Health Care Ping Pong Party

From The Hill:

House and Senate leaders have formally agreed to bypass a bicameral conference committee to merge two healthcare bills, and have opted to instead “ping-pong” the Senate bill over to the House and back again…the House will take up the Senate bill and amend it, then send it back to the Senate for final approval.

The decision was made to scrap a conference committee out of concern that Republicans in both the House and the Senate would employ a series of procedural delaying tactics, only serving to delay the inevitable and frustrate the majority, aides said.

The poor, poor majority! How awful it would be for these simple souls to be frustrated on their Path to the Inevitable! To be delayed even one moment from their glory must be a living hell to them. I wept for them; I truly did.

However, my tears were dried when I realized that, with this move, Democrats can insure that not one Republican voice will be heard, that no objections can be raised, that, in fact, the majority of citizens will not be allowed to have a say. It will all be done in private (which will surely anger Mr Obama, as he pledged to have these debates televised).

Cramming health care through the House and Senate has not helped Democrat prospects. Word is out that at least two Democrat senators are not seeking re-election, and that other Democrats who must run in 2010 are in trouble, including lead architect Papa Reid. Certainly, much will be forgotten by November, but all expect the Democrats to pay some price.

So why the haste?

Some of it is surely because Now Is The Time; momentum is on their side, and so forth.

But I speculated before, and continue to believe, that the fast-tracking is a strategic move to increase control and size, in the long term, of the Party. A small tactical loss at the polls in 2010 is worth the price of creating a new “right” which must be administered, regulated, and ruled.

Big Brother

Democrat losses will be reversed once people become dependent on the new government program, as happened in the past, after the formation of social security, medicare, medicaid, and so on. While Republicans have re-gained control of one or both Houses since then, the length of control has been brief: further, many Republicans have grow to resemble their opponents. For example, it is now inconceivable for a Republican to be against social security and still hope to be elected.

The losses, I say—what happens in 2010 to individual Democrat Senators and Congresspeople—do not matter. What matters is the Party.

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

If the trend doesn’t reverse itself, in thirty years the federal government will resemble Chicago’s or Brooklyn’s. One party rule, with party bosses doling out patronage and a small, ineffective opposition on which any trouble can be blamed.

I suggest that all Republicans switch their party now and avoid the rush.

15 Comments

  1. To be honest, I’m not sure how the Democrats wanting to have a sustained Democratic majority is any different from Rove’s dream of a permanent Republican majority or the 40 year Democratic rule of the House prior to Gingrich.

    What the GOP has never quite figured out is how to create a party that resonates well with the centrists and libertarian-esque voters. Rove tried to make a Faustian bargain with the Moral Majority and instead created a party that has no moral bearing.

    As much as Democrats are to blame for their bad behavior, I blame the Republicans just as much (if not more) for not creating a viable alternative. In California, for example, you get the choice of a crunchy granola “let’s pay heed to the Earth Mother” Democrat or a “the Earth is 6000 years old and we should teach this and make sure to make sex almost illegal” Orange County Republicans. I end up not voting in many cases because who the hell wants to be associated with either one? In NY it’s a bit better, but here you just get wishy washy types who I can’t tell apart half the time.

    Blech.

    And really, the funny thing is that the Democrats are in many ways the CONSERVATIVES now because they want to maintain the status quo, while the Republicans are liberal for wanting to change it. Gotta love American politics.

  2. Ari –

    Does the Governator believe the Earth is 6,000 years old? Or is he a Democrat?

    And Rove made a “Faustian Bargain”, with the “Moral Majority”? Puhleez. If he made a “Faustian Bargain” with anybody, it was with Teddy Kennedy for “No Child Left Behind” and with centrists for out-of-control pork barreling.

    Ari, hyperbole is fine as a rhetorical device, but it when you use it for reasoning, it just makes you appear clueless (which I know you’re not).

  3. Mike,

    There are many factions within the GOP. How many Republican “analysts” have called for Arnold’s head because he’s not a “real Republican?” As for whether or not he thinks the Earth is 6000-years-old, I doubt it. But I can’t help but wonder if he realizes it doesn’t revolve around him.

    Zing.

    One of the biggest changes in American politics in the past decade or two is the polarization of the two parties: Democrats move left, Republicans move right, and folks in the middle get left behind.

    Personally, I do think that it was a Faustian Bargain to bring the “religious right” into the forefront of GOP electoral tactics, and it’s one that Rove himself said he was going to use. This is something he said to me to my face during some talk he gave at the UC center in DC. He specifically said that the way to win seats was to go after “50% +1,” and to a degree he was right: the US is a first-past-the-post system where it doesn’t matter how many votes you get after you get one more than half.

    However, making bedfellows with said folks also meant that the GOP had to begin pandering to their politics. It was a damaging move. Once you make your politics focused on narrow margins you lose political capital to spend. The greater your margins, the more you can stick to your own guns.

    Please understand, Mike: I voted for the Governator. I agree with a great deal of his politics. In fact, I’d love to have a party of libertarian Republicans– I just don’t see one. To that end, I am strongly in agreement with Goldwater, and think he was completely right about the evolution of the GOP. It makes me angry and sad, because I am often given little choice but to end up siding with people who I really hate, just to not side with people I hate more.

    To quote Goldwater speaking with Dole (whom I generally liked): “We’re the new liberals of the Republican party. Can you imagine that?” And that sums me up pretty well.

  4. The last thing I want is complete Republican control for fifty-plus years. I don’t want parity, just smaller, more limited government.

    Our government has grown at an exponential rate since it formed (recall those plots we did on the federal per capita budget: a straight line in log-space). There is no indication it will cease doing so. Each generation is becoming more and more dependent on the government. That does frighten me.

    Ari, I still chuckle when I hear Arnie’s name announced, in solemn tones on the news, as “Governor Schwarzenegger.” Californians are used to it. I just can’t get his movie images out of my head.

  5. Matt,

    I’m with you entirely, but here’s the thing: neither party really wants smaller government. That’s my biggest complaint with the Republicans: at least the Democrats admit to wanting more government involvement in our lives!

    I don’t honestly believe that a truly libertarian Republican would stand a chance on the national stage. He would be called soft on foreign policy, soft on terrorism, anti-life, anti-minority, anti-woman, anti-everything.

    Everyone wants their hands in the cookie jar. Everyone. The AARP is too powerful to let Medicare and SS go, for example. And neither party will screw with the AARP. So what we get is pandering to niche groups, and very little actual policy. Fun!

    Oh, and Arnie? Yeah. Now I get Fabulous Mike. Or you do. Westchester doesn’t really matter much to anyone in this world, sadly.

  6. Ari,

    That is the point. People are trained to look to “the government” for support. Any new program, especially any newly discovered “right” like health care, only increases this tendency. But, as we just quoted a week or so ago, sooner or later we’ll run out of other people’s money.

    What’s a “Westchester”?

  7. I’ve enjoyed the dialog and and agreed with most. Btw, as a “religious right” voter I was astounded back when one supposedly as smart as Rove thought “we” had leaders and spokespersons with whom one could make political deals. There may be some of us who act as “sheep”, but most I know more closely resemble “sheepdogs” and take orders from no man [at least here on earth]. What Rove did was tie in with egotists who thought they were important, but in point-of-fact were not. In my opinion.

    I agree with the sentiment that Republicans have only themselves to blame. If the self-destruction of the California Republicans portends the future of the national party, the US is in even deeper trouble. The measure of which candidate I support, though, will never depend on when they might believe they earth was formed. It depends first and foremost on their personal integrity. I think it takes very little character to spend other peoples’ money. Also, the thought of 40 years of Republican rule gives me the creeps, too. Cheers

  8. 49er,

    I’d like to make it clear that I’m not “anti-religion” or any of that nonsense. I’m anti-charlatan and libertarian. I have no problem with people voting based on religious ideals or moral standing– I don’t think we can avoid it. I have a problem with meddling in the affairs of private citizens. What bothers me most about both parties is that as much as they’re willing to sell us out to their own bureaucrats, they’re willing to sell us out to corporate bureaucrats. I see faceless paper pushers at Giant Corporation as being just as nefarious as those at the DMV.

    It’s funny that once Rove was actually pressed by some of us to elaborate on his views (we dared to question his strategy), he clammed up and started insulting us. Sure, the group may have been hippie liberal college students, but the questions were legit. He just didn’t think much past, “let’s win some elections and then it’ll all become perfect.”

    I think Americans have an interesting, and almost antagonistic view of parties. We affiliate ourselves with a party, but we tend to loathe the idea of a party actually being powerful. This is in contrast with parliamentary systems where the executive and the legislature are the same body. Think it’s scary to have three bodies under one party? Try having your one and only under one party (UK, to a degree Japan.) Hell, Japan had one-party rule for what, half a century?

    I actually think we’re going to end up looking a lot like Japan in a few decades: lots of old people, burgeoning debts, and anemic economic growth.

  9. My political science teacher told me many years ago that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. There is a difference, and there are legions of people who are passionate about one vs. the other, but reality of it is that they are basically the same thing. For a while I thought my dear teacher was just old and cynical. But now, I am old and cynical and I realize that he was right.

    I had a revelation somewhere in the Rove administration. While the parties are basically the same, they really do not like one another. They will go to great lengths to undermine the best efforts of the opposition for no reason other than to gain market share. My hope centers on the possibility that, more often than not, government will be sufficiently divided as to prevent it from doing too much damage.

    What I would truly like to see sometime in my live would be for one of my elected leaders to say, “I am sorry, but that is not my problem.” Steroids in baseball — not my problem, Internet poker — not anyone’s problem, your employer is bankrupt? shit happens. I won’t hold my breath.

  10. Religious right? Let’s be a little more specific. It’s Christian conservatives.

    Versus the Atheist Left.

    The key word in that is Christian. It’s a specific religion. Pretty good one, as religions go. They preach love, charity, forgiveness, redemption.

    What do Atheists preach?

    If any group wants to establish a theocracy, it’s the Atheists. And the Muslims. But none of the other religions are as gung ho for theocracy. Not even Jews in Israel. They defend religious freedom there.

    If you adjure theocracy, and favor Christian values (admit it – you do), voting conservative is your best option.

  11. aBjure

    too short so i will fill in some character spaces with excess type in order to fool the computer which is basically a set of switches blinking on and off and not all that smart

  12. Audrey is a spam robot. There is no real person named Audrey Cannon, and if there is, that ain’t her.

    Death to robots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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