Shall We Scream and Shout or Get Something Done?
I disagree with the argument presented here to the effect that enough Democratic senators may be afraid to vote against repeal because that might result in their failures to get reelected in 2012. Senate Majority Leader Reid, who is not himself up for reelection until 2016, will keep any ObamaCare repeal bill passed by the House from coming to the Senate floor. He did that sort of stuff in the very recent past (when he was up for reelection) and there is no apparent reason why he can’t/won’t do the same during this Congress. Even if enough Democratic senators were to manage to get the bill from his clutches and to pass it, President Obama would veto it as he has already promised to do, which leaves us exactly -- where? Still with ObamaCare. He won't cave in because it was his signature initiative.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) argued that the House should first pass a bill repealing ObamaCare, as it has already prepared to do; then, upon failure of the repeal bill to pass in the Senate or its veto by President Obama, defunding should be used. Congressman Allen West (damn, I like using that title for Colonel West!) seems to agree. I guess that's OK if they don't take too long to get to work. However, it's important not to wait until those things happen, as one or the other eventually will, because it will take time to devise defunding bills. Waiting could take months and lots of time would thereby be wasted. We can't afford that sort of delay, if for no other reason than that the Honorable Members of the still very new House will start campaigning for reelection in less than a year. That can be a full-time job and little time will then be available for the contentious and labor intensive tasks of selectively defunding the most obnoxious aspects of all of President Obama's HopeyChangey initiatives; that seems possible but only if the Honorable Members of the House are not distracted by pursuits of glory in trying to do the impossible and of reelection by trying to explain away their valiant but failed efforts.
Wasting resources of which time is probably the most important on things which are impossible would give us only a modestly satisfied but empty feeling and nothing more. Our courageous CongressCritters could of course bravely claim to have tried their best; it's not their fault that the stinky partisan Democrats didn't see the light. Gosh! We were sure surprised! That's all behind us now because of them. Don't worry, though; now it's time to get on with the country's important business. How about some new federally funded hospitals, some sweet insurance subsidies, a new airport and maybe even some Social Security increases as consolation prizes? Feel consoled? Anything useful and requiring work will have to be done sooner rather than later.
Very difficult work will be required. Multiple appropriations bills, each separate from the others and each with the necessary specificity about what the appropriated funds can and can’t be used to accomplish, will be necessary. These will require a lot of unglamorous work and I am not confident that our Honorable Members are fully up to the task. We should gently demand that they try and succeed and cease giving them excuses for doing anything easier and perhaps glorious but nevertheless ineffective to claim as Pyrrhic victories instead. They will likely need some strenuous as* kicking to persuade them. The grimiest, grungiest, and most dedicated Conservative Members of the House will have to find their old green eye shades and assemble their most legalistic staff members and accountants to go through the 3,000-page ObamaCare legislation and all the rest and all linked laws affected by them to write many hundreds of individual paragraphs specifically directing that no appropriated funds be used for each. The appropriation/defunding bill for ObamaCare alone may well be nearly as long and complex as was the ObamaCare legislation which few were able to read or would have read if they had had the opportunity; there is much more to do: the EPA, the FCC, czars and all the rest. Although this will require much tedious work, that's what we pay them to do. That's why we call them "Honorable Members"; sometimes. Doing these things will be as effective as a doomed repeal effort wouldn't be because the government lives on money. Without money, it starves to death very quickly. The Senate will have no viable alternative but to pass such legislation. Nor can the president veto the bills without essentially eliminating the relevant agencies and departments; neither the Senate nor the president can or will permit that to happen. Were they to do so, I would lose precious little sleep over it.
The hammer is a grand and highly useful invention. You can use it to pound nails, break things, and even to crush ice for a cool drink. It is not, however, useful for everything. You can't use it to saw wood, to screw in screws or to cook dinner. Other tools, perhaps a saw, a screwdriver, and a stove, are needed. Repeal is like a hammer. We have other tools better suited to the purpose right now and should use them right now. Defunding is the best tool now available to starve ObamaCare and other rapacious HopeyChangey initiatives to death.
Screaming and shouting, while a welcome catharsis, will otherwise do no good. Is that really what we want our new CongressCritters to do? I hope not.