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Vampires, Bloodsuckers and Political Cannibalism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Monday, 18 January 2010
AFF Sentinel Vol.7#1

The White House and the Democratic leadership have shown that the horse trading necessary to fashion a final health care bill will not be conducted in open Conference Committee sessions but behind closed doors, with nearly everyone in the dark. Conservative columnist Michele Malkin bluntly terms it the Vampire Congress, meeting in the dead of the night, the Beltway Bloodsuckers attacking taxpayers, the free market and deliberative democracy.

The rest of the administration, while confined to normal business hours, utilizes holidays and weekends for disguise. The Wall Street Journal reported no one at the U.S. Treasury could be reached for comment three weeks ago on Friday to comment on a controversial major announcement. That would be Friday -- Christmas Day. No one would comment on the Christmas Eve announcement that Treasury had removed all caps on bailout funds to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for at least three years. The administration is now pressuring both to make more loans to the lesser qualified, which, of course, largely contributed to the financial collapse.

Since only little leaks have been available on back room negotiations on health care, political maneuvering regarding the 2010 elections have been making news. Announcements on one day that Democratic Sen. Dorgan and Sen. Dodd both plan to retire and Colorado Democratic Governor Bill Ritter will not run for reelection show it is not just lesser Democratic lights seeing next fall as retribution time from many voters. An Arkansas House Democrat, Vic Snyder, has added his name to the list.

Apparently, there is something compelling Democrats to vote for healthcare, even knowing that voters oppose it and intend to punish anyone next fall who votes for it.

That ratchets up the pressure on the Democrats to cram through their most prized measures - health care and cap-and-trade - as they appear headed to lose seats in Congress next fall. Nancy Pelosi actually referred to the health care negotiations to date as the "most transparent most of us have ever seen..." which raises the bar for bold-faced lying two more notches.

The game isn't over until it's over. And while health care and cap and trade are broad issues drastically affecting agriculture, there is the handling of other broad issues like homeland security and foreign affairs also dragging the administration down now.

The most encouraging emerging factor is the race for what was once Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. An appointed fill-in has been dutifully voting with the Democrats on health care since Kennedy's death. But the special election to fill the seat between Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley has gone electric. Brown, 30 points down at primary time, is showing every sign he could win. Brown has billed his candidacy as the last best chance to beat the health care bill, as he will not provide the 60th vote.

Fashioning one bill from two with rather differing key elements is proving difficult for the leadership, making it likely a lot more legal Congressional bribery like that necessary to get the issue this far, will be necessary to get something through. The far left demands a public option. The far right want a lower cost. Conservatives and moderates from both parties want explicit abortion prohibitions and rulemaking teeth. The taxing methods differ greatly. Severe Medicare cuts are in both versions, which they all seem to ignore.

The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol discussed the psychology with radio host Hugh Hewitt (1/7/09). Kristol said the leadership told members the bill will gain popularity as time passes. However, neither version has gotten more popular in the last three months. Kristol noted Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida was so concerned about the Medicare cuts he demanded a Florida exemption for Medicare Advantage cuts that would hit middle income seniors in every other state.

Kristol believes the changes of beating the bill are better in the House because he does not think the stricter Stupak abortion language will be in the bill, losing at least six or eight hard core Democratic abortion foes. Medicare cuts may also peel off some House votes. The House version only passed with two votes beyond the necessary 218.

More and more discussion now is centering on even more arcane political maneuvering. The chances for defeating the health care monstrosity are looking better than ever and the impact of voter expressions to members of Congress, especially House members, could peel off some more votes. We'll keep you posted.

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