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Friday, April 26, 2013
DEMOCRATS ARE IN A PANIC; THE PROSPECT OF HANGING FOCUSES THE MIND WONDERFULLY
April 26, 2013
Panic on Capitol Hill
By Wes Pruden
When crunch time comes, when the chips are down,
when the rubber meets the road – employ the cliché of your choice –
Americans can put away their selfish concerns and come together in
common cause. Even Congress, our only native criminal class.
Deep in the bowels of the Senate and House Office
Buildings, secreted away where there will be no distractions,
Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, have put aside
partisan differences to work for the common weal. This particular weal
has never had it so good.
The issue at hand transcends taxes, immigration reform, the war on
terrorism, even war and peace (if any). The hush-hush conversations,
involving House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, are about how to exempt Congress and all the little grunions who
attend every need of the congresspersons from . . . Obamacare, the
health care monstrosity that we were told would be so good for us.
Discussions started months ago, when it suddenly dawned on these
worthies that the Affordable Health Care Act would not be affordable for
these highly paid daytime residents of Capitol Hill, and they must be
exempt from the requirements that will bankrupt everybody else.
Democrats and Republicans alike are aware of the “acute sensitivity” of
embracing public hypocrisy with such enthusiasm, and the sticking point
is whether Democrats can persuade Speaker Boehner and Sen. Mitch
McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, to commit hari-kari with
them. A source close to the talks tells Politico, the Capitol Hill
political daily, “everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or
nothing is going to get done.”
The alternative is to reach deep into savings or borrow the cash to
pay for Obamacare in the insurance exchanges, just like everyone else,
as mandated by the president’s health-care scheme, and joined with such
glee by congressional Democrats, and sanctified by Chief Justice John
Roberts. If Congress and its go-fers, the aides who pamper, coddle and
on occasion even go to the bathroom for the members, are to be treated
like the rest of us, a lot of them will have to retire to K Street’s
lobbying shops or go home to find honest work as florists, dog walkers,
bicycle mechanics - or rest on the kindness of indulgent kin. “This
could lead to a real brain drain,” says one congressional aide, “with
the nation losing the counsel and wisdom of many of
the best and
brightest.” (Brains on the Hill. Who knew?)
These worthies are shameless, as we all know, and they’re all hiding
in fear in broom closets, little-used toilets or whatever they can find
in the shadows under the elms. Harry Reid’s office won’t talk about it.
Steny Hoyer, the House minority whip, sent out an aide to say that he
was looking for a way to implement Obamacare in a way that’s workable
for everyone, “including members and staff.” John Boehner’s mouthpiece
said his boss wants to spare everyone pain. “If the speaker has the
opportunity to save anyone from Obamacare, he will.” First the speaker
and his aides, of course.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, who led the Republican
opposition to Obamacare in the Senate, thinks exempting anyone, even a
member of Congress, is a bad idea. “I think if this is going to be a
disaster, which I think it’s going to be, we ought to enjoy it together
with our constituents.” Perhaps Congress could hire out-of-work
musicians to play “Nearer My God to Thee” on election eve next November,
like the violinists who bucked up the spirits of the doomed on the deck
of the unsinkable Titanic as the great ship sank.
Obamacare could be the gift to the Republicans that keeps on giving,
as President Obama himself knew it would be when he arranged to have it
become effective only after he was safely re-elected to a second term.
Democrats are terrified that the full reality of the disaster will
become apparent to all just in time for the 2014 congressional
elections. They’re being particularly nice to their Republican
colleagues, because they must have bipartisan cover.
House Speaker John Boehner
Republicans, being Republicans, are likely to give it to them. The
health-care “reform” is tailor-made as a Republican talking point – no
need to shout – and nobody knows this better than a Democratic
congressman. The prospect of hanging, as Dr. Johnson famously said,
“focuses the mind wonderfully.” So, too, the delicious prospect of a
congressman having to endure the punishment he devised for someone else.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.