Writings and observations

richardson

Good for Senate Democrats for deciding to apply the brakes to Mitch McConnell’s runaway train.

Ordinarily, I don’t like the idea of bringing senate business to a halt. But these are not ordinary times and the clandestine process by which the GOP is crafting a so-called health care bill is anything but ordinary. It is an affront to the American people and to the republic.

A lot of GOP talking heads attempt, unsuccessfully, to defend McConnell’s machinations by employing the empty accusation that the Democrats did “the exact same thing.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

In 2009, when the ACA was enacted into law, there were hearings after hearings — more than a year’s worth. Time and time again Democrats compromised with their Republican counterparts and accepted substantive Republican amendments to the bill. None of this was enough to garner Republican support. The GOP did not budge an inch.

After a good deal of time and numerous efforts to accommodate Republicans, the Democrats realized it was futile to continue seeking Republican assistance in passing a bipartisan bill. It had become crystal clear that further concessions would be met by unthinking resistance. They would have to do it on their own.

Of course, the Democrats of 2009 did not know what would soon be revealed – that on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, Mitch McConnell and his confederates met in a D.C. watering hole and vowed to oppose anything and everything the new president proposed. Recall that their primary goal was to make Obama a “one term president.” Heck, hurting the country is a small price to pay they reasoned – if only they could win back the White House.

Digging in their heals might have helped make McConnell majority leader in 2010, but in 2012 Obama would handily win re-election, defeating former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the Republican after whose own health care plan the ACA was most closely modeled. In their head long rush to defeat Obama, the Republicans blatantly put party before country.

They’re still doing it. Old habits die hard.

One thing is certain: the process that resulted in the passage of the ACA, though imperfect, was open and transparent. The bill was thoroughly vetted in broad daylight, quite a contrast with McConnell’s closed door, get-it-done and push-it-through process now unfolding.

Health care accounts for one-sixth of our economy and McConnell’s slash and dash approach to legislating is utterly irresponsible and completely unacceptable. The Democrats must go to the mat on this one. They must use every tool at their disposal to stand up for the American people, 23 million of whom are estimated to lose coverage under the plan passed by Republicans in the House.

As for Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans? They are brazenly sowing the wind. And those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind.

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Richardson