Examiner Editorial: Democrats iron out Obamacare in secret 

Writing in The Federalist Papers during the debates on adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, Alexander Hamilton confidently proclaimed that “two-thirds of the people of America could not long be persuaded, upon the credit of artificial distinctions and syllogistic subtleties, to submit their interests to the management and disposal of one-third.”

Well, Mr. Hamilton, meet Mr. Harry Reid and Mrs. Nancy Pelosi. The Senate majority leader and House speaker, respectively, are attempting — in a display of political arrogance unmatched in this nation’s history — to do almost exactly what Hamilton said Americans would never tolerate. They are inventing “artificial distinctions and syllogistic subtleties” of legislative procedure in order to force passage of a proposal favored by a minority and opposed by a large majority of the people.

The proposal in question, of course, is Obamacare, the government-run health care system that will interpose federal bureaucrats between patients and doctors, while putting one-sixth of the national economy under the thumb of Washington, D.C., politicians.

According to Rasmussen Report’s weekly surveys of likely voters, opposition to Obamacare during the past year has ranged from 52 percent to as much as 58 percent of respondents, with support bouncing around 38 to 42 percent. If not quite precisely the same as Hamilton’s 66 to 33 percent equation, Rasmussen’s numbers are in the same ballpark, especially considering the intensity of opposing views. Fully 81 percent of Republicans oppose Obamacare, while 73 percent of Democrats favor it. Significantly, 50 percent of independents oppose Obamacare and 31 percent favor it.

Reid and Pelosi are meeting privately with each other and with President Barack Obama to work out differences between their respective chambers’ versions of Obamacare. They are thus ignoring the long-standing requirement that a bipartisan conference committee with representatives from the Senate and House meet in public to iron out such differences, and that on-the-record votes be taken in both chambers on final passage of the committee’s report. Once Reid and Pelosi agree on a final bill, they presumably will conduct a pro forma conference vote to rubber-stamp their agreement.

Obama, Reid and Pelosi fear the traditional conference committee process will encourage yet more Americans to decide they don’t want either proposal. All three have forgotten Obama’s promise of more than a year ago that “we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents.”

C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb said just last week that his network “will commit the necessary resources” to cover “the critical stage of reconciliation between the chambers.” Unfortunately, it appears the more critical the stage, the more likely Obama, Reid and Pelosi are to go behind closed doors.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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