Monday, November 15, 2010

Here We Go Again

We're two weeks post election and already the next election campaign has begun. While a lot of us have been focusing on what the "Cat Food Commission" will come up with to mess up Social Security, the Republicans have decided that the most important issue in the world is not the economy, not the deficit, not joblessness, and not the home foreclosure mess. It's the healthcare reform bill passed by the 111th Congress. Republicans have announced their intention to repeal as much of that bill as possible and to defund the rest. They figure that will ensure a sweeping victory in 2012, which is, of course, the only worthy goal of the 112th Congress.

From the Los Angeles Times:

With their eyes on the 2012 election, Republicans are preparing to maximize conflict with Democrats over healthcare in the new Congress and minimize potential compromises, according to GOP strategists, lawmakers and lobbyists.

That strategy is setting the stage for a bitter stalemate on Capitol Hill over the next two years as the president and senior congressional Democrats dig in to defend their signature achievement.

But Republican leaders and strategists think a renewed battle over healthcare will help the party expand its electoral gains and drive President Obama from the White House.

Now, it's not like the bill as passed is any kind of perfection. There's lots wrong with it, including no way to effectively control premium hikes if individual states can't or won't hammer out regulations to do so. But that's not the kind of nuts and bolts work the Republicans have in mind. Here's a sampling of what we can look forward to for the next two years:

Rep. Joe L. Barton (R- Texas), who is seeking to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has promised investigative hearings of what he has said are Obama administration coverups and improper uses of taxpayer money to promote the law.

Barton's rival for committee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, said last week in an op-ed piece that his "very top priority" would be pushing legislation to further restrict federal funding for abortion services, another issue sure to stoke conflict with Democrats.

It's not about promoting the general welfare, it's about getting and keeping power. It's about keeping our owners happy enough to keep sending the "campaign donations." And if it takes effectively shutting down government for two years, well, then that's what they'll do.

Heckuva job, Barach.

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