08.31.2009 0

The Gang of Six Breaks Up

  • On: 09/02/2009 10:01:36
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    The wheels have come off the wagon.

    As reported by the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, “The Gang of Six Appears to be Dead,” and the overall death of ObamaCare cannot be far behind.

    If one recalls, the Gang of Six was the posse that had strolled through the dusty streets of the District of Columbia, promising a so-called “bipartisan” plan on health care. It was one of those grand compromises that feels just like a knife in the backs of the American people. But now the Gang has turned in their spurs—and the members have returned to their formative partisan camps.

    The Gang had included Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Mike Enzi (R-WY). Said the Baucus Kid on Monday, “I talked to them, and they all want to do health care reform. But the sad part is a lot politics have crept in. They are being told by the Republican Party not to participate.”

    But really, there’s a lot more to it than that. The lack of compromise in the Senate in particular is the end result of an overall public backlash to Barack Obama’s government-run health care scheme—and the “politics that crept in was the grassroots variety in total opposition to the Administration’s plans for no less than a complete takeover of the nation’s entire health system.

    Remember, it was not so long ago that Barack Obama and his own grizzly gang were demanding that Congress pass socialized medicine into law before the August recess. Before anyone even had the chance to read it (including members of Congress).

    Nancy Pelosi was just sure of it. “We will be on schedule to do as we have planned to vote for this legislation before we leave for the August recess,” she proclaimed breathlessly.

    So was Harry Reid. “We are going to do health care before we leave,” he pronounced after being kicked in the guts by Obama at a Capitol Hill meeting.

    When questioned about the rush, Obama said it was “because if you don’t set a deadline in this town, nothing happens.” This from a man who had barely been in town long enough to find his way to the Capitol men’s room.

    Obama even averred that it was not he that had insisted on the deadline: “And the deadline isn’t being set by me. It’s being set by the American people.” Only there was a problem. Nobody had yet asked the American people just what they thought about the plan.

    And now, millions of phone calls, emails, and letters to Congressmen later—and after hundreds of town hall meetings, and thousands of protests nationwide by pitchfork-wielding opponents to nationalizing one-seventh of the U.S. economy—it’s clear why.

    The more the American people learn about ObamaCare, which Kaiser Health News reports will cost $1.5 trillion over ten years, the less they like it.

    As ALG News has previously reported, they would prefer Congress do nothing than what has been proposed, which will force Americans out of private health options, drain the public treasury, and result in health care rationing by bureaucrats. Indeed, according to Rasmussen Reports, 54 percent of voters believe that no health care legislation this year would be a better option than the current bill, which only 35 percent support.

    Harry Reid’s own antics in particular could not have been particularly helpful to “compromise” efforts in the Senate. He’s been rumbling about using a cattle prod to rush the bill through the Senate with the process known as “reconciliation.” It’s intent is to jettison the time-honored filibuster and pass the so-called public “option” by 51 votes, instead of the 60 traditionally needed to invoke cloture.

    It was a threat, and understandably, Senate Republicans did not kowtow to Reid’s dictatorial demands. Instead it appears—for now—that they are holding firm in opposition to the bill. As Klein reported, even Senator Grassley is sending out emails attacking “ObamaCare”. And, to put it gently, when even Chuck Grassley figures out there is a problem, it’s likely that the whole world is already up in arms.

    So, as the longest summer for congressional Democrats draws to a close, the tatters of a compromise that never was lies strewn about on the floors of town halls across the nation. And this time, there may be no putting the wheels back on the wagon.

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.


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