Monthly Archives: March 2012

NOTHING TO LOSE

The 44th President of the United States may or may not have known the ramifications his signature on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 would have.

Knowing what I know of him, I can’t honestly say I believe he would have cared.

But the individual mandate, which will take Obamacare to the Supreme Court this Monday, was like no other legislative encumbrance.

It required individuals to participate in this new program so many of us hated from the start.

It forced us to purchase a product we otherwise might not have chosen to purchase.

The judiciary has long reaffirmed the ability of the legislature to regulate any transaction in which you voluntarily participate.

The individual mandate requires you to participate in a transaction.

Full control is achieved.

Checkmate. End of liberty.

That’s why the SCOTUS is giving it so much time and attention starting Monday.

Once President Obama signed this into law, I realized a few things…

I had nothing to lose. If the government now had complete control over my body, there was nothing stopping me from speaking out. What else could they do to me?

This revelation freed me up to take a side. I could identify myself as a conservative Republican.

I never looked back.

As I looked around and started counting how many people shared my outrage, I came to a key conclusion that has influenced my behavior every day since then.

I realized there are more of us than there are of them.

There were more of us who opposed this intrusion into our lives than supported it.

Once I understood that, my mission crystallized.

It was simply a matter of getting elections to reflect our advantage.

The current course of my life’s work stems from that epiphany.

That was the moment I realized the importance of elections.

And I learned that party matters. No matter how strong the character or record of the Democrat, if they went to Washington to serve Pelosi and Reid, that person would be useless on matters of importance to our nation’s freedom, prosperity, and security.

From that moment, I learned as much about elections as possible and involved myself in them as deeply as I could.

Obama probably still doesn’t understand why we were willing to risk his wrath to oppose his signature legislation.

But he truly left us with nothing to lose.

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AFTERMATH: THIS IS WHAT CHANGE LOOKS LIKE

Today is the two-year anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (Obamacare) into law.

The most visible observations of that are coming from those who were opposed to the bill, and the White House is trying to distance itself from it. No easy task, since it was celebrated by the semiofficial media as “historic” and cast as the president’s “signature legislation.”

My congressman, Tim Murphy appeared on Fox News this morning, and was asked if yesterday’s House vote to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) was part of a larger Republican strategy to take Obamacare apart “piece by piece.”

“Well, I think by taking it apart piece by piece,” Murphy responded, “we’re pointing out what Speaker Pelosi charged us with…to ‘find out’ what’s in it…”

As I mentioned in my last blog, I was impressed that the GOP listened to us when the administration and congressional leadership would not.

I was impressed enough by the effort put forth by people like Congressman Murphy and Tom Corbett, then Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, that I sent in a voter registration form to change my party affiliation to Republican. I sent it in that very week.

True, I had been trending more conservative in my political persuasions, and almost exclusively voting for Republicans in the general election anyway, but considering my upbringing, for me to officially declare myself a Republican in any way was deliciously ironic.

Up to that point, I had wanted to remain nonpartisan and, for the purpose of labels, ideologically neutral.

But when President Obama signed a law that we all knew would ruin the world’s best healthcare system and penalize you if you refused to participate, I no longer wanted neutrality with that.

I did not want bipartisanship or compromise with Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. I simply wanted them gone.

What I did not expect at that time was that the Republicans in my area would become more than allies.

They would become friends.

In October 2010, I received an invitation from the Political Director of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County to attend a campaign event. It was there that I met Congressman Murphy for the first time.

During subsequent campaigns, I met more local Republicans.

Eventually, I came to find a home in the Findlay Township Republican Committee.

This is what change looks like.

TWO YEARS AGO: A DAY THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

“Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this flawed health care bill.”

—Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA), March 21, 2010.

 

Until that day, two years ago exactly, I didn’t know that much about Congressman Murphy.

I didn’t actually know that much about most members of Congress, or even who they were or how many of them there were. But that weekend was the beginning of my mission to take serious inventory of who was in Congress and make necessary adjustments.

Since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid came to power in 2006, I had learned a lot about the issues, and recognized some of the players on both sides of the aisle, but considering how many legislators there are, my knowledge of the configuration of my government remained inadequate.

In 2008, I was so concerned about the impact of a Barack Obama presidency that I failed to properly consider what would happen if Democrats increased their dominance in the legislature to a point where Republicans had no power to stop them.

I was not visibly active in either the 2006 or 2008 elections. I was still trying to hold on to a nonpartisan, neutral stance without labels like “liberal” or “conservative.”

Up until that very weekend in 2010, I still believed voting was all I was responsible for doing.

Even after I saw the Obama/Reid/Pelosi triad pushing through other pieces of predictably disastrous legislation, somehow that still wasn’t enough to truly make me understand why someone might want to be involved in elections beyond the voting booth.

Yes, it took Obamacare to make me see the situation realistically.

As I’ve noted over the past few days in my blog, I had watched the construction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act very closely. Contrary to what Pelosi told the NACo on 3/9/2010, we did not have to pass the bill to find out what was in it. Many of us had watched the conversation intently, and knew enough about what was in it to be certain we didn’t want it.

In advance of the vote that was going down on Sunday morning, March 21, 2010, I had spent some time over the course of that weekend getting to know my government a little better.

I put together a spreadsheet with the names of the members of the House of Representatives. I also trawled through the internet to find the latest updates about who was voting for and against the PPACA.

There was still hope, at least in my mind, that there would be enough Democrats to stand up to Nancy Pelosi on behalf of Americans like me.

It was widely known that Democrats were having difficulty getting the necessary votes to pass the bill. Even though they substantially outnumbered Republicans at that time, some Democrats were quite hesitant about having to take this vote back to their constituents.

For my Congressman, Tim Murphy, and so many other House Republicans, there was never any doubt. In his 1-minute floor speech, he said that he had heard from his constituents “loud and clear” and Murphy was a solid no, as well as a vocal opponent of the legislation.

In contrast, the constituents in the district of Jason Altmire (D-PA) weren’t sure till the last minute how Altmire would vote.

It was not lost on me that NO REPUBLICANS were going to vote for this bill. I am impressed by that and grateful for it to this very day.

When the moment of truth came, it fell on the shoulders of Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak. He led a coalition of “Blue Dog” Democrats who were holding out for an assurance that the health care reform, touted as the signature legislation for the most pro-abortion president in American history, would (somehow) not use taxpayer funds to subsidize abortions.

Most of us observing the deliberations recognized that there was a paucity of occurrences where President Obama’s assurances ever synchronized with actual reality.

Unfortunately, Stupak and members of his “pro-life” coalition did not share that understanding. They accepted a promise of an executive order from Obama to satisfy them (or at least give them cover to say) that the bill would not use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions. And that sealed the deal. Obamacare would pass , and go to President Obama for his signature.

Immediately after Congressman Tim Murphy rose to object to the legislation, Congressman Stearns of Florida gave this admonition to his colleagues:

“…this incredibly expensive $1 trillion health care bill will hurt many individuals that currently have insurance. The bill will hurt veterans because it does not accept TRICARE as a qualified medical plan. It will hurt seniors by cutting Medicare advantage to fund these new government programs. Mr. Stupak, no lawyer, will argue that an Executive order is law. So the Senate bill starts us on a path of government-sanctioned abortion-on-demand paid for by taxpayers. The U.S. has a $1.5 trillion deficit, and now we are adding $1.2 trillion over 10 years.”

Congressman Tim Murphy said in his floor speech that “There is much we can agree on with each side of the aisle, but we still did not fix the underlying problem of health care.”

As I watched Nancy Pelosi carry a cartoonish giant gavel to the House to formally hold the vote, I recognized, as Murphy said, that the underlying problem of health care wasn’t fixed.

But on that day, I understood that the problem of tyranny in a representative republic had a very obvious solution…electoral expunction for the tyrants.

That was the day I truly understood the value of lost liberty, and the price that had to be paid to restore it.

I made it my mission in life to cleanse the federal government of the lawmakers who wrought this perversion upon us, and to see this legislative atrocity fully repealed.

And that day, I understood that voting was not enough. I had to become as involved as I could in the electoral process.

Here I am, two years later…on track to complete the mission.

OBAMACARE’S INDIVIDUAL MANDATE: THE ULTIMATE OFFENSE

“The ultimate in vanity…

Exploiting their supremacy.

I can’t believe the things you say…

‘I can’t believe–I can’t believe the price…you pay”

—Metallica, “…And Justice For All”

 

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog how the psychology behind Obamacare was one that would see the young pay more, health innovation stifled, and the elderly simply told to take painkillers and die.

You might think that those were the worst offenses of the infamous “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

Yet they found one greater still.

Obamacare went beyond even those arrogant decrees with the individual mandate, which required that every American carry health insurance…not just any insurance, but a policy that met the specific standards dictated by the HHS.

Among Obamacare’s many offenses against the health care system of the United States, there is but one that will bring it to the Supreme Court on March 26.

Obamacare will face the judgment of the SCOTUS for one reason…the individual mandate was found to be unconstitutional by inferior courts.

Those who embraced this “comprehensive health care reform” package often compared the individual mandate in Obamacare to the requirement that drivers carry car insurance. This was always a defective argument. Only people who drive cars require auto insurance. However practical or impractical, a person has the legal option not to drive a car, and therefore can choose not be insured for that purpose.

No person can leave their body.

By the time we learned about the individual mandate, most of us had already decided we didn’t want this “health care overhaul” in its current form. Once we learned about the individual mandate, we moved to a position of assertive protest.

We were tired of asking Obama, Reid, and Pelosi to listen to us.

Once we understood the ramifications of the individual mandate, we were TELLING them.

We do not want this law. DO NOT pass it.

It was a defining moment in modern American history.

Democrats are on record saying they knew Obamacare was a potential political liability. The American people had not been persuaded to accept it, and many Americans were becoming increasingly vocal in their opposition to it.

But Pelosi was determined to overcome them, and the last line of defense was a coalition of “pro-life” Democrats, holding out to ensure that Americans wouldn’t subsidize abortions.

Congressman Bart Stupak’s coalition had become the last barrier to the passage of Obamacare.

OBAMACARE: TAKE THE PAINKILLER

He may or may not have known how close he was to seeing the day when someone would take his advice.

But when Robert B. Reich, former Labor Secretary, gave a speech to an audience at UC Berkeley on September 26, 2007, he wanted to illustrate what he believed an honest presidential candidate should say about health care reform.

Reich gave a simulated speech, one he wished a candidate (whose primary concern was not to get elected) would give.

In it, he (speaking as the hypothetical presidential candidate) told the audience some “hard truths” about health care changes.

He said that young healthy people would have to pay more.

Further, he warned them that changes in health care would mean “less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market” which would probably mean those people wouldn’t live much longer than their parents.

But at one point during the speech, he spoke in a moment of near-prophetic clarity, when he said:

“…if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Fast forward to June 24, 2009, during the ABC broadcast “Questions for the President: Rx for America” in which President Barack Obama was taking questions about his health care reform plan.

Audience member Jane Sturm told the story of her mother, who was now 105, and needed a pacemaker at 100. Sturm recalled how one specialist said her mother was too old, but another specialist was willing to do it when he saw the mother’s “joy of life.”

Sturm asked of President Obama, “…is there a consideration that can be given for a certain spirit and quality of life?”

Obama’s response was one of several defining moments in the debate over what become known as his signature legislation:

“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit,” he said.

He went on to tell Strum that “At least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off, uh, not having the surgery but taking the painkiller.”

Reich had given his speech in the character of a presidential candidate that didn’t care if he was actually elected. But with supermajorities in the House and Senate, and the semiofficial media selling Obama daily, the 44th President was actually in a position to do what Reich had called for, if only Obama was willing to go against the desires being expressed loudly and clearly by a majority of Americans.

Obama made his choice.

On Christmas Eve, 2009, the United States Senate passed Obama’s health care reform bill.

It was supposed back to the House for a second vote there, and then come back to the Senate for final passage, confirming any alterations.

But the American people responded at their first opportunity.

When it came time to elect a Senator in Massachusetts to replace the late Ted Kennedy, voters chose Republican Scott Brown. That election broke the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

That was the turning point. Even Obama supporters declared this version of health care reform to be dead in the water.

But Nancy Pelosi was determined to do whatever it took to force the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through the House of Representatives.

Her choice, with the subsequent decisions of others, would soon drastically alter the course of my own life.

THOUGHTS FROM THE SAINT PATRICK’S DAY PARADE

Today, I had the privilege of walking with Governor Tom Corbett, some of his staff, and a group of volunteers in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh.

While I’ve been to several events where the Governor appeared, as far back as the 2010 general election, this was the first opportunity I had to actually meet him personally.

As I often do at these events, I got to see some nice people I know and admire, and make new friends as well. I met a nice lady named Amy who was very excited about meeting the Governor, and I met another volunteer named Evan, who’s from Ohio and is going to school at Pitt. He and I discussed local, state, and national politics for most of the time we were waiting prior the parade.

Vice-President Biden was in the parade, but I did not meet him (nor did I try), and actually didn’t even see him.

Naturally, with Biden’s appearance, there were plenty of the “O’Bama” signs as well as the signs with “I” then a clover, then “Obama” on them. I’m not certain how you are supposed to interpret those into words. I would think the Secret Service would question the meaning of people saying they “clover Obama” but then again, Obama supporters often get to play by a different set of rules.

I would like to plug the Fuze juice drink because they gave me a free one at their kiosk. It went nicely with the corn dog I had for lunch after the parade.

The usual suspects were at the parade, like the SEIU woman with the “Proud Nurse for Obama” sign.

The funniest thing I saw today happened when we were standing there before we started walking. Some of the “O’Bama” folks were walking by us and a man had a neatly handwritten sign that said “Thank you for the Affordable Care Act.”

Obviously, it took discipline on my part not to say anything, but a woman (not with us) walked by with her child and saw the sign. Her eyes got wide as saucers, and she looked again to make sure she was reading it correctly, and she just shook her head in obvious disbelief. Her response was priceless, and I concluded that she was speaking for both of us and left it at that.

The second funniest thing was the “O’Bama” people asked us if we’d like to sign up as volunteers!

Now, none of us with Corbett were wearing any type of campaign apparel, but the fact that we were standing beside the car with Corbett’s name on it should have given these people some signal that we might not be the most attractive prospects to work for Obama’s reelection.

Saint Patrick’s Day 2012 capped off a good week for Corbett. Earlier this week he signed a law requiring a photo ID to vote, and he was given a lot of credit for getting Shell Oil to select Pennsylvania over Ohio and West Virginia for a large processing plant.

Corbett gained much favor with me when Obamacare passed nearly two years ago. Then Attorney General, Corbett filed suit against it. Like my Congressman, Tim Murphy, who was also in the parade, he was there for me and my family at the moment when I realized I had to take a more active role in selecting our legislators and leaders.