President Obama’s meetings at the Senate on Sunday, much like his visit to Copenhagen this week, are not indicators of inevitability; they are portents of panic. The reports coming out of the closed door, Democrats-only, meeting of internal divisions that are still irreconcilable, despite the high rhetoric of historic moment, only make the point more vividly: can you say “desperation”?
The sensible Democrats know they are in trouble. They know the American people have lost confidence that the Administration and Congress share their priorities.
While polls consistently show that Americans are increasingly concerned about jobs, reviving the economy, and managing our deficits, the Democrats fixate on health care, a relatively low priority for most Americans and anathema for many in this form. The reforms the Democrats push are themselves unpopular, and for good reason. Americans know that a government takeover of health care will diminish the quality of care, reduce our ability to control our treatment options, and drive up the premium costs for many Americans. It’s not just the health care system that will suffer, but proposed reforms will also cripple one of the few sectors that have been creating jobs during the recession, create multiple new taxes and penalties, and further hamper the economy by creating massive new debt and entitlements.
At the same time, the Obama EPA stands ready to declare carbon a pollutant while Pres. Obama commits in Copenhagen to grandiose reductions in carbon use. Undoubtedly “climate change” is another “crisis” that Rahm Emmanuel doesn’t want to let go to waste, but the presumption of consensus crumbles as scientific certainty morphs into a political put-up job. Regulating carbon is a control-freak, revenue-sucking bureaucrat’s wet dream, but it is also the average American’s definition of insanity. It may be change, but it’s not the change Americans voted for.<
What can save the Democrats? Not much. They no longer have a shrewd and sensible leader like Bill Clinton, who would listen to a Dick Morris and understand the need to move to the middle, manage the party’s extremist elements, control government and deficits, and genuinely encourage private sector growth.
Instead the Democrats are manipulated by rabid, loony left activists who won’t tolerate compromise on their utopian, authoritarian impulses, and an arrogant, ideological leadership that will buy, seemingly at any price. the votes of Members and Senators to get the game-changing legislation it wants, even if that means losing the mid-term elections.
Moderate Democrats are terrified for their seats short-term, and longer term for their party and the country. Obama’s visit to the Hill was both an indication of the Democrats’ continued difficulty in ramming unpopular health care legislation through, despite their majorities and positive spin, and the determination of the left to get this passed at any cost – they cannot see wasting their majorities, even if what they want is not what the country wants.
The moderate Democrats know this is wrong, but are still consoling themselves by drinking the Democrat leadership’s delusional Kool-Aid: that August was a manipulated fluke, that intensity of concern is not now what it was then. Their leadership knows to exploit the fact that people are busy during the holidays, and Members are not home, to encourage their nervous Nellies to believe that it really won’t hurt them to impose these tremendous burdens on the American people.
Who can save the Democrats and prevent legislation that is so out of line with what America wants? Only the American people. Big business won’t do it – they’re in bed with the administration on these efforts, or at best in keeping their heads down and hoping someone else will have more courage than they.
But imagine the effect of another Rostenkowski moment – where furious seniors pursued Rep. Dan Rostenkowski to his car in their disgust over the catastrophic health care bill – only this time it’s Harry Reid. Also feared is an “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more” uprising where the normally quiet silent majority – the moderates, the independents, and ordinary seniors, women, and small businesses -rise up and make clear that August was no fluke, writing letters all December (far better than calling or emailing) again and again. And though media will try to ignore it, Members will notice when there are well attended rallies like the one Sen. Tom Coburn is encouraging in DC on December 15th.
If Americans produce one final push to show that it’s not over, that the intensity today is greater than ever, that indeed the American people are paying attention, will hold policymakers to account, and are willing to speak loudly to defend their basic rights, then that would embolden enough votes that we could stop the insanity, defeat this monstrosity of a bill, and get a chance to pursue genuine reforms that might instead actually improve the health care system without hurting jobs, the economy, or our children’s futures.