Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – January 7, 2011

The first Weekend Edition of the new year looks at the Republicans and the Constitution as well as the proposed repeal of the health care bill. In some ways today feels like December 38, 2010, but I believe that this is a new year.

A Strong Constitution

This past Wednesday the Republican Party formally took control of the United States House of Representatives. On January 6th the first order of business was for the members of Congress to spend close to two hours reading the Constitution of the United States out loud.

Presumably, this exercise was meant to do more than demonstrate the limited oratorical skills of some elected officials. We have been told that the new Republican majority will adhere to the Constitution and this spectacle was Exhibit A.

The Constitution, which was ratified in 1788, was always meant to be a organic document. It set forth certain precepts and principles but it was never meant to be inflexible. Its uniqueness has been its ability to adapt and evolve.

In the original Constitution slavery was lawful, women could not vote and no individual could vote for a United States Senator. All of these items have been changed, no doubt for the better. And there will certainly be changes in the future.

The mechanical reading of the Constitution made for poor theater and even worse political philosophy. The Constitution is not Scripture and it was never meant to be the governmental equivalent of the Ten Commandments.

The Death of Health Care?

The Party of No is, if nothing else, true to its promise. The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives will vote to repeal the entire health care reform bill on January 12th.

The Senate almost certainly will not go along with this singularly self-destructive strategy and it is safe to say that, in any event, President Obama would veto the madness if it ever made itto his desk.

Already, Congressman Fred Upton, the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has said that he will try to dismantle this legislation “piece by piece” which is a comforting thought.

One wonders if the esteemed Mr. Upton is referring to the “piece” that allows people with pre-existing illness? Perhaps the “piece” that will give over 30,000,000 uninsured Americans health care coverage that Mr. Upton and his family undoubtedly enjoy at this very moment.

Perhaps the Party of No is referring to the “piece” that will allow American business to be competitive with the rest of the world, a world where corporations do not have employees’ health care expenses as a cost of doing business. Of course, that would be because all developed countries have universal healthcare coverage for their citizens.

“Dismantling” doesn’t sound like a very constructive approach. On January 12th the G.O.Tea Party will demonstrate once more that its way is the wrong way.

Have a great weekend!

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