Tag Archives: Government

Letter to the Editor Regarding: “The GOP’s Epic Senate Fail”

Kimberly Strassel calls the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s staggering Senate loss candidates “professional malpractice” (“The GOP’s Epic Senate Fail,” Potomac Watch, Nov. 8). While Ms. Strassel is correct, she fails to explore the historical irony behind leaving Senate elections vulnerable to this particular brand of malpractice: The whole point of the American founders’ decision to divide the legislature in the first place was to protect states’ rights in one house, free from bungling attempts like the NRSC’s to direct the popular will and influence special interest groups.

Enacted in 1913, the 17th Amendment restructured the government so that there is no difference between how Senators and Representatives are elected. This is in stark contrast to how the American Constitution imagined the country would be run.

The Constitution outlined a legislative branch in which Americans didn’t actually directly elect senators, state legislators did. This reflected the fact that the House was intended to represent individuals’ rights, while the Senate stood for states’ rights. Individuals, the founders believed, would be better represented overall with two separate levels of accountability before submitting to the ultimate will of the federal government on high.

Federalism was an important principle for the American founders, and federalism holds states’ rights paramount. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has gone so far as to note that since the 17th Amendment was ratified, “you can trace the decline of so-called states’ rights throughout the rest of the 20th century.”

America was founded not as a democracy, but as a Constitutional Republic—a community of individuals and states responsible to constitutional procedures designed to promote divided government. The 17th Amendment changed the process to make the Senate democratically responsible to the people rather than, as in a republic, responsible to the states.

It is no wonder, then, that so many other American principles have also ceased to resemble the constitutional principles of 1776.

Kathryn Ciano
Arlington, VA

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To Develop

This is to develop later, but here’s the model I keep referring to privately when I think about political affiliation:

In the center there’s just a person: oneself. At some basic level, every person is a libertarian. We all want to be free to go about our business as we choose. We don’t want any restraints except the basic ones that facilitate that critical personal freedom.

It’s at this “personal liberty” starting point on the ideology spectrum that people want minimal government — not “Big G,” but decision-making centrality inasmuch as it keeps Pakistan at bay, facilitates trade so we can get the wheat and unbleached, organic coffee filters we require (I know, economists, the market; caveat, caveat).

As I imagine the spectrum, the further “right” you move, the more you believe that your people-counterparts are capable of teaching a thing or two. This backs the idea of a community functioning to raise all members up. There’s a veto (or a Dellinger statement? Will update) in every Con Law textbook describing why taxlike forced-giving inhibits the naturally-charitable mentality most folks in a community assume.

Logically, if someone requires giving, that stunts generosity of spirit, which affects the entire community mentality. But the baseline “humans are social creatures after all” dicta suggests that in fact we’re all naturally inclined to share, having learned pretty early on that sharing makes everything better for all involved.

Left-wise on that spectrum I think there’s a tendency to assume that other members of a prospective community are less strong than the central ego point. This guides that mentality that wants to keep things under a tight rein — e.g., this is why we have so many government czars right now.

Moving right, we expect less formal government and more organic cooperation. As we move left, we expect people to cooperate organically less, so we mandate cooperation more.

Both sides have points in their respective favors. When I think of right-swaying I always think of the Buckley community near and dear to my heart, but the best point I know for left-leaners is legislation like the Americans w/ Disabilities Act. Sometimes central decision-makers can more easily accomplish what The Market won’t demand on its own.

And recall, of course, that centrality-enablers like lobbies are a critical part of The Market cf. how the Constitution structures our gov’t. Atrocities like sugar subsidies aren’t independent of a market; they’re a sort of super-evolution sophisticated to market ebb and flow, they represent uber-growth like cancer.

I’ve said it before, but a big part of why I lean right is that, while perhaps I’d trust some group around me to hold the reins now, there’s always the next group. If I appoint ten (or thirty) “czars,” it’s bc I trust that group to turn the screws today. But who knows who might take their shoes tomorrow? I’d much rather leave it to the individuals; then I know each person is working for his own self interest, and no one will be left out. If all know they can rely on a central decision-maker, many will likely forget to pick up after their own dogs, and other ugly metaphors.

Obvi bipartisanship comes down roughly along these lines. The point of this spectrum model is that I think the difference has to do w/ a person’s faith in his fellows, and his related interest in being involved w/ the relevant community.

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Today’s Quick Letter

In “Tax Dollars Shouldn’t Fund Abortion,” (Opinion, Oct. 15), Charmaine Yoest states that the Capps Amendment “would make abortion coverage a part of the public option, funnel tax dollars to private health plans that cover abortion, and ensure that every area of the country will have at least one health insurance plan that covers elective abortion.”  Ms. Yoest worries that the federal government is poised to enter “the business of funding the destruction of unborn human life.”

We’re already there.  Planned Parenthood performs sixty-two abortions (305,310 abortions in 2008) for each adoption it facilitates.  And the lion’s share of the cost of those abortions comes directly from taxpayers’ pockets.

Planned Parenthood survives on tax dollars and government subsidies – subsidies that pay directly into this abortion giant’s operating fund.  In the 2007-08 fiscal year, $350 million in “government grants and contracts” – those are our tax dollars – padded these controversial coffers.

This is not a question of “choice” versus “life.”  Federal funding for abortions does not require mere moral considerations when dealing with private decisions.  Instead, this begs a discussion of the very purpose of government and the role it should play in our lives.

Whatever individuals think about abortion, we all recognize that this topic is controversial.  For the government to treat such a controversial topic –to fund this controversial practice! – disregards those fundamental protections of private decisionmaking.

Government exists to protect those fundamental freedoms inherent to its citizenry.  Whether or not our government permits citizens to make the kind of “choice” at issue in abortion discussions should incite discussion.  Whether the federal government should rob Peter to pay for Pauline’s choice should not.

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The Flaccid Fourth Estate

Last year I asked myself repeatedly why we kept talking about Britney Spears’s ladyparts.  I wondered how an ungraceful limo entrance heard round the world could supplant everything more urgent, if not more critical, than Britney’s hoochie-cooch.

The answer, of course, is obvious: We pay for it.  Why would we seek out nebulous concepts buried in spin when Britney’s right there?  And she’s underdressed! And now she’s shaving her head!

I’m fortunate to live in a place where I have instant access to the viewpoint I prefer.  There’s no question we have some response to what’s up in this country.  There’s simply not enough of it to counter the oppressive “act first, think later” attitude that prevails.

Right now we’re looking at a unified Executive-Legislative one-two punch.  Legal scholars have added their collective voice to this collective thinking, calling for the Supreme Court to move further to the left.  Indeed, a few major left-leaning Constitutional scholars have begun to call for a Rooseveltian Court-packing scheme to “prolong [their] majority.”  Even without packing, the Judiciary may well move substantially to the left before Obama’s first term ends.

Traditionally the media provides a sort of “fourth check” to balance the government.  Arguments in the First Congress surrounding the passage of the First Amendment suggest that maintaining an objective media is a huge part of why the Bill of Rights passed at all.  The first of few enumerated rights, critical to our structure of government, is our ability to criticize.

Checks and balances have more to do with sharing powers than distributing them.  But in this past year the fourth branch has utterly failed to keep the government (“Big G”) in check.

Start with the legislature.  We’re seeing some massive bills rammed through the works.  Our unified Congress has brazenly expressed its determination to pass as much legislation as possible before 2010.  If you check Drudge this morning there is a list of pork included in the health care bill that includes actual pork: $1,191,200 for “2 pound frozen ham sliced”; $16,784,272 for — no joke! — “canned pork.”  Not only are these government-expansion measures blatant, encounter little complaint from the media.

In fact, the filibuster-proof legislature has been using the fourth estate to hasten its expansion.  Right before the first (or second, if you count Bush’s 2008 stimulus) bail-out we saw a flurry of fear-mongering propaganda among the major left-leaning news sources to stir up reactionary responses to the recession.  Without that propaganda, popular resistance would likely have hindered the bail-out from passing.  Markets may have found their way back to their feet by now.  But because so much main stream emphatically backs our otherwise-unchecked government, we see deference where there should be skepticism from the press.

Failure to check the Executive proves even more dangerous.  Honduras (Zelaya) coverage [last summer] represented perhaps the most egregious example of the media’s failure to perform its “check” duty as Fourth Branch.  Countless networks continued for months to refer to military action in Honduras as a “coup”!

If anything, that was President Obama’s greatest coup yet.  Honduras merely attempted to maintain its constitutional government and dignity abroad.  But the American president sided with such revolutionaries as Chavez and Castro to quash the rule of law in Honduras with one rhetorical fell swoop.

When former President Bush toed the Rule of Law line the media immediately – and rightly! — pounced to demand adherence.  With Honduras we should have seen a monolithic media declaiming Obama’s actions and demanding that we respect the rule of law.  We don’t want an irreverent media; we just need a press corps that does not behave like the President’s deferential interns, making a Lewinski of the Fourth Estate.

President Obama repeatedly takes advantage of media deference.  Last month he penned a Washington Post op-ed filled with rhetoric and aimed directly at latte-sipping, arugula-eating elites.  Kudos to the President for acknowledging that the bail-out failed.  But a Sunday morning “fireside editorial” is NOT the way to address those most affected by government failure.  Karl Rove mocked the president’s rhetoric in a subsequent Wall Street Journal column.  This was the extent of the fall-out calling for more action than rhetoric.

Rather than spin feeble verbal circles, the Executive branch should release its death grip on industry and permit markets to work.  As long as President Obama continues to apologize even while persevering in using Big G as a reactionary tool we will only see more problems.  An active “fourth branch” media check could demand results and halt further disingenuous appeals to elites who don’t know and don’t care.

Finally, in the least dangerous branch, an overly deferential media failed to demand soon-to-be Justice Sotomayor’s perspective on legal policy.  For the duration of last month’s hearings we all waited with bated breath to hear Sotomayor betray her position on…anything!  She never revealed a single viewpoint, and her adoring fans in the press took it in stride.

Without a media check we will inevitably see the judiciary follow the rest of Big G to spin further and further from responsibility to the political process.  With the rest of the government so united, a weak Judiciary will be a huge detriment to the future of our constitutional republic, and indeed, to the future of our Constitution.

Now is not the time to nod sheepishly and admit that we have not read the bills.  The First Amendment may cover Britney’s ladyparts better than she covers them herself, but this was not why 1A was passed.  The media can keep the government responsible, but deference is not the way.


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“Taxed Enough Already”

I hardly ever drive. At the tail end of today’s biannual foray into the District I found myself predictably lost somewhere in Whitehurst territory, my personal Birnam Wood. Today my wanderings quickly turned serendipitous. I happened across the Sept. 12 TEA party, which was nothing like what I’d expected.

I found myself at the corner of Constitution and 16th — ironic, because #16 is the Amendment that permits taxing income at all — and witnessed the power of hordes of people jointly, massively frustrated with their Government.

I’d assumed the tea parties were a fun way for college kids to engage in some loud, creative destruction. It’s not that I snub college events. I’ve had the fortune to encounter some exceptionally good mentors and I love paying forward that mentoring favor by getting involved with students. But when the activity struck me as reactionary and took place on a rainy February afternoon in the middle of Moot Court season, the opportunity cost just skyrocketed.

Living in DC provides an almost-constant opportunity to Get Involved. I’m a pretty discerning joiner. Law school presents such a steep opportunity cost! Why get involved in something reactionary (rather than plain “action”) when if I just study hard soon I’ll be able to file an official complaint replete with a time stamp and the promise of judge’s attention?

I was blown away. It was pretty powerful stuff. A five-year-old waving a “Taxed Enough Already” poster confronted me from the street. Was it a commentary on perverse incentives against school choice? It didn’t matter. The point was that here were thousands of people (reportedly well over a million) who recognize that their elected representatives have become so full of sound and fury, signifying none of their constituents’ needs.

The Declaration of Independence compels citizens to take an active role in their government. Government is nothing more than a contract among many people to give up some degree of freedom for requited and more permanent stability. When one party begins to breach that contract, i.e., when Big G establishes a pattern of infringing upon the freedom we the people never offered up at the negotiation table, we’re not merely permitted but required to make some noise.

It was inspiring, to say the least, to see an organized group addressing their Government. Many of us have found ourselves behind a nonfilibusterable veil. This is not a statement against our structure of government, but rather an objective observation that all organized things tend towards chaos. Majorities speak pretty loudly, unfortunately cultural evolution behaves like all things to which chaos theory applies. James Madison anticipated “factions” in the form of organizing protections like the Food and Drug Administration and the Americans w/ Disabilities Act. None of the framers imagined that our country would devolve to a two-party system. None thought the sugar industry would develop an organized “faction” w/ a discrete lobby in the Congress.

Through some combination of appeal and personality, the “right” has simply ceded America to an indoctrinated voting supermajority between the ages of 18 and 35. There’s no question these masses have spoken. I personally would rather any potential first family stripped of pride in their country vote with their feet and go see their ideal policies already in place in a country like France than mess with my country, but c’est la vie. As my spectacular sister-in-law frequently reminds me: The masses are asses.

I take back any disparaging remarks I may have made about the tea parties. I thought I was too cool for school. Today my complacent, beltway-Scrooge-ish exterior was shattered by seeing hordes of Americans gathered for the first time in a long time to demonstrate something with which I agree. Reminding Big G that gov’t is a contract is our wont, and, as the descendants of those who penned and signed the Declaration of Independence, this is our duty.

It was incredibly inspiring to see Americans recall that contracts require that both parties adhere to their terms. It’s nice to be knocked out of complacency when, if I won’t leave the District, the mountains will come to DC. Above all, it’s tremendous to see Americans doing what we do best, acting on our heritage, and taking matters into our own hands.

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Voting With Your Feet

From the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy at Volokh, George Mason’s own Ilya Somin shares a personal account of how moving with one’s feet is easier for those without a lot of accumulated wealth:

[T]he much greater difficult of moving when you own a lot of stuff is an additional reason why voting with your feet is often easier for the poor. My experience is far from unique.Studies by economists find that homeownership (a proxy for wealth and possessions), tends to reduce labor mobility significantly. Another way of putting it is that the relatively high moving costs faced by the affluent make it less likely that they will move to a different jurisdiction to take advantage of its superior policies, unless the superiority is very great. The poor, by contrast, can often move to exploit relatively smaller interjurisdictional differences.

Personal stories offer some great illustration, but Somin’s account made me wonder whether it is the poor who vote with their feet.

After all, by definition poor folks are the ones who bear the brunt of unjust social policies.  Wealthy people don’t need to vote with their feet, because they can travel.  When health care grows scarce in a wealthy person’s country, she travels to find services abroad.  Injustices like gun bans don’t bother wealthy people as much, because they have doormen and can afford to live in safe neighborhoods.

Prof. Somin suggests that the “foot voting” phenomenon comes into play at the “home-buying” stage, that stage of affluence without roots.  It’s one thing to talk about moving from representation-bereft DC to the open-carry friendly, tobacco-smoker inviting Commonwealth, but leaving real injustice requires something more than a dash of get-up-and-go.

I have a skewed perspective.  My displaced friends are the Cubans whose parents left in the ’60’s, Jews whose grandparents recall the “Old Country,” and a handful of Caucasian-mutt Europeans with ancient memories of Ellis Island.  Both of the former categories consist of wealthy folks who realize that it is their right to leave when the government establishes its pattern of abuses rather than waiting til Despotism becomes entrenched.

Only that hopeful bunch concerned primarily with providing for their children represent the huddled masses voting with their feet for the American Dream.

I can imagine easy arguments for both sides.  It makes sense that unjust policies disproportionately affect the poor, and that the poor have less to lose by leaving.  Anecdotally the opposite seems true: The wealthy tend to leave, because they are more educated, more savvy, and :- more aware of the signs that their country is going in the wrong direction.  Functionally the effect of “self-imposed exile” is that the middle class wanes while thick upper- and lower-classes dominate the remaining population.  Yet it is never the middle class who leaves.

Economists rely on the idea that people will inevitably send a signal to wrongheaded governments when unhappy citizens simply go.  This works at the margin, but in practice it seems that foot-voting better resembles cultural evolution than representation.  When the only folks who can afford to leave are the same sophisticated few aware of greener pastures, that less educated, older demographic left behind bears the brunt of regimes rarely dissuaded by a mobile citizenry.

Unfortunately I’m not as curious about this as I am about Tax Law, but I’d love to see some studies showing who leaves and when they go — and how long until that signal effects change in the old country’s policies.

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Pelosi Whines of Health Care: I Can’t Hear the Discussion Over All This Dissent!

‘Un-American’ attacks can’t derail health care debate

Americans have been waiting for nearly a century for quality, affordable health care.

By Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer

Great start. Why engage with your detractors when you can just levy an ad hominem attack and point a sweeping finger instead?

Health coverage for all was on the national agenda as early as 1912, thanks to Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose presidential run. Months after World War II came to an end in 1945, President Harry Truman called on Congress to guarantee all Americans the “right to adequate medical care and protection from the economic fears of sickness.” From President Lyndon Johnson to President Bill Clinton, to President Obama’s winning campaign on the promise of reform, there hasn’t been a more debated domestic issue than the promise of affordable health care for all.

This is a classic call for central planning. Remember in Animal Farm when Snowball seemed genuinely interested in the entire farm’s best interests, and then Napoleon took over? Napoleon was interested only in power. That’s the problem with centralizing power in one person’s hands: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The “un-American” dissenters that bother Pelosi are not only concerned with the ramifications of public health care (though those are also grave concerns). We are concerned with changing the individual’s relationship to the state, and the state’s requited relationship to the individual.

Even if Snowball was in fact a good and faithful leader, this centralized power will inevitably pass to the next set of hands. People who crave power over policy are typically interested in having that power, NOT in the well being of all affected by the policy. Rather than marginalize a collected will to central consciousness, we should encourage growth along a strong, lower center of gravity. The free market may seem vulnerable to shocks and bumps in the short run, but it is invincible to sustained Napoleonic manipulation. Central planning, though invulnerable to the short-term jostling that makes a market strong, remains susceptible to more invidious power transfers that eventually cause the fall of whichever nation adopted it.

It’s frustrating that “Snowball’s” policies are not the most efficient. But the real problem lies in the fact that centralizing all control in one helpful soul’s hands leaves that balled power entity ripe for Napoleon to pluck and do with what he pleases.

We believe it is healthy for such a historic effort to be subject to so much scrutiny and debate. The failure of past attempts is a reminder that health insurance reform is a defining moment in our nation’s history — it is well worth the time it takes to get it right. We are confident that we will get this right.

Already, three House committees have passed this critical legislation and over August, the two of us will work closely with those three committees to produce one strong piece of legislation that the House will approve in September.

In the meantime, as members of Congress spend time at home during August, they are talking with their constituents about reform. The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent.

However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted “Just say no!” drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.

I’ve never been a fan of really radical dissent. Discussing the merits of ideological fringe—like libertarians promoting anarchy—does nothing more than remove your ideas from discourse, alienating the strong, centered base capable of making change. The point of having ideas isn’t to navel-gaze among those who already agree with you.

A more fruitful course of action requires debate, dissent, and “come to Jesus” moments on both sides. If one or both debaters resist the necessity to engage actively in the discussion then neither side gets anywhere.

Pelosi whines that she wants a “substantive discussion,” but she misses the point: her constituency is shouting “Just say no!”

Our government is structured around the idea that those who care most about an idea will come to the forefront of relevant discussion. Whichever “faction” cares most about government subsidies for sugar will be front-and-center when the time comes to lobby for sustained subsidies, and those of us who have better things to do than care about sugar subsidies will not get involved. This disparate cost compared to contained benefit means that lobbyists perpetuate subsidies; taxpayers simply aren’t interested enough to lobby against paying.

Pelosi claims she wants a discussion, but she is ignoring what her constituents say. No, Nancy! Just say no to National Socialism; just say NO to socialized health care! You want to ignore the loud, passionate faction that just drowned out your comrades, but the more acutely-affected faction appears determined to be heard.

Let the facts be heard

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.

Health care is complex. It touches every American life. It drives our economy. People must be allowed to learn the facts.

In fact, both sides have chosen a set of facts that drive their arguments. Your facts rest on speculation, and the ever-more-insistent call for Hope and Change. The townhall-crashers no doubt look to existing examples of public health care—including, close to home, the miserable option available to the military—as ominous specters of our future. As the summer wears on we are reminded of the aphorism: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Power will always fall into the hands of those who intend to use it. Paternalistic politicians will always ignore the cries from a constituency the politician deems helpless.

The first fact is that health insurance reform will mean more patient choice. It will allow every American who likes his or her current plan to keep it. And it will free doctors and patients to make the health decisions that make the most sense, not the most profits for insurance companies.

Reform will mean stability and peace of mind for the middle class. Never again will medical bills drive Americans into bankruptcy; never again will Americans be in danger of losing coverage if they lose their jobs or if they become sick; never again will insurance companies be allowed to deny patients coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

The current administration has been successful because they never directly disparage free markets. Rahm Emmanuel never says “the free market is a myth”; he claims that “with a little intervention” that market will be stronger.

Yet intervention effectively freezes the pipes through which a market economy flows. “Reform will mean stability and peace of mind for the middle class,” but cryogenically freezing them would obtain the same effect. I feel for those who need in-vitro fertilization to conceive, I really do, but I don’t think I should pay for it. Nor does it make sense to tax everyone enough to cover the broad range of abortions permitted in this country. While I would not necessarily condemn either procedure, I am not willing to pay for yours. We already fund Planned Parenthood, which uses 80% of its national funding to subsidize abortions. Need we pay more into this controversial pot?

Doesn’t it make more sense to leave money in the spenders’ pockets, to spend as they wish? Then the market for services will mirror demand for those services. Instead, Pelosi suggests that we take just a little bit more out of people’s pockets to contribute to a central pot, to be redistributed per whatever method “the factions” choose. I’d rather decide my fate than leave that up to a committee. I’m sure Nancy would rather decide hers, too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Nancy. Why can’t you just leave us free to decide?

Lower costs, better care

Reform will mean affordable coverage for all Americans. Our plan’s cost-lowering measures include a public health insurance option to bring competitive pressure to bear on rapidly consolidating private insurers, research on health outcomes to better inform the decisions of patients and doctors, and electronic medical records to help doctors save money by working together. For seniors, the plan closes the notorious Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” that denies drug coverage to those with between $2,700 and $6,100 per year in prescriptions.

This would take two strokes of a legislative pen to fix. No need to write a thousand page referendum full of additional unforeseen oversights that will no doubt become the “hook” for selling your next reform.

Besides, a “doughnut hole” in legislation is a classic characteristic of government planning. When one central power-at-be who “knows better” takes it upon himself to distribute according to what he assumes “the people want,” he will always overlook some groups. Medicare Part D is nefarious because it overlooks a critical faction who could not speak for themselves.

It would make more sense to leave it to the people to buy what they need (which necessitates lowering taxes or promoting competition so drug prices will all fall in the long run) and avoid gaps, rather than than take people’s taxes and redistribute what you think they need, subject to gaps and holes.

Reform will also mean higher-quality care by promoting preventive care so health problems can be addressed before they become crises. This, too, will save money. We’ll be a much healthier country if all patients can receive regular checkups and tests, such as mammograms and diabetes exams, without paying a dime out-of-pocket.

This month, despite the disruptions, members of Congress will listen to their constituents back home and explain reform legislation. We are confident that our principles of affordable, quality health care will stand up to any and all critics.

Now — with Americans strongly supporting health insurance reform, with Congress reaching consensus on a plan, and with a president who ran and won on this specific promise of change — America is closer than ever to this century-deferred goal.

This fall, at long last, we must reach it.

Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is speaker of the House and

Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is House majority leader.

Perhaps there is nothing more “American” than debate. Rather than face her opposition tete-a-tete with interest and curiosity, Pelosi disparages them with her pen. She chooses a medium unlikely to reach her dissenters—an oped in the USA Today—so her appeal falls dead on arrival.

This is not a discussion. This is a whine. Pelosi reveals that she understands precious little about how our Constitutional Republic works. Reform is indeed necessary. But this step away from market competition will leave the public welfare in government’s often-incapable hands. Switching to a public system cannot be undone. Leaving private choice with regard to health is the first step down a path yet unchartered in American history. Future government interference with private lives will differ only in degree, but not in kind.

Discouraging debate and ignoring factions is not what politicians are hired to do. Pelosi’s decision to avoid confrontation by whining to the USA Today rather than facing her shouting (“Just say no!”) constituents like an adult perfectly characterizes the relationship she wishes individuals had with the state.

With all due respect, Ms. Pelosi, that is what I would call “un-American.”

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