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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


You may find this article a bit disjointed, so let me explain. Much of what follows was written on Monday the day before the big election in Massachusetts. At that time I was trying to gauge the mood of the public’s thinking on Health Care Reform and the manner it was being handled by the Democrat leadership. It looked to me that a majority of Americans were just plain mad--angry, disgusted, riled-up, offended, insulted--with the arrogance of congress as they plowed ahead doing just what the fringe element of their party dictated. They were hell-bent on completing the liberal left agenda that began with Obama’s election, and they were going to get it done before the American people could put a stop to it. They knew the 60 vote majority in the Senate was as perishable as a snowball in hell, so this HC bill had to be passed and signed before President Obama is scheduled to give his State of the Union address before congress.

That was the state of things on Monday. Today is Wednesday and the worm has turned. Wonder of wonders the liberal State of Massachusetts elected a Republican to fill the seat held by Ted Kennedy for 46 years thus ending, perhaps for good, the Kennedy dynasty. How different is the attitude in Washington; the Dem’s are flabbergasted and the Repub’s are rejuvenated. There is speculation about the next move by the liberal left--will they try to ram this senate bill through before Senator Brown from Mass. is seated? Would they dare? Would there be one more trick in their bag, one last maneuver to follow the bribes and special favors and deals? A win at any cost?

At this writing a select group of people from the House, the Senate and the White House are meeting in closed chambers negotiating a blend of the two legislative products into one final bill. Who is in that room and what is going on? That is what is scaring many of us. They are taking two bills, both of which are unacceptable to the American people, and they are telling us the final product will be something good and wonderful. Two bad bills put together will equal one good bill? Over 60% of Americans do not believe that. And why would we? After months of watching the legislative process in congress we have seen our congress and presidential administration at its very worst--the buying of Senatorial votes to attain passage. If the bill is so good for the country why are the bribes needed? Day after day the bribes mounted: first Louisiana with $300 million; then Nebraska with exemptions to certain taxes; other states have carved out exemptions to fees; then the low population states to increase Medicare payments; special deals to buy support from the Pharmaceutical industry; a nice medical facility for Senator Dodd’s home state; and it goes on.

The Democrats in Washington feign surprise and dismay as the public voices anger and disgust at this behavior of congress. They wonder why people are so cranky? Maybe this is a reason why. A few days ago the television news showed a covey of big (as in front line of the Vikings) Big Labor leaders leaving the White House--seems they just cut a deal with President Obama for a special exemption from taxes on their Union health care benefits. Now there is a special interest if ever there was one. Remember Candidate Obama saying when he is president he was not going to allow the special interests to sway his administration? By the way, one of the union men was Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO who was once under investigation by the Federal Election Commission for very questionable contributions to the Clinton’s campaign. This kind of deal-making keeps going on and on; what did Trumka offer in return? Will we ever find out?

That brings me to the decision of Senator Byron Dorgan announcing his retirement from the Senate come the end of this year. I think Dorgan gets it. He could see the coming election was going to be tough, and his votes to allow the bribes and corruption to continue would be hard to explain in small-town North Dakota. We can see that Rep. Earl Pomeroy is anxious about the November election. He is now calling for Pelosi and Reid and Obama to get this HC Reform off the table and fast; his congressional seat is in jeopardy and he knows it. With Dorgan gone as a running partner it is clear that Pomeroy sees that he, too, is history. He had the opportunity to help stop this run-away train several months ago and he did not; it is now too late to posture and make exhortations. Goodbye Earl Pomeroy! We hear that you have had job offers in private industry--might be something to consider.

Today: News on the internet quotes President Obama advising the congress to hold further action on the Health Care Reform until such time Senator Scott Brown is seated. Reports also quote Senators Webb of Virginia and McCaskill of Missouri advise waiting for Brown to be seated. The Dem’s suddenly see the peril in ramming this HC bill through; the American people would see this as extreme arrogance and they would severely punish the Dem’s come November. Will cooler heads prevail? Most congresspersons will not buy into a suicide pact; they will abandon the liberal left leadership knowing that another day is coming and another attempt at an acceptable bill is in the future. That would please many of us who see the current bill as extremely bad legislation put together under corrupt procedures.

It is time to start over with a process that brings both parties to the table with ideas for reform. The special deals and exemptions of the past are null and void. And another thing of great importance, this will be the opportunity for congress and the president to make amends for past behavior. They can show the American people that legislation can be produced that meets our nation’s needs, and it can be done in the open. We need to see civil behavior and cooperation and respect for other points of view. And most of all, they need to earn back the respect of the people for it is we who send them there to do our work.


Hal is a ND native who grew up near McClusky. A Korean war veteran who served in the  U.S. Navy  from 1951 to 1955. Hal and his wife Lois have four children and eight grand children. Hal volunteers at the Bismarck Public Library doing book repair and restoration

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