Guest Editorial


The American people never voted for Obamacare

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As a famous German propagandist once said, if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.

Elections have consequences, it is true. And in 2008, following the epic market crash and financial crisis, Republicans were demolished in the general election, losing the White House while Democrats picked up seats in the House and Senate.

And yet, as catastrophic as that was for the GOP, Democrats did not achieve a complete lock on government. They still only had 59 seats in the U.S. Senate, one short of a filibuster-proof supermajority in that body.

It was not until the late Sen. Arlen Specter, a lifelong Republican, switched parties in April 2009 to join Democrats, providing the 60th vote in favor of Obamacare in December 2009.

But to argue this was somehow a sweeping mandate for overhauling the nation’s health care system is a bit specious.

After all, when voters were given their opportunity to render their verdict on Specter in 2010 — and thus Obamacare — they threw Specter out on his ear in favor of now Sen. Pat Toomey. Again, Toomey was an Obamacare opponent.

In that respect, if the issue in the 2004 primary had been national health care, it is not outlandish to suggest that Specter might not have prevailed.

Even in the state of Massachusetts, when socialized medicine advocate Ted Kennedy passed away, and voters had an opportunity to affirm their support for Obamacare, they elected Scott Brown on the platform that he would vote against it.

In 2010, after Brown was sworn in and when Democrats could no longer get to 60, they made several modifications to Obamacare using the simple majority reconciliation process, getting around traditional order in the Senate that typically requires 60 votes.

Again, hardly a sweeping mandate for a law that only came into being because Specter duped Pennsylvania voters by changing his party affiliation. If elections had had the consequences voters intended, Obamacare would have been killed at inception by being blocked in the Senate.

To argue otherwise is to make the claim that somehow, in 2004, when Specter was reelected as a Republican, Pennsylvania voters secretly knew of his plans to switch parties (and vote for Obamacare) when it became clear he would lose to Toomey in the 2010 GOP primary. Which, of course, is ridiculous.

In fact, Pennsylvania voters have a history of rejecting nationalized health care supporters, including Rick Santorum’s victory over appointed incumbent Harris Wofford in 1994.
This history flies in the face of the Democrat narrative that elections have consequences. The American people did not vote for Obamacare.

Instead, the law was enacted without a single Republican voting for it in the Senate. And now with Obamacare set to fully go into effect in 2014, the American people are to believe that the debate is over. That it’s a done deal, the law of land, and we just need to move on as a nation.
That, the only role for the Republican-controlled House of Representatives — which was reelected in 2012 — is to rubber stamp the law’s funding. That there can be no discussion on this point. No negotiation with House leaders.

But as House Speaker John Boehner recently stated, “It just doesn’t work that way.”
Yes, elections do have consequences, but to get anything done in the U.S. Senate, you need 60, not 51. And, to get any appropriations passed, they must be originated and get through the House of Representatives.

So, if Democrats really want the so-called shutdown to end, perhaps they should try sitting down with Boehner and talking about Obamacare. Grandstanding and pretending the law came into being via popular acclaim while effectively shoving it down the nation’s throat is a continuation of a big lie in the hopes that voters won’t remember what really happened.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.