July 19, 2010 | Commentary on President Barack Obama
Thank You, President Obama (Part II)
On September 21 of last year, in an article titled “Thank You, President Obama,” I wrote: “I love President Barack Obama. No kidding. I love the guy. Barack Obama is the best community organizer of conservatives since Ronald Reagan.”
It’s time to amplify that point. In 2010 President Obama has done even more to unify Democrats, Republicans and Independents into a coalition against his policies. The Tea Party movement should thank you, Mr. President and all the rest of us conservatives, thank you for your excellent work. We could not have done this without you.
Dr. Donald Berwick
Obama has doubled down on his unpopular Obamacare. The President ducked Senate confirmation and instead used a recess appointment to make Dr. Donald Berwick administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Berwick will be responsible for implementing portions of Obamacare. CMS has an annual budget of some $800 billion and is responsible for the heathcare of 100 million Americans.
Conservatives are angry that the President used his extraordinary power to avoid a public hearing, which would have generated testimony from Dr. Berwick and may have exposed him as being too extreme to run CMS.
Berwick’s public statements often raise eyebrows. Regarding end-of-life care, he told the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2002 that “most people who have serious pain do not need advanced methods, they just need the morphine and counseling that have been available for centuries.” This troubling statement doesn’t give much confidence to seniors that, as a bureaucrat, Berwick will care about costly end-of-life treatment when rationing Obamacare’s “benefits.”
The doctor also professed his love for Britain’s Socialist healthcare system and favors a single-payer government-run system for Americans. He wrote in 1996 that “I admit to my own devotion to a single-payer mechanism as the only sensible approach to healthcare finance that I can think of.” President Obama avoided a public hearing for Dr. Berwick when he used the special appointment power used by President Bush and objected to by Senate Democrats at the time.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was so outraged that he objected to the consideration of two judicial appointments and announced on the Senate floor last week:
“This position was vacant for the first 16 months of the Obama Administration and hasn’t had a confirmed administrator since 2006 since my friends on the other side of the aisle were blocking the Bush Administration nominee. Democrats didn’t schedule so much as a committee hearing for Donald Berwick. The mere possibility of allowing the American people the opportunity to hear what he intends to do with their healthcare was evidently reason enough for this administration to sneak him through without public scrutiny.”
Conservatives are outraged and want to see Dr. Berwick come to the Senate to explain his views before he commences work at the CMS.
Racist Bill for Native Hawaiians
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D.-Hawaii) is working feverishly to pass a bill, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D.-Hawaii) that would set up a race-based government for Native Hawaiians. The legislation, (S. 1011), has passed the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and is sitting on the Senate calendar. This bill would set up a separate government entity to govern the “indigenous, native people of Hawaii.” Prior attempts by the proponents of a race-based government for Native Hawaiians have been struck down by the Supreme Court and many conservatives believe that this bill is yet another unconstitutional separation of races in the United States.
Hill sources tell HUMAN EVENTS that Sen. Daniel Inouye is actively courting the four women Republican senators to get their support for the highly controversial, race-based, Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 (a.k.a. the “Akaka Bill”). For Inouye and Akaka, it’s ‘do or die’ time. They have to pass this bill before the August recess, or it really dies and becomes their albatross. Conservatives worry that Inouye will use his power as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to hide this bill in one of the appropriations measures scheduled for approval this fall.
The President’s actions in pushing an extremist to run Obamacare and letting his congressional allies press to create race-based government for native Hawaiians is further evidence that President Obama does not get it. This President has been tone-deaf to the needs of the American people and his actions may soon lead to his being considered, effectively, a lame-duck President who is steering the Democratic Party to political disaster this fall.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in Human Events