Time For Recess

Bill Murchison
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Posted: Jul 29, 2009 12:01 AM
Time For Recess

According to a recent poll by Political Strategies Inc./POLITICO, only a quarter of Americans "trust" Nancy Pelosi.

Mrs. Pelosi, reacting to a question about the poll, replied, "I don't care." The reporter with whom she was speaking said she was "laughing heartily."

Now for today's topic: democracy.

Say what you will about it, and there's plenty to say on both sides, democracy is the system that holds leaders accountable for performance, assuming the voters take the time and trouble -- as increasingly, to Mrs. Pelosi's chagrin, and the president's -- has become the case with health care.

Leading Democrats have bleated like sheep over Congress' inability, unwillingness, or both to follow White House orders and get health care "reform" passed before the August recess.

Guess what these leaders are pretending not to notice: democracy in action. The sovereign people, as orators and such sometimes call them, are growing edgy and nervous; so are, correspondingly, the senators and House members they elected to represent their interests in Washington.

Quite a few of the sovereign people fear that the White House and the Capitol Hill leadership are determined to ram a certain kind of reform down their throats, just as quickly as 300 million American mouths can be pried open to receive same. The White House and the leadership don't want argument or debate. That's why there haven't been substantive debates, just White House press conference lectures on abstractions such as "need," with few connections drawn between problem and indicated solution.

More and more Americans, in short, see their political leadership as issuing orders from yards -- meters -- miles above the common herd, scarcely bothering to explain; more interested in telling than asking, in getting it done as opposed to getting it right.

Brothers and sisters, if that's democracy, then up is down, hard is soft, and Warren Buffett is an apprentice bookkeeper in the Virgin Islands.

Democratic bleating over growing opposition to Pelosi/Obama-style reform -- opposition generally portrayed in the District of Obama as willful or selfish -- can't disguise reality. An August recess from bleating is just what the doctor ordered. Our representatives need to go home, face the voters and find out whether the reform style on the table is what said voters really want. If it seems to be -- with voter assent signified by the simple act of piping down -- then it's coming our way. If, however, the cost, and the degree of nannylike oversight envisioned by the plan rub us wrong, that, too, is democracy. Better to have a kind of referendum now before the cell door slams and the Democrats flip through our wallets to see what they want to buy next.

A vast variety of arguments can be made against DemoCare, a particularly salient one being that we haven't even talked this one through. An extra trillion-to-trillion-and-a-half of our money ... for what? Does Nancy Pelosi know? How could she? Nobody can know. One can project -- that's all, according to one's presumptions, which probably won't match the presumptions of someone else sitting two feet away

Nobody knows. Yet Nancy Pelosi wants to flog this one through so she can flog something else through, like cap-and-trade policies to fight global warming.

Mrs. Pelosi doesn't care, apparently, whether the voters trust her. Wherefore it has come to this: The administration we looked to for "change" and "unity" works night and day to force-feed us its ideas and plans and designs.

Don't ask question is the administration's slogan. Don't hold open hearings. Don't call in the expert on both sides. Don't try to make the thing right -- try to make it happen.

August can't come too soon. We need a break for thought -- a pause that refreshes bare and banal discourse. The voters need to see their representatives, hear them, speak to them and listen as they speak back. How odd such an approach may seem in the District of Obama. In venues less exalted they have a name for it -- democracy.