By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
When the Democrats promised earlier this year to make changes to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, few people believed they were talking about themselves. Yet today, the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives applied a version of that very policy to itself--at least as far as healthcare is concerned. By a vote of 222 to 203, the House voted to block a GOP resolution that would force a stand-alone, up-or-down vote on the healthcare bill that passed the Senate last Christmas. As a result, the Democrats can go ahead with their plans to use parliamentary gamesmanship to get the bill to the president's desk without members having to have voted on it directly.
With this vote, the House has adopted a "we don't tell how we voted and you shouldn't ask" attitude about healthcare that belies the idea that Obama's healthcare reform plans are popular with the American people. The latest poll from Scott Rasmussen found a majority of the electorate opposed to it, 46 percent saying they were "strongly opposed." It is also, however, an exercise in political arrogance that would embarrass all but the most petty of the world's tin pot dictators. It is a wonder that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama are to this point even trying to keep the whole business couched in an air of legitimacy rather than simply enact the provisions of the legislation by fiat or, in the case of the American system, by presidential executive order.
Congress must be called to account for this flagrant disregard of the electorate. This is not some budget bill or effort to increase the debt ceiling where there is some degree of bipartisan agreement; this is a partisan coup, seeking to protect members of Congress from their constituents and their opinions. It is the action of a professional class of legislators, the likes of which the Founding Fathers--if they contemplated them at all--rejected as dangerous to the institutions of government and to personal liberty. To move forward as they have is the act not of those who revere America as a nation of laws, but of those who would have us become a nation of men, ruled as a mob by elites.