When President Obama signaled his approval of using the Senate’s Budget Reconciliation process to push ObamaCare1 through the Senate, he is doing more than going back on statements he made about wanting this to be bipartisan. He is doing more than misusing something that is in place for budgetary measures.
He is proposing used a tool in a way that hadn’t been done before, and setting a precedent for future generations of Presidents.
When you hear the argument “this is the first time this has been done this way” the basis of the argument is this: This has only been used this way, and if you choose to do it that way, expect for us to use it that way and point to you.
This is a favorite tactic of both sides, and especially with what’s happened in the past few administrations. President George W. Bush sued signing statements “like no President before him”. President Barack Obama starts to use them as well—and points to his predecessor if there are any complaints.
In the 90s, the Republicans complained about judicial nominations, and held some up. The democrats filibustered judicial nominations in the 00s, and now the Republicans are filibustering judicial nominations saying– “you did it first”.
So if President Obama puts his weight behind widening this procedure to get ObamaCare through, is he prepared for what will happen with the pendulum shifts again and Democrats are in the minority and the Republicans feel that they have just enough votes to privitize Social Security or whatever else they think they can do?
The tool that you use today your opponent may use a lot stronger tomorrow.
It’s one of those things that we should learn from the past, but we seem to continually want to repeat.
- President Obama’s Health Insurance Overhaul