The mid-term exam: ObamaCare flunked
This is the first time since the mid-term elections of 1994 that American voters have used a mid-term election as a national referendum on which way our nation is headed. In 1994, the electorate was upset over the direction being taken by President Bill Clinton. In particular, voters weren’t buying Hillary Clinton’s attempt at socializing the delivery of health care in America.
On November 2, 2010, Americans voted against ObamaCare and pink-slipped many of the Democrats in Congress who went along with a major piece of legislation most of them had never read nor had they looked ahead to the disastrous impact of ObamaCare on the U.S. economy, on Medicare, and on the delivery of other health-care services.
This mid-term election gave a mandate to the new Congress that will convene in January, 2011, to repeal ObamaCare. Americans simply do not want socialized medicine. They said so in 1994. They said it again in 2010.
But the path to repeal will not be easy for the Republicans because the president possesses the power of the veto. On the other hand, Congress possesses the power of the purse. Many of the provisions of ObamaCare rely on the police power of the government for their enforcement. Federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents require congressional funding to enforce specific programs.
If there is no funding for enforcement of ObamaCare mandates, there is no ObamaCare. The downside to that scenario is that it creates a nation of scofflaws, ignoring the ObamaCare law because they know there is no money to enforce it. That’s not a healthy way to run a nation.
Who knows what the Democrats will do during the lame-duck session between this mid-term election and when the new Congress meets in January, 2011. Will they and the president enact Draconian, poison-pill legislation for the Republicans to try to unscramble in 2011 and beyond? Or, will they, in effect, adjourn to polish their resumes and try to avoid joining the millions already unemployed?
One thing is for certain. Come January, 2011, the American taxpayer will feel an avalanche of increased taxes on almost every endeavor, enterprise and aspect of their lives. That avalanche gathered force when the pre-2006 Republican-controlled Congress overspent, over-porked and over-earmarked. In part, that is what brought the Democrats into control of Congress in 2006. Unfortunately, the Democrats were even bigger spenders. Then, the presidential election of 2008 combined a Democrat-controlled Congress with the biggest-spending American President in history.
We are now a debtor nation buried by too much spending of money we do not have and we will soon be burdened by higher taxation which will harm rather than help a much-needed economic recovery.
Meanwhile, the Republicans must undertake serious internal congressional reforms. No doubt, the House will elect its leadership from those who have been in Congress awhile and know the current ropes. But will the leadership listen to the new members who are in Congress because of the philosophy of the Tea Party Movement?
In 1994, when the Contract with America helped put the Republicans back in control of the House for the first time in 40 years, newly-elected House Speaker Newt Gingrich found that out of his 13 major committee chairmen only two had any idea what the Contract with America meant and the reforms it called for. Eleven of them were thinking in the old mode of the old days of “go-along-get-along” compromise with the Democrat majority. Forty years in the minority will do that to you.
Then, after 12 years in the majority, with eight of those allied with a Republican president, the Gingrich Revolution died. The question is: Will the Tea Party Movement take the place of the Gingrich Revolution and restore the nation to be that “city upon a hill” that its Founders intended?
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2010. William Hamilton.