Social Question

Cruiser's avatar

"Deem and Pass" is this unconstitutional?

Asked by Cruiser (40421points) March 16th, 2010

Nancy Pilosi is going to try and pass the Health Care Reform without a vote with “Deem and Pass”. This will allow the Dems to pass this bill without even voting on the bill. What is even more incredulous “she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure.”

Is this how our elected officials are shaping the future of our country without even voting on one of the single most important pieces of legislation ever? This seems highly unconstitutional to me can anyone shed light on this new turn of events?

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94 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Well, it would make me angry if I were against it. I’ve never heard of this before. However, since both houses have already passed a version of it, it’s not as if our legislators haven’t voted on it, so I don’t see how it gives much protection to any legislator.

If it is part of our parliamentary procedure and his been there for decades or centuries and has been used before, then it seems like it is legal, if not exactly fair. Then again, we elect our legislators to get things done, and if it takes obscure parliamentary procedures to get anything done, I guess that’s what they’ll do.

I’m not happy with the reform, either, but I think this is better than doing nothing, or making it a sop for the health insurance industry.

Trillian's avatar

What? What? What?
”...reluctant to publicly support the measure.”? Secret votes? What happened to “transparency”?

dalepetrie's avatar

I somehow doubt the Speaker (regardless of political party affiliation) would attempt an unconstitutional tactic, but I can’t say for sure, I’m guessing if there is a valid claim to be made here, it will be made and will be considered by the high court.

In my opinion however, we wouldn’t need to be resorting to all these workarounds if perhaps the minority party didn’t abuse the filibuster, and frankly, having seen the exponential increase in its usage, I believe it’s time to reinstate the rules which were in effect up until the mid 1970s which would actually require someone to stand up and filibuster, effectively shutting down government, if they truly believed in the principal behind what they were doing. I somehow find it incredulous to believe that the minority party would not be more willing to compromise and work out agreeable bi-partisan solutions if we were making them stand up there and read the phone book until they pissed their pants, and that works for either party, I supported the same thing in 2006–2008 when the shoes were on the other feet as it were, it’s just that now the abuse has reached ridiculous proportions, because it is seeming that if the Democrats are for it, Republicans are against it, and are willing to play the obstructionist role, be the disagreements major or minor. I’m all for minority representation and the ability to block legislation if you truly believe in your principals, but c’mon, this is clearly not what is happening…the Republicans right now are playing politics to make it next to impossible for Obama to put through ANYTHING he promised the American people, if for no other reason than to make him look like a failure so Republicans can regain some of the ground they lost when mid term elections happen this fall.

At this point, I would support any tactic Dems have to take on in order to break the obstructionism they are encountering in attempting to pass legislation that does indeed have the support of the majority of both houses of Congress and a majority of the people who put them in office.

grumpyfish's avatar

Tangentally, was reading about a Congressional setup I really liked (This was in Heinlein’s Moon is a Harsh Mistress)—two houses, one passes laws (only by a ⅔ majority), the other repeals laws by a ⅓ majority.

The thought is, if you can’t get a ⅔ majority, you probably don’t need the law. If ⅓ of the people are opposed to the law, you probably should repeal it.

It’s designed to make for a very small and not very nosy government.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

It might get the bill passed, but the Supreme Court will very likely shoot it down. The Court won’t get to rule on it before the November elections though. All Speaker Pelosi cares about is short-term political gains, a feather in her cap even if the Court throws it out later. The Court may not even have to rule on this, because the Senate doesn’t operate this way and the bill might never reach the Presidents desk. The Senate is the roadblock to this bill as the Dems no longer have 60 votes and are likely to lose their majority in November.

Cruiser's avatar

Just in case you were wondering here is the story that made me ask this…

bobloblaw's avatar

I think reports that this is “passing the law w/out voting on it” are inaccurate. I looked up the exact House rules and it seems to me that “Deem and Pass” (or “Self Executing” Rules) only prevents committees and the House from voting on the Bill separately.

Essentially, “when the House adopts a rule it also simultaneously agrees to dispose of a separate matter, which is specified in the rule itself. For instance, self-executing rules may stipulate that a discrete policy proposal is deemed to have passed the House and been incorporated in the bill to be taken up. The effect: neither in the House nor in the Committee of the Whole will lawmakers have an opportunity to amend or to vote separately on the “self-executed” provision. It was automatically agreed to when the House passed the rule.”—CRS Report for Congress

Voting isn’t prevented. Lawmakers will still be able to vote on the bill, just not amend or vote on it directly. They would only be able to vote on the bill while that bill is attached to a new House rule. Constitutionally speaking, Congress has wide discretion to determine what its own rules are. This is one of those situations.

Cruiser's avatar

@Trillian I saw on TV the talking heads discussing this and it infuriated me that she is doing this almost entirely to push this through to absolve the Dems who oppose this bill from having to cast a vote that would tarnish their allegiance to the party! WTH!!

Strauss's avatar

The “Deem and Pass” procedure is not only legal, but has been used far more often by Republicans than Democrats over the years,including when a GOP-controlled Congress used it to approve the Line Item Veto Act in 1996.

Cruiser's avatar

@bobloblaw I understand that part…but what is unclear and makes this so unsavory for me is they will “massage” the bill (IMO just to demonstrate some effort and to show they made an effort to appease those who oppose the bill) and then pass this “new improved” version with out a vote. So this negates any previous vote either in congress or the Senate since this “new and improved” version is not what was voted on and the reason there should be a voting process involved.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s not unconstitutional.
The repubs did this same
crap in going to war and passing their $8,000,000,000 stimulus with 0 auditing.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Totally legal. It’s been used many times before.

Response moderated
Cruiser's avatar

@phillis That is why you can never purchase too much ammo! Get it now while you still can!

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

(I’m putting my personal feelings aside on this issue for a moment).

I believe “Deem and Pass” is more formerly known as Reconciliation, and has been used many times in the past by both Democrats and Republicans. It is constitutional.

bobloblaw's avatar

@Cruiser That’s politics. They’re only using the rules of procedure to get things passed. Anytime there are rules of procedure, people will exploit them. The thing is, there is a vote. Just not a direct vote. The bill is attached to a vote for a House rule. The bill can still be defeated. If enough of the House doesn’t like the bill that is to be “deemed and passed,” then they would simply not vote for the new House rule. The new House rule would not be adopted and neither would the bill. I see the controversy in the use of such a rule, but the controversy about whether the rule is “proper” in the context of procedure is overblown at best. Again, they’re still voting on it, just not directly.

Politically speaking, I think Pelosi is trying to get around the basic practical requirement of having a ⅔ supermajority to get anything passed (b/c of filibuster rules). The law only requires 51% of the House to pass the bill, but, b/c of procedural filibuster rules, it requires a ⅔ supermajority due to Republican opposition. My point is that use of the filibuster to simply prevent any passage of legislation is also simply using rules of procedure to avoid a result that you don’t want (or one that you do want). It’s about the same as “deem and pass.”

josie's avatar

Deem and Pass has been used before although rarely for something as contentious along philosophical lines as health care “reform”. Since there will be a backlash against this legislation and legislators in the midterm elections, the hope is that it will make supporters of the bill a little more invisible. But then again, opponents will also be invisible, and it just might pay to be an opponent in November. They still have to vote on the revisions to the bill that they have “deemed” to have passed. And since now everybody knows what deem and pass truly is I doubt that anybody gets a real benefit from doing it. Plus, what sensible American actually believes that the political class works in the interests of the those outside the beltway. Anyone who is surprised at the vile immorality of the political class has not been paying attention for half a century.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Cool your jets on the assassination bit there Sirhan and Sirhan.

Rarebear's avatar

It is an example of how Speaker Pelosi is such a brilliant politician.

phillis's avatar

It’s Sir Sirhan to you, Captain Fantasy :)

I’m not stupid. I know what voting is supposed to be for, and it was – at one time. But that time drew to a close about 60 years ago. I happen to have a full grasp on the fact that voting is pointless. Once it occurs to you why I say that, you will be angry as hell, too. You’re going to feel like a total fool. Corruption is so bad that no one we vote for deems a clean conscience as anything more than a cog in the wheel of thier ambitious futures, which, by the way, do not include any of you. Don’t you get it? You didn’t buy your way into the inner circle.

davidk's avatar

Yes, deeming a law passed without an actual vote violates the Constitution, specifically Article I, Section VII, Clause II. Those above who claim that this has been done before are only telling a half-truth.

Nevertheless, damn the Constitution, full speed ahead! The Constitution is a decrepit, out dated, social contract that nobody has really cared about since FDR. It must be regarded as less like the 10 Commandments and more like the “Ten Suggestions.” It is time for Social Justice! As our President said, “Now is the time for courage…Now is the time for a fundamental transformation of America!” What the hell did you think Obama meant during the campaign when he promised fundamental change? The Constitution has become an impediment to progress, so the Constitution has become outmoded!

Passing national healthcare is essential in securing a redefinition of rights in America. Healthcare is a right, not a commodity. This is the tipping point we on the real left have been working to attain for nearly a century. Next stop: American schools of higher learning. HIgher education is a right, and should be controlled by the Federal government in order to make it accessible to all…just like healthcare.

By the way…if you want to use the Constitution as a measure of what social justice is in or out of bounds, than clearly national healthcare violates the Constitution. After all, the Constitution specifically disallows the government forcing people to buy certain things. The Constitution will not stand in the way.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@phillis We the people got a voice when we voted them in. We get a voice again later this year. This is not a democracy.

phillis's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre At what point did our option of choosing the-lesser-of-the-evils become okay with us? Next time you vote, look at the ballot in front of you with that question in mind. What it should do is make “we the people” madder than hell. But it doesn’t. Why is that? I’m off to work now. Have a great day, everybody.

davidbetterman's avatar

Just because Deem and Pass has been used before does not make it constitutional. However, the congressmen were voted in and so what they do is basically done in the name of the citizens of the USA.
The supreme court does not just out of the blue rule a law or activity unconstitutional. A case must be brought before it, which generally requires than an issue was adjudicated in a lower court, appealed, and then appealed from the Federal Appeals court to the Supreme Court. This is often a lengthy process.

@phillis “What it should do is make “we the people” madder than hell. But it doesn’t. Why is that?”

We the People have been allowing all sorts of criminally insane actions committed by the US Congress to stand for many years now. Why? Because they are basically gutless cowards who have bought into the if you can’t beat them join them rationale of living.

Response moderated
stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@phillis Buy reloading equipment and supplies also. If you do your work correctly, it’s just as good as factory ammo. Tip: use nail polish to moisture-seal the new primers after you press them in.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@phillis It does make many of us quite angry – but it’s the system we have – do you suggest open revolt, or are you throwing your hat in to run within the process we have?

@Espiritus_Corvus Thanks very much person I’ve never interacted with before who came into this question just to crap on me I’ll keep that in mind.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@phillis I never knew you were one to be gung-ho about ammunition or assassination jokes – this has been quite an illuminating thread. Unfortunately, @JeanPaulSartre is right, we do not live in a democracy – we live in a representative republic but ‘we the people’ do have sway when enough of us become desperate after never being involved in politics but the fires are burning right under us, economically (this is how Obama got elected). Politicians play complex games, how they wield power and how they get to be in power isn’t as simple as you and me bitching about ‘the system’ – we can lead to more change on a local level, voting for local primaries, etc. and affecting our communities on a local level – the national game isn’t about us. I don’t think it was ever about us (not since the U.S. consisted of a LOT less people).
@Cruiser I don’t get this view with the ammunition hoarding – what the hell will you do with all that ammunition – shoot at whoever you think is taking your freedom? Look I am all for radical political change and snail pace political change but there are more important things out there (imo) that you doing the whole ‘you can take my gun when you pry it out of my cold dead hands’ or however the saying goes
@Espiritus_Corvus I flagged your comment as a personal attack – in comparison to @JeanPaulSartre you’re not even worth his pinkie’s nail in intelligence and knowledge.

davidbetterman's avatar

”(this is how Obama got elected).”

LOL…Obama got elected because he was running against an old man who was probably a Cong sleeper agent (due to his imprisonment by the Cong in the Nam). And of course his running mate tipped the balance entirely in Obama’s favor.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@davidbetterman He was an unlikely candidate, imo and wouldn’t have gotten elected if people didn’t slowly start to realize that 8 years of Bush or anyone resembling him in policies was probably about enough – even the people support the military and the unjust wars began to realize their kids were taken advantage of.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@davidbetterman He would’ve beaten almost anyone in the Republican roster, post Bush. Almost. I find it strange that this caused the Republican party to get all discombobulated and start supporting wing nuts like Palin… I’ve never understood how long time political analysts can’t see through the basic pendulum effect of the finicky American psyche and start declaring outrageous things that indicate the nation is becoming more liberal or more conservative… It’s a nation of mostly people that hate whomever is in power and will vote for the other team again and again.

davidbetterman's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre “It’s a nation of mostly people that hate whomever is in power and will vote for the other team again and again.”

Is that why Bush served two terms?

Obama would have never won had not the money elite decided to put him into office.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I suppose they’ll do it as a last resort, but it would be dumb of them to try to get this through in a way that could lead to court challenges. Any hope of recapturing public support for the bill would be dashed at that point. I think that’s why Obama has been trying so hard to court individual votes, like Kucinich.

dpworkin's avatar

The Dems are using parliamentary rules to get their agenda passed. Oh, my Lord! The Republicans passed every tax cut during the Bush administration the same way, and nobody breathed a word of doubt or anger. When the pendulum swings the other way, let’s see who screams.

Cruiser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir There is “suggestions” by the liberal extreme to limit and or seriously impact gun nuts like me ability to purchase ammo as some misguided gun control legislation. Again those in the know are smartly stocking up in the event the libs get their way! I target shoot for grins and blow through a couple thousand rounds a year and would hate to think what ammo restrictions would do to the cost of my habit!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Cruiser You’re just stocking up because you think you won’t be able to buy guns later?

dpworkin's avatar

There are a bunch of people on the left who are hostile to guns, but they are such a minority I don’t think anyone pays too much attention. Obama has no interest in limiting 2nd Amendment rights. If he had, I wouldn’t have voted for him. I’m a firm believer in an armed citizenry.

beancrisp's avatar

@davidk If your house was searched without probable cause and you were kept in jail without a trial because they found something you wrote that the authorities did not agree with you would be crying that your constitutional rights were being violated.
The constitution can be amended so if there are things you feel need to be changed then start a constitutional convention to get it amended.
By you saying “damn the constitution” you are saying you do not believe in the rule of law, but the rule of man.

shilolo's avatar

[mod says] Calling publicly for the assassination (murder) of an elected official is not permitted and the quip has been removed.

Snarp's avatar

In a word, no. The courts have ruled in the past that the House of Representatives gets to make it’s rules, and this is one of them that has been around for some time and was most popular under Republicans:

“When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995–1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules.”

From Roll Call by GOP Rules Committee chief of staff Don Wolfensberger

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

It should be. Something that deals with so much needs to be actually voted on.

Cruiser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Not so much as I don’t really need any more hardware. It’s the ammo that could get goofy. There has also been a proposal to put a code or serial number on each bullet and that would make ammo incredibly expensive.

All in all any new gun control regs would be hard fought and contested and really doubt much will change any time soon but still I don’t like taking chances.

davidk's avatar

Both sides of this argument simply prove my point. Both sides have already killed the Constitution! Get over it and let’s move on. We need a new paradigm and a new social contract that includes many more rights.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Cruiser I’d prefer if they could find a way to add serial confetti to the bullet like they do with taser rounds – cheap and effective.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@davidbetterman Heh – true, money sure doesn’t hurt. Bush pretty much bought and scared enough people to get a second term. Presidents are somewhat exempt from the 2 year pendulum… but this is pretty much always what happens 2 years after a party seizes control of everything – people get grumpy and switch it up in the Senate especially.

phillis's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir You’re 100% correct. It isn’t “the system” at all. That’s what I meant when I made the suggestion to look at your ballot options on the next election day. The choices offered to you should make you madder than hell. “The system” is made up of individuals who should be held accountable for their actions. While I don’t endorse assassination in any literal sense, I certainly am not going to cry into my pillow every night if Pelosi’s career comes to a dead fucking stop. I never called for an assassination, as was assumed. But asserting it added a nice flare of drama. I can appreciate art and…...creativity.

@davidbetterman Call me Fox Mulder. I wanted to believe, and I tried. I kept thinking that the documented political corruption that has directly and adversely affected my life were all isolated incidents, created by faceless figures who primarily acted alone. How stupid I was! Plus, we can’t forget how convenient it is to look the other way when it’s somebody else getting the shaft. Who isn’t guilty of that? I sure can’t make any such claim.

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Let’s keep it simple. I’ll use a high lead amalgam, melt it, pour it, squeeze it by hand, mold it, dunk it, let it set about 20 minutes, and cache it like the damn squirrels do nuts. It’s old fashioned and hard as hell to trace. The Patriot Act hasn’t yet put a moratorium on molten metals. I’ll get started right away.

For anybody who thinks that Obama couldn’t give a fig’s ass about 2nd amendment rights, you have some reading to catch up on! It’s all over the internet. You don’t have to be on one side of the fence or the other to appreciate the domino effect of a single right being repealed. Oh, wait…..maybe you do. The Patriot Act set us back a full generation while we were busy feeling united and waving our flags after 9–11-01.

@JeanPaulSartre Why is a revolt so revolting? You say it as though no civilized country would ever consider such a thing. I wonder what similarities we’ve reached thus far that caused the revolts of civilizations past? The only thing our government differs on, compared to past governments, is they’ve learned how to force the masses into eating cake, instead of verbalizing about it. People are simple; therefore, words mean a lot. If you ease people into something, they will accept damn near anything.

I don’t know who brought up Obama, but I have a very close friend who has worked for the Bush, Jr. and the Clinton administrations. The only way people (who were determined to have things their way) could see overcoming an unknown racist percentage was to bring onboard another minority – the Hispanics. There was never, at any time, a plan to grant Hispanics legality here. That was the major campaign promise that got Obama elected, and it was a bald-faced lie. At what point did this behavior become acceptable to us?

@ Russell_D_SpacePoet You’re absolutely right! Something this big SHOULD be voted on. Can anyone hear say that they have been polled for thier opinions on healthcare reform…...anyone? I didn’t think so (but I got a call 2 weeks ago asking me if I support adding toll lanes between the city of Atlanta and every city north of it, so I guess that’s more important) We need to have a voice. We do not.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@phillis Absolutely nothing. But that’s not what’s happening here. I agree that this particular loop hole Pelosi is exploiting is crap, but it’s legal crap. We want to change it, then we need to do it through legal means, unless we want to overthrow the government over this pretty unimportant thing. Believe me, I’ve been active in many protests, and even some things that boarder on illegal to make change – but when it comes down to it, we’re all just barking at the dog unless we’re organized into treason.

phillis's avatar

I agree. How about wagging the tail? Or is that too anti-political? I don’t know you, so you may actually appreciate the pointed humor. I laughed, anyway :)

It isn’t just this one thing, though I do understand that, standing alone, this event indeed seems too petty for a anti-political coup-de-tat. It’s that this crap has gone on for so long that we’ve become desensitized to it, and that is a very dangerous thing. Like I stated in my last comments, if you introduce something slowly enough (and put a half-assed spin on it) people will believe anything.

This is how it happens. Every time a politician is allowed to get away with something foul/self-serving/against the will of the people/corrupt/barely legal, whether it be by we the people or by cowhorts, they get bolder. By now, they are flat-out convinced of thier omnipotence because not a single person stopped them. I see it quite plainly.

Speaking of barely legal, why aren’t those loopholes closed legally, once they have been exploited to the detriment of the people? There must be some reason. I want to know what it is. What reason is good enough for that, when THEY are supposed to be working for US?

They can’t exactly call each other out, because they all have the dirt on each other. Think about Ken Starr grilling Bill Clinton during the sex scandal when he was having an affair, himself. Don’t forget about Newt Gingrich (Georgia) catering to the God-fearing majority against gays, while his sister, Candace, is a lesbian. He tried his damndest to hide it, and he did, for many years. His own sister finally blew the whistle.

How about a Georgia governor expunging the criminal record of the United States’ worst convicted child molester ever? What kind of power does that take, to have your record completely wiped out and the court documents sealed for the worst child rapist/abuser this nation has ever seen? What does that mean for those who survived the abuse? Is this okay, simply because it didn’t happen to anyone you love? The man lives in Douglasville. You wanna rally? Let’s go. There are a few hundred of us willing to help you carry the damn signs.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@phillis Not for nothing but @JeanPaulSartre is plenty familiar with protests and rallying – you know how we are, don’t forget that

phillis's avatar

@Simone I do appreciate the efforts of anyone willing to step outside thier comfort zone for what they think is right. Salut! My life has been directly affected in horrendous ways, and for many years, because of corrupt individuals. I can spot them from a mile away now. I do not have the luxury of looking away because it happened to someone else. I have damn good reasons for thinking the way I do.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@phillis Listen, we’re with you – our activism is multi-faceted and affects many areas of people’s and animals’ lives – we hear you

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@phillis Yep – believe me I’m plenty pissed about a lot of things – and your list, I know, is nothing close to exhaustive. With those things being out there, I just don’t have the energy to worry about this being exploited to pass something that most Americans support anyway – but believe me, I understand your frustration. My limitations of protest go beyond what I’m willing to discuss on the internet.

phillis's avatar

Thanks, you guys. Perhaps I overstated my point. I’ll revisit how I handle this subject in the future.

Cruiser's avatar

@phillis Thanks for all your hard work here you saved me a ton of typing. You are hired!

phillis's avatar

@Cruiser Lazy ass! I have carpel tunnel, now. Bahahahha!!

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@phillis I’m still waiting for the change we can believe in. Transparency was something we were promised and it has not come to fruition. I see the same old politics it’s always been. No matter what party is in charge.

Strauss's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet I campaigned and voted for the change we can believe in. You have to remember that this is a concept, not an off-the-shelf product.

It reminds me of this old joke
Q: How many psychiatrists doesit take to change a light bulb?
A: It only takes one, but it takes a long time and the light bulb has to really want to change.

dalepetrie's avatar

One also has to consider how foolish it would have been for anyone to think the sweeping changes which Obama favors would be easy to squeak through. In my entire life I’ve never seen the minority party so hostile to the majority party…every single thing the majority party tries to do the minority pulls out all the obstructionist stops, so people will begin to think that Obama was just another lying politician. It’s actually a systematic game plan to kill the hope that people have that things will ever get better. The status quo wants nothing more than for us all to just give up and cede control of the entire works to the big monied interests. Just imagine trying to do YOUR job if half the people were led to believe that you were some sort of Communist trying to push through an evil agenda, and every single task that you took on you had literally millions of people doing everything in their power to make sure you failed at anything you set your mind to. Then add to that having the other half of the people think that you’re not pushing hard enough, you’re not fighting hard enough, you’re not getting enough done, you’re not working fast enough. This economy fucking sucks….I’m an Accountant with a Bachelor’s degree and 14 years of experience, including experience as a Controller, and I haven’t even been able to find a Staff Accountant job paying ½ of what I used to make in 13½ months. This isn’t right, but who am I going to blame…they guy trying to make things better, or the people who shit on everything he tries to do…which do you think is slowing down progress more? This kind of brain dead rhetoric about something being “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”, even though the exact same process was used 39 times in the 109th Congress when Republicans were in Control and 49 times in the 110th Congress when Dems were in control, and not just for piddly little things, but for things like renewing the PATRIOT ACT…this is where the problem lies. The problem is that before I even hear about what the Republicans or the Tea Partiers are bitching about like it’s the end of the world in the mainstream media, I’ve got someone who heard Limbaugh or Hannity or Beck coming on Fluther to try to prove the lie.

I think there is a good message here, and that is that the Rethuglican operatives have ruined what could have been a great thing for them. They had in Obama a President who was willing to consider all ideas, be they liberal or conservative….a President who was willing to not only listen to, but consider and incorporate ideas from the other side of the political fence into his plans. But rather than take the olive branch at a time when the nation was more divided ideologically at any time since the Civil War, they grabbed it and smacked him in the face with it by doing everything they could to undermine, obstruct and cast aspersions on every single thing he tried to do. So now, he’s finally said what us Liberals wanted him to say a year ago, which in short is, “fuck you, if you’re not going to work with us, then we’re going to steamroll right over you by any means necessary.” It shouldn’t be necessary for ANY President to have to find ways to work around an opposition party that is hostile to his very existence, and it certainly shouldn’t be necessary for a President who spent over a year trying to negotiate in good faith with the other side. But the American people elected Obama and a majority in both houses of Congress to take us in the opposite direction of where we’d been heading, because clearly, that path was a dead end in every way imaginable and we had painful, visceral proof that the status quo was not working. Obama has probably doomed the mid-term elections by not giving Republicans the middle finger 6 months ago, which is exactly why they played obstructionism…it was in the best interest of the opposition party for the country to see Obama as a failure. Of course now that he’s finally figured out that it’s in their best interest if he fails and they have no intention of working with him in good faith the way he has been working with them, and has moved to work around the obstructionists, having resigned himself to the fact that there is no path through them, of course the opposition party is going to throw a hissy fit and raise all sorts of specious arguments about why this and that and the other thing are Unconstitutional, when they know damn well they’re full of shit. But as long as enough people buy the lies, the mid term elections could still be a bloodbath, and boy, if Republicans regain Congressional control, if you think for one minute they’re not going to steamroll right over Obama, you’re naiive.

davidk's avatar

Please don’t take this personally, but I need to respond to this:
“This kind of brain dead rhetoric about something being “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”, even though the exact same process was used 39 times in the 109th Congress when Republicans were in Control and 49 times in the 110th Congress when Dems were in control…”

This is a logical fallacy. Just because both sides do something unconstitutional doesn’t make what they do Constitutional. That’s like the criminal who gets caught doing a B&E who then argues his/her case based on submitted evidence that specific individuals have demonstratively pulled off identical crimes! C’mon. Be honest. I’m actually not disagreeing with the substance of the rest of your argument.

The TRUTH is that Congresses and Presidents have been violating the Constitution for so long and so consistently (on both sides of the US political spectrum) that members of Congress only take the Constitution seriously when it is an impediment to their agenda. The Constitution has become an afterthought. The Constitution is dead in a de facto sense.

phillis's avatar

I don’t give a good goddamn what gets said to Obama. He EARNED IT. Transparency? The only thing transparent about his presidency are the lies he told to get what he wanted. He doesn’t care one whit who suffers, because he is sitting pretty in his mansion with his millions. How can someone so accustomed to a cushy life POSSIBLY understand how to balance a budget, or how to scrimp and save, or how to cut every possible necessity out of a budget, or how to put a stop on corrupt spending? He has not a fucking CLUE how to do any of that. But he can spend like nobody’s business, man. He’s a damn pro! He earned every word spat in his direction. And so has Nancy Pilosi. They’re birds of a feather.

dalepetrie's avatar

@davidk – I’ll concede that just because it’s been done before doesn’t make it legal or Constitutional, but it does make anyone who complains about it NOW when it serves their purposes, when they didn’t complain the dozens of other times that this same procedure has been used, a big freakin’ hypocrite. But what would make it unconstitutional would be if it actually were unconstitutional. Please cite for me the part of the Constitution which says this procedure is not to be undertaken, THEN I’ll believe it’s unconstitutional. But basically I’ve heard the talking heads raising holy hell, and they cite the erroneous “fact” that it’s unprecedented (the same people who’ve pulled this same tactic out themselves are now acting like it’s something that’s just never done). So prove to me it’s unconstitutional and I’ll listen, until then it sounds like bullshit to me.

And @phillis – you DO realize that up until a few years ago, Obama wasn’t wealthy, he was actually very poor for a good share of his life, his success was his doing, he put in the hard work, he MADE it happen. Those are generally attributes that Conservatives respect, but when a Liberal does it, they must be a liar. So, tell me what lies Obama has told. Give me some examples of how Obama has made the little guy suffer. It’s unfortunate that up until a few years ago, we could have two political trains of thought…one saying that the government should actually spend some money to help out the little people, and one that says the government should be small as possible, and we could agree to disagree. Now someone disagrees with you and people like you come out of the woodwork to call them liars and thieves and out of control spenders. Basically, if you actually look at what he’s done, he’s cut taxes for 98.6% of Americans on the first day of his Presidency, AND he’s spent money on an economic stimulus which has reversed the job loss bell curve. By any objective measure, the stimulus plan is working and just because things suck, if we’d gone the way you probably wanted us to go, we’d be way more fucked….the 28 years prior to Obama dug this grave and the collapse proved that trickle down economics is a failed ideology which serves the rich and fucks the poor. But as long as rich old white men who control the reigns of power can exploit anger in people like yourself, we’ll continue to have people twisting the facts to paint Obama as some fat cat born with a silver spoon in his mouth and people like you believing it to the degree that you think all the obstructionism is justified and are so viscerally angry that you’d openly call for the assassination of the duly elected Speaker of the House. Just realize that the vendetta you feel against Obama and Pelosi has been manufactured by big money interests who honestly don’t care who suffers, as long as they can harness your anger and turn it into electoral power.

phillis's avatar

@dalepetrie Why are you compelled to bring up a resolved issue on a comment that has been removed? There IS no vendetta (read the last part of my profile). Sure, Nancy was “duly” elected. That means exactly squat to me, except that the person who hired her is equally cavalier about the lives of American citizens and doing what is right and fair. Entire careers are devoted to bending existing laws, rather than following the spirit with which those laws were intended. Guess who pays for that?

What DOES exist is extreme frustration over rampant corruption and naked ambition. THEY are supposed to be working for US, remember? Don’t get so caught up in the details of politics that you lose sight of that. You’ll be doing precisely what they trained you to do.

I already mentioned the very lie he told in order to ensure his presidency. If you want, I am happy to bore you to absolute tears while I relate how just one blatant lie has literally destroyed my family. But there now…...I know you aren’t really interested in anything that would be so boring to you. After all…..nothing has happened to YOU, right? You’re free to live your life in relative anonymity. You get to take for granted your everyday way of life that you have been lead to believe are your native-born rights. At any time, any aspect of your law-abiding life can be ripped from you if it doesn’t serve the current interests of those who see you as expendable.

By the way, the stimulus plan was an epic failure. If I were supporting the president, I would surely choose a different topic than that. You’re right about one thing, though. Big Money interests have made for interesting bedfellows with our elected officials. That should bother you to no end.

Snarp's avatar

For the record, Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution says: “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.” The Constitution mandates the method of approval of a bill in the House only in the case that the vote is one to over-ride a Presidential veto.

Strauss's avatar

@phillis ” He EARNED IT.” ” He EARNED IT?” The only thing he did to “earn” it is to get someone like Rush Limbaugh preaching to his audience that his (Limbaugh’s) goal is to get Obama to fail, and that it doesn’t matter what Obama does, or what it costs this country.

It does bother me that Big Money interests have such a strong influence on our political process. The recent Supreme Court ruling about corporate contributions was infuriating. It is just that type of influence that got us into the political and economic mess we see today.

kb0oya's avatar

It was constitutional when a Republican Congressman from California, David Dreier, coined the phrase—basically invented this strategy back during the Reagan era. Why not now? Back then the Republicans were having just as much trouble passing anything——because of Democratic filibusters. Pretty much as it is now—only reversed. The strategy was used 35 times, I beleive, during Reagan’s administration to accomplish what the Republicans wanted——and many, many times since on both sides of the fence to do the same. So why would it be unconstitutional now? Perhaps because NOW it’s not going your way??

davidk's avatar

For the “Deem passed” question, please read: Article I, Section VII, Clause II of the US Constitution

For healthcare itself:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people—that’s the 9th Amendment.

For the parts of the healthcare bill that offer special deals to particular states and that force people to have health insurance, lest they be fined…please read:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This is section 1 from the 14th Amendment.
BTW: I’m on your side here, you don’t have to call what I’m saying “bullshit”. You are actually calling the Constitution “bullshit” & that’s OK with me.

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JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus If I start a post to you, by insulting you, do you read it? I don’t.

Dog's avatar

[Mod Says:] Flame off folks.
Please stick to the topic which is ”“Deem and Pass” is this unconstitutional?”

Please disagree without being disagreeable. Personal or off topic remarks will be removed.

phillis's avatar

@Yetanotheruser I “deem” that Rush Limbaugh doesn’t “pass” the smell test, either. His interests are purey self-motivated, too. I think that’s what bothers him when he runs into another big mouthed braggart who is just like him. Everybody thinks they’re titans, for heaven’s sake.

What is amazing is that people don’t seem to realize (or care?) that Big Business simply made official, what they’ve already been doing for years. I can’t think of ANYTHING more unconstitutional than that. “We the people” are the ones who are supposed to make those decisions, are we not? Our country was never designed or intended for those with money to help themselves to whatever they want to the exclusion of the rest of us. What the hell is wrong with this picture? Why is this okay?

Take a look at who allowed Big Business to choose our officials, then you know who to blame. I honestly don’t see anything short of a revolt that will stop the corruption train (in case anyone is wondering, I’m not calling for a revolt. Calm down). If we choose different officials in the next polls, what one earth makes anybody think that’s going to change anything? That is nice folly, but it is hardly reality. Deem and pass has the exact same ego-centered motives behind it. These people couldn’t give a shit less who they have to step on to get what they want.

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dalepetrie's avatar

A note to MODS. I am about to address comments made directly to me by both @phillis and @davidk, before you implored us to flame off and stay on topic. I am hoping that even though on the surface, some of what I’m about to say may seem at first glace to be off topic, it is nothing of the sort, nor is my intention to flame, it is only to address grievances and debate points of contention. I believe my comments to @phillis will be on topic, even though they do not directly address Deem and Pass as a Constitutional issue, and the reason I believe this to be the case is as follows….my argument for why I do not believe the argument that Deem and Pass is Unconstitutional is that it’s only irrational hatred of Obama and Democrats, flamed by the right wing noise machine, that makes people pull out this hypocritical line of reasoning to support their already formed views. I was asked my opinion as to whether I think it is unconstitutional (I do not) and why (in part because it is standard legislative practice with a great deal of precedent in current lawmaking, and in part because I believe accusing the Dems of pulling an unconstitutional tactic is part of the right wing game plan to build irrational hatred against Obama and Democrats so that he will fail, ergo, my response to @phillis IS on topic). And my response to @davidk will tread strictly along Constitutional lines.

@phillis – I actually would like to hear how Obama has destroyed your family. I’d like to see how you draw that cause and effect conclusion. As for the lie that got him elected, I’m not sure what lie that is in your mind, because I supported him from the first day he announced his Presidency, and I have yet to see anywhere that I believe he lied. I have seen examples of where he has been unable to deliver on things he promised to work on, and I have seen examples of how he has been too slow to work on some issues for my tastes, but I strongly believe that he has a lot on his plate and he is trying very hard to get it all done and to ease tha pain we’re all going through, and that this mess took not just 8, but the better part of the last 28 years to create, you can not expect one man to fix it in a year. As for Pelosi, there are many things I do not like about her way of doing things, she doesn’t impress me, but I don’t want her dead and I do believe that for all her faults, she is trying very hard to do the job she was put there to do.

Now if I am to guess what you mean about “the lie that got him elected,” you mentioned transparency, but I’m not seeing where he’s any less transparent than any President we’ve ever have, and I’ve seen numerous ways he’s been more transparent. I would like some examples as I see vague, sweeping accusations coming from you, but not actual data or facts to back it up, and that is what I am trying to get at here, the facts. I am trying to help us all gain perspective…for me, I’d like to see the perspective of what our President and Congress have actually done WRONG from the point of view of someone who honestly and legitimately takes umbrage with their performance, and has not simply been brainwashed by the right wing noise machine into thinking they are Satan’s minions incarnate.

As for nothing happening to ME, I’m not really sure where you get off making an assumption like that, but I’m here to tell you I’ve been unemployed for 13½ months, and I didn’t lose my job until Obama took office. And even though I have a bachelor’s degree and 14 years of experience under my belt, I have yet to find work. Yet, what happened 2 weeks after Obama took office (my company shutting down without giving us our last months’ pay) was a problem brewing since the mid Bush era and was only one of thousands of companies that befell the same fate because of the way Bush governed. But I do not even blame Bush alone, in my view blame stretches as far back as the Nixon administration and as wide as to touch pretty much all of corporate America.

The way I see it, Obama made MY life better on day one in office, by cutting my taxes, by extending my unemployment benefits, and by more recently trying to provide incentives to employers who will hire people like me who’ve been out of work a long time. He has created programs to help people who are having trouble paying their mortgages, he is helping people to buy houses and to make their homes more energy efficient, he is helping people by providing tax breaks for people on COBRA, and he’s been trying, most recently with Deem and Pass, to insure 31 million Americans who currently can’t even afford to go to a doctor if they are sick because they have no health insurance.

And if you look at how many jobs have been lost each month, basically as soon as the stimulus money hit, that’s when the trend went from losing MORE jobs each month to LESS. I’d say that’s a pretty big improvement. So, your comment makes it clear that something terrible has befallen you and your family, and I understand that anger well. In fact, I’ve been laid off, downsized or had my company shut down 6 times, all since Bush took office whereas previous to that, I only switched jobs on MY terms. I understand when something bad happens to you or your family you look to place blame, my concern is if you are really blaming the people responsible. I’m not saying you’re not, but you’ve given me nothing I can evaluate objectively.

So, I seriously would LOVE to know the source of your ire, and as for bringing up a comment from the past, I did so to illustrate that your hostility is anything but rational, and has even led you to accuse me, a total stranger, of not caring how your life and your family’s life was destroyed, when I am a very compassionate person who would love to do whatever I could to help you, if you would react rationally. You clearly have deep seated anger issues directed at Obama, and I’d kind of like to know why. What I seek to do is to remove all the hostility from the political discourse of the day and debate legitimate policy disagreements.

But I get frustrated, because even though I know damn well that Obama is not perfect, Pelosi is not perfect, no person ever elected to office or ever born for that matter is or was perfect. But think about it this way. I (along with the rest of America) hired Obama, and he is running a government that is supposed to be of, by and for the people, of whom I am one. So, I am in a way his supervisor, as are you and every other voting American. And I want to do a good job in evaluating his performance, so I want to know what he’s done that’s good, what he’s done that’s bad, etc. But the problem is, one side sees Obama with rose colored glasses, so it’s really hard to get honest feedback there. The opposite side fashions Obama as almost an anti-christ and even blame him for personal tragedies…they viscerally hate him and everything he stands for, and the Congress that is on his side, some to the point of wishing bad things upon them.

But I see the genesis of this hatred, and it is not coming from an intellectually honest place. It is coming from talking heads who lean very far to the right, who have a vested interest in destroying Obama and the Democratic Congress in the eyes of the American people. And the tactics they have been using are ANYTHING but subtle. It goes all the way back to the campaign when you had Palin casting aspersions on whether Obama was a “real” American, and showing up at this rallies in Appalaicha where it might as well have been a Klan rally with all the monkey puppets and the casual use of the N word and this and that. People have questioned whether this guy was born in the US, even though his birth certificate has been made public. A Congresswoman from my own state said on national TV that we should investigate him for unamerican allegiances.

The criticism I’ve heard of Obama in short has been unhinged, and much of it has come from people who like yourself, have been so viscerally angry about something (even though you won’t divulge what that is or how it is Obama’s fault), that you can let yourself slip and actually call for the assassination of an elected official on a public website! So, forgive me if I thought you too were one of the unhinged right wing masses who have no rational reason to hate Pelosi, Obama et al, that is simply the impression with which you left me by your actions, which is why I have brought them up again, despite them having been expunged.

So, I will ask you to please, provide for me, a rational explanation of what Obama, Pelosi and other Democrats have done to “destroy” your life, how you believe logically that they are responsible, give me a direct cause and effect that shows how one of them acted at point a, and that resulted in point b, your ruined life. And unlike some other liberals, I will LISTEN to you. I will hear what you have to say. And I will tell you if I think you have a valid point or if your thinking is flawed. But if you come around with hateful rhetoric that sounds in tone and quality just like all the other criticisms I’ve been hearing from those with an irrational agenda to destroy Obama and all he stands for, then I have no choice to lump you in that category.

I will close my comments to you by saying, I sympathize and empathize with you, no matter what your current situation is, we’re all in a lot of pain right now for various reasons related to our elected leaders, there is no doubt on that matter. I apologize if I’ve offended you, but I do expect if you want to have a debate or even just a discussion, please provide facts to support your opinions.

@davidk – re your first argument as to deem and pass being Unconstitutional:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people—that’s the 9th Amendment.

First of all, that seems not like an argument against Deem and Pass, but an argument about the health care legislation. Essentially by what you are saying, something that no one else is arguing to my knowledge, is that even if health care legislation passed with 60 votes, it would be Unconstitutional because health care is not specifically enumerated in the Constitution as a matter under Federal jurisdiction.

Well, it seems to me that providing a way for 31 million Americans to get health care when they can not afford the premiums that are charged, or have been denied health care because of existing medical conditions, creating a situation where people who most desperately need a way to maintain their health are prohibited from doing so, well that seems to me to fall under the general welfare of the US populace, and I don’t see how anyone could argue otherwise. How is health maintenance not “general welfare”, after all your health is about the only thing that you can truly claim as yours. If you have poor health, you are “unwell”. And it is SPECIFICALLY stated that the US government has the responsibility to provide for the general welfare of its citizens.

As for argument 2:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Well this doesn’t even meet the standard of prima facie evidence of Unconstitutionality, because it does not even deal with a Federal action, but prohibits individual states from taking a particular action. As for the deprivation of property, even if we WERE discussing a Federal issue, one could make the claim that forcing people to buy insurance is depriving them of property, but that same standard could be applied to any taxation. And the reason that no challenge to the constitutionality of taxation has been or ever will be adjudicated is that the government (or in this case a corporation) is providing a service in exchange for funds collected. Just as the government provides essential services, infrastructure, education, etc. with our tax dollars, it has every right to provide us with a safety net for our health and well being in exchange for dollars to pay for this service.

And for what it’s worth, I reject the notion that the Constitution is a dead document, I believe strongly in the Constitution, and I believe it is what has made our nation the world’s leading superpower. I see at times things happening which I think run afoul of the Constitution, but we have a process in place to reign that in, and though it is far from perfect, I think it would serve us well to strengthen the Constitution, not weakening it. But I don’t think we’re going to do that if every time someone doesn’t like something one branch of the government is trying to do is “unconstitutional”, as if all these people who have sworn to protect the Constitution are acting willy nilly and simply disregarding our founding principals. So what I’m saying is bullshit is not the Constitution itself, it is the idea that in politics, it’s simply OK to behave as if something is all well and good when it serves you, then to turn around and cast aspersions on its Constitutionality when it doesn’t serve you. What’s bullshit is the lying, the hypocrisy, the misplaced anger, the manufactured outrage and the stranglehold the powerful have on our economic policy, simply because they know how to make the unwashed masses hate anyone who presents a threat to their financial interests. What is bullshit is the state of our media which no longer provides investigative journalism, but instead reports what sells ad space and doesn’t piss off the wrong people. What is bullshit is giving Fox News the Constitutionally protected right to lie, and STILL call it news. What is bullshit is that we can no longer in this country civilly debate actual issues based on the merits of the arguments and the facts supporting them. We are a society of name callers and shouters who talk loud but don’t listen to each other…we all have our own beliefs and never seem to consider for one moment that anyone else may have a point or a different perspective.

I want what’s best for this country, I want the economy to recover, and not just lose fewer jobs, but actually create some, I want to get back to working an honest living and supporting my family, I want to live in a country where people who work hard can stay in their homes and feed their families. I voted for Obama and for the Democrats in my Senate and House districts because I believe they all share my values and my desires. And I have yet to see any indication that they have been anything other than honest about what they intend to do. Yet, I have seen them fail to make the progress I’d hoped for, but I have also seen a level of obstructionism which I’d never dreamed of in our government, and I don’t think it’s serving anyone. What I’ve seen actually get accomplished is making progress…it’s slow, painful progress, but that’s better than the direction we were moving in before. And so all I’m calling for is an honest intellectual argument.

I appreciate your attempts @davidk, and I can see how you might interpret those passages in the way you did. I don’t think you are being intellectually dishonest here, but I do think you are at times letting your pre-conceived notions dictate how you perceive certain facts, leading you to erroneous conclusions. Now, you may not agree, you may still think you have a valid point, and that’s fine, we can agree to disagree on this, the Constitution was never meant to be crystal clear…the founding fathers made much of it ambiguous because they themselves couldn’t agree on hard and fast rules for everything. They set forth guiding principles, and those principals to my way of thinking have everything to do with the aforementioned life, liberty and pursuit of personal fulfillment. I think anything that serves to elevate the status of the most vulnerable among us is well within line with those guiding principles, and the arguments I’ve seen against making this type of social progress have been by and large irrational and poorly thought out, generally justifications to serve a worldview which has been tainted by the pursuit of greed at the expense of the well being of the majority of the rest of the world. The Constitution to me is about liberty and justice for all, and as long as we live in a society where some amass great wealth and power, where others can’t afford to keep themselves fed, sheltered, clothed and in good health, then we have no liberty, we have no justice.

Which brings me back to my original point. Deem and Pass is nothing more than a legislative method…methods of legislation are not specifically addressed by our Constitution to that granular a degree. And given that this argument of its Unconstitutionality a) doesn’t pass the sniff test, and b) is being supported by those with the most to gain if this obfuscation tactic actually works, even if only as a PR stunt, it would seem to me to be yet another example of misplaced anger being exploited for personal and political gain by those who already have way too much power but will do anything not to have to cede any of it.

Strauss's avatar

@dalepetrie lurve to you!. I agree that we have become, as you put it, “a society of name callers and shouters who talk loud but don’t listen to each other”. I think we are more divided now thatn we have ever been, in my memory, except maybe for VietNam.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

It’s been pointed out that the Republicans have used the tactic numerous times already. When I first heard the Dems might go this way to pick up a few more votes, I was a little chagrined about it, the constitutionality of the procedure notwithstanding. No more. I’ll take winning ugly if it means a win.

As to the objections of the Republicans – screw them. What are they going to do in November that they weren’t going to do already? My cousin forwarded this article to me yesterday: It’s been the strategy of the Republican leadership to stand in the way of Obama’s agenda since before he took office – despite the huge mandate he came in with. If the Democrats have to fight dirty to get this or any other legislation passed, so be it.

dalepetrie's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex – I have to say ONE thing about McConnell, at least he’s smart enough to have realized that the absolute biggest danger to Republican power would have been if Obama’s rhetoric about there being no red America or blue America, but one United States of America had actually allowed some of the divisions between left and right (which really began to break apart when the Clinton Impeachment witch hunt proceedings began) to actually heal, it WOULD have been the death knell of the Republican party as we know it. It was just over a year ago everyone began to think the Republican party was just going to splinter in a million different directions because there was nothing to unify it, McConnell realized that the one thing that ALWAYS build cohesion is hatred and divisiveness. And I didn’t need to wait for the NY Times to confirm that it was actually a Republican strategy to obfuscate legislative progress at every turn to know that’s what was happening pretty much from day one of Obama’s Presidency. I just wish more people had the capacity to eschew anger in favor of logic, but until we can achieve that, social progress of any kind in this country is going to lag behind the rest of the world…which will leave us with a society where 99% of us who are the have nots will be ultimately subservient to the needs and whims of the 1% who are haves, and that’s how the have’s want it. So we can expect to continue to see lies, obstructionism, and hatred building rather than concensus building. As a Liberal, my biggest problem with Obama is that he was naiive enough to actually thing that by extending an olive branch, the enemy wasn’t just going to rip off his arm. Obama went to a gun fight with a knife, and it took him a year to realize that it was a losing strategy. I just hope he didn’t realize too late to ever be able to live up to his potential now.

phillis's avatar

@dalepetrie I am beside you on other answers you’ve given, more than you know. You’re a thinker, and I admire a person who doesn’t just sway with the public popular opinion of the moment. The things I have to say are legitimate concerning Obama, and the other issues that have affected my life are documented in courst cases AND newspaper articles, nationwide.

In one of those cases in particular, the court records have been sealed. All I have to offer you is indisputable evidence that this issue DID exist, and is traceable from a Georgia governer, all the way up to Carter’s presidency (to say that Carter was much better with foreign affairs than domestic ones is a laughable understatement).

My problem is simple: I cannot discuss them HERE. They are too far removed from the topic. It would take a long time to type them out (I am willing), but the subject matter is so delicate that having them deleted as off-topic material would be a huge slap in the face. My hands are tied. I DO sense your genuine interest, and I thank you for it.

I publicly withdraw the statement I made that suggested your disinterest in my family’s destruction because your experiences with political figures have not been the same as ours.

dalepetrie's avatar

@phillis, I understand. If you ever feel like discussing it, feel free to PM me, but I understand, and I’m glad to see you back down to earth.

davidk's avatar

Your progressive democrat talking points are all in order. We agree on everything except for the Constitution.

Bottom line: if the Constitution wasn’t meant to be “crystal clear” as you posit…anyone can make anything out of it that they want. Hence it is a meaningless, essentially political tool used by those in power to extend their power. As a social contract, which, by the way, any constitution is supposed to be, it is dead.

We both walk the leftward path. You have chosen to try to work within the system and pay tribute to a broken Constitution. I refuse to pay tribute to a system or Constitution that the right might just as easily manipulate after the next election to reverse everything. A Constitution that can be stretched by the left for its own purposes is susceptible to the same stretching in the opposite direction. Have you forgotten already how the right used FDR’s & Johnson’s Constitutional stretchings to violate the Constitution under GWB?

dalepetrie's avatar

@davidk – I agree that the Constitution has been abused, I just kind of think that scrapping it rather than trying to fix it is exactly what the enemy wants. I kind of suspect if we scrapped it, things would get worse, it may not be immaculate at this point any more, but it’s still a deterrent from the malfeasance that could befall us. I’d rather have a Constitution that is stretched but not broken, and work to tense up the loose areas than to try to scrap it and start over, because who writes the new rules. I don’t think EITHER side in the current political situation should be setting up any sort of templates for the future of our government.

My only other point of contention, is what I say are not “talking points”, I came about my political views based on my internal sense of right and wrong, not by mimicking things said by politicians. I’m sure though you didn’t mean to imply that.

davidk's avatar

Please accept my sincerest apology for using the term “talking points” I can see how you may have been offended by the phrase. It was not meant in the way it came off.

Cruiser's avatar

@dalepetrie Before you raise Obama too high on your pedestal…consider he has been in bed with the insurance industry for a long long time, ever since he was a junior senator here in Illinois…

“When Barack Obama and fellow state lawmakers in Illinois tried to expand healthcare coverage in 2003 with the “Health Care Justice Act,” they drew fierce opposition from the insurance industry, which saw it as a back-handed attempt to impose a government-run system.

Over the next 15 months, insurers and their lobbyists found a sympathetic ear in Obama, who amended the bill more to their liking partly because of concerns they raised with him and his aides, according to lobbyists, Senate staff, and Obama’s remarks on the Senate floor.”

This is all a scam to engrave BO’s name on a “historical moment in history” ... his words not mine!

dalepetrie's avatar

@Cruiser – I don’t elevate Obama too high on a pedestal. My sincere belief is that Obama is:

a) honestly concerned about the plight of the average citizen
b) acting in good faith to improve the lives of the average citizen
c) human and as such imperfect
d) still a politician who knows the first rule of politics…appearance is more important than reality
e) a person who strives too hard to please all the competing interests
f) of the belief that the only way to change the system is to work within the system, and not to try to build a new system, which can be more effective, but which can also ensure that progress is slower, messier and far less effective than it could be if he were more radical.

I don’t really see Obama as “in bed” with Corporate interests of any kind, but I do believe that he is willing to listen to them, willing to give in on some items to them to make them happy and to make his road to progress easier, and that he believes that these interests are too powerful to simply shut out of the process…in other words, I think he takes an if you can’t beat em, join em path towards governance.

I guess that’s what is both frustrating, yet at the same time encouraging to me. I would love to have a complete reboot of so many things we do, to make them in line with social and human justice, I would like to tear out so many things of the system we have and just start fresh. But, I can understand that the status quo never gives up without a fight. So, on one had I wish he’d take bolder action at times, telling the special interests and the obstructionists in Congress where they can shove it, and just ram it in where it needs to be rammed, but at the same time, you have to realize that with this health care bill for example, big insurance got probably 90% of what they wanted, and even so they are STILL spending billions to try to keep the reforms from happening. Obama is a person who was willing to make smaller than desired progress to create SOME progress. Could he have created greater progress by being less willing to cave in at times? Maybe, maybe not. I tend to think that if the big money interests only had to conceed about 1 tenth of what they should have, and they STILL fight it tooth and nail, imagine how hard they would have fought had Obama pushed for a 100% victory.

I guess one thing that I remember when Obama was campaigning and I was looking into his Illinois state Senate background was an account of someone who worked closely with him on some initiative or another, and I don’t remember all the details, but what I do remember is that this colleague had great hopes for Obama to change things 180 degrees from where they were, but when Obama got right down to it, it was a hard fought battle that looked like it would never be won in the first place, but he did win it, only problem was, he didn’t shoot for that 180 degree turnaround, he shot for small progress towards what they eventually wanted to see. He shot for what he knew he could deliver, and the comment that stuck with me was that Obama told this other person something to the effect of, I’d love to go to the Moon with you, but first we have to get the car out of park.

And so, in a way, I’m not at all surprised that Obama would give a sympathetic ear as a State Senator, a US Senator or as the President to the very people he should be fighting against, because he’s a realist. And I guess one reason I fully threw my support behind Obama was that I would have LOVED to see someone like Howard Dean win the nomination in 2004, he was a real grassroots liberal dedicated to the same type of idealism I hold. But liberal idealists are not electible in the USA, they just aren’t. I saw in Obama someone who held liberal ideals, but tempered them with practical reason….and though I’d have preferred a dyed in the wool liberal who would stand up for his ideals, I thought Obama could get elected, and if he won, he could actually get something accomplished.

So, I’ve been less disappointed by him than many other people on the far left, because I have had realistic expectations. The things he’s trying to change are things that have the backing of some very powerful, very wealthy people, and he’s not going to be just able to flip a switch and say, Oh, things are like this now. He’s going to have to work the system, and that means maybe we don’t get Universal, Single Payer health care, which from an ideological standpoint, Obama knows is the best system. And he knows that if we’re not going to be able to pull out the entire existing system and replace it with something else (just not practical given the amount of money and power that would see to it that such a plan would never succeed), we have no choice but to fix what we can in the existing system, and in so doing, we are going to have to, by virtue of the fact that the system is rigged, work within the rigged system. Which means we have to give the enemy at least part of what it wants.

It sucks, but it’s reality. Again, I don’t think Obama is a God, but I think he is well intentioned, I don’t see any reason to believe he’s in anyone’s pocket, and I don’t expect him to fix everything quickly, but what I’ve seen so far is consistent with the Obama I voted for. And judged objectively, I am very impressed by what he has accomplished, even though I like everyone else on my side of the fence wish it were more, faster, etc. So I’ve seen a few times where he caved on something I really didn’t want him to, which led to the impression I’m sure in many minds that he was just another lying politician in bed with special interests. Perhaps I don’t make that assumption because I’m naiive and don’t want to believe it, but I really honestly feel that he has done what I expected, I simply don’t see any way he could have done what he’s done so far had he just went in gung ho and did exactly what his base wanted to see…I think if he’d have tried, at times it may have worked out better, and at least his base would feel that he hadn’t abandoned them, but he by and large wouldn’t have been as successful.

Cruiser's avatar

@dalepetrie I understand your optimism as I am one too but there comes a time and place where we have to face reality. Obamas plans here are all based on an ideal of a government health care plan and is willing to do so in any way he can just to statisfy that goal based on this ideal. The opposition to this bill is so strong because it is based on reality. Obama’s own actuary hasn’t been able to analyze the bill to determine the real cost of the bill and is afraid it will add an enormous burden to the American people.

What irks me the most is our government can’t even run Medicare and the post office competitively and effectively so why would anyone want our government to take on something so enormous? Just dumbfounding!

dalepetrie's avatar

@Cruiser – I think if you’ll dig deeper into Medicare, you will find it’s run far more efficiently and effectively than anything the private market has come up with so far, the idea that a for profit health care system is more efficient than Medicare is a fallacy.

Strauss's avatar

Well, folks, “it’s the law“ Deem and pass has happened

@dalepetrie I agree. The three most effective health care systems in this country are the Veterans Administration, Medicare and Medicaid.

We should remove the profit motive from all aspects of health care. Any entity which is interested in making a profit can not be more interested in providing a service that costs money.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Yetanotheruser – I would go a step further (I’m assuming you would too). I’ve long said that ANYTHING that serves the public interest should have the profit motive removed from it. Profit by its definition is a built in inefficiency, and creates an incentive to raise prices and reduce costs. I was just thinking how when I was a kid, that was when they started making everything out of plastic that used to be made out of wood and metal, so I’d have these new toys that would fall apart, and I’d see a toy at my grandmother’s house that my Mom used to play with 20 years earlier, and it would be in great shape. People say the free market and the profit motive are good because they get us to look for ways to do things more efficiently…basically doing more with less. But quality ALWAYS suffers, and aparently to some, they’d rather have a ramshackle world that runs with perfect efficiency than a quality world that may be less efficient, but which serves the interests of the people better. It’s the Wal-Mart mentality, sure you can cut prices to the bone if you serve 75% of the market for your products, but not only does that force your suppliers to cut corners in order to protect their profit margins, it also means that people in protecting their own bottom lines go where things are the cheapest, and then any town that gets a Wal-Mart, every small, family owned business shuts down within a year. It’s way more efficient, because now you have a lot more being done by a lot fewer people, but your customer base goes up because the unemployment you caused means there are more poor people who have to save wherever they can…a vicious cycle. More people are buying more cheap crap for less money, and more of the money is getting consolidated in one place rather than being spread around.

If you’re making hand towels, that’s one thing to be efficient, create a poor quality product that can be obtained cheaply and replaced frequently. And even though that means more profit for the company and less expense, fewer workers and supplies needed, causing a trickle down harm in some areas, it does force innovation…both from the standpoint of how can we now improve on our shoddy product without raising the cost, so competition doesn’t overtake us, to how do I make a living now that I no longer have a job making towels, or running a family 5 and dime that sells them. Capitalism is all about allowing greed to foster innovation. That comes at the cost of some interim pain for some participants at times, but it generally works out better in the long run. Problem is, we can’t afford to allow tons of interim growing pains for things that are vital to one’s survival and well being. And that’s the part that I think the people who distrust the big government “takeover” of something previously served by the market just don’t see.

Nate Silver over at 538 likes to use an analogy from South Park. If you’ve ever seen the episode with the underpants gnomes, there were these little guys who were stealing Tweak’s underpants. They had a business plan…phase one, collect underpants, phase two, ?, phase 3, profit. It’s that ? that no one ever asks about in capitalism. That ? means untold suffering, and hey when it’s just about dollars and cents, that may be all well and good, but when we’re talking about things of a vital nature, I’m just not comfortable with that ?. And since we can see that that ? represents under our current for profit system

1) 32 million uninsured
2) up to 50 million more underinsured
3) denial of coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions
4) lifetime maximums which lead people to file bankruptcy if they ever get really sick
5) 2,700 people filing for bankruptcy every day due to unpaid medical bills
6) 62.1% of all bankruptcies filed being because of unpaid medical bills
7) Inaccessibility of health care to the uninsured because doctors can bill $200 for a visit even if it lasts 3 minutes, rather than drawing a salary like most people
8) higher tax burden due to the need to cover the uninsured who use ER’s, the single most inefficient way to get health care, when they become very ill, don’t have insurance and can’t afford a doctor’s outrageous fees.
9) double digit percentage increases in premiums to businesses and individuals year after year for decades

It seems we have a bill which though not perfect, and clearly not the most cost effective, inclusive or high quality thing we could do, one which does not completely remove the corrosive force of the profit motive, it does at least for now take care of the vast majority of the issues that allowing the existence of profit motive in health insurance causes. In short, it’s a good first step, and I can only hope that when people see how much better this new system will be for our entire economy, it will erode some of the groundless fears people have about “big government” and allow some REAL social progress to take place.

I can dream….

Strauss's avatar

@dalepetrie You’re preaching to the choir here! A free unregulated market is not always the best thing for a capitalist economic system.

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