Monday, December 21, 2009

We've been here before--sort of

Lyndon Baines Johnson was a Senator from Texas before he was Vice President and then President. When he had Harry Reid's position, Senate Majority Leader, he was one of the most effective leaders the Senate ever had, if "effective" means he could pass legislation. He was known for his in-your-face arm-twisting methods, and he got results--real bipartisan results, not just one vote from a whacko faux-Republican from Maine. One of the best books I think ever written about the Senate is Robert Caro's third volume of his Johnson biography, Master of the Senate.

I was reading a different book just last night, a biography of Katharine Graham, the owner of The Washington Post, by Carol Felsenthal. What I read about Johnson's passage of the Civil Rights Act made me realize that what's happening now in the Senate about health care is nothing new. What's different about the process now is that it's out in the open, mainly because of bloggers on the internet and also because of the 24-hour news cycle. Unfortunately, it would seem as if the tortured process and work-arounds that we're seeing today is pretty much business as usual.

This is from Felsenthal: There were some who were focused on making sure that Lyndon Johnson would be the Democrat candidate for President in 1960. And with that goal in mind, Johnson was pushed to make the Civil Rights Act of 1957 his cause. The bill had been passed by the House, and Johnson was advised that if he wanted the presidency he had to shed his segregationist image by piloting it through the Senate, where he was the majority leader. Johnson was in a tough position--squiring the bill would hurt him in Texas; killing it would hurt his national ambitions. So, following his political instincts and the advice of Phil Graham [Katharine Graham's husband and the owner of The Washington Post]--who bolstered his advice with some very helpful editorials in The Washington Post--Johnson decided to weaken the bill, but just enough to save his Texas constituency without fatally disillusioning his hoped-for national one. It was a brilliant piece of work. The version of the bill that Johnson pushed through the Senate had everything cut out of it except voting rights, and even there the enforcement provisions were enfeebled.

Sound familiar? "Pass anything"--and then later they will come around again and make the bill into anything they want it to be. This morning at 1:00 a.m., in the dead of night, Harry Reid passed cloture on his crap bill with a completely partisan vote, 60-40.

Seriously, this is taxation without representation. Everyone's taxes will go up because of this health crap bill--Every. One's. It will also turn out to be a job killer--just ask any small business owner how many new jobs he's going to be creating over the next year--or instead, how many people he will have to lay off.

This is my last post for awhile. I have my own work to do, and I need a break from the smell of this Washington swamp. I plan to keep reading about what's going on to keep myself informed, but I'm going to stop blogging for awhile--it's too time consuming and it feels like a waste of time at this point--although I reserve the right to change my mind even tomorrow if I want to, since for me writing is often the very best way to learn what I want to know about a subject.

It's clear that these assclowns in Washington are going to succeed in shoving whatever they want to down our collective throats, at least for the time being. We've been here before, but it seems much more dangerous this time. We could lose our country, literally, because Washington seems determined to spend until they break the bank. It's imperative that people keep informed about what's going on, but unfortunately, I'm afraid that many too many thinking adults aren't paying attention. When they wake up one morning and ask, "What happened to my country?" at that point it will be too late.

What's the quote?--"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have." --Thomas Jefferson

I plan to stay informed, stay involved, and do what I can to help change the direction we're headed--off the precipice--as Obama recently said in one of his most memorable Freudian slips. I know there are a lot of people out there who are doing the same, and I only hope that more people--on both the right and the left--will join the cause.

Oh, and P.S. I'm not feeling defeated nor even feeling particularly pessimistic. We have the greatest country in the world, and the people who love this country will prevail. Also, I'm not nearly as calm as this post may sound. I'm INCENSED at what the Senate has done the past week, and I guess I'm just taking a step back to figure out how best to respond. Re-form the line, and fight on.

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