Teapot Dome. The Whiskey Ring. Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed. ABSCAM. Watergate. Iran-Contra. Add to these historical episodes of corruption and political abuse, "Nebraska Kickback," "Louisiana Purchase," "Gator Aid" and plenty of other promises, carve outs and political bribes that were successful in giving President Obama the only thing he apparently cares about: political victory for himself.
The ends justifies the means, the ends being Obama's presidency and legacy. In the end this is more important than our country's future and health care delivery. Why else would he tell the Congressional Hispanic Congress, as quoted by one member of the caucus "the fate of his presidency" hinged on the vote yesterday? Narcissism trumps duty.
For months we have seen this played out. The three most powerful individuals in American politics: the President of the United States, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representative, have used every dirty trick, every arm twisting threat, every strong political ally, every deception, mistruth and complete misstatement of numbers and facts. Everything they have learned, and their minions have perfected was brought to bear to first get everyone of their party members in the Senate and then barely the number needed from their party in the House, to pass legislation the people don't want and significant numbers of their party do not want.
And most of you have sat silently by and watched. Some have complained to others. Forwarded an email. Made a comment on an internet posting. Maybe gone so far as to write a letter to the editor. Living in Long Beach and in California, most of my friends and acquaintances are registered Democrats. Many, perhaps most, of them have been somewhat disgruntled or disgusted by the ugly politics and special deals that have had to be put together to pass the legislation. But what have they done about it other than murmur? Mostly they have stayed somewhat silent, not wanting to betray their party affiliation or criticize the people they have voted for. Is it because criticizing them makes it look like you made a mistake in voting for them?
No body supports or endorses everything someone does. We get disappointed or upset or disgruntled with choices and decisions of our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends, our co-workers, and we can either silently stand by or we can say, "hey, I wasn't real thrilled about that because..." It is how we stay spouses, good parents, solid friends and good co-workers. Why don't people do the same thing when it comes to their political representatives?
Why are not the many Democrats who have disagreed with the process, with the political bribery, with the dirty tactics, speaking up publicly and asking their party representatives and leaders to stop and listen? In 2008 they were calling for "transparency" and "open government" and "change in Washington." Well they got one in three, change in Washington. I can recall no Congress and White House that has so completely transformed the economic and social fabric of our nation dependent on so many closed door agreements and pay-offs. And so much silence from those who disagreed.
Are those of you who are opposed to the process that just completed and said nothing to your elected officials worried you would be labelled a "Tea-bagger?" Concerned your friends would criticize your opinion?
What happens now? The President and Congressional Democrats have seen that they can target weak members of their party and buy them off, several hundred million here, a couple of hundred million there, a ride in Air Force One for you, an Executive Order or two, that's all it takes. With your consent they can, and may, continue to govern this way. The opinions and desires of the American people don't matter. What matters is Obama getting his way for his legacy. And with your money, they have learned that can be bought.
In the past few days I have seen comments and postings on Facebook from local Democrats who work in government or are elected officials celebrating the pending passage, and then passage of the bill. In a way I can understand as their own political futures are probably tied to support from the party. But at the same time I can not understand. Why have they not been contacting our local Rep. Laura Richardson (D-duh) and demand she not vote for any bill unless the special payoffs for other states are stripped from the bill, at a minimum. In a week, a month, this summer they will complain that Sacramento is taking money from the city. And they support, or silently stand by, as legislation is passed that puts more of a burden on Sacramento with the feds pushing tens and tens of thousands more Californians onto MediCal. Creating even higher expenses and spending and burdens on local hospitals, the state will have to taken even more from local governments to fund the system. But the win for the President over rides the needs and best interests of our city, its hospitals and citizens.
California gets screwed in this bill. I thought for quite a while for a more appropriate word than screwed, but nothing else fits and still keeps this blog clean. With more people on Medicare and MediCal (Medicaid in other parts of the country), more illegal aliens, more people on public assistance than any other state, California gets nothing from this bill. Already losing businesses to other states due to high costs of regulations and taxes, added taxes and burdens from this bill will further cut into profits and desirability of doing business here. How will our state pay for this legislation? Our Senators and Democratic Representatives don't care, nor do the majority of our local officials who have been cheerleaders for Obama and any health care legislation--as long as something passed.
And the people for the most part remain silent, which is taken for consent from politicians. No letters, no phone calls, no letters to the editor, no rallies, no speaking out against a process that have been wrong. Fraught with payoffs we may never learn about, the bill passed is so bad it immediately required amendments and more pay offs for the votes cast.
What will you do? What can you do? Unfortunately I'm somewhat stuck. As an outspoken person registered with the "opposing" party, my local Representative and Senators find it easy to discount me. But I will continue to speak my opinions, contribute my observations and hope that someone, hopefully several someones, from the "right" party will speak up, will challenge the status quo and blind following of party leadership that has passed for representing the people in Congressional District 37, and in California.
Dirty politics has won. Those who spoke out vocally were able to be demonized by the Democrats and their allies in the press. Those who wavered on supporting a flawed piece of legislation were able to be visited by union strongmen threatening political paybacks and party leaders laying out their future in the party if they voted "no." Dirty politics won.
Governance for the people, by the people and of the people lost. Thankfully the First Amendment remains intact and I plan to take advantage of it. I will not consent and I will not remain silent.
What will you do?