Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinking Rules

The President of the United States has made a committment on the “way forward” on healthcare.  He plans to do away with over two hundred years of Senate rules and go for a “simple majority” vote.  It’s been called reconciliation and, by conservatives, the nuclear option.  This technique has not been used for legislation before.  It was designed and intended to be used to reconcile budget differences between the house and senate.  I guess this is the kind of change we were promised during Obama’s campaign.

When I first heard of this, a though crossed my mind.  Stick with me on this.

When I was growing up, I would play basketball at the neighbor’s house.  Usually just four of us, and for a while it was fun.  Until my brother and I started winning a few games here and there.  Not many, mind you, because my bro isn’t much of a ball player, and he was always my partner because I was a couple of years older than the neighbor, and, as a result, somewhat taller.  I could play a little, so I had to play with the youngest, clumsiest player on the court.  We still won a few games.  So when that started happening, the neighbor changed the rules of the game.  I could only shoot from the outside.  No more posting up and jamming the ball down his throat.  We still won a few more games, and my outside shooting improved.  Then, I was limited to the number of points I could score.  The rules changed again.  We won some more, and I got to be good passer, and my bro’s play improved.  Then there were areas of the court I couldn’t even be in.  Tough to rebound from the perimeter. 

The point of all this is that when you think there’s a chance you will lose, if you run the court, you can always change the game.  Obama is the neighbor kid, who happens to now be my brother in law.  He doesn’t want to lose, so he’s changing the game.  The problem he has is the same one my bro in law had.  The opponents eventually get good at playing the game with the new rules. 

Reconciliation may the only way to get the votes the Dems need, but it doesn’t guarantee a victory here.  Senator Lindsey Graham on Greta’s show tonight explained it this way, and I’m paraphrasing.  The house has to pass the senate version of the bill, word for word, and then trust the senate to change it after it becomes law to meet their tastes.  Remember, the bill only passed the house by five votes.  If there is even a whiff that the senate won’t change the bill to something more palateable to house Democrats, they will lose support in the house.  If the house passes the senate bill, the senate has the bill they wrote.  If they change it after the fact, just to please the house, did they really win?  The didn’t get what they wanted.  They have to pass on some stuff they really want (like getting you and me to pay for abortions) to make sure the house will still support the bill.  It’s a Catch 22 for both houses of congress.  Even if they win, they both lose. 

I find it hard to believe that there is a Democrat out there who doesn’t want abortions available on every corner on demand with no parental notification, testing, or information of any kind required for any girl or woman who wants one.  But, thanks to Rep. Stupak, there is at least one. 

The points of this bill have been hashed right and left, up and down, inside and out, all over the TV, radio, and web.  The end result of this is in doubt depending on whom you believe.  If you look at Massachusetts’ healthcare plan, it will be a huge drain on our economy and not work anywhere near as well as advertised.  It won’t create jobs, and it won’t lower costs.  It won’t do anything but put insurance companies out of business, leaving the government as the only game left in town to get health insurance.  That means that people like you and me who have insurance get to subsidize even more perks for people who don’t have insurance by draconian tax laws and fines on businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. 

But, hey, rules were made to be broken, right?  Especially if you are the anointed saviour of the United States, the know-all who really understands better than you what you need, and who will gladly take what is yours and give it to someone else. 

What’s next?  The RIGHT to own a home?  The RIGHT to have a job that pays at least $100,000 a year?  The RIGHT to eat Kobe beef twice a week?  They tried something like that before.  Where was it?  I’m having a tough time remembering…

Right.  Got it.  It was the Soviet Union.  This healthcare thing is just the first step on a path I don’t think any of us want to travel down.


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