John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Fight the Present, Don’t Re-fight the Past

Posted on March 25, 2010
Put away those Confederate Uniforms.

As it turns out, we don’t have to re-enact the Civil War.  The Health Care law is so bad, we don’t have to stretch back to the 18th or 19th centuries (or the 20th century for that matter) to come up with analogies to fight it.

We don’t have to channel our inner-John C. Calhoun and come up with a nullification theory about this law.

We don’t have to compare this to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which helped lead to the Civil War.

We really don’t have to compare this bill to the Boston Tea Party either.  Sorry, tea-partiers.

Newt Gingrich made the unfortunate comparison of this bill to the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s.  Hey, Newt, I hate to remind you, it is awfully hard to defend Jim Crow these days.  Well, it was awfully hard to defend Jim Crow at any time. And it was altogether appropriate and fitting to protect African-Americans as they exercised their God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But this health care bill has nothing to do with the civil rights fights of the 1960’s.

Some want to call Barack Obama a socialist and this piece of legislation a further sign of a nation slipping into socialism.

Well, guess what?  We are already half-pregnant on that one, and have been since we passed Social Security in the 1930’s and Medicare in the 1960’s.  Calling somebody a socialist just doesn’t have the same resonance with most people that it did when we were fighting the Soviet Union.  It is awfully hard to Red-Bait, when the Reds have largely left the stage.

But, you know what?  This bill is so bad, we don’t have stretch back for all of these dubious historical analogies.

We can actually fight this on the merits.

This law is going to be bad for the middle class.  It is going to force people who can’t afford to buy health insurance to buy health insurance they can’t afford, and push them further to the brink of bankruptcy.

It is going to do nothing to control premium increases, which are going to continue to skyrocket.

It is going to do nothing to control costs.

It is going to force people who have good insurance now into insurance that either costs more or covers less, or in some cases, it is going to do both.

It is going to raise a lot of taxes on a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs, which is going to slow economic growth even more.  It is going to have a terrible impact on job creation.

Because it requires enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service, it is going to require the employment of thousands of new IRS agents, who are going to be tasked with hunting down small business owners and young people who don’t want to buy insurance, and fining them until they cry uncle.

Senator George LeMieux has a great line about this legislation.  He says that it is basically going to force millions of middle class Americans into Medicaid.  LeMieux tried to amend the reconciliation bill (which is currently making its way through the Senate) with a provision that said that if the middle class is going to be forced into Medicaid by this law, well, so should the Senate.  Senators, who feel they play an incredibly exalted role in our society, declined the offer.

We don’t have to have a tea party.  We don’t have to push for nullification.  We don’t have call this Socialist or compare it to the Kansas-Nebraska Act or the Missouri Compromise.  We don’t have put on our Blue and Gray vintage civil war uniforms.  We don’t have to have a debate on whether Obama is a Marxist, a Trotskyite, a Stalinist or merely a Socialist.  We don’t have to channel our inner George Wallace (nor should we…that was a really dumb analogy by Newt).

We can actually make our case to the vast majority of the American people that this law is going to be bad for their health, for their wealth and for their general happiness.  And, oh, by the way, it is going to probably bankrupt the country.

Let’s make the case on the merits, let’s take our case to the American people, and then let’s get to work to change this really bad piece of legislation.  And while we are it, let’s leave to Civil War nostalgia to the re-enactors.