Would canceling Obamacare be a blow to democracy?

October 3, 2013 - By John Seiler

Three of our esteemed commentators insist that, if the U.S. House of Representatives somehow repeals major parts of Obamacare, doing so would undermine “democracy.”

voting machine, maryland, wikicommonsThomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and famous author, titles his column, “Our Democracy Is at Stake”:

This time is different. What is at stake in this government shutdown forced by a radical Tea Party minority is nothing less than the principle upon which our democracy is based: majority rule. President Obama must not give in to this hostage taking — not just because Obamacare is at stake, but because the future of how we govern ourselves is at stake.

He is echoed on CNN by two professors of government in an article titled, “GOP shutdown's extremism worst in U.S. history.” It's by Ellen Fitzpatrick, a professor of modern American history at the University of New Hampshire; and Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, and director of the Scholars Strategy Network. They echo Friedman:

The federal government shutdown is a virtually unprecedented move by a political minority committed to rolling back one of the most significant legislative achievements in recent American history. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 was passed by two houses of Congress after 14 months of debate. Opponents then challenged the law's constitutionality and lost that battle in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Less than five months later, American voters re-elected by a 5 million-vote majority margin a president who stood foursquare behind the Affordable Care Act. In so doing, the electorate rejected a GOP presidential candidate who promised its repeal.

Apparently the democratic processes by which Americans make choices and govern themselves are not acceptable to extremists in the House of Representatives who seek to halt government or have their way. They would have Americans see their actions as a patriotic and high-minded defense of liberty. As the shutdown loomed, several GOP congressmen and analysts took to the airwaves to trivialize the significance of the House vote.

A republic, not a democracy

Actually, as these eminent commentators must know, the Founders did not establish a pure democracy, but a republic. The Supreme Court is appointed, not elected. U.S. senators are elected by state, not by population; California has 66 times as many people as Wyoming, but both states get only two senators. The president is not elected by majority vote, but by the Electoral College. The several states still retain at least some authority within from our national “democracy.”

But aside from those points, the authors' claim that the Tea Party's actions are “undemocratic” contradicts some obvious things. First, the U.S. House of Representatives is the most democratic part of the government because it is elected on the basis of population after the decennial U.S. Census. The Founders made it so all tax bills must originate in the House, the branch of government “closest to the people.”

If Obamacare could be implemented by democracy in the House in 2010, how is it any less “democratic” if it is repealed, in whole or part, by the House in 2013?

Second, Friedman and the two ladies insist that the Tea Party has become a tyranny overthrowing democracy. Actually, the Tea Party is an amorphous movement that has strong influence, at best, on 40 percent of GOP representatives and maybe 20 percent of GOP senators. And since the Republicans have a bit more than half the representation in the House, the Tea Party has, at most, influence over about 22 percent of all 435 representatives.

If the Tea Party members of Congress end up prevailing, it will be because they made convincing arguments, rallied support for their cause among the voters in other (non-Tea Party) districts, or both. In other words, if the Tea Party somehow wins, it will be through democratic action.

2,407 pages

Third, despite Friedman and the learned professors bringing up “democracy,” Obamacare, if implemented, actually will be beyond democracy — it will become another gargantuan bureaucracy implemented by faceless, undemocratic functionaries. The original implementing legislation in 2010 extended to 2,407 pages of unreadable governmentese. Here's a screen shot of p. 2407. See if even this snippet makes any sense to you. And if a government act doesn't make sense to regular voters — the demos – how can it be “democratic”?

Obamcare p. 2407

No wonder then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, famously said just before Obamcare passed, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it.” How “democratic” was that? Perhaps Friedman and the professors can inform us. Here's the YouTube of Pelosi:

Bureaucracy

Fourth, the bureaucracy now is taking over and adding multiples more regulations, none approved by the Congress or the people of the United States:

When asked by CNSNews.com whether he had read all 10,535 pages of final Obamacare regulations that have so far been published in the Federal Register, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) asked in return whether it was “important” the he read them, dismissed the inquiry as a “propaganda question,” and did not ultimately anwer.

CNSNews.com: “What I was going to ask you is if you've read those [10,535 pages] of regulations.”

Waxman said: “Have you read them?”

CNSNews.com: “No. Have you read them?”

How is it “democracy” when our legislators, and Waxman is no dummy, have no idea what is going on with laws they passed; laws which have turned loose a new bureaucracy to control our lives in an anti-democratic fashion?

Here's the video:

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Comments(7)
  1. Let It Collapse says:

    ObamaCare is just a continuance of the war on the working middle class.

    The dems have traditionally claimed to be the party that protects and champions the middle class. And the dems could have avoided the fed goverment shutdown by simply agreeing to give the common ordinary working class citizen the same year delay on the ObamaCare individual mandate as corporate mandate got from the dem President Obama. Yet the dems said that they would rather shut the government down than give the ordinary middle class citizen the same year delay break that Obama gave to the corporations. So much for being champions for the ‘little guy’, huh?

    But I don’t hear any of the dem constituents screaming about this. Why? Because they are brainwashed and go along with whatever Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi tell them to believe. This is why the nation is doomed. Support the home team….right or wrong.

    ObamaCare is just another nail in the coffin. Slowly but surely turning America into a third world banana republic.

    Just today Jerry Brown signed a law that will provide millions of criminal illegal foreigners driver’s licenses in California. Rewarding criminality. And it will be a huge magnet attracting millions of more illegals into the State. Millions that you will be forced to pay for.

    Let it collapse.

  2. us citizen says:

    Im with ya………..let it implode………..big time!!! Ill get my camera so we can take pictures!!!

  3. Rex the Wonderdog! says:

    I say lets give Obamacare a test drive, if it blows up we junk it, but not w/o a test drive.

  4. Ulysses Uhaul. says:

    This is like Peteee Wilson’s ugly drive to implement Prop 187.

    Obamcare is wildly popular among the little people.

    Fighting implementation sours the populace.

    Healthy residents will raise economic productivity and standards of living.

    Go mono on mono….help a poor person sign up….the right thing to do.

  5. SeeSaw says:

    Harry Reid referred to the Tea Partiers as anarchists–he is right. The ACA was passed into law–any amendments or repeals of such should also be done through the law–not like the childish, foot stomping that is taking place in the House right now!

    • BobA says:

      SeeSaw:

      So let me get this straight: if you’re in favor of limited government and following the US Constitution you’re an anarchist? By that reasoning anyone who obeys the laws of our constitutional republic is an anarchist. By that reasoning, anyone who swore of swears an oath the defend our constitution is necessarily an anarchist.

      I take it then that you’re no longer a fan of our constitution. What would prefer a totalitarian dictatorship? A monarchy? Communism? Which failed form of government do you prefer for America? You seem to have nothing but contempt for those of us who believe in limited government and that the US constitution is the law of the land.

      It’s obvious to me that you know nothing about the Tea Party other than what the media has told you to think and I use the word “think” loosely.

  6. dtravers says:

    As an aside, my wife works at a hospital. Under obummer care they lost 32 million dollars and the hospital is laying off 32 million dollars work of labor next year. That is just one hospital.

    There are three branches of government co-dependent. Are you telling me laws cannot be changed? We changed Social Security laws and Medicare laws.

    All in all, Obummer care is here to stay in some form. Giving a year extension may be good but a test driving it may be better.

    Just like the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is bound to fail in its current form. Those new taxes and penalties are going to be a big drag on the economy.

    Being pushed off of low deductable employer plans to high deductable Obummer plans is going to be another big drag on the economy.

    5500 pages of new rules is another huge drag on a big sector of the economy. Having healthcare is important. How you provide it is important. The new system will make 2014 a very bad year.

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