By a vote of 60-40 early this morning in the Senate, the Democrats, with not a Republican vote, voted to cede power to the Republicans in 2010. The Democrats thought they were voting to invoke cloture on the ObamaCare bill, but the consequences of the passage of this bill, assuming that it passes the House, will likely be to transform a bad year for the Democrats next year into an epoch shaping defeat. As Jay Cost brilliantly notes here at RealClearPolitics:
“Make no mistake. This bill is so unpopular because it has all the characteristics that most Americans find so noxious about Washington.
It stinks of politics. Why is there such a rush to pass this bill now? It’s because the President of the United States recognizes that it is hurting his numbers, and he wants it off the agenda. It might not be ready to be passed. In fact, it’s obviously not ready! Yet that doesn’t matter. The President wants this out of the way by his State of the Union Address. This is nakedly self-interested political calculation by the President – nothing more and nothing less.
What makes this all the more perversely political is that the bill’s benefits do not kick in for years. Why? Politics again! Democrats wish to claim that the bill reduces the deficit, so they collect ten years worth of revenue but only pay five years worth of benefits.
The Congress and the President are rushing to wait – not because that’s best for health care, but best for the political careers of Washington Democrats.
It stinks of influence peddlers. Reviewing winners and losers in the Senate health care bill shows clearly that it was written with the full advice and consent of privileged interest groups. Here are some of the most amazing provisions, courtesy of the AP:
-Nebraska, Louisiana, Vermont and Massachusetts. These states are getting more federal help with Medicaid than other states. In the case of Nebraska — represented by Sen. Ben Nelson, who’s providing the critical 60th vote for the legislation to pass — the federal government is picking up 100 percent of the tab of a planned expansion of the program, in perpetuity.
-Beneficiaries of Medicare Advantage plans — the private managed-care plans within Medicare — in Florida. Hundreds of thousands of them will have their benefits grandfathered in thanks to a provision tailored by Sen. Bill Nelson.
-Longshoremen. They were added to the list of workers in high-risk professions who are shielded from the full impact of a proposed new tax on high-value insurance plans.
Big corporations get nice paydays, too. Private insurance industries get the public option eliminated. Meanwhile, PhRMA made sure that there would be no significant prescription drug re-importation provision in the bill. Byron Dorgan said the FDA might have put the kibosh on it because of pressure from the White House.
Yet when it comes to big, wet kisses for entrenched interests, you can’t beat the individual mandate. People will soon have to buy health insurance from private companies, or else face a tax penalty from Uncle Sam. Democrats who think they can come back later to fix this perverse result are kidding themselves. The insurance lobby is already so powerful that Democrats couldn’t get the public option through now – what makes them think they’ll be able to later, after they’ve given insurers 30 million additional customers, and required every last American to do business with them? The insurance companies are going to be to the 21st century what Standard Oil was to the 19th.”
Cost goes on to see the reaction to this bill as part of a “Jacksonian moment”, mimicking the election of 1828 and other elections since, when public disgust with Washington has resulted in dramatic defeats for the party in power:
“We might be on the verge of another Jacksonian moment: a time when the people awake from their slumber, angrily exercise their sovereign authority, and mercilessly fire the leaders who have for too long catered to the elites rather than average people. The first time this happened was in 1828 – when the people rallied to the cause of Old Hickory to avenge the “Corrupt Bargain” of four years prior. It’s happened several times throughout the centuries. Most relevant to today, it happened time and again in the 1880s and 1890s, as the people hired then fired one Republican and Democratic majority after another in search of leaders who could attend to the people’s interests instead of the special interests. That age saw the birth of the Populist Party. It was a time when so many felt so disgruntled by the political process that young William Jennings Bryan – just thirty-six years old and with only two terms in the House – came within a hundred thousand votes of the presidency.
I wonder if we’ve returned to that kind of dynamic. In true Jacksonian fashion, the country fired the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 because they bungled the war in Iraq and allowed the economy to sink into recession. They might soon have another Jacksonian moment, and fire these equally useless Democrats for hampering the recovery, exploding the deficit, and playing politics with health care. ”
Somewhere in the Great Beyond, this is all looking very familiar to Old Hickory.