Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Full speed ahead in the wrong direction

Yesterday's primary victory in Texas by Governor Rick Perry over Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson has Democrats a bit worried:

Anti-Washington animus already has members of Congress up for re-election in November running scared — with some literally running for the doors.

That fear is only going to intensify after Tuesday's Republican primary in Texas, which saw longtime state politico and two-term Gov. Rick Perry easily defeat U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Tea Party-affiliated candidate Debra Medina. [...]

Perry's win suggests Republicans have yet another model to examine: running flat out against the Obama administration and Washington, with the notion of a very small tent party that courts the hard fringe.

As the article points out, Rick Perry allied himself with the Tea Party movement, and made a strong anti-Washington message his winning strategy.

One of the major concerns of the Tea Party movement, of course, has been health care reform. Tea Party members have shown strong opposition to the notion of a government takeover of health care, and have voiced that opposition in town hall meetings and other forums across the nation. The message has been clear: health care reform as currently proposed is a mistake. Abortion coverage, restrictions of patient choice, and the role of the federal government in health care have been major concerns.

Yet President Obama seems determined to force his health plan through Congress:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama urged Congress Wednesday to vote "up or down" on sweeping health care legislation in the next few weeks, endorsing a plan that denies Senate Republicans the right to kill the bill by stalling with a filibuster.

"I don't see how another year of negotiations would help. Moreover, the insurance companies aren't starting over," Obama said, rejecting Republican calls to begin anew on an effort to remake the health care system.

The president made his appeal as Democratic leaders in Congress surveyed their rank and file for the votes needed to pass legislation by majority vote — invoking rules that deny Senate Republicans the right to block it through endless stalling debate. Obama specifically endorsed that approach.

The outcome will affect nearly every American, either making major changes in the ways they receive and pay for health care or leaving current systems in place. There is still no certainty about the final result in Congress — or even that Democrats will agree to the series of changes that Obama said he was including as Republican contributions.

Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts. Rick Perry beat Kay Bailey Hutchinson in the Texas primary by a margin almost no one was expecting. Both of them ran against Washington. Scores of Congressmen and Congresswomen from both parties have heard from angry constituents who don't like the way things are shaping up on health care, among other issues. And this is an election year.

Yet the present administration seems to think that this is the time to ramrod through unpopular legislation, whatever the electoral consequences for the Democratic party. There's nothing quite like the kind of single-minded stubbornness necessary to proceed full speed ahead--in the wrong direction.


Anonymous said...

President Obama had my vote for presidency based on his statement as president he would work for the benefit of his constituency (and not just one cohort or the other). I think he's doing his job. I'm not in the minority of this belief.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Oh come now, fifty-one percent of fifteen percent of Texas Republicans respond well to railing against Obama? This is news?

I just read that there is a strong Democratic candidate, David against Goliath, but able to make a race of it, who is going to suggest that the governor of Texas should talk about what the government of Texas needs to do for the people of Texas, rather than running against Washington. It might work.

Milehimama said...

Perry was helped by the fact the KBH was a joke, and KBH voted for TARP.

Seriously, the week before election day her radio ads were taking Perry to task for living in the Governor's Mansion at taxpayer expense.