Abraham Lincoln said that among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet. I have that in mind this morning as I think of its corollary: When our elected leaders so flout the will of the people and play games in order to do so, nothing can prove as powerful as the use of the ballot — and in eight months we will show our elected leaders just that.
The election of 1994 was an elephant stampede in the wake of ethics scandals, higher taxes, more spending, and a failed health-care bill. This year, we’ve seen ethics scandals, higher taxes, more spending, and a health-care bill achieved by an upside-down view of political power and constitutional perversion — the 2010 election will be a clearing of the jungle. And I, myself, have committed to campaign in races from California to the Southwest to the Midwest for candidates to help clear that jungle.
The headline in the Politico this morning says it all: “Huge Win For Obama, But Maybe Not House Dems.” By a vote of 219 to 212 , with no Republicans voting yes and 34 Democrats voting no, the House passed the Senate health-care bill last night; it will go to the President’s desk, likely tomorrow, for his signature.
Let’s be clear about one thing: On Saturday, the president said “this is a middle of the road bill.” It is not. The National Journal aggregation of polls has a 7 percent national opposition deficit (50 percent oppose, 43 percent support). Not one Republican — not Olympia Snowe, not Sue Collins, not Tom Coburn, and not Jim Inhofe — is supporting this. And the president absolutely ruined his approval ratings on this: Gallup now has 47 percent of the American people approving of his presidency, 47 percent opposing; for two days last week, he had more disapproving than approving of him (47 to 46). Last night’s vote still had 34 Democrats voting against it, which means that more Democrats joined Republican opposition than did Republicans join Democrats in support. By definition, this is not middle of the road.
Don’t take my word for it; here’s the New York Times today: “Never in modern memory has a major piece of legislation passed without a single Republican vote. Even President Lyndon Johnson got just shy of half of Republicans in the House to vote for Medicare in 1965, a piece of legislation that was denounced with many of the same words used to oppose this one.”
Of all the arguments that have been made, of all the rhetoric that has been spent, there’s one thing we can know for sure: This bill will cost more than we’ve been told and taxes will rise. Here’s William Gale of the Brookings Institute, as quoted by CNN this morning: “The success of the bill depends on Congress having the discipline to enact tax increases.” Here’s the spokesman from the Concord Coalition: “Unfortunately, most of the legislation’s fiscal risks are on the downside. Large spending programs tend to endure and when tied to health care inflation, they are certain to grow. Thus, there is little risk that coverage costs will be lower than projected.”
“Liberty, when men act in bodies, is power,” Edmund Burke wrote. Let good men and women now, then, get to work on behalf of liberty and show this current crowd what the true power of this republic is.