Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rubber stamps

President Obama, following Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's advice, is not letting a crisis go to waste. When people are driven into a panic, they will grab hold of any rope thrown to them, no matter what that rope is tied to. The rope being thrown to them right now is tied to a watered down version of socialism. For all the trillions of borrowing and spending, the government takeover of major banks, the takeover of the auto industry and his proposed control of the health care system, it would seem the President is hell bent on steering the nation hard to the left. He is not alone; you should know the Democrats who control Congress have been paving that trail for almost three years.

Most Americans do not understand the processes of a divided government. They do not understand how an idea becomes a bill, and how that bill becomes a law. Most Americans think the President controls the nation, writes the laws and Congress holds hearings and makes speeches that no one listens to. For everyone who hated George W. Bush with a burning passion, the day Barack Obama was sworn in was the day Democrats took control of the country. They are mistaken; the day the Democrats took control of our nation was almost two years earlier.

The 2006 elections swept the Democrats into power. The scandals of Republicans in Congress and their years of overspending left many conservatives disheartened and many independents angry. The conservatives stayed home, and the independent voters wanted a change. Those two factors, along with a war in Iraq that we were told could never be won, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, formed a fulcrum with which the Democrats leveraged the nation to the left. We have been in this liberal or "progressive" mode for almost three years, and what a three-year run it has been.

With the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi and the Senate controlled by Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Democrats began their "new era" of government. All the rhetoric of transparency and bipartisanship was left on the campaign trail as the Democrats in Congress steamrolled their agenda through committees and onto the President's desk. While President Bush did not sign every piece of legislation that passed Congress, he was a lame duck and only used his veto power 11 times during the last two years of Democratic control.

With the inauguration of President Obama, the Pelosi and Reid now have a rubber stamp awaiting every spending bill they can muscle through Congress. They don't need much muscle in the House, and they only need to turn one Republican to get a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

Using political power to get their way, punishing opponents and paying off legislators for key votes has been taken to a new level under the leadership of Pelosi and Reid. These two, along with the Chicago political machine that came into power with President Obama, have formed a stranglehold on legislative process. They control what bills are written, what amendments to those bills get a vote, and how long the members of congress get to look at the bill before they are brought to the floor for a vote.

Take this past week's Climate and Energy bill for example. No matter what the President and Congressional Democrats tell you, this bill could be the largest tax increase in American history. Why would anyone vote for a bill that raises taxes on everyone who uses gasoline and electricity? Why would they vote for a bill that will destroy millions of real manufacturing jobs and promises to replace them with fictional green jobs? Why would you vote for a job-killing, energy tax while in the heart of a recession? Why? Because no one has read the bill.

I am serious; while the House was debating the bill, the Democratic leadership slipped in an additional 300 pages to the 1,100-page bill at 3:05 AM and then called for a vote. No one had even read the original 1,100 pages of legislation, but to slip in 300 pages of who knows what, you get the idea that Democrat's calls for transparency, accountability and openness is just empty talk, or worse.

In a week where the cable news channels have all turned into 24-hour versions of Entertainment Tonight, I did not see much news coverage of this far-reaching piece of legislation. I saw a parade of has-been celebrities and anchors talking about Michael Jackson's death. Nancy Pelosi just went to the mattresses to get this trillion dollar, job-killing bill through the House and we get wall to wall clips of the one-gloved wonder.

It actually makes sense, we get the government we deserve, and it seems America deserves the bunch we have in power right now. So don't worry what is in those 300 extra pages slipped into the bill at 3AM, it probably doesn't affect you. That is unless you buy gasoline, pay for electricity, have a job in manufacturing, or pay taxes. Go back to watching Larry King play reruns of Michael Jackson's greatest videos. No need to worry, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama have everything under control. Right?

1 comment:

Ericosborneo said...

Walt, your summary of the past 3 years or so is VERY well done. You write clearly and your ideas are compelling. Thank you.