Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday is my fun day ...

Or at least the day I have time to stop and relax, and perhaps write. Today a lot of other people will be working, taking a vote that they know will be spun by one side or the other in the fall. This legislation is sufficiently complicated that both sides will claim extreme consequences Monday regardless of how the vote goes today. Jason Altmire, among hundreds of others, will be vilified very loudly by one side or the other, and praised more faintly by the other side (or other).

Of course, Altmire is sort of special to our region in that of course first, his district is close to Pittsburgh but also that he was supposed to be the expert in health care and insurance. His expertise was supposed to help guide the Democrats in health care reform. Now we have reached a final vote, and Altmire wants to vote against his party's bill, ostensibly because of what the voters in his district are saying. It is probably a vocal minority that is complaining loudly about the Democratic bill. To be fair, in electoral calculus, it is hard to gauge the effect of a vocal minority, whether their sure turnout at the polls outweighs everyone else's possible turnout, or whether the vocal minority might have an effect on other voters. But it is still not hard to be disappointed with Altmire; as a Democrat and also the supposed expert he has no alternative to his own parties' bill. But I don't live in his district, so I have no vote and would feel bad doing any more than blogging about it (I shouldn't choose someone else's representation in Congress).

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't address Jack Kelly's column today, but in keeping with my more recent practice I am not going to spend a lot of time with him. Today he is suggesting that the method being used to pass health care is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court will declare the reform bill unconstitutional. He also suggests that the Court will be motivated to do so because of Obama's (unprecedented, according to Kelly) snub to the Court during the State of the Union address. Now, I looked and didn't find where I think he talked about this snub to the Supreme's in a past column. But Kelly's undisguised glee that the Court might act not because the Congressional procedure is in fact unconstitutional, but rather because Robert's and the other conservatives on the Court are holding a grudge is fairly slimy, even for a columnist.

Now, despite the myth that the Court decides all decisions based solely on the Constitution (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, even the Libertarians don't believe that, in fact, that is their complaint), they actually have to navigate the tricky path of adhering to an imperfect constitution (it allowed slavery, and only allowed male property owners to vote) and addressing public opinion that either pushes for or pushes against progress (usually both, and loudly). For myself, given the history of the Court (Dred Scott versus Brown v Board of Education), I have no more respect for them than I do for the average Congressman or President. They all actually do tough jobs, but they kind of do them in an average manner.

I hope Kelly's wrong, that the Court won't get involved in Health Care. He may be right, certainly the conservatives/Republicans will scurry to find anything to sink Obama, and hope that will be enough to propel them into control of Congress. Of course, I would question the morality of the Republicans/conservatives position (I'll wait while you stop laughing) but the reality is that the Republicans/conservative seem determined to do anything to stop health care/insurance reform and at least some want to do that because they want to stop Obama. Which brings us back to the question of their motivation (saving Americans from bad reform versus damaging a landmark President with a landmark agenda).

1 comment:

Tony said...
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