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Will Obamacare Passage Lead to Inverse Cloward-Piven?

While some conservatives have, in the past 72 hours, found a silver lining in the cloud of all-but-certain passage of Obamacare, others caution that the silver lining, Republican victories in next year’s election, will be ephemeral while the cloud, greater government control over our lives, will be permanent, a perpetual gloomy day.

When, they ask, has Congress ever repealed a federal program?  Even Ronald Reagan, in his heyday, was only able to contain the rate of growth of federal programs, he wasn’t able to eliminate any, even some which had long outlived their usefulness.  This, they argue, is just one more step on the road to serfdom, from which there is no turning back.

Some say Obama’s spending spree is part of the Cloward/Piven Strategy

to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands. The created crisis provides the impetus to bring about radical political change.

And this health care reform only helps accelerate that process.  A number of conservatives have referenced this strategy. Libertarian iconoclasts, like Glenn Beck, have followed suit.  Indeed, the Piven/Cloward thesis became all but conventional wisdom.  “It was,” Michael Barone writes, “widely supposed that economic distress would increase America’s appetite for big-government measures to restrict carbon dioxide emissions and control the provision of health care.

All this government spending, however, seems to be having having the opposite effect.  Never before has Congress enacted such a massive reform on a pure party line vote.  A number of Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in passing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.  Popular opinion had not turned against those reforms at the time they were enacted.

This isn’t how Miss Piven and Mr. Cloward imagined things would turn out.  Not only do we have public opinion running against health care reform, we have the American people turning against government reforms of all kinds.   (more…)

Obama’s Earmark Explosion

During the campaign, Barack Obama promised to rein in earmarks.  He didn’t go as far as did his Republican rival who “pledged to eliminate earmarks and ‘veto every earmark pork-barrel bill,’” but in first debate, he did agreeing with John McCain “that the earmarks process has been abused” and vowed to clean up the process:

Absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.

Wonder if he’ll go line by line through the health care reform bill to eliminate earmarks and payoffs.  Even the New York Times have taken note of the legislation’s payoffs:

Items were inserted into the bill by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, to get or keep the support of various lawmakers. He needs support from all 60 members of his caucus to overcome a Republican filibuster and pass the bill by his self-imposed Christmas deadline. . . . .

Another item in the package would increase Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors in any state where at least 50 percent of the counties are “frontier counties,” defined as those having a population density less than six people per square mile. . . .

Another provision would give $100 million to an unnamed “health care facility” affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in a state where there is only one public medical and dental school.

Kudos to the Times for pointing out that Reid set the Christmas deadline.  And for reporting these unusual expenditures.  These earmarks may lack the specificity of the kind in which Congress specializes, but not to worry, Harry Reid’s Senate has passed thousands of the old-fashioned kind:

Last weekend, the Senate passed an omnibus spending bill that contained 5,224 disclosed earmarks worth $3.9 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. Then this past Saturday morning, the Senate passed a Defense spending bill for fiscal 2010 that included 1,720 disclosed earmarks worth $4.2 billion.

Wonder if Obama will be going line by line through those 6,944 earmarks to make sure the federal government is not spending money unwisely.

2010 Grande Conservative Blogress Divas Nominees Announced

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:27 pm - December 21, 2009.
Filed under: Blogress Divas

After much discussion, Bruce and I finally settled on a list of nine distinguished divas blogresses to compete for the coveted “Ethel,” the prize which goes to the Grande Conservative Blogress Diva for 2010.  There were many qualified candidates and we debated increasing the number of nominees, but, in the end, settled on these nine distinguished web pundits:

To be sure, by keep the contest at a manageable number, we could not include each and every blogress worthy of consideration.

I expect to get a poll up until sometime tonight, at which time the balloting will officially begin.

Obamacare Passage: Democratic “Suicide Pact”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:55 am - December 21, 2009.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Articulating a point made by the Administration, various Washington Democrats and perhaps a pundit or two, one of our readers insisted that support for Obamacare “will only increase once it passes and the apolitical undecideds reward Obama for getting something done“.  Hardly.  Given the trend in polling showing that the more Obama promoted the Democratic overhaul, the more support declined, we know that the more Americans know about these reforms, the less likely they are to support them.

Opposition to Obamacare increased even as some media outlets were all but shills for the various Democratic plans.  A friendly media may have helped sway a Senator or two (or three or four), but it didn’t prevent the American people from turning on the plan.  Had the coverage been more even-handed, the numbers (from the Democrats’ standpoint) would be even worse than they are today.

Should this bill become law (and there’s still hope that it won’t), the Democrats will have a hard time hiding its details, you know, those “specifics” Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida faults Republicans for addressing.  The more people learn about those specifics, the less likely they are to support the bill.

And when Americans learn how the Democrats rammed this through, they’ll wonder why Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid scheduled midnight sessions at a time of year when most people are paying little attention to politics, rushing through passage to meet some Christmas deadline set in Democratic back rooms.  Wonder why the Senate voted in the dead of night for cloture on an amendment which “had been public for about 36 hours” before people “had a single business day to examine it.” They’ll wonder about all those weekend votes (not just this time around) and will certainly ask about pay -offs to wavering Senators with federal funds at a time of increasing deficits.

In short, when the American people see how this was passed, they’ll see Democrats for what they are.  And the percentage having a negative opinion of the majority party will continue to increase.

No wonder some are calling the “Democratic health agenda . . . a political suicide pact.

Bye, Bayh?

Of all the Democratic Senators up for reelection next fall in states which normally vote Republican, I had assumed (and still contend) that Indiana’s Evan Bayh would have the easiest time winning reelection.  To be sure, Indiana did narrowly go for Obama last fall, but the Democrat really invested in the state while McCain took it for granted until polls showed the “red” state to be a tossup.

Of the eighteen seats currently held by Democrats up next fall, only two are in states which McCain won (Arkansas and North Dakota).  Of the remaining fifteen states (there are two Senate races in New York next fall), Indiana delivered the smallest margin of victory to the Democratic nominee.  Given her vote this morning for cloture on the Reid-Baucus-Dodd-Harkin amendment, there’s not much Blanche Lincoln can do to save her Arkansas Senate seat.  Should North Dakota Governor John Hoeven challenge his state’s junior Senator, that seat will flip as well.  But, now even a lesser known opponent has a chance against Byron Dorgan, albeit probably not a strong one unless he can raise a pile of cash.

Which brings us back to Indiana.  I’ve always liked Evan Bayh and not just because we went to the same law school (albeit at different times).  He’s a decent fellow and does not engage in the partisan demagoguery of the leaders of his partisan caucus.  As Democrats go, he’s pretty moderate, but still considerably to the left of center.  And now in voting for cloture, he has signed on to a  massive increase of government power.  Hardly a moderate vote that.

In 2004, against a well-funded opponent in a state that George W. Bush won with 60% of the vote, Bayh ran ahead of the Republican presidential nominee, beating a well-funded GOP opponent by over half-a-million votes.

2004, however, was not a throw-the-bums out year.  And it sure looks like 2010 is shaping up to be such a year.  Could Indiana voters send its popular former Governor packing?  Will he suffer the fate of his father in a similar such year? Right now, I wouldn’t bet on it.  But, thirty years ago, this month no one would have bet on a 2-term Congressman to unseat the well-liked Democrat.  One year later, on November 2, 1980, Dan Quayle easily ousted the elder Bayh.