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Vail Valley Voices: The upcoming struggle

What should we expect now that the Republicans control the House and with their pickup of six Senate seats can prevent the Democrats from imposing cloture in that chamber?

In 1994, after the Republicans won a similar victory over Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, the new speaker of the House, attempted to use the speakership to craft national policy. But if John Boehner follows in Gingrich’s footsteps, the president will make the 2012 election about Speaker Boehner (as Clinton did against Gingrich) rather than the actual Republican candidate, whoever that may be. However, Boehner is not an ideologue as Gingrich was and is more than willing to make deals.

In 2008, Obama’s supporters hoped, and in some cases believed, that his election signified a permanent national shift to the left. Nevertheless, the president’s attempt at liberal governance during the past two years brought a predictable result – the loss of 60-plus seats in the House and a cloture-proof Senate.



As geopolitical analyst George Friedman opined in a recent article, “The United States remains a predominantly right-of-center country. Obama won a substantial victory in 2008, but he did not change the architecture of American politics. Almost 48 percent of voters voted against him. Though he won a larger percentage than anyone since Ronald Reagan, he was not even close to the magnitude of Reagan’s victory. Reagan transformed the way American politics worked. Obama did not.”

On Nov. 2, the voters took away the president’s ability to legislate on domestic affairs and moved the country to a position where neither side can legislate anything without significant compromise, which is what the founders envisioned.



John Boehner has indicated he does not intend to play Gingrich, but rather is prepared to find those compromises. So the question becomes: Where will those compromises come from?

Most political observers agree the midterms sent the president three undeniable messages: Americans want more jobs and smaller government, and the majority is firmly against Obamacare.

Policy regarding job creation and the scaling down of big government will take on a myriad of forms, and expect the debate to be heated. In the end though, compromise will prevail.



However, the most contentious issue facing our government during the next two years will be Obamacare because the fundamental building block of Obama’s policy is the individual mandate to buy insurance.

As one political pundit put it, “Absent that, all that’s left is a consumer-protection bill that limits insurance company practices. Therefore, the mandate can’t be scaled back and preserved at the same time. It’s either in place or it’s not. There is no middle ground.”

During a recent interview the president stated he considers health care reform the most significant piece of legislation in the nation’s history (an interesting comment vis-a-vis the impact of the 13th Amendment that ended slavery and the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote). So it’s unlikely he will waive his veto power when the effort to repeal Obamacare begins in earnest.

From both his statement and the fact that he focused on Obamacare instead of the economy during the first year and a half of his term in office, it’s patently obvious the president feels Obamacare will be his lasting legacy and will fight tooth and nail to preserve it.

But that does not alter the fact that he, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid made a huge mistake when they failed to heed Thomas Jefferson’s prescient words, “Delay is preferable to error,” when they rammed Obamacare down our throats. Consequently, as more of Obamacare’s hidden costs come to light, this issue will serve as the biggest drain on Democratic fortunes, including the president’s, for years to come.

Soon voters will ask their elected representative(s) to take the pledge as formulated by http://www.theRepealPledge.com:

“I pledge to vote for all bills which seek to repeal the health care bill, H.R. 3590, signed into law on March 23, 2010. To that end, I do now and will in the next Congress endorse and vote for all measures, including discharge petitions, leading to its defunding, deauthorization and repeal.

“I shall do so whether those measures are taken for the whole of the bill or those component parts that impose mandates, restrict patient and doctor choice and access, violate individual freedom and privacy, reduce healthy competition, increase costs or raise taxes.”

Boehner and many Republicans believe Obamacare is a job-killer. Therefore, repeal, defunding and deauthorization of it will head the list of Republican priorities for 2011.

And as President Bill Clinton’s former political adviser Dick Morris opined, “Through the mechanism of the pledge and the dynamics of the efforts to defund the health care changes, the authorization debate of 2010 will now play out in the appropriations debate of 2011.”

Quote of the day: “Always take hold of things by the smooth handle” – Thomas Jefferson

Butch Mazzuca is an Edwards resident.


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