Frank Gaffney
Remember how you felt when Nancy Pelosi told us that we would know what was in the Obamacare bill after it had been passed by the House of Representatives? For a lot of Americans - in and out of the Tea Party movement - that quintessential expression of political elitist arrogance and contempt for the public was the last straw. It powered a revolution that cost Pelosi and her party control of the House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, there was always a risk that, in entrusting the "people's house" to the Republicans under John Boehner, there would soon be more of the same. Sweetheart deals with special interests and highly paid lobbyists engineered behind the voters' backs. Infringement of our constitutional rights. Bills whose sweeping implications for our economy, our society, our way of life, even our national security would only become clear after they were passed.

To be sure, Speaker Boehner and other Republican leaders have been at pains to allay such concerns. To varying degrees, they have tried to establish an openness and transparency with respect to the legislative process sorely lacking under the imperious Pelosi regime. They have made much of their commitment to heeding the Tea Party's demands for change, particularly with respect to fiscal discipline and accountability.

Yet, in one of the first tests of the authenticity of that commitment, the Republicans appear poised to pull a "Pelosi." They don't seem to appreciate that they too can be subjected to the wrath of the voters if they engage in similar behavior. Or maybe it's just that, in the end, they really are like her: Imbued with a sense of elitist entitlement and the confidence they know better what is good for the voters than those who actually cast ballots. So much so that they believe even deeply problematic legislation can be blown through Congress, certain that it won't matter when the public figures out what happened, because it will be too late to do anything about it.

A case in point is the GOP leadership's plan to bring a so-called "patent reform" bill to the House floor as early as next week. In fact, this legislation amounts to an effort to alter fundamentally the first right enshrined in our Constitution (it is found in Article I Section 8, before the amendments known as the Bill of Rights were added in): the right to intellectual property. And unlike the formal process laid out for amending that founding document, the patent bill has been rushed as just another piece of legislation with the most cursory of review and negligible debate, in a manner that reeks of Pelosi-esque high-handedness.


Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
 
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