Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Editorial Boards Weigh in on Democrats’ Decision to Break the President’s “C-SPAN Pledge”

by Kevin Boland on January 6th, 2010

Reports that President Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders have cut a deal to skip a formal Conference on their health care legislation - a flat violation of the President’s promise that such negations would be broadcast on C-SPAN for the American people to see - has provoked outrage across America.

Today, editorial boards from coast to coast weighed in, and - to say the least - they disagree with Speaker Pelosi’s assertion that “There has never been a more open process.”

A roundup of newspaper editorials from this morning’s papers follows:

Boston Herald: “Let Public in the Room”

"This administration - and Democratic leaders - talk a good game about transparency in government. Now they have an opportunity to practice it. If they’re going to throw the legislative rulebook out the window, at the very least they could give congressional Republicans a chance to watch the process on TV."

Investor’s Business Daily: “Let the Sun Shine”

"House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has called the Democrats’ plan to bypass a conference committee a “shady backroom deal.” An overstatement? Hardly. One House Democratic aide told a blogger that “this process cuts out the Republicans.” The Democrats fear that if they follow the traditional route, the GOP could use the Senate filibuster rule to shut down the process of organizing the committee.

"Bypassing a conference committee also cuts out a public that will suffer losses from whatever monstrosity is produced by the cover of darkness. Americans stand to lose their power of choice over health care decisions and be stripped of a significant portion of their earnings to pay for a plan most don’t want. They deserve to see in an open forum what is being done to them. Instead, they’re likely to get whatever the Democrats want to force on them."

New York Daily News: “Ready for Prime Time”

"Candidate Barack Obama made a straightforward health care reform promise on the campaign trail in 2008: ‘We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so the people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.’ At the time, he hit all the right notes. Populism. Transparency. Good government. But today, President Obama is not quite with the program."

Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Broken Promise”

"What Americans don’t know — and what they won’t get to see — is how far Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi will go to get what they want. Taxpaying voters will be cut off from the decisive debate on a monstrous increase in consumer costs and federal authority. Can senators and representatives defend the economically impossible concepts they embrace — more health care, lower costs — in spontaneous, free-flowing discussions? Or will they simply push forward a slip of paper with the dollar amount needed to secure their support, as Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., already has?"

New York Post: “Dems Against Democracy”

"As DC Democrats slink behind closed doors to craft a final health-care bill — thousands of pages long and sure to sap the nation’s economic future — Americans need to ask: Just what are Dems so ashamed of? ‘We will do what is necessary to pass the bill,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted, as she and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to forgo a panel to finalize legislation. Instead, they’ll build their Frankenstein’s monster of a bill in secret, mocking democratic principles all the way."

The Wall Street Journal: “The Tom DeLay Democrats”

"Evading conference has become standard operating procedure in this Congress, though you might think they’d allow for the more open and thoughtful process on what Mr. Obama has called ‘the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the 1930s and the most important reform of our health-care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s’…Apparently this Congress knows no shame."

In my last post I said an intemperate thing when I condemned the "sanctimonious main stream press" for their failure to condemn the disgraceful backroom deal making and lack of transparency in the health care refrom legislation negotiations. I should not paint all of the press with the same brush. They are not "phonies, one and all." There are still some elements of the press that have integrity and believe in good government and democracy.

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