as “typical” of attendees. The LaRouchites also know they can occasionally hook a sucker who does not know what they are about already. Thankfully, it appears that this crowd stayed clear of their table and their propaganda.
This was a true grass-roots upswell of individuals determined to lobby Congress to vote against the federal government commandeering their right to buy private health care coverage or go without coverage if they so desire. Many of them, just like me, small business owners or the spouse of one. Many of them, just like me, fully aware of what the requirements of the House version would do to their businesses. Every small business owner knows this fact; Employees cost a lot more than just their wages. Training, unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation, Social Security, Medicaid and the cost of benefits like health care coverage, made mandatory under the bill, all contribute to the cost of an employee. This bill creates an atmosphere that will stifles the growth or or completely kill off small business. And small business is the largest employer in our economy. The tremendous costs of doing business in the atmosphere being created by the bill is a hurdle that many small businesses and even many medium and large-sized businesses will not be able to negotiate without increased productivity. Increased productivity is an economic analysts euphemism for squeezing more work out of a smaller work force. In order to stay competitive these businesses will simply not hire new employees and probably lay off some of those they already have. To say that the health care bill will create greater unemployment, in fact will kill jobs is no overstatement.
Others were there because they understand that the final objective of the public option is the elimination of a private market for health care insurance and a complete assumption of all authority over who does and who does not get treatment. If that sounds like it means “death boards” to decide if grandma gets her surgery that’s because it means exactly that. Overweight? “Sorry, but that’s a procedure with a risk of failure among the “less disciplined” members of society. Lose 50 pounds first.” Everyone should be asking why the major media believe that those who expose this obvious implication of the health care bill to be a targets for derisive criticism. Could it be that they are, as elitists who have never actually had to deal with the bureaucracies they demand be created (the vast majority of them at least), so enthusiastic for government expropriation of the entire system that they are willing to ignore the obvious results of that action?
This article was being written before the bill passed the House of Representatives by a squeaker vote of 220-215. Two votes to spare. Look at the pictures at the right side above. Note there are some that just appear to be lines of people. These are the lines of constituents waiting to talk to their elected representatives. The lines are more than a block long for each of the three House office buildings. Some of those who actually got in to see their representatives reported being treated courteously. Others were treated rudely, staff looking for any excuse to usher lobbying constituents out of the office, and a few claim to have been physically man-handled. Twelve were arrested in one case when a Congressman was physical with a female constituent and some of the males nearby objected. They were arrested and charged with “unauthorized entry” and “disorderly conduct.” The Congressman’s chief-of-staff was making every effort to weasle out of the incident, saying that everyone had been polite and nice, knowing the public relations nightmare the Congressman had created. If everything had been “polite and nice” then why were 12 people arrested? Rep. Nancy Pelosi had anti health care bill constituents physically removed from her office. How could Congress ignore the clear will of the American people that health care reform of this kind was not what was wanted? It’s simpler than you might think. It’s also more corrupt than you might think.
What many of the rallyers didn’t now about was the maneuvering going on behind the scenes by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and her lieutenants. The vote was originally scheduled for Thursday or Friday. Pelosi and company simply didn’t have the votes on these days. As late as Saturday, she still didn’t have the votes despite an Obama pep-talk to the Dempcratic caucus and there was talk of postponing until Monday or Tuesday. The difference was the pro-life and Blue-dog Democrats. Pelosi put her House Whip to work brokering deals to pass the health care bill.
Scuttlebutt has it (and of course the truth of this will not be known until after the 2010 elections pans out who loses their jobs over this bill) that more than a few Blue-dog Democrat Congressmen were promised headships of federal agencies if they are un-elected after their “YES” vote on this and the so-called “cap and trade” bills. Complicating the matter are the Christian activist leaders who devised what they thought was the no-lose strategy of calling on their membership to admonish their Congressmen to vote “NO” on the sole basis of the abortion funding provisions that leadership had tried to claim were not there but were forced to admit actually existed. The final deal was brokered with the pro-life Democrats to accept an amendment offered by Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak to remove the abortion funding provisions. The die-hard infanticides were placated with the promise that the abortion funding will be in the final House-Senate conference committee version of the bill after Senate passage.
Thus, the mid-rated Christian strategists were thinking one move ahead while the grandmaster politicians were thinking 3 moves ahead. What does this mean? The removal of the abortion funding language was the excuse that pro-lifers and many Blue-dogs needed to cast their votes in favor of the bill. A bill that they desperately wanted an excuse to vote for and still be able to claim that they had complied with all that they had been asked to do by strategically out-maneuvered Christian activists. Had the Christian groups taken a principled stand against the bill on the far more comprehensive grounds of the bills constitutionality rather than on a narrow pro-life stance, Pelosi might still be looking for the votes she needed.
Al hope should not be lost, however. While Rep. Michele Bachmann should be given great credit for organizing this rally with only a few days to get the job done, it should be noted that the Republican House leadership made a concerted effort to hijack the movement (surprise, surprise). House minority leader John Boehner and several Republican House leadership members attempted to gin up support for their own health care federal takeover bill (called by one wag the “me too!” bill). Not only did this effort yield, at best, lukewarm support the effort served to both bore the attendees who were there to lobby against federal health care and make the rally, at more than 2 hours, overly lengthy. It was clear that this crowd was heavy with TEA partiers who were not overly thrilled with the Republican party and especially its bungling leadership and their efforts to do the same thing as the Democrats, but in a different way.
That’s a great sign for constitutionalists and should be a warning to Republican party leadership. But no one ever went broke underestimating the ability of Republican leaders to purposefully mis-read obvious signs of discontent (bordering on open revolt) among the party’s conservative core. The revolt over New York’s District 23 election has already been mis-characterized by Republican party hacks like Rush Limbaugh as a triumph for the party (you know, the Republicans who ran Dede Scozzafava, a closet Democrat shill for the seat) while downplaying the 3rd party aspect of the near victory by Hoffman on the Conservative Party ticket.
The Republican party had better get the message (though they won’t)- The core of the party simply won’t accept any more blue-blooded, forked tongue, country club liberal Republicans anymore and the TEA partiers whom party leadership are currently wooing aren’t interested in supporting the status quo Republicans. They’ll happily bolt to a principled third-party if they don’t like the Republican choice ala Doug Hoffman. If bills like “cap and trade” and health care “reform” are passed into law, neither of these groups will sit still in the 2010 elections for anything short of candidate pledges to rescind these laws if elected. Any so-called “conservative” candidate who says “well, these things are the law now and we need to make the best of it from here on out” needs to find another job, preferably in the private sector where he can see the damage that his lack of real commitment to the movement has wrought. If the private sector will have him/her. Liberal Republicans need to be shown the door forthwith. These are the modern political realities emerging thanks to Barack Obama’s presidency.