[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Sean Hannity interviewed Sarah Palin on his show last night, and it sounded like she was talking in a tin can, despite the pretty Alaskan backdrop. It sounded, in fact, like one of Sarah's old performances as an Alaska sports reporter; evidently a professional studio was not available.
But who cares about such niceties when you're busy accusing Democrats of violating the Constitution? Considering that the charge is not just loony but grotesquely hypocritical, standing on a soap box on a street corner might have been the most appropriate setting; a tin-can studio is a step up.
Palin claimed that the health-care reform effort was "about government control," and that the process in the House for passing it is "an unconstitutional process" being "crammed down our throats":
Palin: It's against the will of the people, it's undemocratic, it's un-American, this process. And, uh, if we don't stand up and become very enthused about calling our politicians on this, then more of this is gonna take place.Later, Palin asks: "Is the Constitution not worth the paper it is written on, then?" Hannity natters on in agreement, claiming that the "Slaughter rule" would be challenged in court by his buddy Mark Levin.
Palin then added:
I think, Sean, that in our lifetime, this is the most undemocratic, unAmerican step that we'll have ever seen our Congress take. It's appalling, it's -- it takes my breath away that they would think that this is OK to do.Yes, it's too bad for Palin and Hannity that a large majority of Americans greeted Obama's promise of a "transformation". That's what elections are about, you know.
But again, we can't feign surprise. Remember, this is what Barack Obama had promised in the campaign, he said as a candidate that he was just days away from beginning the transformation of America.
Now, a lot of us love America, and we don't want to see this transformation into something that is unrecognizable, this European style of health care, in this case that we're talking about. But no, so many of us that love America and believe in what our Founding Fathers providentially had crafted for us, you know, our documents including our Constitution -- we don't agree with this fundamental transformation of America that Obama promised us. We voted for him anyway, he was elected anyway. And now Americans are kind of realizing that's what he meant by a fundamental transformation of our great country.
And the notion that this transformation entails abrogation of the Constitution is just laughable -- because the procedures they're wailing and gnashing their teeth about have been part of standard House procedures for years.
You sure didn't hear Palin or Hannity complaining when Republicans used these same rules willy-nilly during their tenure of complete control of Congress earlier this decade. Indeed, Republicans "set new records" in their use of the so-called self-executing rules that are now in play for health-care reform:
When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules.These rules are long established procedural rules. A 2006 House report observed:
On April 26 , the Rules Committee served up the mother of all self-executing rules for the lobby/ethics reform bill. The committee hit the trifecta with not one, not two, but three self-executing provisions in the same special rule.
Self-executing rules are still employed on matters involving House-Senate relations. They have also been used in recent years to enact significant substantive and sometimes controversial propositions.Among these:
On February 20, 2005, the House adopted H.Res. 75, which provided that a manager’s amendment dealing with immigration issues shall be considered as adopted in the House and in the Committee of the Whole and the bill (H.R. 418), as amended, shall be considered as the original bill for purposes of amendment.Meanwhile, none of these people -- and particularly neither Hannity nor Palin -- objected when George W. Bush wiped his butt with the Constitution by wiretapping American citizens and instituting "enemy combatant" procedures for captured terrorists.
Because, you know, it's always OK if you're a Republican.