Wow…there’s one of those words. “Reconcile”. Many uses. It usually brings my checkbook to mind, and the arduous monthly task of “reconciling” the account. For obsessive-compulsives like me it can be heart wrenching. It’s got to match to the penny. The second thing that pops into my mind is the use of the word in the context of relationships. Reconciling after an argument or break-up. It doesn’t happen often these days, or too often the “reconciliation” is delivered via a sawed-off shotgun.
The sawed-off shotgun analogy works best with the current reconciliation effort underway in Washington, D.C. . In an effort to plow through the wildly unpopular health care reform legislation, the Obama administration is considering use of a process called, oddly enough, “reconciliation”. It is a rarely used twisting of the voting rules used in the United States Senate, that allows for a bill to be passed with less votes. In this case, 51 instead of 60.
The thing is, it is usually reserved for, and supposed to be reserved for, budget crises that demand federal borrowing that would normally be forbidden. The democrats are ready, willing and able to use the tool to win some sort of health care reform bill, come Hell or high water. It has been fascinating watching the gyrations. In the wake of the Scott Brown victory, the message from Capital Hill was that patience would rule, more discussion and bi-partisan efforts were needed. That didn’t last long.
With Obama’s approval ratings winning the Gold in downhill, there is an impending sense of urgency as November creeps closer and closer. Obama has chosen, apparently, the “Thelma and Louise” approach here, choosing to accept his one-term fate, accepting his second two years in office as most likely being seriously hampered by the results of the mid term elections, and putting pedal to the metal and heading straight for the cliff.
They can’t possibly not know what will happen if they ram this through. Close to two thirds of the country is against it, or at least against it in the middle of a deep recession. Yet this President seems oddly unmoved by that overwhelming sentiment. It has seemed, even since he took office, that this health care bill is the only issue for which he has heart. He just can’t seem to connect with middle-America. We are unemployed. Our futures are more uncertain than at any other time in our memories. Hard working folks who have taken pride in making their own way, in not reaching out for help, are more and more incensed with the notion that what little they have left, should be given to the government to distribute to the less fortunate.
Maybe that’s the rub right there. The “less fortunate”. Too often, the folks who need the hand out are not at all less fortunate, but are simply folks who have chosen not to strive in a nation that was built on, and by, strivers. I don’t know a decent person who is not willing and wanting to help anyone who is truly in need. Someone who has fallen on hard times, by circumstance or even in the wake of one’s own mistakes. Yet I know a lot of people who are reticent to just keep shelling it out to a government that seems to have no lucid pre-qualifications for receiving other people’s money.
I’m in the dirt business for almost thirty years now. Never taken the handout. This time of year, it is not unusual to work all day, then climb into a different piece of equipment and plow snow for another 24 hours. It’s not unusual to work in excess of 36 or 48 hours without sleep. I’m not the only one. Lots of Americans work that hard. We do it to provide more for our families, to perhaps set aside for retirement, or college for the kids. But I don’t do it so I can send a check to someone else who is not willing to try. Hence, the Tea Party movement. Hence…lots of angry Americans. It’s so simple, and yet our President is so disconnected he doesn’t understand it. He doesn’t understand why we don’t want to pay millions to try terrorists in New York City. They may not do it…but that doesn’t change the fact that he wanted to, and doesn’t understand why it is so wrong.
Reconcile? I wouldn’t count on it. Should the democrats decide to run the table and push through an almost incomprehensible piece of legislation, the reconciliation is going to come in the form of a complete overhaul of both Houses in November. It may happen anyway, but it will surely happen if they decide to simply change the voting rules so as to secure the outcome they desire. That’s not a democracy…that’s an oligarchy.