Agribusiness Freedom Foundation  
Home arrow Sentinel e-Newsletter arrow March 2010 arrow The Sting
Main Menu
About AFF
Latest Op/Ed Release
Sentinel e-Newsletter
Newsletter Signup
Staff Bios
Make A Contribution
Contact Us
The Sting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Friday, 19 March 2010
AFF Sentinel Vol.7#8
Paul Newman and Robert Redford did only two movies together: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting." Both were classics but the memory of "The Sting" has really spoken to me the last couple days as events unfold in Washington.

For those who didn't see or can't recall the movie, Redford and Newman were con men who set up a phony bookmaking operation in the 1930s. The "mark," a Chicago-style tough guy who liked the ponies, was carefully "allowed" into the private betting parlor, set up with "inside" information a few times to make sure his horses won and cheerfully paid his bets, proving the operation was worthy of his "confidence." I won't give away all the plot - it's a movie well worth renting - but rest assured when the tough guy finally begged to put down a gargantuan bet - which the parlor very "reluctantly" accepted - the tough guy found out the parlor he trusted couldn't be. His horse didn't come in, the payoff window was closed and his money was gone forever.

Which is why I think "The Sting" may just capture our moment in history this weekend. Nancy and Harry and Barrack may not have originally planned it this way but it sure could happen.

Here's the way the sting could unfold. The bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve is the one the House must pass - without any changes. That bill, with language providing federal funding of abortions, the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback, Gatoraid and other favors the Dems are referring to as "special provisions" rather than legal bribes, the accounting more heinous than Bernie Maddoff's because they pretend even to themselves it's legitimate, would become law. The House has been promised that a magical reconciliation bill of "fixes" will be passed by the Senate to allay concerns of House Democrats with objections to the original Senate bill.

Of course, the Senate parliamentarian has already said abortion law fixes can't be handled in reconciliation. And I haven't heard anyone claiming to "fix" hiring 16,000 IRS agents to track your insurance plan compliance, or removing the half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts, the double counting of Medicare and Social Security revenue in both those programs and Obamacare at the same time or inserting in a health care bill the Medicare "Doc fix" that will cost $371 billion not counted here. But they have managed to insert in the reconciliation package for a health care bill the government takeover of the entire student loan industry - except one state bank in North Dakota that someone is apparently fond of.

But there are some catches. The reconciliation process can't even begin until the House passes and the President signs that horrendous creation we've referred to as "Healthenstein" into the law of the land. Affixing his signature is part of why Obama cancelled his foreign trip. But there is nothing compelling the leadership to complete the reconciliation process. Rep. David Dreier, ranking member, Rules Committee, confirmed on Hugh Hewitt's radio show (3/18/10) that nothing compels the reconciliation process to be completed. The House Dems have only Nancy and Harry's word. Were I a House Dem, sometime Sunday or Wednesday, I might start feeling like the tough guy in "The Sting,"pounding the bars of the closed payoff window.

You see, the reconciliation bill sent over to the Senate after the original bill is law, must pass with absolutely no changes, or it will have to go back to the House. But both Senate Democrats and Republicans have promised lots of changes. In addition, Points of Order, involving germaneness to the budget reconciliation process, require 60 Senate votes.

So the Senate and House could hit versions of the reconciliation bill back and forth over the net for weeks without agreement. Is it impossible to imagine Nancy and Harry and Barrack eventually wringing their hands in mock despair and finally saying, "Well, we can't agree on a reconciliation bill, so we'll just have to make do with the law that we have?"

Which, of course, was the law they wanted all along. The House Dems wouldn't ever be able to get their vote (bet) back. And Harry and Nancy and Barrack would fall back on the left's favorite saying at such times: "It's time to move on."

Note: We reported the "Fix" bill to be 2,300 pages based on a report that was in error. The original bill was in that neighborhood but the Fix reconciliation package is "only" 153 pages.

As of Friday afternoon, House vote counts are still fluid and contact with representatives from now until the vote is recommended. Anything can happen.

To e-mail the Blue Dog Democrats and Swing District Democrats, click here for Hugh Hewitt's e-mail contact list:

To get Dick Morris' Swing list with just phone numbers, click here:

Email your comments to the author


Next >
designed by