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March 15th, 2010 2:45 pm
The Importance of Process

It is argued that passing Obamacare with zero support from the opposing party will make Washington, D.C. a more partisan place.  Probably so.  But the real, lasting problem with the Democratic strategy of process-be-damned lawmaking is that it flips our national government’s legislative default rule on its head.

As President Obama has lamented, the US Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, which means that most of the language in the document is devoted to restraining the government to ensure the people’s freedom.  Though many hate the filibuster, it’s use relates back to fundamental premises like the separation of powers, and checks and balances.  All led to the conclusion that it should be very difficult for government to act.

Contrast that with the means used to propel Obamacare through Congress, like budget reconciliation and the “Slaughter Solution.”  There is no support  – either historically or constitutionally – for using these measures to grease the skids for substantive policy reform.  The legislative process as laid out in the Constitution is unrecognizable when it comes to Obamacare.  The Democrats who succumb to the temptation of voting for this bill, using these maneuvers, are doing much more than engaging in sharp legislative dealing.  They are irrevocably changing the rules of the game from one governed by laws, to one abused by politicians.

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