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Pelosi Sets Trap, Republican Cavalry Charges into Ambush PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Monday, 09 November 2009
AFF Sentinel Vol.6#33
Pelosi Maneuvers Her Way Through Vote Shortage on HR. 3962

Feigning she was capitulating to pro-life advocates demanding safeguards in the health care bill to forbid abortion funding, Nancy Pelosi lured Republicans into a narrow canyon, let them think they were winning something important and then fell on the column with her main forces.

Republican lawmakers once again proved politically na?ve fighting canny Democratic politicians. For days leading up to the vote, Democratic leaders had answered they were "counting noses" when questioned whether they had the votes. A memo leaked from Rep. Stenny Hoyer's office - the majority whip - indicated they didn't. Capitol Hill veterans' own nose counts confirmed the Democrats were short. Pelosi and her lieutenants weighed options to get the last votes needed.

What better issue to blind her enemies to the big picture and bait the trap than the abortion issue, a lightning rod with the moderate Democratic votes she needed, as well as perfect bait for luring Republicans. She calculated that staunch abortion foes would fear that even an amendment vote appearing to waffle on abortion - even by voting "present" and thus ensuring defeat of the main bill, making the amendment vote moot -- was savvy or courage they couldn't muster. Republicans would charge into the abortion amendment trap.

The amendment removed the only objection for a group of 40 moderate Democrats who feared loopholes could possibly allow federally funded abortions. With the loopholes closed, the trap was sprung, Pelosi got the last votes she needed and the bill passed with just two votes to spare, 220-215. And as Sam Youngman of the Capitol Hill publication The Hill told Fox News, the liberals in the House are confident they'll get the amendment stripped out later anyway.

While Pelosi's bill squeezed through, the Senate will be tougher. The quasi-Republican the leadership had been courting, Sen. Olympia Snow from Maine, already opposes Harry Reid's bill. Democrat turned Independent Joe Lieberman announced he would join a filibuster on the current version. Liberal Lieberman reiterated Sunday (Fox News Sunday, 11/08/09) that he could "not allow" a bill with a public option to come to a vote - "the debt could break America," he said.

Rising unemployment, a struggling economy and the government's increasingly obvious mishandling of a relatively simple H1N1 health care situation will increasingly color Senate deliberations. Thousands of businesses, large and small, are idling, delaying projects and hiring until knowing what new mandates, taxes and restrictions they might have to suffer from health care or cap and trade legislation. The longer that drags on, the longer a recovery is delayed and the more likely voters punish Democrats in 2010.

The speculation now regards what price the Democrats might pay for concentrating on their pet projects, instead of focusing all attention on jobs and economic issues. Health care and cap and trade legislation will only burden the economy. Will Pelosi's political ground skill still go for naught if neither legislation gets ultimate passage and the Democrats are punished at the polls?

Rep. Mike Pence (R.-IN.) claimed the Democrats are missing the message voters sent Republicans (Fox News Sunday, 11/8/09). The Republicans doubled the debt between 2000 and 2008 and the voters threw them out in 2006 and 2008, he said. Now the Democrats are putting spending on steroids.

American must count on the Senate - recently mostly busy tilting at politically correct windmills - to return to some modicum of statesmanship. Politicians - especially ones who are left-leaning lawyers - find it easiest to pass "thou shalt" laws and give away other people's money. Opposing or wavering senators and the filibuster weapon make the Senate a better battle ground for opponents.

Finally, we've been nearly alone warning animal agriculture that this legislation holds calamitous potential for animal product consumption. Putting the force and activism of the federal government in an arena - health care and related fields of nutrition, disease prevention and nutrition recommendations - is a recipe for disaster. But we got a boost recently from someone else seeing the big picture.

Rush Limbaugh, speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday (11/1/09), also gets it: "And when they get this health care bill, if they do, that's the easiest, fastest way for them to be able to regulate every aspect of human behavior, because it will all have some related cost to health care - what you drive, what you eat, where you live, what you do.

"And there'll be penalties for violating regulations. It's going to be the biggest snatch of freedom and liberty that has yet occurred in this country."

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