With so-called comprehensive healthcare reform all but passed in the United States Senate, it seems certain that our nation will soon nationalize a major segment of our economy and place it under strict, socialist government control. I will spare you for now a thorough discussion on the merits and demerits of such a system, aside from noting that the plan actually faces shocking opposition on both sides of the political aisle — perhaps an indication of how unnecessary the plan is and how out-of-touch our federal legislators have become.
But what of these legislators? Are they the sort of sober, serious, thoughtful men and women that form the bedrock of a representative democracy, filled with the gravity of their responsibility and steeped in the common sense framework foundation provided by the Constitution? Or are they another, far worse form of despotic, greedy, arrogant, and hyperbolic monster?
Let’s start with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat at one time considered to be relatively conservative and perhaps even opposed to nationalized healthcare outright. Oh, how a few lucrative dollars from the public teat had him changing his song rather abruptly.
But special attention should go to Senator Ben Nelson, who played hard-to-get the longest and in return for being the 60th vote won an exemption for Nebraska from paying any of the additional costs for the bill’s Medicaid expansion, which is worth $100 million. He also won millions of dollars of exemptions from the $6.7 billion in health insurance fees for Nebraska-based companies like Mutual of Omaha.
This is the same Senator who declared a few weeks ago that “my vote is not for sale.” Well, he never said: at any price.
Sadly, Nelson was only one in a long line of elected officials willing to sell out their constituents in exchange for some fresh graft. It’s the new way of doing business, says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and if you aren’t up for the game then you just aren’t doing your senatorial job.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a vigorous defense Monday of the deals in the Senate reform bill that benefit individual states, saying “it doesn’t speak well” of senators who didn’t secure such deals.
“There are 100 senators here and I don’t know that there’s a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that isn’t important to them,” Reid said. “If they don’t have something in it important to them then it doesn’t speak well of them.”
He likened the legislation to the defense bill, which is thick with earmarks and other provisions benefiting individual members and even private corporations.
“That’s what legislation’s all about,” Reid said of the compromises. “It’s the art of compromise. In this great country of ours, Nevada has many different problems than does New Hampshire. Michigan has many different problems than does Georgia.”
Besides, its not as if the rules even apply to our fair Senators. Why, even asking one to so kindly turn off his mobile device so his flight can become airborne without crashing in a fiery hell is simply too much to ask.
New York’s famously garrulous senior senator, Chuck Schumer, got busted Wednesday for calling a female flight attendant the B-word aboard a US Airways flight from New York to Washington on Sunday.
Schumer was sitting next to protege Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, gabbing away on his phone, when a flight attendant told him to shut it down.
Schumer turned off his phone, and then argued with the attendant that he was allowed to talk while the cabin door is open. He lost.
He then muttered his complaint about the flight attendant to Gillibrand.
They know better than the lowly proletariat, don’t you know? And if you dare to question their authority, well, you are no better than a klansman or Nazi.
This afternoon, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) gave a speech in which he quoted Richard Hofstadter’s 1964 essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” and accused ObamaCare opponents of inciting “vindictive passions”:
“Far from appealing to the better angels of our nature, too many colleagues are embarked on a desperate no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, obstruction and fear. History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds, broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from Southern trees. Even this great institution of government that we share has cowered before a tail-gunner waving secret lists.” (Emphasis added.)
Truly, a great close to a great year for the United States of America.