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Senate Republicans Fiddle While America Burns

Right now in America, the people of this great nation are staring down the loaded barrel of government-run healthcare. If this bill passes, it is no less than the end of America as we know it. You know it. Most Americans knows it.

Yet the people most in a position to do anything about it right now – Senate Republicans – are doing absolutely nothing. If anything, they actually are HELPING Democrats by offering amendments to “highlight problems in the bill,” giving the Democrats the opportunity to produce “cover votes.”

Consider the comments of the number two Senate Republican, Jon Kyl, yesterday on Bill Bennett’s radio show, being hosted by Rick Santorum (hat tip to mayhem in comments of one of Erick’s post, here). In response to the question, “what is your strategy, to the extent you can share it,” Kyl said, “actually, I think we can be fairly upfront about it. Our strategy is not actually to delay and not take votes.” He added, “our strategy is to have a lot of good amendments and highlight the problems in the bill,” and “it is not our strategy to somehow slow things down.”

This is what happens when Senators sit around their offices with overpaid, but largely incompetent staff in fancy rooms scattered about the Capitol – and they listen to pollsters and political strategists talking about how unpopular this bill is, but stressing that Republicans “need to be for something.”

Senator Kyl continued, spending several minutes detailing the GOP strategy to improve the bill with amendments. But, then, the Jon Kyl that we usually applaud conceded that it was simply not possible to improve a bill that at its core allows a government takeover of health care.

On the show, he said, “it is the guts of this bill that’s the problem,” Kyl told Santorum. “These guys [the Democrats] will come back and say, ‘Oh, we fixed this and we fixed that and so on.’ But did you fix the guts of the bill?” “I do not want constituents, wherever they are, to let their senators off the hook on the guts of the bill.”

Right. So, use very tool at your disposal to kill it.

There are two possible strategies to kill this bill. 1. Force a vote as soon as possible to try to deny Democrats the opportunity to build 60 votes. 2. Delay, obstruct and fight – using every parliamentary tactic in the book – such as forcing a reading of the bill, offering strategic amendments, etc… – and try to build up so much public opposition that Democrats cannot get 60 votes. The tools for this strategy were outlined by Senator Judd Gregg, but this is being ignored in favor of “messaging amendments” (code for: we don’t have a plan, so let’s offer “messaging amendments” even though we have no actual message, instead of useful, divisive amendments that might actually be a poison pill).

The current strategy is not a strategy at all. It’s a gutless, foolish exercise in Senate-itis… a deadly disease inflicting many, where people who have been on Capitol Hill for too long begin listening to themselves and their tired, hack staff… drinking their own Koolaid, if I may say it… happy to sit back and enjoy their supposedly improving popularity in the polls as a result of anti-Obama sentiment, and the supposed great forecast for 2010 elections…

As a result, Republicans are playing into Democrat hands – and America will be the big loser.

Government-run healthcare for all – freedom for none.

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