Partisanship is one thing, but what about truth? Regular readers know I have had my criticisms of the Obama administration. There’s a lot that it’s doing that I do not like. But I am getting sick and tired of people complaining that this administration isn’t transparent in its dealing with the American people. Nancy Pelosi was simply telling the truth when she said in January that, when it came to the debate over health care “reform,” “there has never been a more open process.” It was all right there for you to see. The federal government was going to take over the management of America’s health care system: people everywhere (unless they worked for the government, in which case they were exempt) could expect health care that was 1) more expensive 2) of poorer quality and 3) for which one would have to wait much, much longer. Madame speaker didn’t go in for all that detail, it is true, but anyone who had eyes to see understood what was happening: it was perfectly transparent. The government proposed to take over health care: it was perfectly clear what that meant.
And as for the top-down, we’re-in-charge-here, you-little-people-who-pay-taxes, how much more transparent could they have been about their intentions? They were going to ram it through come hell or high water. Hence:
- The “Louisiana Purchase” in which Senator Mary Landrieu agreed to support Harry Reid’s bill in exchange for an increase of Medicaid subsidies for Louisiana to the tune of $100 million. In plain English: you give me $100 million, I give you my vote. What could be more transparent?
- Then there was the “Cornhusker kickback,” in which Senator Ben Nelson sold his vote in exchange for preferential treatment on federal Medicaid assistance and various exemptions for Nebraska. Can you honestly think of anything more blatant?
- Or consider Florida, where Senator Bill Nelson was happy to sell his vote in exchange for an exception that allowed Florida residents only to stay in the Medicare Advantage program if they are already signed up for it. Transparent, what?
- And now we have Congressman Jim Matheson of Utah. The price of his vote was a U.S. Court of Appeals judgeship for his brother, Scott M. Matheson, Jr. Again I ask, what could be more transparent?
I was talking to a friend this morning about just how transparent the Obama administration has been in its handling of the debate over health care. He reminded me of a scene in one of The Godfather movies in which a Senate investigation of murders ordered by the Corleone crime family takes place. The FBI believes it has turned one of the gangsters, who is just about to testify when into the room walks the family boss accompanied by a couple of thugs and the witness’s brother, whisked from Italy and whom he hasn’t seen in years. The witness knows a transparent situation when he sees it. He testifies that he was not now, nor was he ever, a member of any Corleone crime family. Sure, he was in the olive oil business with Corleone peer, but that was years ago. . . . So much for the government’s case.
My friend believes The Godfather offers a deep education in politics. I think he may be right.