Barack Obama

Actually, The Process Does Matter

Why the Democrats are wrong to "deem and pass" the health care bill

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The Democratic Party believes so deeply in the will of the American people that it may courageously not vote on a bill that it couldn't pass.

It was The Washington Post that recently compressed the absurdities of the Democrats' plan to control your health care into a single amusing headline: "House may try to pass Senate health-care bill without voting on it."

For the typical American, this may sound counterintuitive—or perhaps inconceivable—but as Democrats continue to display a creative knack for legislative swindling, a question has emerged: Are voters, by and large, concerned about the "process," or do they care more about outcomes?

This query becomes more significant as Democrats continue to abandon their defense of "deem and pass"—when the House deems a bill passed without actually voting on it—and make a far more dangerous case.

How we pass legislation doesn't matter, they say, as long as the cause is just. Don't worry; in the end, you'll learn to love it. (Boy, I wonder whether history offers any clues as to where that kind of logic leads.)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said: "We talk a lot about process in this town. … 'So what?' says the American public. … 'What did you do for me and my family to make my life more secure and better and greater quality?'"

President Barack Obama believes citizens are indifferent to "procedural" spats. "I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate," Obama explained to Fox News' Bret Baier, asserting that it is frustrating to see the "focus entirely" on process. "It was ugly when Republicans were in charge," he went on to say, "(and) it was ugly when Democrats were in charge."

Actually, in the case of health care legislation, the ugly substance of the legislation creates the ugly process. The two issues are inseparable. The process is corrupted, as the advocates have no other path for passage.

This particular process, cobbled together in an effort to bypass the will of voters and protect cowardly legislators, then becomes vitally important.

No wonder Obama admits, perhaps unwittingly, that he's uneasy about all the focus on what's going on. To deflect attention, he turns to a childish rationalization: Hey, those guys did it, too!

Let's concede that Democrats are correct in calling out duplicitous and hypocritical GOPers. Does dredging up instances of Republican chicanery now validate the use of your own scams to pass "the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act" (the president's own characterization)?

Even on those terms, Democrats have yet to make a solid case. After all, not all legislation is created equal. No Republican "deem-and-pass" case comes remotely close to being used for "the most important bill most of us will ever pass" (per House Speaker Nancy Pelosi).

On Thursday, Democrats voted down a bipartisan attempt to force Congress to take an old-fashioned up-or-down vote on the Senate health care bill, as it would on nearly any other significant piece of legislation.

Perhaps the House still will elect to vote on the Senate bill as is without any gimmicks. If not, the constitutionality of "deem and pass" in this configuration almost certainly will be challenged.

However the challenge pans out, we shouldn't forget that the process matters. Sometimes process is vital in protecting the American people from the abuses of majoritarians and crusading tyrants. Other times, it is used by those very people to circumvent pesky constitutional restrictions.

And in this case, the process is only a reflection of the ugly legislation that makes it possible.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

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  1. You know what? Due process is a procedural issue. The Constitutional is, in many respect, a procedural document. So what is it that the Democrats are pooh-poohing?

    Honestly, if all that matters is the result, then there is no need whatsoever for limited government, is there? Not in their eyes. Of course, they like to ignore the possible “result” of tyranny.

    One appalling characteristic of the modern Democrat is the idea that their ends justify any means. No, they fucking don’t.

    1. “The Constitutional is, in many respect, a procedural document.”

      Ding, ding, ding! Give that man a prize. The Constitution is almost completely a procedural document, which comes out of the English adversarial system that focused on procedural justice rather than substantive justice.

      Substantive justice was seen as inevitably leading to the rule of man (and corruption) (and was associated with, among other systems the Continental legal system and Oriental legal systems), procedural justice was seem as the only way to ensure the rule of law.

      My law school thesis was on the differences between the two systems as seen in historically in China and the Anglo-American legal systems.

    2. How long before Pelosi deems an enabling act to have passed in order to Remedy the Distress of the People?

  2. what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    1. Which is why I don’t get either party. Don’t they know that the shit will come back around to hit them in the face?

      1. You think the Republicans will restrain themselves merely out of gratitude for the Dems doing the same? If they ever regain the majority I’m pretty sure they’ll twist the rules to their benefit as they see fit. Nothing’s ever stopped them before.

        1. You think the Republicans will restrain themselves merely out of gratitude for the Dems doing the same?

          There will not be any restraints if this goes through.

        2. While that was really my point, I will note that the GOP is actually fairly notorious for not being as willing to bend rules like this. Look at the non fight over Ginsburg (who is not even remotely moderate) and the fact that the GOP never used this option for anything non-budget related.

          They’re evil, state-loving, power-hungry bastards, too, but they at least occasionally pause to consider whether they’re overtly subverting the process.

          1. Aren’t you the least be scared what the GOP will do? Even if you love the Democrats with perfect love, you know that outside factors (e.g., the economy) could put the GOP back in power. What then? Can’t you see that the increasing marginalization of constitutional limits could mean that they, not you, might seize power? What then?

            1. Of course I’m scared of the GOP regaining power. Everyone should be. If they control more than 1 branch of government any time soon there won’t be a country left in which to worry about arcane congressional rules.

              1. Okay, so maybe a greater deference to constitutional limits would be the safer approach?

                1. What does the constitution have to do with House rules?

                  You guys like to trot out the constitution so you don’t have to make an argument. What’s constitutional or not is not determined by your personal ideology.

                  1. What does the constitution have to do with House rules?

                    It says the House actually has to pass a bill with recorded yea or nay votes, and that the bill has to have exactly the same language as the Senate bill before it can go to the President.

                    Yeah, what does any of that have to do with House rules? Fuck it, if the House wants to send bills straight from committee to the President, let ’em. Right, Tony?

                    1. Better yet.
                      Pass an enabling act that lets the Administration create it’s own laws.

                      WTF no body cares about process anyway!

                  2. Look, if you want to live by rules that change with the political winds, that’s your business. But this sort of thing subverts the very concept of limited government.

                    Put the bill on the floor. If the GOP is going to obstruct a bill that’s truly popular with the electorate, then they’ll pay the price sooner or later.

              2. Well, thanks to the Dems running both houses now there won’t be a country left to ruin once the GOP takes back the house. Let’s not forget that it was the Dems in charge of Congress since 2006, which coincidentally enough was a year before our economy started tanking.

                I’m afraid of both parties, but you can’t honestly suggest that either the blue team or the red team is any less damaging.

                A divided government is always the least damaging option.

                1. A divided government is always the least damaging option.

                  I don’t know about that. There’s a tendency in these parts to assume that government doing nothing is the same thing as government doing the least amount of damage. Okay, what if a hurricane is coming, and government is deadlocked and can’t do anything about it? Seems to me not acting is more damaging than acting in this case.

                  In fact, not acting leaves the status quo in place at best. There could be any number of issues in which the status quo is detrimental to freedom or fiscal solvency or what have you, and leaving things as they are will only cause them to spiral out of control.

                  I’ll ignore your pathetic attempt to pin the recession on completely powerless congressional Democrats because it’s retarded.

                  1. Tony,

                    what if a hurricane is coming, and government is deadlocked and can’t do anything about it?

                    The government can’t do anything about it. They can’t stop a hurricane. Notice it was private industry who was first on the scene (Walmart-food and water, Home Depot-Building supplies) at Katrina. Government was still trying to see who they should call first and who followed official form 286Yb for Hurricane disaster relief.

                    Seems to me not acting is more damaging than acting in this case.

                    The actions the government took during Katrina made the situation unfathomably worse. Had Nagin not dithered and followed the instructions for the NWS that this Hurricane would hit the city they may have had a chance to get more people out of the way. What an insanely horrible example for you to use, although not surprising.

                    There could be any number of issues in which the status quo is detrimental to freedom or fiscal solvency or what have you,

                    I agree. But no one is arguing what should be done to fix either the encroachment on our freedoms or our fiscal insolvency.

                    leaving things as they are will only cause them to spiral out of control.

                    And yet what the Dems are proposing with the healthcare debate will exacerbate these problem exponentially worse. How can anyone defend the argument that adding another 30 million people to medicare will somehow lower healthcare costs?

                    I’ll ignore your pathetic attempt to pin the recession on completely powerless congressional Democrats because it’s retarded.

                    No, YOU’RE retarded. See how easy it is to play that game?

                  2. There’s a tendency in these parts to assume that government doing nothing is the same thing as government doing the least amount of damage.

                    That’s because a government doing nothing is doing the least amount of damage. How many people have to be killed, jailed, or robbed by your precious tyrants before you realize that?

                    -jcr

                    1. So you think the best that can ever be done is to maintain the status quo?

                    2. No. My point was the best thing the government can do to lower healthcare costs is to stop trying to lower healthcare costs. Everything they’ve already done/are currently doing/plan on doing raises the cost of healthcare.

                      So yeah, technically the “status quo” is more likely -than any other realistic proposal by our government- to lower healthcare costs.

                      The best thing that can happen to lower helthcare costs is the proliferation of free market “clinics” where people can shop for the best value for their healthcare dollar.

                  3. Government.

                    Now stops hurricanes.

                  4. I feel so much safer since the government banned hurricanes.

                  5. Why should Congress be involved in that shit to begin with? Congress’s job is to lay down the general rules for society and objectives for the executive branch, not micromanage every case to which the law should be applied.

                    If Congress passes a law governing hurricane preparedness (presumably something that would only ever need to be done once or when emergency response tech improves, and well before an actual hurricane at any rate), the President enacts whatever emergency measures the law specifies when the conditions attached to those measures arise. Deadlock doesn’t enter into it.

                    If Congress did its job right, most of the time Congress would have nothing to do. If the contractor’s at your house every other week fixing something, it isn’t a sign that he’s dedicated to keeping your house in working order, it’s a sign that you need a new builder.

              3. Of course I’m scared of the GOP regaining power. Everyone should be. If they control more than 1 branch of government any time soon there won’t be a country left in which to worry about arcane congressional rules.

                If this deem and pass becomes acceptable, what do you think the next generation of GOP congressional leadership would do.

                In this case, restraint would actually set precedent for future generations of congressional leadership.

              4. There’s not much of a country left now after only one year of the Dems control of Congress and the WH.

                I will work for the Republicans this fall, and hope I can talk many more into the cause to obliterate the Dems from the electorate.

            2. The GOP will never be in power again. We will not allow it. If Comprehensive Immigration Reform and voter fraud won’t keep us in power Obama will declare Martial Law For The People.Try and stop us you gun and Bible toting rednecks. I have it on good authority UN Peace keepers wil be backing the coup. Dutch peace keepers.

              1. “I have it on good authority UN Peace keepers wil be backing the coup.”

                For a minute there you had me worried.

          2. While that was really my point, I will note that the GOP is actually fairly notorious for not being as willing to bend rules like this. Look at the non fight over Ginsburg (who is not even remotely moderate) and the fact that the GOP never used this option for anything non-budget related.

            They never used this for the resolutions approving the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, nor the Patriot Act, nor the act authorizing military commissions.

        3. Politics have become reminiscent of the Hatfield-McCoy dispute. The difference is the feud is over money.

          1. Quote the Iron Law:

            Money and power always find each other.

        4. You think the GOP won’t abuse this like it’s a new toy when they get in power if this precedent is set?

          I know you think the party is you and you are the party but for the rest of us who like to labor under the delusion we have something left of a legitimate government this is really bad news.

          Even from a partisan perspective you should fear a government completely unhinged from it’s legitimizing document. If you think your party is going to retain party indefinitely you’re wrong. It’s going to shift rapidly after this.

          1. I have no faith in the GOP to act against its own power no matter the circumstances.

          2. Then again, look at it this way: If they can hold a vote to “deem” Obamacare repealed, why can’t they deem it to have been repealed with a veto-proof majority?

            1. I think that’s why they didn’t do it. They knew it would be used against them and soon.

        5. Nothing’s ever stopped them before.

          Right, remember when the Republicans used the “nuclear option” to end filibusters on judges in 2005? Oh wait, that didn’t happen! So I guess Tony’s been proven wrong… again.

          1. A compromise of senators from both parties put a stop to that, not the goodness of the leaderships’ hearts.

            1. Which still makes you wrong.

        6. NOW do you see why both parties suck, Tony?

      2. Its like they never heard of the Iron Laws, including:

        Me today, you tomorrow.

    2. Fuck you. Are you that shallow in your political hackery that you would shred the constitution just to thumb your nose at the Republicans? Like a child who cries to mommy, “but he did it toooooo”

  3. Allow me to be the first to say it. You couldn’t fit 1 more line and the footer on the first page?

  4. If it’s allowed under the rules, what’s to complain about? Deem and pass is no more corrupt a rule than the filibuster.

    Process matters most especially to people who can’t win on the substance and would rather not talk about it.

    1. If it’s allowed under the rules, what’s to complain about? Deem and pass is no more corrupt a rule than the filibuster.

      Whatever the merits or demerits of the filibuster, the Dems chose not to abolish it.

      Process matters most especially to people who can’t win on the substance and would rather not talk about it.

      Maybe we should apply this reasoning to criminal trials.

    2. In this case, Tony, the deem-and-pass rule is being used by people who can’t win on substance. If they could, why are they using deem-and-pass instead of a straight an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill?

      1. The main problem here is the Senate. It is undemocratic, allowing representatives of about 10% of the country’s population to subvert the will of the other 90%. There’s no good reason for this, unless you happen to agree with the 10%. The dysfunction–imposed on the Senate by the GOP who’ve abused the filibuster in ways that make deem and pass seem positively democratic–makes getting anything done extremely difficult.

          1. Shut the fuck up MNG. We know what you thought of the filibuster when the Republicans were in control. You thought the nuclear option was “the Republicans wiping their asses with the Constitution.”

            You are never going to post on here again regarding anything partisan without being reminded of that fact. So, you if you are not willing to admit what a fucking hack you are, you need to run off like Joe did. Because you are not going to be allowed to have one thing to say about these issues without me reminding you of what a shitbag you are.

            1. +2 for John.

            2. John
              You are a child-man.

              I’ve said it several times now and you have no response. When I wrote that the GOP was wiping their ass with the constitution it was in reference to their SCOTUS nominees, the ones that were being threatened with a filibuster which the GOP proposed responding to with the nuclear option. The filibuster is a procedural rule and is not in the Constitution so my reference could not have been about it.

              You assumed something about me based on what Hannity et al., tell you about “liberals.” It was the latest radio meme and you bought it like the rubish hack you consistenly are. And I called you on it, because you don’t know how I, or many other liberals (like Sandy Levinson) have stood on this issue for years. You’re a hack.

              Produce your arguments and evidence or STFU hacky Mchack.

        1. Our system was designed in any number of ways not only to be undemocratic, but to check too much democracy. Majorities can be just as tyrannical as one guy sitting on a throne.

          New laws, especially those that will have should tremendous effects on the country, should be difficult to pass. The fact that the real enemy here to your cause isn’t the GOP but heretics in the Democratic majority is something to keep in mind, too.

          1. Our system was not designed to require a supermajority for every vote in the senate. I think a strong case can be made that the constitution assumes a majority vote suffices except in certain cases.

            1. The Senate rules *were* designed to require supermajority to end debate on certain bills. If it’s such a problem, then change the rules. Then when the GOP gets in, then won’t have to be concerned about Dems blocking *their* legislation. Of course, I’m sure you would want the rules restored in that eventuality.

            2. Yes, they were. It takes next to nothing for a nation to fall into tyranny, based on trends or fashion, if all that’s required is a simple majority. The super-majority is there to protect everyone, not just to make things difficult. Not just today, but tomorrow and when the time comes that you are in the minority as well.

              It’s easy to forget that there may come a time when this process will protect YOU. Keeping procedure intact affords protection to everyone, in the end.

        2. The main problem here is the Senate. It is undemocratic, allowing representatives of about 10% of the country’s population to subvert the will of the other 90%. There’s no good reason for this, unless you happen to agree with the 10%. The dysfunction–imposed on the Senate by the GOP who’ve abused the filibuster in ways that make deem and pass seem positively democratic–makes getting anything done extremely difficult.

          This so-called dysfunction was written into our Constitution to protect minority interests. As you have pointed out, senators from states with 10% of the population can block passage of legislation. Senators from states with 8% of the population can prevent passage of a constitutional amendment, sustain a presidential veto, or prevent the removal of an impeached official.

          1. Where in the constitution does it say the Senate has to have a supermajority to pass everything?

            1. It does not.

              The Senate is free to set rules of debate, and while only a majority vote can be required to pass bills , the Senate is not required to require a majority vote to pass or reject cloture.

              1. But any particular senator is time-unlimited during the debate…hence comes the filibuster.

                1. There’s a reason for that and it’s not in the constitution. It’s essentially a loophole in the rules that emerged inadvertently.

          2. Yes, it was written into the Senate to protect minority interests, namely states with small populations.

            But that is just a descriptive statement. The interesting thing is a normative question: was what they did right? I say no. There is no reason for a minority of the population to thwart the will of the majority in the areas that the government can legislate on. I support most of the amendments and such that take some areas out of the arena of majorities in order to protect minorities, but once we are left with that area the government can legislate about, majority should rule. Majority rule ain’t perfect, but is better than minority rule…

            1. Okay, so there are more whites than blacks. Let’s get a majority to reinstate Jim Crow laws. Fuck the minority, right?

              1. “I support most of the amendments and such that take some areas out of the arena of majorities in order to protect minorities”

                I’ve already answered your question in the post preceding your question!

                I’m fine with setting certain areas off-limits to government in order to protect minorities. But I’m not fine with thwarting majorities in those areas which are set aside as legit for them to legislate.

                I think every Jim Crow related filibuster was used to PROTECT Jim Crow, not defeat it. Ironic example you chose…

                1. What’s your evidence that requiring people to buy health insurance is “legit”?

                  1. It’s covered in a discussion in this very thread.

                    Sorry, you are going to have to do a little work here…

                  2. There isn’t, Papaya. This would be a precedent, forcing people to buy a product nationwide, stats autonomy be damned.

                    Should blind people be forced to buy car insurance, MNG?

                2. I understood your point. I also ignored it. What do you think protects minority interests in a system where the majority is king?

                  1. Fuck the majority. Whoever they are.

                  2. I don’t think they need to be protected by a procedural rule in the legislative body. They are protected by things like the Constitution. The Constitution carves out areas where minorities cannot be fucked with by majorities and guarantees laws passed by the majority will apply equally to them. But there must be some area which the majority can legislate because the other option is minority rule.

            2. And why would we take your interpretation of ‘right’ over that of those who wrote the rules?

              Our bicameral legislature serves two purposes. The House gives states with larger populations a greater influence on legislation; the Senate gives states with smaller populations equal influence.

              By creating a government with these two competing priorities, the founders obviously saw merit in protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority in the legislature.

              Besides, the ‘majority’ argument is moot in the case of health care reform anyway as the majority of polls show the majority of Americans oppose the Democrats’ proposal in its current form. If the majority supported the effort we wouldn’t be having this disucssion.

        3. Avoiding the question yet again. One more time – Why won’t the House bring it to an up or down vote on the floor rather than “deem and pass”? His question had nothing to do with the Senate.

          1. Er, because they can get it passed that way? I mean, c’mon, the party filibustering the law is certainly not interested in having an “up or down vote” either…

            1. The filibuster is in the Senate, not the House.

              1. Oh, ok, so “up or down votes” are good for the House, but not the Senate.

                Whatever dude.

                1. Did you even read the article? Did you really miss the part about the bipartisan effort to force an up-or-down vote in the House?

        4. It is undemocratic, allowing representatives of about 10% of the country’s population to subvert the will of the other 90%.

          Umm, there’s nothing “undemocratic” about supermajorities. Just so you know.

          Plus, what Pro L said.

          1. That’s actually a good point. Isn’t it more democratic to make sure that more of the demos agree with the law?

            Frankly, I’ve wondered whether we shouldn’t have more laws that require a 2/3 majority to enact.

            1. Because that would mean we would be ruled by 1/3 of the people?

              Imagine that your view passed tonight. And tomorrow libertarianism caught fire with the populace and 51 Senators from the LP were elected. They wished to change existing laws to approximate Libertopia. But the opposition filibustered them on every one.

              Are you going to tell me you would clap and laude the anti-majoritarianism at play there?

              1. “Imagine that your view passed tonight. And tomorrow libertarianism caught fire with the populace and 51 Senators from the LP were elected. They wished to change existing laws to approximate Libertopia. But the opposition filibustered them on every one.

                Are you going to tell me you would clap and laude the anti-majoritarianism at play there?”

                The simple answer here is that the 51 LP Senators could simply refuse to pass any bills that fund unconstitutional parts of the government. See how many government workers would be willing to work for at least two years without a paycheck! Even if they are not able to (on paper) repeal any laws that would be almost as effective.

              2. Majority rule ain’t perfect, but is better than minority rule…

                Because that would mean we would be ruled by 1/3 of the people?

                You keep saying that, but is the fact that a minority in the legislature can stop a bill really the same thing as “minority rule”? They’re not ruling or passing bills, just stopping the majority. Stopping someone else from doing X isn’t the same thing as doing X. “Minority rule” more properly means something like apartheid South Africa, where a minority actually, you know, ruled.

                1. I do think they aer equivalent.

                  Let us assume Libertopia happens, the vast majority of people are converted to libertarian ideas. They set up a clean slate abolishing all laws and set down to making laws in line with Libertopia.

                  60% of them think that violations of intellectual property=theft. 40% disagree (I chose this one on purpose, I hang in libertarian circles and there is disagreement on this issue). The 60% act to end the theft but they are blocked by the 40%.

                  The majority wanted to end what they saw as theft. The minority wanted to allow it to continue unpunished. The latter got their way. Minority rule, and just from blocking a law…

                  1. I guess an argument can be made that every change in policy should be the result of a supermajoritarian consensus rather than one large consensus defeating another large consensus by a few votes.

                    But while that hurdle exists in fundamental changes in government–to protect it from dangerous whims and instability–changes in policy are as MNG describes, a choice between the arbitrary status quo and a different but equally arbitrary new state.

                    1. Tony,

                      The point of the filibuster is to ensure appropriate levels of debate. It can be abused, but eliminating it means that we’d have even less debate than we have now. It’s been used to protect important minority interests in the past, after all. And I’m not sure the filibuster has ever really withstood prolonged popular opposition.

                      Lack of debate and time spent understanding bills is a huge problem now, by the way. If you look at bills like USA Patriot, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc., one problem is that they were never adequately understood or debated.

              3. We ain’t going to Libertopia via legislation, I’m pretty sure.

                Anyway, it’s not 1/3 ruling the country, because they couldn’t enact legislation. It’s 1/3 obstructing legislation. Before you get too upset about that, consider the one guy who can block any bill from becoming a law.

                1. Note how Tony and MNG want liberaltopia, by any means necessary…

                2. Blocking legislation can be ruling just as enacting legislation can be.

                  You libertarians see much of what is currently law as theft, actual theft. If you had the votes to get rid of such theft and 1/3 of the reps blocked it that would be minority rule. You would have to live under conditions you consider immoral and they consider to be dandy. Their conditions rule. Minority rule.

                  1. “If you had the votes to get rid of such theft and 1/3 of the reps blocked it that would be minority rule.”

                    All we would have to do is block the funding of those who enforce such theft. See how many government workers would be willing to work for at least two years without a paycheck. What would happen to the IRS if it were not funded for two years? What would happen if no one who had a government bond could be paid for that bond for two years? What would happen if the DEA were not funded for two years? A law that is not enforced might as well not be a law at all.

                    1. Ooooh… damn, that’s a wonderful scenario.

                    2. ?????

                      Those who believe in IP laws (a great many of libertarians) think that violations are THEFT. If a minority blocked their attempts to address such theft, then they are forcing said theft upon the majority.

                      Minority rules.

                      Sucks, don’t it?

        5. Mob rule is the answer then?

        6. “The main problem here is the Senate. It is undemocratic, allowing representatives of about 10% of the country’s population to subvert the will of the other 90%”

          What is the name of the country where 90% of the people approve of the Democrat’s health care legislation?

          It sure ins’t the United States.

        7. The main problem here is the Senate. It is undemocratic, allowing representatives of about 10% of the country’s population to subvert the will of the other 90%. There’s no good reason for this

          The Senate was never designed to be ruled by the electorate or do the will of the people. Senators were not, in the beginning, even elected by the people — they were appointed by the states to represent the interests of the states. The House was supposed to represent the people. Learn some history.

          1. As I said upthread, yes we all admit this is what those who set the Senate up intended. The question though is, is what they intended correct? I mean, those guys were’nt perfect (see slavery).

        8. The main problem here is the Senate. It is undemocratic, allowing representatives of about 10% of the country’s population to subvert the will of the other 90%.

          Tony|3.19.10 @ 4:52PM|#

          If it’s allowed under the rules, what’s to complain about?

        9. “The main problem here is the Senate. It is undemocratic, allowing representatives of about 10% of the country’s population to subvert the will of the other 90%.”

          Wait, the 10% have “representatives”, while the 90% have a “will”? And who the fuck is this 90%, anyway?
          * Support opposition candidate in your district = no representation.
          * Can’t vote because you’re a child, young adult, non-citizen or felon = no representation.
          * Don’t vote because you’re too cynical = no representation.
          * Voted for senator but have interests counter to lobbyists who can bribe the shit out of him = no representation.

          Hey, 51% of the people getting 100% of the power is fairer than 5% of the people having 100% of the power (not necessarily better in terms of results, but fairer). But it’s much less fair than 51% of the people having 51% of the power. And it’s weird how people only support democratic absolutism when they think they can use it to get their way. As soon as they hit that magic 49%, better bet that Tony et al will be bitching about mob rule and the tyranny of the majority and the terrible lack of bipartisanship and blah blah blah.

    3. Under the rules, can’t the House pass bills by acclamation? So why not do that for this one, eh, Tony?

      1. Because someone in the House will insist on a roll-call vote. It may even be those whose only beef with the Senate bill is abortion funding.

        1. And in fact, Boehner has asked for a roll-call.

          Plus, there’s that pesky Constitution, calling for enumerated yeas and nays.

          But fuck the Constitution, right, Tony?

    4. Yes, it is. The filibuster is an old concept, that has roots in protecting minority viewpoints. Not just parties that are in a minority, either.

      Also, if a filibuster succeeds, it merely delays legislation. If the legislation is truly popular, the public can punish the party behind the filibuster in the next election.

      Big difference between stopping legislation and forcing a bill that can’t be passed otherwise down everyone’s throat.

      Can’t you envision this being done for an unpopular GOP cause?

      1. And you know hypocrite Tony will be squealing like Ned Beatty when the GOP considers ending the filibuster to seat some strict constructionist judges.

        1. I’m for ending the filibuster altogether. However, if the filibuster is useful at all it would be for judicial appointments. I still think it should be eliminated.

          1. Of course. More rapid dialectic cycles is good for the cause.

      2. But Pro that logic works both ways. The party that rams through an unpopular law can be defeated at the polls and the winning party can repeal the law.

        1. You’re being disingenuous. Big difference between undoing a law once it’s been enacted and passing it later.

          1. How so? Both can be done.

            1. You just need the President not to veto a measure repealing his centerpiece legislation. Easy as pie, right?

              1. But all this is based on Pro’s assertion that the party doing the unpopular thing, whether passing or blocking, will be turned out asap. That includes the President. He’s not elected for life ya know.

                1. The president should be in office until 2013. So it’s absolutely equivalent to wait until then to undo a bad law. Do you realize how awful that sounds? What if the bill were something you found reprehensible?

                  At worst, if the Democrats had love of their plan on their side, they could wait until November, when the adoring voters would give them an unbreakable supermajority. Of course, we all know exactly the opposite is likely to happen. Why is that?

                  In any case, if even a strong majority of the country supported this bill, the Democrats would be unified, and a few Republicans would cross over for good measure. The fact that that isn’t the case should give you pause.

                  1. Oh, Pro, don’t get me wrong. As a matter of political strategy this bill has been a true disaster for the party I tend to prefer.

                    My point is that when you say the filibuster is good because the party sponsoring it can always be voted out it’s easy to respond that the party ramming through a bill can be voted out as well, whether CongressCritter or President.

                    1. I think there’s a big difference. In any case, the real issue is the filibuster. I imagine the strongest argument supporting the power of that process is to ensure that adequate debate occurs before a bill passes. Along with adequate political pressure, bribes, and threats, too, I suppose. I’m not really comfortable–not with a government with increasingly unlimited power–with bare majorities ramming through huge, game-changing laws.

                      For me, this works for both parties. I’d have preferred something stopping the USA Patriot Act (or the bulk of it, anyway), for instance.

        2. Particularly because built into the law is a provision that requires a super majority to repeal its provisions (nice trick when passing it on a bare majority)

          1. WTF?? Is that true?? Geez, why not insert a provision that only Democrats can vote on repealing it?

            1. The provision is in the Senate bill (already passed) that is the subject of the House DemonPass (?) procedure. The provision requires a super majority to repeal or alter recommendations made by the Medical Review Board (which will pretty much determine who and what is covered).

              There is some disagreement as to whether it is unconstitutional to begin with and, even if it is not, whether as a Senate rule it can be overturned by a bare majority (ironically enough, using reconciliation – because, you know, process doesn’t matter).

              The reason why they target the Board for the super majority provision is because they know that the general legislation will never be rolled back – but it could be rendered irrelevant if all the Boards recommendations were legislatively neutralized.

              The point is not whether it will hold up or not, it is that the mere willingness to engage in this chicanery bespeaks a Congress that has as much respect for the Constitution and its underlying principles and philosophy as Bernie Madoff would have for your retirement funds.

              http://volokh.com/2009/12/22/f…..-of-order/

          2. That’s unconstitutional, BTW. The current Congress can’t pass legislation that can’t be undone by successive Congresses.

    5. You’ve convinced me, process doesn’t matter.

      Military tribunals for everyone! No need for pesky Habeas corpus or miranda rights!

      1. If somebody’s violating a rule, so be it. It’s somebody’s job to decide that. If no rules are being violated, then who gives a crap? Except people who want to distract from substance in order to peddle a dishonest narrative about how Democrats are somehow doing something illegal or unconstitutional when they’re not.

        1. Okay. Tony: where in the Constitution is the authority for Congress to make a law requiring any person to buy a particular good? The authority for Congress to make laws about health insurance or health care either one at all?

          The general welfare clause doesn’t carry the weight. If it did, there would be no limitations on the federal government. That is what the Constitution was written to be: a document granting limited powers in limited areas to the national government.

          Call me a liar and dishonest and perverse and every other ad hominem you can think of; I speak the truth. Here I stand; I can do no other.

          1. The authority for that provision can be found in the Inter-state commerce clause, as health care is very much a matter of inter-state commerce. It can also be found in the taxing clause as that provision is going to be enforced via tax laws.

            1. We can thank FDR for this convenient justification for anything the government wants to do.

              If you choose to buy something across state lines it’s bound by the commerce clause. If you choose not to, it’s affecting someone else across state lines because you didn’t engage in commerce with them.

              By breathing you are subject to commerce clause justified legislation. If you eat, if you don’t eat, if you live, if you die.. the commerce clause covers it.

              1. Indeed. The commerce clause has been bastardized far beyond its original intent.

                But liberals love that. And so do far-righters, for different reasons.

            2. How do you construe my NOT BUYING INSURANCE as interstate commerce?

              1. When you, and millions others, don’t buy something it doesn’t effect relevant markets?

                1. You can’t be serious. Right now you, and millions of others, are not using software written by me; by your logic, you could not complain, were I to successfully lobby congress to require that you did.

                  I find it incredible that you are somehow able to re-cast what is clearly established as a power to regulate action where it exists, into a power to compel action, where it does not.

                  You do realize that under such an interpretation, the possibilities are, by definition, unbounded, don’t you? If all action and inaction is regulable, both in the positive and in the negative, down to the individual level, then tell me exactly which liberties the people hold inviolable, and on what grounds they are held as such?

                  1. No rebuttal, I guess. How predictable.

                2. Why not pass a law saying that you must buy a new chevy every 5 years then?

                  1. Sounds good to me.

                3. Ok, I’ll bite.

                  My decision not to buy Fannie & Freddy bonds causes the interest that homeowners must pay to be greater (because lower demand for those bonds means lower price and higher yield). My decision effects interstate commerce because the market for home loans crosses state boundaries. So, under your logic, Congress can pass a law under the Commerce Clause (as Constitutional authorization) to require all citizens to buy Fannie & Freddie mortgage bonds.

                  We could do this all day.

                  Do you really want the Commerce Clause to swallow the rest of the Constitution just for a political win?

                  1. Do you really want the Commerce Clause to swallow the rest of the Constitution just for a political win?

                    This already happened half a century ago.

                4. MNG, are you really using that argument to bolster the notion that we should be REQUIRED to buy insurance?

                  Wait… yes, you are. And you’re just as fucked in the head as you always have been, which makes me wonder why I asked the question at all.

          2. I’m not qualified to make this determination. If it’s unconstitutional, then it’s up to the courts to decide that. If the constitution forbids government enacting universal healthcare, then I say we amend the constitution so that it does. I’m not too worried about it though.

            1. On this point, I guess the question is where the right-leaning Court falls on the Commerce Clause. The Court still makes noises like the clause is not a grant of general police power. Which, of course, it never was intended to be. If the Court decides that this action is too much, it may do something like it did in Citizens United and undo years of bad precedent. It was trending that way in the 90s, after all.

              1. Pro
                I think the power for this will be grounded in the taxing provision. The current authority on that is even broader than the authority on IS commerce I think. It would be ballsy indeed for the SCOTUS to strike it down under that power.

                1. A tax to do what? The taxing power supports the federal government’s enumerated powers, it doesn’t take their place.

                  1. Iirc they plan to work it like this: you have to show you got insurance in your tax filing, with a penalty if you did not.

                    To summarize Yale law prof Jack Balkin’s argument here ” the requirement to purchase health insurance, described in both the House and Senate forms of the healthcare reform bill, is really a tax on those persons who fail to purchase health insurance. And, according to the Constitution, Congress has the power to legislate taxes that serve the general welfare. End of story.”

            2. Ah, so its above your pay grade, eh, Tony?

              1. To respond to all of you at once, who believe that there is constitutional authority for health care, I say again: the constitution was written to create a government of limited powers. If any part of the constitution justifies any and all exercise of power, then the federal government’s power is without limitation. Please re-read – or read if you haven’t – the Federalist Papers, especially the parts by Madison and Jefferson on the limits of Federal authority.

                To those of you who require a Supreme Court decision before you can decide if some political act is constitutional or not, you are abdicating your responsibility as a living human being to make your own judgements, based upon your own reason and notions of right and wrong. For shame!

                1. But I think the positions I’ve defended do have limits.

                  1. Assuming without agreeing that your position on the presence of Constitutional authority is in the power to tax: quoting MNG – “…And, according to the Constitution, Congress has the power to legislate taxes that serve the general welfare…” Both you and Jack Balkin are conflating two different constitutional provisions. One authorizes the Congress to pass tax and revenue laws to fund the proper operations of government. The other is an aspirational phase in the Preamble, “…to promote the general welfare…”. Neither of those, taken separately or together, amount to an authorization for health care or health insurance reform. (Review Article I, Section 7 and the Preamble, please.)

                    1. Absolutely wrong. The general welfare language in the preamble is not the same as the condition in Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”

                      Congress is granted the power to tax and spend so long as it is to pay debts and provie for the defense and general welfare of the nation. So it is YOU that need to read the Constitution brother.

                    2. General welfare of the United States is not the same as the general welfare of citizens.

                    3. General welfare of the United States is not the same as the general welfare of citizens.

                      So are we talking about lawncare and polishing tanks?

                    4. Beats paying people not to work.

                    5. Before this goes on much further, the whole “General Welfare” debate is so much noise. It’s well established in the law that the language does not give the government any power beyond the enumerated powers. I know there’s a bit of a meme around this, but it’s political, not legal.

                      It’s really got to be the Commerce Clause or nothing. That’s not bad for your side, as the limits on what can be done under the Commerce Clause are pretty hard to see these days. Whether this is a bridge too far is the nine-person question.

                    6. Pro
                      We are not talking about the general welfare clause in the preamble, we are talking about the general welfare language in the tax and spending clause. Two seperate things.

                      SCOTUS has ruled that the second language is a limitation on the taxing and spending power explicitly granted to Congress. But not much of a limitation since Congress decides what is in the general welfare.

                      But it still does not create limitless powers, and this is a perfect example. Even if Congress does not have the power to simply pass a law saying everyone must buy insurance it can levy a tax on those who do not to promote the general welfare. Not everything one might want could be addressed this way, so it is limited.

                    7. Jeez, MNG, don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs. I know which clause is being cited (the Preamble, by the way, has no legal meaning).

                      The logic you’re repeating has been widely rejected by legal scholars, and I believe there are court opinions rejecting it as well. If “general welfare” were meant to be a catchall, the whole rest of the Constitution would be meaningless. Why on earth do you think we spent decades arguing over the Commerce Clause’s scope if the general welfare language backdoored everything in?

                      Where the Court has ruled on this issue, it’s implied that if there’s “general welfare” as determined by Congress in areas it has the power to act in, then the tax/spending is legitimate. In other words, you have to point somewhere else to get your authority. Anything can be shoved into the idea of “general welfare.”

                    8. “General welfare” wasn’t intended to mean “we’ll pay you to sit on your ass”.

                2. The federal government was created to be strong. There have been disagreements about how strong it should be, but guess what, the stronger side keeps winning. With luck that strength can be directed toward social justice more than bombing Arabs.

                  But what’s interesting is that if government started out as weak as you claim, then its increasing scope is a failure of that scheme to achieve its ends. Which is like, duh, weak governments are easily manipulated.

                  So whether centralized government in this country started out weak or strong, it’s strong, just like every other functioning country on the planet (just less so.)

                  1. Less functional that is, not less strong.

                    1. What interests me is the idea that a strong government is perceived by the left–and those pretending to be on the left to stir the shit–as a net good. With absolutely no thought about the evil that governments, including our own, have done over the centuries.

                      It’s fine to talk about government power tending to expand–no one here is going to argue with that–but to act like it’s a good thing makes no sense. By that logic, we should’ve never separated from the UK.

                      We limited government in this country precisely because government was seen as the greatest danger to liberty and to human happiness. That fact hasn’t changed one bit, unless you want to say the situation is worse in these days where government power is even more potentially intrusive.

                    2. It’s important to remeber that to the Left, government is always good unless the wrong people are in power. Constitutional provisions and procedures are good if they impede the efforts of the wrong people, but they are lamentable affronts to “democracy” if the good people are running things. For the left, rules are to control the undesirables.

                    3. “It’s fine to talk about government power tending to expand–no one here is going to argue with that–but to act like it’s a good thing makes no sense. By that logic, we should’ve never separated from the UK.

                      We limited government in this country precisely because government was seen as the greatest danger to liberty and to human happiness. That fact hasn’t changed one bit, unless you want to say the situation is worse in these days where government power is even more potentially intrusive.”

                      +++++++++THIS!

                  2. “With luck that strength can be directed toward social justice more than bombing Arabs.”

                    That’s the problem you rely on ‘luck’ much too much.

                  3. Should there be ANY limit to the power of government, Tony? Or are you going to say “only when it comes to gay issues”?

                    Sorry, man, but government doesn’t need to be involved in gay issues OR 90% of the other shit it’s involved with. Get out of the way, and only step in when necssary – absolutely necessary – when nothing else works. THAT is how our government should act, not as a universal referee for every petty squabble known to Americankind.

                    Far-right conservatives love big government, too. It’s an evil tool in their hands, as well.

                    1. You have to remember that Tony has said on this board that he rejects the concept of the natural rights of man, so Tony does not believe that anything compels government restraint except “democracy”.

                    2. I forgot that, MJ. Thanks for the reminder.

                  4. Tony|3.19.10 @ 7:55PM|#

                    The federal government was created to be strong.

                    Are you ignorant of history, or trolling? The whole point of checks and balances and enumerated powers was to have a weak federal government. Which has subsequently been subverted by power-huggers like you.

            3. If it’s unconstitutional, then it’s up to the courts to decide that.

              That’s always struck me as a hell of a cop-out. Whenever the supreme court declares a law unconstitutional, it should be a constitutional crisis, and touch off a vigorous national debate. I’m fucking sick of the congress passing anything and everything they want, without even bothering to pretend it’s constitutional.

              -jcr

        2. They are violating the Constitution. It’s clear. If your justification is that the GOP has acted unconstitutionally I’ll stipulate this non sequitur. Because one group of bad people do somethind bad doesn’t make it ok for another group of bad people to do something bad.

          It’s called tu quoque.

          As for the substance, it’s certainly not the people against socialized medicine that are trying to distract from substance.

          The substance is exactly what the dems don’t want discussed, and so the MSM dutifully doesn’t talk about it.

    6. The filibuster is NOT corrupt. The filibuster somewhat slows down the tyranny of the majority. We need a STRONGER filibuster power to make it harder for whichever party currently is in the majority to run roughshod over everyone else.

      1. prole is of course certifiably nutso on this issue.

        So Prole, in Libertopia, how should issues like Intellectual Property laws be decided? By the 90% majorities you’ve advocated in the past (I know how to work the search thingee in the corner goofus)?

        1. MNG saying I’m “nutso” doesn’t make it so.

          I’ve advocated for up to 90% supermajorities to pass ANY legislation, and 10% superminorites to repeal ANY legislation.

          The net result of this would be very few laws get passed and stay passed. This is a GOOD thing, if you believe in limited government.

          Re: your specific question, there wouldn’t be any IP laws that 90% or more of Congress didn’t support — which means the laws passed would enjoy broad popular support and infringe on very few rights.

          1. But in practical reality that would result in a completely nonfunctional government. Government has to do things, whether you think so or not, and since democracy is a practical form of government, majorities suffice for most of the actions of governing bodies.

            1. Does it have to do so much, though?

            2. But in practical reality that would result in a completely nonfunctional government.

              Nope. Hawaii’s legislature is 90% Democratic. About HALF of the legislation passes by unanimous consent — 100% of the legislature votes in favor of those bills.

              And if you go through the Congressional record of enacted legislation, you’ll find vast quantities of legislation that passes unanimously, or nearly so. Ask Ron Paul about how many 430-1 or so votes he was on the losing side of.

          2. What a fool.

            You think this way because you think the absence of legislation is moral, because you must not think that IP violations are the equivalent of theft of property. But if a majority of people disagree with you and think it is theft, you would have that theft perpetuated on them as long as 10% of their fellow citizen disagree.

            You think you have a cute idea but you simply haven’t thought it through.

    7. If it’s allowed under the rules, what’s to complain about?

      Nothing, if your side is getting what you want. Thanks for being honest, at least.

    8. If it’s allowed under the rules, what’s to complain about?

      You’re a dense retard that eats his own shit. That’s what.

  5. 4th Amendment, Miranda, 5th Amendment, habeas corpus, 6th Amendment, takings, 14th Amendment, . . .

    Hmmmm. They all sound pretty much like process to me.

    1. WTF is this meme supposed to be?

      Those clauses provide minimum floors of process for a variety of legislative/administrative actions. Filibustering, deem and pass, etc., don’t violate those minimum floors. They are rules set by the institution in how they will make laws. The things you re talking about are rules set for the government in how they will apply/enforce laws.

      1. Filibustering, deem and pass, etc., don’t violate those minimum floors. They are rules set by the institution in how they will make laws. The things you re talking about are rules set for the government in how they will apply/enforce laws.

        The Constitution requires that a bill be passed by both houses before going to the President.

        Remember the line-item veto. It was a good idea, and yet it violated the process, as the Supreme Court ruled in Clinton v. City of New York .

        1. Has deem and pass been challenged on constitutional grounds? It’s not exactly a new rule is it?

          1. Probably because the things deem and pass have been used for in the past have been so relatively innocuous that no one wanted to take it that far. Now you have a situation where the Congressional leadership is using it to pass something highly controversial and unpopular, the stakes are higher, so someone may consider it worth the effort to challenge the practice.

        2. The same bill will be passed by both houses. No violation.

          How a particular house passes the bill is the issue, and those rules are determined within the house.

          1. How a particular house passes the bill is the issue, and those rules are determined within the house.

            Can a bill in the House be passed simply by decree of the Speaker?

          2. No, it won’t. That’s the whole point. One house will be voting on a bill that was never presented to it.

            1. Can someone succintly explain how this deem and pass thing works?

              1. As I understand it, MNG, “deem and pass” is a rule that is adopted to bring the fix-it bill to the floor, in which adopting the fix-it bill is deemed to be passage of the Senate bill.

                Meaning that the Senate bill can then go straight to Obama’s desk, no matter what.

              2. The house votes on the rules for debating a bill before voting for the bill itself. In this case they’d vote on a rule that would have the effect of passing the senate bill before they vote on the new bill.

                1. If they vote on this, which is the equivalent of passing the Senate bill, then said bill has been “presented” to the House and there should be no problem, right?

                  1. Presentment to the House is insufficient, MNG. Article One, Section 7 says that …”every bill which has been passed by …” both houses of Congress. Not deemed, but passed. These words, both when they were written and now, do not exist in a vacuum, void of context. “Passed” meant then and means now that a bill has been voted upon and agreed to in certain language by one more than 50% of the members of the House and Senate. Period. No faking, no “deeming”, no “reconciliation” – although that last is in fact a vote on a particular bill not a different bill. See, that’s what makes the Slaughter Rule unconstitutional: it fails to meet the minimum constitutional requirement of passage, namely, a vote on passing or not of some certain bill of specific language.

                    1. So the bill was voted on in the Senate and passed. Then the bill was subjected to a vote to be deemed, which everyone involved knew would mean the Senate bill would be passed.

                      So it passed both houses. No?

                    2. Or they could just take both houses’ bills to a conference committee which will produce the final version. But Republicans won’t allow that to happen because they are blocking the move with a filibuster.

                  2. “If they vote on this, which is the equivalent of passing the Senate bill, then said bill has been “presented” to the House and there should be no problem, right?”

                    Wouldn’t the Senate still need to vote on the fix-it bill? Obama would then have to sign both.

          3. Wrong as usual, Chony. The bill in question will never have been voted on in the House. It’s nakedly unconstitutional.

            1. Voting on a rule to deem a bill passed = voting to pass the bill. I personally don’t get why anyone thinks their political enemies will make the distinction when they start campaigning.

              1. They won’t make that distinction. Any Democrat who votes in favor of “deem and pass” will deserve the hit pieces they undoubtedly will get slammed with.

              2. Voting on a rule to deem a bill passed = voting to pass the bill.

                Ahem! One I allow, the other, not so much so.

  6. Come on guys, the ends justify the means! Nothing bad has ever happened by following that simple line of thought.

    1. Come on guys, the ends justify the means! Nothing bad has ever happened by following that simple line of thought.

      I am sure Adolf Hitler could attest to that.

      1. Yup. As can Joe Stalin, Saul Alinsky, and The Great Reneger aka President Obama

        1. Calling the President a reneger, even if you say He is a great reneger, shows how racist you are. Apologize now and never post to this blog again.

      2. Technically, I believe the thread was Godwinned at this point. Still, there was a very near-Godwin in the responses to the very first comment.

        1. Marc, our country is being Godwinned right now. XD It’s kinda funny, if it wasn’t so damn annoying.

  7. Checks and balances are process.

    Both houses passing bills and sending them to the president is a process.

    Elections are a process.

    Impeachment is a process.

    1. Can’t we just ‘deem’ that all members of Congress have been impeached?

      1. We citizens could just deem them not the government any more. There’s precedent for that.

        1. We should. Immediately.

  8. Those of you who are contemptuous of those of use who are focused on “process” in this matter ought to consider what process will replace our traditional political process, in the event that the Democrats succeed. It is a short step, even – or perhaps especially – in these “modern” times from ignoring procedural restraints on the exercise of political power and the “process” of taking political disputes to the streets. Examine the recent history of Zimbabwe, Chechnya – sorry I misspelled it – Ukraine, Thailand; the more historic times in Weimar Germany, pre-soviet & post-tsar Russia … do I need to go on? I’m 63 this year and if this blatantly wrong (on more than one level) perversion of the American political process is allowed to work, I won’t be dead before the armed militias of more than one political or racial or ideological groups are fighting out their political disputes in our cities. Doubt me if you will, but I’ve seen more violence than most of you and I’m much more aware how that readily that evil genie is released from its bottle, once men and women believe they have no alternative.

  9. Apologies; that should be “us” not “use” in the first sentence and the next to the last line should have only one “that” in it.

    I should add to the last sentence, “…they have no peaceful and legal alternative.”

  10. The bill should be defeated because it is a bad bill. But I don’t care much for this whiny “oh you guys are gaming the rules” shit. The rules are the rules and it is fair to use every rule in place. We can talk about changing the rules, but this “OMG I can’t believe you are going to use that rule” meme is whiny bitching imo…

    I mean, think football. This is like going “I can’t believe he has the balls to throw a challenge flag for the freaking spot!” Look, the rules allow for that and good coaches use the rules they can succesfully invoke to win games.

    1. Weren’t you the one crying about the filibuster a few days ago? Oh, there you are applauding Tony for doing the same thing in this very thread.

      1. I support ending the filibuster as an option within the rules. But I’m not appalled when any side uses the options available within the rules. That’s just playing the game.

        Subtle distinction, but pretty crucial, eh?

      2. So say that the deem and pass rule should be abolished, don’t say it’s unconstitutional or some bullcrap.

        1. Stupid. A House rule cannot be in contravention of the document that created the very organization that promulgated the rule.

          1. Do you have a point other than begging the question?

    2. Your analogy reveals your true colors as a partisan cheerleader for Team Blue. If Bush were doing this 5 years ago you would be incensed too.

      1. If Bush were trying to pass a law I opposed through some arcane but recognized procedure I would have based my opposition on the merits of that law, not bitched about the procedure…

        1. Which is what people have been trying to do, and the Democrats in Congress still ignore the accusations that it is entirely unconstitutional. Sure, the Republicans can be called the party of no, but they have still been making their case against health care on a legal basis.

    3. The bill should be defeated because it is a bad bill. But I don’t care much for this whiny “oh you guys are gaming the rules” shit.

      If it wasn’t for the rules being gamed, it would be defeated, MNG. Those of us who want the rules to be respected want an up or down vote on the Senate bill, fair and square.

      If that’s what you want, then you should be with us, not against us. The fact that you are against us makes me think you want the bill, damn the rules.

      1. “Those of us who want the rules to be respected want an up or down vote”

        Oh, so you oppose any filibuster of the bill, right? Because that prevents an “up or down vote.”

        RC, you stepped in some stinky dog doody there…

        1. Oh, so you oppose any filibuster of the bill, right? Because that prevents an “up or down vote.”

          A filibuster can be used to stop a bill.

          It can not be used to pass a bill sans a majority vote.

          1. Ooh, something stinks over here.

    4. If “the rules” that Congress sets are unconstitutional, then yes, I have a problem with it.

      My guess is that deem and pass was used in the past when the controlling party knew they had the votes (and the minority party knew they did as well), but used D&P merely to speed things along. (Otherwise, there would have been a huge stink about this long ago.)
      That’s not at all the case here.

    5. MNG you’re neglecting something important. The Constitution isn’t just another set of rules. It’s the justification for government itself. When these rules are violated the legitimacy of government is violated.

      These are the rules which the governed consents to be governed so long as the the government abides them.

      When you break these rules you break consent.

      1. Well sure, any rule that is unconstitutional should be abolished. That hasn’t been established here imo.

        But if you’re beef with deem and pass is not the constitutional thing but that there is no allowance for an up or down vote, then you must be against the filibuster too. It prevents an up or down vote.

        1. Your confused. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says when a bill must come to a vote. What is described are the steps that must be taken for a bill to become a law. The filibuster is agreed upon rules, and as it makes legislation hard to pass it’s a good thing in general. Legislation to repeal other legislation is much less likely to be proposed, so overall the effect is to slow the expansion of government. Which is, I know, why you hate it.

    6. “The rules are the rules and it is fair to use every rule in place.”

      I agree. Politics is messy. Fortunately, Obama is no LBJ.

  11. The problem is that Article I requires both houses to vote to pass the bill presented to each house. In this case, the House never votes on the Senate bill.

    In the case rejecting the line-item veto, similar logic was used to strike down something we frankly could use at the federal level.

    The one hope for you if this is challenged is that the Court will punt and decide the case isn’t justiciable. I wouldn’t bank on it. And if this becomes a big fight before the Court, it could become an unparalleled disaster for the Democrats.

    None of these games would be necessary if this were a popular bill. Everyone here is well aware of that. So is everyone in Washington.

  12. The Presentment issue is an interesting one. I just think what Tony said about it upthread makes as much, but not more, than what Pro just said. It could go either way imo.

    I could care less in some ways. I hope the bill does not pass in any way because it will be bad for me. On the other hand, conservatives will howl like forlorn wolves for weeks and that will be enjoyable…

    1. What a pathetic admission on your part.

  13. What I find incomprehensible is that the Dems have to know that they are defining themselves as “the dishonest party” and don’t seem to care. Everyone is paying attention right now and this won’t be forgotten for several election cycles.

    One good thing that could come of this is that by 2013, the Republicans can “deem and repeal” this mess.

    1. You know, everyone here is flinging feces at the Dems for using this “tricky, dishonest” procedure.

      I’m going to use a meme that has been thrown at liberals quite a bit lately: how many of you people were freaking out when Bush’s tax cuts were “dishonestly” passed via reconciliation?

      So you don’t really give one whit about procedure, you just don’t like the substance of the bill. Well, neither do I. But bitching because the Dems are using every rule they can is a severe case of vagina-ism…

      1. The difference is that both parties have used the procedure for budget bills, and both parties have more or less accepted it. Which meant no challenges in court. Now, of course, the situation is different. I wouldn’t be surprised the see the Court strike down the whole process.

        1. But Pro this just means you think the deem and pass provision to be currently and always wrong. But how can you bitch that the Dems use of this, at this point, recognized procedure is somehow wrong? It’s the rule you think was wrong, not the Dems reliance on it in this occasion.

          1. Well, I don’t like the rule as a general matter, but no one has ever attempted to use it (I should hedge that with ever seriously attempted–no telling for sure) to enact this kind of legislation. The GOP could’ve done some serious damage if it had used this process to overcome Democratic opposition.

            If this process is allowed here, we could go to war this way, too, I suppose.

            1. “to enact this kind of legislation”

              Again, so it’s the substance of the bill you find troublesome.

              1. It’s the magnitude of the bill. The deem and pass was one of those “gentlemen’s agreements” to save time (Why bother wasting time on a bill when you know you already have the votes?). The Dems have just broken that gentlemens agreement.

                1. It’s been a long time since there were gentlemens’ agreements between the parties. One party is far more to blame for that than the other.

                  1. I think I’d be careful with that remark, Tony. The Democrats controlled Congress for quite a while until the 80s. A lot of the things you may find objectionable originated under their control.

                  2. Who, the Dems?

                  3. No, they’re equally to blame. Quit being blatantly partisan with your historical revisionism, Tony.

                    Both. Parties. Suck. Equally.

                    Write that on a sticky-note and slap it on your bathroom mirror, your computer, wherever. Just remember to read it every day until it sinks in.

                    1. TLG,

                      It would be an amazing coincidence if both parties sucked equally. They do believe in completely different things, after all.

                      Perhaps you’re oversimplifying things because, well, you like thinks simple?

                    2. No, Tony, I stand here looking at two parties that suck equally. If I were biased in one direction or another – far-left or far-right – I couldn’t make that observation without bias.

                      What’s your excuse?

                    3. “They do believe in completely different things, after all.”

                      Not really. Both extremes seek to control the populace; their endgame goals may be different, but the process is similar.

                    4. True, and both sides justify their actions as being “for the public good”.

              2. Well, sure. Before, it was allowed by both sides for bills that were basically a given. That’s not the case here. Understand, the process was arguably illegal in the first place, only the parties most appropriate to challenging it were in on the fix.

                This is an entirely different matter, as the Democrats most assuredly don’t have all of the votes they need.

                1. Well, sure. Before, it was allowed by both sides for bills that were basically a given. That’s not the case here. Understand, the process was arguably illegal in the first place, only the parties most appropriate to challenging it were in on the fix.

                  And even then, deem and pass was never considered for the Patriot Act.

      2. Wrong. I was protesting to my Congresscritters and Senators loud and often, pointing out, among other things, precisely the Macbethean nature of their acts. (Don’t get the reference? “This even-handed justice commends the ingredients of the poisoned chalice unto our own lips.”)

  14. Everyone is paying attention right now and this won’t be forgotten for several election cycles.

    I wish I had your faith in the fickle nature of voters.

    1. Normally, I would agree about the fickle voters, but in this case, the Dems are like a couple dancing in the spotlight who’ve decided to break into some quick ass-to-mouth sex. It’s not something you forget easily.

    2. Personally, I think Dems are thinking they will pay a price this November, but after a couple of election cycles, things will be back to normal with the exception that this bill will have been passed. I’m not sure I disagree. More moderate democrats will have been sacrificed (politically speaking) by the more left-leaning faction. If Reps ever get their act together, they could become the consistent majority, but I doubt that will happen.

    3. I wish I had your faith in the fickle nature of voters.

      Let them sit in a waiting room for a few days. Weeks. Months. Then see how fickle they are.

  15. Obama answered no questions on the Fox interview. I hate to say it but he is full of shit. This pork-laden, bloated bill is not “reform”. It’s the same old, same old. Where’s tort reform? Where’s interstate insurance competition?

  16. Why are libertarians so giddy over tort reform? Many times on this site when I’ve argued with people over whether regulations are appropriate they have insisted that the tort system was better suited and more fair than regulation. So the tort system is great in that argument, but should be neutered in this argument? WTF?

    Many things can be included under the name “tort reform.” I can go along with certain changes like loser pays and certain tweaking of the burdens of proof. But the limitations on damages strikes me as a very “unlibertarian” thing. I buy that libertarians have a focus on individual responsibility. If so then if a person through their negligence/recklessness harms another person they should be held fully responsible/accountable. “Capping” the extent of their responsibility for their actions strikes me as outrageous.

    1. I’d like to see punitive damages go to someone other than the attorneys and the plaintiffs. The point of punitives is to punish, not to reward those harmed, or those trying to make a billion on that one big case. The fact that there are billionaire plaintiffs’ attorneys from things like tobacco is disgusting.

      1. You, the libertarian, are appalled at someone profiting from their hard and innovative work in vindicating the rights of others from the negligence/recklessness of other parties? WTF?

        1. “in vindicating the rights of others from the negligence/recklessness of other parties? WTF?”

          If I willingly drop a 100 pound anvil on my own foot, thereby breaking it, and get a large award from the anvil company for “pain and suffering” can you honestly say that my “rights have been vindicated”? Could you honestly say that the anvil company was negligent or reckless?

          1. Is there such a case? Or are you full of shit here? Even the extreme right goofballs aren’t talking about destroying the idea of negligence, which is simply not triggered in your example Mr. Right Wing Tool.

            1. HEY GUYS WHAT’S GOIN’ ON

              1. Hey, Epi… oh, not much. MNG is being his usual tool self.

                How’s by you?

            2. I believe he was using an analogy with the tobacco comanies and smoking. What do we need to draw you a picture?

              1. NAL is correct. That is exactly what I was doing. Anybody who started smoking cigarettes before it became well established that it is less than healthy is probably already dead or nearly so.

            3. Equally stupid product liability lawsuits happen all the time: people fall off of a perfectly good ladder and win a lawsuit against the company that made the ladder.

            4. Every cup of coffee kind of reminds me of this exact thing. The coffee wasn’t negligent. The worker wasn’t negligent. The restaurant wasn’t negligent. And what happened?

              All because some dipshit decided to stick her hot coffee between her legs and spilled.

        2. Oh, after 35 + years in the legal field – paralegal, court reporter and lawyer – I had to laugh. They are manipulative, rent-seeking, crooked, ambulance-chasers. I know, believe you me. Noble entrepreneurs indeed! Hard and innovative work? Yes, in choosing the correct judge for their cases to fall in for trial and changing jurisdictions on any shred of fact to get trial in an easy jurisdiction.

          1. You don’t think the work that lawyers do is work? Interesting. What other professions who can get people to voluntarily pay them for their services are not “really” doing work in your opinion?

            1. Any profession which is using the legal system to rent seek. Yes, rent seeking is financially rewarding and people will voluntarily pay to get someone to do it for them, especially when there is no risk involved with doing so.

              So, summing up, one can be for “tort reform” on the basis that the current rules (laws) make the risk/reward ratio entirely too low. I’m sure there are professions that you’d oppose on similar grounds…

        3. Of course I am. I’m not against attorneys getting paid for their work, of course. I’m not even opposed to contingency fees. I’m opposed to punitive damages going to plaintiffs and their attorneys. Remember, the punitive part is generally for the benefit of society at large, not the party harmed (which is made whole through other types of damages).

          The one thing I know is that I don’t want the government getting the money.

        4. Of course, the lawyers are entitled to payment for representing their clients — from their clients. But since their clients shouldn’t be receiving punitive damages in the first place, lawyers shouldn’t be getting a share of them. The purpose of pursuing punitive damages is in seeing justice exacted on the offender, not material gain. When plaintiffs are allowed to receive punitive damages for themselves (even though the “damage” was really done to society or baby jesus or whatever nebulous concept suffers when people choose to be bastards) they have a strong incentive to pursue punitive damages even in cases when they don’t feel any strong personal animosity or craving for punishment of the offender.

          Punitive damages should go to some party which would have a difficult time influencing the trial process. Where possible, loss of IP would be a great method of exacting punitive damages, since the benefit goes to society as a whole, rather someone in particular.

          1. The punitive part may be for society but the incentive to have our “private attorneys general” police in this area is that they will get paid. Surely libertarians who, I will concede here, understand the importance of incentives and privatizied solutions to public problems better than liberals, should see the value here.

    2. Why are libertarians so giddy over tort reform?

      Ask my wife, who spent five fucking years and whose insurer spent six figures defending against a bullshit lawsuit that was dismissed after 20 minutes of deliberation from the jury.

      1. I do support loser pays rules.

        1. Frankly, I’m not sure that I do. It’s well nigh impossible to take on a wealthy defendant in loser pays. That’s why I prefer a reform that deals with how punitive damages are allocated. In most cases with high punitives, there are plenty of other damages to go around. I suppose I’d be okay with attorneys getting some portion of the punitives with a cap if the compensatories were low, but that’s about it.

    3. I’m glad to see you support loser pays, which alone puts you at odds with the Democratic party line and the trial lawyers (but I repeat myself).

      As for limitations on damages, aren’t they analogous to sentencing limits? We set statutory limits so that the first-time shoplifter doesn’t get 20 years in prison. So why not set limits so that some bleeding-heart jury doesn’t award $1 billion in damages because Billy Bob lost half a little toe?

      1. If billy bob lost his toe because of the irresponsibility of another person that person should have to pay whatever amount he deserves to pay. It’s amazing watching libertarians defend irresponsibility and the violation of others rights to their person and property! you guys are being sold here by the funders of libertarian think tanks. Libertarianism should have little to do with capping damages…

        1. As far as punitive damages go, they have nothing at all to do with the plaintiff. They’re used to discourage similar behavior against others and are, by definition, a punishment. The closest analogy to punitive damages are criminal penalties. In that case, the money usually goes to the state. That would be a bad place to send punitive damages, because then the government would have an incentive to increase awards, make it easier to find liability, etc.

        2. You are evading the issue. I’m not defending “irresponsibility and the violation of others rights” any more than sentencing limits defend crime. The point of damage caps is to make sure damages are not more than the guilty party “deserves to pay.” Unless you believe there can be no such thing as excessive damages.

    4. Why are libertarians so giddy over tort reform?

      For the same reason they are giddy over criminal justice reform.

  17. Ironic that in an article about “The Process Does Matter”, they split it in two pages with just a sentence or so on the second page, just to artificially crank up the page hit count.

  18. The filibuster is totally relevant to this. If the Senate would have a majority rule vote on going to conference committee, none of this would be necessary.

    1. If both chambers had 70% supermajority rules to pass legislation, none of this would be necessary either.

      See how that works, Tony?

      1. But you can hardly bitch about the Democrats’ abuse of the rules when the only reason they have to do it this way is because the Republicans are abusing the rules in a much bigger way.

        1. How are the Republicans abusing the rules or the Constitution here?

          But, nice try at moral equivalence.

          1. I’m not making an equivalence. I’m saying the Republicans abusing the filibuster is a far bigger deal than Democrats doing deem and pass.

            Normally legislation goes to conference at this point. They’re not letting that happen. They’re filibustering a motion to move a bill to a committee. You think that procedure should require a supermajority?

            1. You think that procedure should require a supermajority?

              The Republicans aren’t abusing the filibuster power. You saying they are doesn’t make it so.

              And, seeing as how I’m on record as advocating for 90% supermajorities for passing bills, you should be able to infer how I would feel about filibustering a motion to move a bill to committee with only 60% of votes needed to end the filibuster.

              I’m for Democrats filibustering when they go into the minority in the near future, BTW. If only they’d used that power to stop the Iraq war, PATRIOT act, funding for Gitmo, etc.

              1. Yea prole, the GOP is not abusing the filibuster in using it an unprecedented number of times, but the Dems using the deem and pass rule once, that’s abuse.

                Nice perspective you have there my right wing friend.

                1. One might garner some perspective if one realized what this “one-time use” of the rule meant, and the enormity of its use.

                  That is, if one were introspective and smart – but we cannot count on MNG for such things, there are partisan battles to win!

                2. The number of times the GOP has used a filibuster is irrelevant to whether or not it’s right to use it this time. And it certainly is right this time: to stop a huge, stupid, freedom-destroying, bankrupting bill.

                  And the fact that the Dems are considering using deem and pass “once” is irrelevant to whether it’s right to use it this time. And it certainly is wrong this time, because it’s never before been used to pass a hugely-consequential bill along partisan lines.

        2. Tony, did you hear that they are remaking Cronenberg’s The Brood? Fucking Breck Eisner, the tool who remade Romero’s The Crazies, is directing. So what these means is that (Disney) Michael Eisner’s son has decided to start remaking classics by some of the best horror directors out there.

          URGE TO KILL RISING

          You agree, right?

          1. If a remake sucks that doesn’t diminish the original, and it will be forgotten before the original. Horror’s been pretty hit and miss over its history anyway.

            1. Did The Wicker Man diminish the original? I think it did merely because many people didn’t know about the original, saw the horrible remake, and if told there was an original, would assume that it was similar and sucked.

              NOT THE BEES

              1. Nice bear punch.

          2. I prefer the Beat Farmers version of “Lucille”. Fuck Kenny Rogers.

            1. You obviously haven’t seen Will Sasso do his Kenny Rogers impression.

              1. I have, and it’s a blast.

                It’s Kenny’s music I can’t stand.

                1. What about his chicken? KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS

  19. Just wait till some obese, fat-ass, fried twinkie eating, salt licking, Sam’s Choice Soda drinking, wal-mart scooter riding, poor soul tries to get treated for their blocked arteries and diabetes under the government plan and gets denied by some low-life government loan-owing, part time medical assistant for being politically and socially incorrect and just plain nasty.

    Then people will realize the truth about their so-called guaranteed free government healthcare.

    1. I bet you’re a hoot at parties.

    2. He would be at mine. Bring Kahlua if you’re invited.

  20. Anyone want the last two hours of their lives back yet?

    1. The battery on my laptop is dying!! Everything’s been said anyway. 2 cents: Congress sucks at being this; This bill sucks. It would be cool to live in 1800 with super cool electronic shit. Nighty night.

      1. “being this”? How about either “being good” or “this”. Damn I suck.

  21. Here’s a simple solution:

    1. Republicans take over the House and perhaps the Senate in 2010, voted in by a populace enraged that they’ve been shackled to this abomination of a healthcare law.

    2. Republicans than attach a rider to each and every bill moving through Congress that “deems” every letter of Obamacare to have been repealed.

    3. Obama signs into law one of said bills, say one funding Social Security.

    We’re back to square one.

  22. Americans are the biggest Suckers: http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=22629

    Then we will have November:
    http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=22595

  23. Student loans inserted into Healthcare:
    http://sweetness-light.com/arc…..nciliation

  24. Health care brings all the MNGs and Tonys to the yard.

    1. Health care brings all the MNGs and Tonys to the yard full ‘tard.

      Fixed.

  25. Why keep the Constitution if it’s just going to keep getting in the way of the Progressive agenda? What a PAIN!

  26. I’ve been a Liberal. I’ve been a Conservative. Hunter Thompson was a partisan hack, but he WAS right about one thing: This nation is doomed!!

  27. As a former Democrap…

    I think that both parties are racist, petty, group-thinking-infested, Socialistic clap traps. There’s no where to go. So I’m goin’ get wasted with my country heroes.

  28. Of course process matters, you dolts. We fought a war over process, I believe in 1776. I heard it didn’t end pleasantly for the ‘process-don’t-matter’ crowd.

  29. The Constitution gives congress the right to set up its own procedures to the end of legislating.

    Does it also say in the Constitution that when Democrats legislate, they use gimmicks but when Republicans use those very “gimmicks” they’re just passing landmark legislation?

    Reason!

    Now go beg your HMO for a return on that health insurance policy. I’m sure he won’t drop you now that you’ve got cancer.

    1. Republicans suck too.

      Health insurance is a good purchased by those who both can afford it and want it. There are plenty of ways to make it more affordable that have been discussed ad nauseum here and everywhere. The notion that I, you, or anyone else is responsible for a lack of insurance or the inability to pay for services rendered is altruistic, but best left to voluntary donors to effective charities designed to serve such needs.

      A huge step towards a socialist state is this bill’s goal. Worse, if you listen to the words that come out of progressive’s mouths, it is quite clear they want the government to be the only option for health care and the bill (sans a state sponsored bank in Idaho) will provide the government the distinction of being the only entity able to dish out student loans. Hope you enjoy being owned, I won’t.

    2. Forgot to add…REASON!

      1. Its not Idaho, its North Dakota. More obvious vote buying.

  30. I’ve had a lot of luck, but it’s all been bad! Last one out of this Socialist cesspool is a rotten egg.

  31. I pledge allegiance,
    to the faceless bureaucracy,
    of the Unionized Employees Union
    and to my government goodies
    for which they stand
    one giant entitled existence
    until we run out of other people’s money
    amen
    play ball.

    1. Sorry, but it blocked me from inserting the Greek letter because “Your comment does not appear to be written in an English script. Please comment in English.”

      +3.
      14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510
      58209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679
      82148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128
      48111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196
      44288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091
      45648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273
      72458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436
      78925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116094
      33057270365759591953092186117381932611793105118548
      07446237996274956735188575272489122793818301194912
      98336733624406566430860213949463952247371907021798
      60943702770539217176293176752384674818467669405132
      00056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872
      14684409012249534301465495853710507922796892589235
      42019956112129021960864034418159813629774771309960
      51870721134999999837297804995105973173281609631859

      1. Your lack of precision disgusts me.

      2. If you to say ?, just type ampersand pi semicolon. Exactly why you want to say it is what I’m wondering.

        1. exp(i?) =-1

  32. ‘What did you do for me and my family to make my life more secure and better and greater quality?’

    Who gives a fuck, Steny? That is NOT the job of government.

  33. Time to lock up the Republicants and feed them to the flee-bitten mangy mutts(Democrats). We have officially entered a Constitutional crisis and I haven’t even finished my egg drop soup.

  34. Too much Sangria wine tonight, gentlemen. Texas Hill Country on a Friday night can be a dangerous proposition when your country is a Constitutional crisis because some old bag of a woman from NY wants to pass her stupid 2000 pg Bill of Tyranny through the Congresses of a once proud, free, and plain speaking people with weapons and hot women. Now we’ve got ugly lesbos lecturing us on the TV and way too many innocent people rotting in the jails. It was only a matter of time before the 1960s caught up to us.

  35. I liked Obama, man I did. But he’s getting schooled by some Boehner from Ohio on a regular basis. It’s an embarrassment. I’ve never had much use for a Constitution that says I’m only 3/5ths a person. You feel me, Libertarians?

    1. It doesn’t say that anymore, Token. Get over it.

      1. Of course, that was actually a way to weaken the power of slave states.

        1. Slavery hasn’t existed for many, many decades. FIFY was right – getting over it is good advice.

          And it ain’t gonna happen again, by the way. Not that the Farrakhans will listen, but them’s the facts.

          1. Get over slavery? Ain’t going to happen. I have no use for bondage of any kind, which is precisely the reason I left the Democrat party in the rear-view windshield. I’ve been seeing this new-age Libertarian chick with red hair and a hot temper. She’s going to turn me into the next Clarence Thomas. But I won’t vote for the Glenn Beck, Sean ‘Nanny Nanny Boobie’ party, ever.

            1. “I’ve been seeing this new-age Libertarian chick with red hair and a hot temper.”

              No use for bondage? You sure?

            2. Red hair and a hot temper? Isn’t that redundant?

              1. I have this semi-recurring nightmare of Kathy Griffin chaining me to the basement radiator and making me her man-bitch.

                1. I have this semi-recurring nightmare of The Libertarian Guy wanting me to chain him to the basement radiator and…

                  1. No, it’s not a reciprocal nightmare. Miz Griffin would enjoy me as a sex slave; I, however, would not.

                    1. may or may not enjoy you my dear TLG but I assure you, that we all know you would enjoy us.

            3. “But I won’t vote for the Glenn Beck, Sean ‘Nanny Nanny Boobie’ party, ever.”

              Glenn Beck does not have a political party. He has had scathing things to say about both the Demosocialist party AND the Republisocialist party.

          2. Yes, slavery has not existed for a while. But it existed in this nation for longer than it didn’t exist. The US has existed as a slave state for more years than it has existed as a non slave state. And if you throw in Jim Crow then wow, only for about 50 years out of hundreds (gotta count the colonial period) has this nation not been in a state of taking an active dump on blacks via government force and fraud. Do you really think that doesn’t produce any effects which might still linger and effect things today? WTF?

            1. Who said anything about not having lingering effects? What I saw was the perfectly reasonable POV that it is silly to disregard an entire document for one flaw that was repealed almost a sesquecentury ago.

            2. The US has existed as a slave state for more years than it has existed as a non slave state.

              No, do the math dumb fuck.

        2. That is a good point, but you still shouldn’t expect any black person to be like yay, Constitution!

          It’s hard to have reverence for a document that explictly stated that you and your kind count for 3/5 of a human being…

          1. Is there any point in reveling in ancient ignorance?

            But it existed in this nation for longer than it didn’t exist.

            Being generous, this nation existed for 94 years (if you count the birthday of the nation as July 4th, 1776). 1865-2010 is 145 years, so try again.

            1. I had the same reaction–it’s not even close.

              Whatever we oppressors have done to blacks, women, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, et al., we’re also the same people who lifted the boot off of their necks.

              Without the U.S. recognizing the rights of individuals, as reflected in our Constitution, the huge changes of the last 234 years might not have happened, certainly not as rapidly. A lot of people like to forget how much our commitment to liberty affected the rest of the world, too. Slavery and other forms of oppression are millennia old, yet they’re mostly gone now.

              Attacking the Constitution because we had slavery at the time is pretty sad. If you want to pose as a black and suggest that they hate the Constitution because of that, well, I think The Art might have some words for you. It’s pretty insulting and condescending to think that most blacks don’t share the American love of liberty and respect for at least some idea of limited government.

          2. “It’s hard to have reverence for a document that explictly stated that you and your kind count for 3/5 of a human being…”

            As an anarcho-capitalist I do not use the Constitution qua the Constitution to support my arguments. Two of my favorite individualist-anarchist heroes, Henry David Thoreau and Lysander Spooner, were both strongly involved in the fight to END slavery in the United States.

          3. Stated. Note the past tense.

            We haven’t counted blacks as 3/5-person in HOW long, now?

          4. “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

            Where does it explicitly state blacks account for 3/5 of a person? The language used does not even outright say “slaves” except for the euphemism “other persons”.

            Yes, the 3/5ths rule was an ugly moral compromise at the time, but abolishing slavery was not an option at the time the Constitution was written. Conflating that compromise to beyond what it actually meant just dishonestly stirs up racial animosity to no good purpose.

    2. I’m the ranking black guy here. Stand down.

    3. You are a slave, TBG? Because, you realize, the 3/5s thing only applied to slaves, not to black people in general, right?

  36. Take for example when you try to go to the movies these days… you know, they try to sell you this jumbo drink, 8 extra ounces of watered-down cherry coke for an extra 25 cents. I don’t want it. I don’t want that much organization in my life. I don’t want other people thinking for me. I want Junior Mints. Where’d the Junior Mints go in the movies? I don’t want a 12 lb Nestle Crunch for $25 dollars. I want Junior Mints. I’m mad as hell and I don’t want to take it anymore!

  37. Louise Slaughter, you are a disgrace to whores everywhere. You cheapen public service every day your cellulite-ridden derriere assaults a chair in the halls of Congress. I do not hate, nor do I wish ill will. I wish you could spend some time at Arlington Cemetery to reflect on what all those brave men died for. Pssst… it wasn’t for government freebies dolled out by blue-haired trailer-trash-o-crats like you! NY, ditch the zero and get with the hero.

    1. Slaughter is also a whore for the Fairness Doctrine:

      http://www.votelouise.com/about/10/about-louise

      For more than a decade Louise has been a vocal advocate of accountability in the media, striving to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, which requires broadcasters to provide balanced, truthful coverage on important local and political issues. In early 2005, she authored the Fairness and Accountability in Broadcasting Act, or FAB Act, which would reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in an attempt to restore integrity and balance to the media.

      On that, alone, she is unqualified to serve in government.

      1. I think the Fairness Doctrine to be pretty silly, but if you buy the idea that the public owns the airwaves, which is not so silly actually, it’s not a crazy idea that the public, or its representatives, can make all kinds of conditions for the use of their airwaves…

        1. if you buy the idea that the public owns the airwaves, which is not so silly actually

          I do not buy it, and yes, it is a silly idea. I mean, what is unique about airwaves that they should not be subject to routine private property rules like everything else? The radio turns off, you know.

          1. “I mean, what is unique about airwaves that they should not be subject to routine private property rules like everything else?”

            Guess what? Not everything under the sun is private property. Airwaves are owned by the public in exactly the same sense the TCP/IP technology you use to post your dribble and that I use to read and ridicule it is *not* private property. It was paid for by tax money, it was released into the wild by the government, and we have an Internet as a result, not a BBNNet or DECNet or IBMNet.

            Kindly join the rest of us in the world in which you live.

        2. “but if you buy the idea that the public owns the airwaves, which is not so silly actually,”

          Yes, it is. Unless you think I can sell my percentage of them.

        3. With everything going digital, the scarce resources argument makes almost no sense at all. That’s right now. So the justification for FCC regulation of content is nil. Wouldn’t go before the Court with a Pacifica style case now, that’s for sure.

        4. When government gets its mitts on portioning out political dialogue, we are fucked.

          Period.

        5. “…but if you buy the idea that the public owns the airwaves, which is not so silly actually,…”

          It shows how far into the weeds you can get when you start with bad premises.

  38. Think it’s bad now? The Slaughter Rule will be forgotten in a couple days time. Wait until the Democrats start a mandatory organ harvesting program. “You have a right to that a cadaver pelvis”! Sick? Vulgar? Insane? Are you paying attention?

  39. The actions of the Dems and GOP on this issue are yet more reason to abandon the oligarchy and begin the process of pulling them down. After 34 years as an active Republican I left them, just as they left their principles. The Whig Party is back, and we will fight them.

  40. This is what it is all about, is it not?

  41. So what have we learned today?

  42. We’ve learned that MNG will post as twenty different people when the rest of us have gone to bed ?

  43. SCOTUS has ruled that the second language is a limitation on the taxing and spending power explicitly granted to Congress. But not much of a limitation since Congress decides what is in the general welfare

    And there’s the rub. Congress gets to decide what “welfare” is. How convenient!

    1. Anyone with a third-grade reading comprehension should be able to understand what the general welfare language means; specifically, that actions undertaken by the congress, under the enumerated powers granted by the constitution, must be able to be construed as being for the general welfare, as opposed to being specifically targeted toward the exclusive benefit of any particular group. That is, what it defines is a limitation on the exercise of existing powers, not the establishment of a different, separate power, in and of itself.

      1. No, “general welfare” has been bastardized for decades now, to mean “whatever the hell we want it to mean”.

        It’s how Democrats have gotten into office for those same decades – promise the people free money, food and shelter, resulting in a loyal voter base.

        1. Politicians doing what their constituents want, rather than being a slave to a stupid antigovernment ideology? Treason!!!

          1. And what, pray tell, might the constituents ask for, that their representatives should not accommodate? People can also want their country arbitrarily going to war, arbitrarily restricting what their fellow citizens are allowed to do with their own bodies, and so on. So where do you draw the line, and on what grounds?

            1. Here is what Madison, one of the chief architects of the Constitution, had to say about the meaning of the general welfare clause (notice Madison’s warnings here – I would say that he spinning in his grave so fast that he is opening up a dimensional vortex:

              “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare,
              and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare,
              they may take the care of religion into their own hands;
              they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish
              and pay them out of their public treasury;
              they may take into their own hands the education of children,
              establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union;
              they may assume the provision of the poor;
              they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads;
              in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation
              down to the most minute object of police,
              would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power
              of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for,
              it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature
              of the limited Government established by the people of America.”

              1. If the general welfare clause (and also the commerce clause) were not read in the manner suggested by Madison, then what were the enumerated powers – a subset of examples from an unlimited federal power? I just don’t think that the contractual drafting skills of the founding fathers were that piss poor

      2. “Anyone with a third-grade reading comprehension should be able to understand what the general welfare language means”

        I am not going to sit here and let you denigrate third graders by insinuating that they have merely equal reading comprehension skill to that of libertarians.

        For one thing, third graders have no trouble comprehending the concept of shared resources.

  44. Regardless, the enlargement of the Commerce Clause powers from economic activity to economic inactivity is without precedent. This is fact.

    1. +10

      And, I might add, the death rattle of any remaining Constitutional limitations on the State.

  45. So what have we learned today?

    Threaded comments suck; next question/

  46. Let’s concede that Democrats are correct in calling out duplicitous and hypocritical GOPers. Does dredging up instances of Republican chicanery now validate the use of your own scams to pass “the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act” (the president’s own characterization)?

    They were wrong then, you’re wrong now. But don’t worry, they’ll be wrong again in about 10 months by a pretty decent majority the way you guys are doing this.

    By the way, I can at least understand the basic idea of reconciliation, but what possible legitimate purpose does “deem and pass” have for existing?

  47. The Democratic leadership must really want this health care reform, since they’re sacrificing their control of the government to get it.

    Oh well, the Republicans sacrificed their control of the government just to step up the war on Terra….

  48. I find fascinating that the left wingers on this site, MNG in particular, assume that if you really believ in a piece of legislation, that as a matter of course you would work to corrupt the rules if the rules proved an impediment to getting what you want. At the heart of this, is the ends justify the means and everyone, deep down, is just as corrupt and furthermore should be.

    If you cannot get your law passed without breaking the rules, then the rules must be what’s broken.

    1. MJ — the so-called ‘law’ is a joke. Arguing against the machinations of a legal system using logic established by that very same legal system can be nothing but an exercise in circular reasoning. Yelling ‘unconstitutional’ is an exercise in futility; other, more corrupt countries have also had constitutions — did that make them just?

      A true Law neither requires nor obeys any legislator; it is inexorable, and even so long as it remains unrecognized by the minds of men, is entirely self-effecting and unalterable.

      1. What in the bloody hell are going on about?

        1. Obviously, your implication that the rules have any inherent basis. They’re just the baseball bat that each side takes turns beating the other one with.

          1. Postmodern nonsense. It does not matter if the rules governing a process are self-evident or not. Following the established rules of the process does not guarantee a just result, but ignoring them when they are inconvenient to your desired outcome suggests a disinterest in a just result from the start.

            1. Be as dismissive as you like; I would not take issue if the rules in question were not governing a process which in turn intends to govern me. As that is the case though, I consider their basis, or lack thereof, to be a rather serious subject.

  49. Dems are not doing “deem and pass.” Constitutional crisis averted.

    1. Just think of all the energy you wasted defending what even Pelosi decided was a bad idea!

  50. WTF is wrong with Reason that on the day of this historic anti-Libertarian power grab they have one esoteric article that blandly discusses “process” followed by comments including some (i’m guessing) self identifying Libertarians pining for massively more government and then trying to defend it. I just don’t get how this jibes with Libertarian philosophy one bit. Sadly I see a bunch of eggheads in a pawn pissing match over process while the King O and Queen Nancy are stealing the board. And regarding the GOP? Live in the now. They are the only ones along with the tea party people that are trying to stop this travesty. I mean what was the point of Scott Brown if we are going to let this type of make the rules up as we go nonsense go on. Sometimes when I come here and read the comments it’s like watching the violin players on the Titanic. Very frustrating indeed.

    1. Three cheers for doctor_k’s comments.
      The establishment media cheerleaders are out and about, like children at a high school football game, waving for their superstar.
      They relish this so-called “historic vote.” The media pond scum like Matthews, Maddow, the shills on CNN and CBS and the token shills on FOX, chase the game. Who won today, Red or Blue?
      Who will smile after the day is over, as we all stuff our faces at Old Ebbitts, and toast the day, slapping each other’s back amidst the buzz of the martinis?
      “Rah, rah,” it continues?
      And Reason? Oh, they are discussing the twists and warped turns in the procedural mess.
      ‘scuse me?!!! This bill is unconstitutional on its face! The country was founded on the concept of negative rights. To require a citizen to purchase a damn thing, is an astonishing, mind boggling shock to the senses. And to think these pigs walking the halls of the Capitol are mostly lawyers.
      How did it come to all this?
      As the poster wrote above, we are discussing the musical selection as the ship is flooded with sea water.
      This is a dreadful day, as the votes will surely be garnered by the arrogant power-hungry screw-the-constitution Pelosi and Obama. (And for all you slaves out there, pointing at the “other guys,” not to worry, the Repubs do the same.)
      A dreadful day. Dreadful.
      And Reason’s headline is about a process gone awry.
      Just great? pffft?

    2. “Very frustrating indeed.”

      THANK GOD. For thirty years we worshipped at the altar of the free market. For thirty years the middle class was hollowed out, jobs shipped to pacific rim sweatshops. For thirty years the GOP and corporate Dems captured and dismantled the regulatory apparatus of state. That whole time, economic libertarians clapped like trained seals from their think tanks and isolated backwater enclaves, pretending they were philosophically marginalized when the whole time their wettest dreams were being indulged.

      Today, pendulum has reached its extreme. Free-market fundamentalism is finally and forever discredited. Corporate economic terrorism is again a sin. Thirty years of massive tax breaks, deregulation, and corporate welfare have starved the people, degraded the infrastructure and tilted the economy into the pockets of the already-wealthy and powerful. No further.

      Today is the first bloody nose dealt in thirty years to ANY industry, let alone one so parasitic and detestable as health insurance. It won’t be the last. There are thirty years to make up for.

      Today is a great day for every American. For the self-absorbed turds who claim the name but never the social responsibility, not so much.

      Too fucking bad. Welcome to our country.

      1. How was there a free market if you insinuate there has been thirty years of corporate welfare?
        I thought your post was satirical, until I read above your slave-mentality mindset.
        Your post belies a sad and misguided assumption of history. You contradict yourself multiple times by attacking free market principles with statist attributes.
        Industries across the board are regulated to a far greater extent than they were thirty years ago. Step back and take a breath. Conduct the research. Avoid the cliches and selective identification of those statutes and laws that were eliminated (alas, only to be replaced by more draconian rule-sets created to protect the elite for whom you innocently support. The net result was more regulation, not less.) There is more economic intrusion in the affairs of women and men than ever before.
        The pendulum has swung back? Good God, what the hell are you talking about? The pendulum is pushed ever farther toward economic control, never swinging back once in the past two centuries.
        And you welcome it.
        Oh, my.
        The extremities of the Brave New World are not imminent. But the psychology is already at critical mass — it was never to be a totalitarian 1984-ish smash. Rather, it is a citizenry of sheep who want to be led, and who bow down to their gods, both left and right.
        You post ignorantly as you don’t understand what libertarianism is.
        Pity.

        1. The greatest irony is that you couldn’t trust a libertarian to define market terms as far as you could throw him. This is a spectacularly deluded group that overlooks the existence of the country’s single most important and influential free market – the free market for political results – aka lobbying. Despite this howling market illiteracy, libertarians somehow believe themselves qualified to apprehend free markets anywhere else on the planet.

          Economic libertarians are the kind of dilettantes that could blame the ground for a plane crash. They watch a thirty year era of post-great depression financial regulations removed one by one, creating a superheated securities and derivatives market that blows trillions out into deep space, then facilitates a looting of the treasury. Their name for this? “Regulation” and “statism”.

          In other words, they are either incredibly stupid, or incredibly high.

          When the Japanese make such monumentally embarrassing mistakes in public, many consider seppuku. A pity that isn’t in vogue here.

  51. It’s easy to see how this billl works to lower the costs of premiums. By expanding the pool of the insured, risk is also spread among the young, elderly, and those with or without pre-existing conditions. And since insurance companies build premiums based on their probability of having to pay out, a lower risk pool that results from an enlarged pool of the insured means that all of us pay a lower premium. Your claim that cheaper health care will be limited to government workers nonsense…. See More

    The bill is paid for, completely. The tax incentives in this bill for lower earners are also paid for. And it’s paid for by redirecting funding from sources already in place, such as by allowing unnecessary tax cuts for the elite earners to expire, using investments from the medical industry, and redirecting unnecessary subsidies from medicare and medicade to pay for reform. And neither of those government bureaucracies consume 30 cents on their revenue dollar. Their overhead costs are closer to 5 or 10%. They are run very efficiently, provide more coverage for the dollar, and there isn’t a senior citizen that is unhappy with their coverage.

    1. and yet both programs are bankrupt..what ever happened to Libertarians being against government intervention and takeovers. I would think this massive intrusion on everyone would not even be on a list of a Libertarians ways to fix any societal problem real or perceived?

      Perhaps like neocons we now have a more educated crowd who have “evolved” beyond the simpletons who still regards things in black and white. Still believe in truth, justice and the American way. Neolibertarians perhaps.

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  53. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke.

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