Posted by Leo Shishmanian on 27 August, 2009 at 4:24 pm. 11 comments already!

The line “win one for the Gipper” has its origins in Notre Dame football.  George Gipp, a Fighting Irish all-American footballer suffering from strep throat and pneumonia, purportedly delivered the line from his hospital bed to coach Knute Rockne before a big game against Northwestern.  Coach Rockne delivered the line to his team who, inspired by their teammate’s struggle, promptly won the game.  Gipp died shortly thereafter.  Ronald Reagan, who played Rockne in the movie Knute Rockne, All American, was nicknamed “the Gipper” and famously used the line in his presidential campaigns.

Now some Democrats are using the line as a rallying cry for health care in light of the death of Senator Ted Kennedy.  Democratic Senators Robert Byrd and Chris Dodd, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have all suggested a return to civility and bipartisanship in the debate and passage of the bill to honor Kennedy’s legacy.  They might even name the bill after him.  Perhaps “win one for the skinny dipper” might be a more appropriate slogan.

Unlike the legislative process, a presidential campaign and election is like a football game.  Sometimes you’re on offense, sometimes defense, but you are always using your game strategy to score more points and win more votes than the other team.

Unfortunately, about the only thing Kennedy and Gipp have in common is the word “Irish”.

Fundamentally, many people (including I) believe there is no constitutional basis for the federal government to be regulating health care.  President Obama and congressional Democrats believe that the Constitution does not limit federal power but rather opens to national regulation all doors not specifically closed by the founding document.  In other words, the language of the Constitution is meaningless.  Of course, this way of thinking ignores the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution but that’s how liberals have been able to expand federal power at the expense of the people and local officials.

But, leave that aside since we face the reality of expanded federal intervention.  It is one thing for a football coach to invoke a dying player’s final wish to motivate his squad to leave everything on the gridiron.  The goal is to win the game.  Indeed, though, in the end it’s just a game.  No matter how important it is to the participants and fans, or how it is viewed historically, it’s still just a game.  And there is no bipartisanship in football.

Health care reform legislation at the federal level, on the other hand, isn’t a game.  The health care industry represents a large portion of our overall economy covering many different areas, from medical services to pharmaceuticals sales, private insurance to public benefits, research and development to records and billing, and many others.  National-scale reforms, even if mere tweaks, will likely cause significant tremors throughout all sectors of the industry.

There are also important moral questions presented by some proposed reforms.  Bureaucratic panels would be set up to review some care decisions, especially later in patients’ lives.  Are they “death panels” as Sarah Palin called them?  Perhaps.  A form of them essentially exists already in Oregon and at least one example shows Palin’s claim is not right-wing hysteria.  And we know that government never limits the power it takes for itself.  It’s the kind of thing that could readily and administratively (i.e through the rule-making process without additional legislation) be expanded to include life and death decisions.

The legislation also includes mandatory coverage for “reproductive health”.  Given the militant pro-abortion stand of Democrats and President Obama, it is not much of a stretch to conclude that abortions, including late-term and partial birth abortions, will be included in the coverage.

Now comes word that the bill includes provisions to allow the IRS to divulge your tax information to the “Health Choices Commissioner” for determinations of whether people will qualify for something called “affordability credits.”  You can just feel the warm fuzzies from sea to shining sea.  And it’s all designed to help you, you ungrateful wretch.

The idea that we (through our representatives) should quickly rally around a 1,000-plus page bill that is incredibly complicated, patently unconstitutional, increasingly socialist, morally and ethically questionable, economically deleterious, constantly changing and largely unread by our representatives, just so we can fulfill dead Uncle Teddy’s last wish, is an absurd and tremendous breach of the public trust, especially when large majorities don’t support the bill.

No matter for the Democrats.  They say they want to pass health care reform to honor Uncle Teddy, which is curious since I’m quite certain no federal agency or commission intervened in his care decisions.

Parts of the health care system need reform.  Shouldn’t we take our time to ensure the reforms debated and enacted are market-based solutions that will not increase federal power or decrease individual liberty?  Shouldn’t freedom of choice be available beyond decisions involving killing babies in utero?

The real reason Democrats want bipartisan support is so they can share the blame when things inevitably go awry.  With a current 59-40 majority, they don’t need bipartisanship for passage.  They want to point a finger across the aisle.  Unfortunately for the Democrats, they are on the run and attached to a bill (and concept) that is losing momentum the death of which could be a crushing blow to their power and the Obama Administration.  Yet they are true believers in federal control of health care and currently seem willing to buck the will of the majority of Americans.  That’s an enormous gamble to honor dead Uncle Teddy.

Keep speaking your minds and there’s a better chance they’ll crap out.

Crossposted from The Los Angeles Examiner

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