The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler


Posted on | March 20, 2010 | 46 Comments

Americans will gather in Washington, D.C., today to speak out in opposition to the $2.5 trillion government takeover of health care.

WHEN: Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET
WHERE: West Lawn of the Capitol

SPEAKERS: Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Rep. Tom Price, Rep. Joe Wilson, actor John Voight, Dr. Milton Wolf, Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, Tim Phillips and Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity, Jim Martin of 60 Plus, Andrew Larger of Institute for Liberty, Kathryn Serkes of the Doctor Patient Medical Association, Mark Skoda of the Memphis Tea Party, Amy Kremer of Tea Party Express, Jennifer Hulsey of American Grassroots Coalition, and Ben Cunningham of the Tennessee Tax Revolt.

Co-blogger Smitty will cover today’s event and we’ll have news updates throughout the day about the fight to save America’s health-care system.


MOTHER OF ALL UPDATES: ‘Decending into Chaos!’

UPDATE 11:27 a.m. ET: E-mail from GOP House leadership aide:

See floor schedule for the House today (from Hoyer’s office)… last vote should be 3-ish.  Rules Committee is meeting now to write the rule for tomorrow’s reconciliation bill… we expect it will include the “Slaughter Solution” deeming the Senate bill passed and making Obamacare law. . . .
Things are tight . . . DO NOT let up on your efforts.

In other words, Pelosi is going for the “deem-and-pass” strategy, rather than an actual up-and-down vote, which may explain why she’s giving Stupak the stiff-arm. House floor schedule from Hoyer’s office (PDF).

UPDATE 11:55 p.m. ET: Ed Morrissey is updating the updates at Hot Air. I haven’t seen an updated whip count this morning, so we don’t know whether Pelosi actually has the votes yet. Meanwhile, the crowd at the Capitol is reported as “thousands,” and Smitty is one of them. Follow Smitty’s Twitter feed of the Code Red rally.

On “pro-life” Democrat Brad Ellsworth’s sell-out:

“Congressman Ellsworth had the opportunity to stand on principle with this important decision,” said Charmaine Yoest, head of Americans United for Life, which ran ads in Indiana and urged Hoosiers to speak out. “However, Ellsworth’s vote now establishes for the record his support for taxpayer-funded abortion.”

UPDATE 12:40 p.m. ET: Now getting some background on why pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak cancelled his press conference. Evidently, “Stupak was planning to announce a tentative deal with leadership this morning,” but Pelosi and House Dem leaders “rejected his enrollment corrections proposal.” At this point, I don’t suppose anyone cares to know what an “enrollment correction” is, but a lefty blogger at Firedoglake explains it for total process junkies.

UPDATE 1:27 p.m. ET: OK, Tory Newmier of Roll Call has the word on what went sideways with the Stupak deal:

Pelosi told reporters on Saturday there will be no separate votes on any proposed changes to the package at this point: “Not on abortion, not on public option, not on single payer, not on anything,” she said. . . .
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who co-chairs the Pro-Choice Caucus and is a Chief Deputy Whip, said Democrats will have the votes without Stupak.

The question now is how many “pro-life Democrats” are more pro-life than they are Democrats. I’m not exactly optimistic, but who knows? Meanwhile, Smitty is somewhere on the West Lawn at the Code Red rally, Twittering away, while Instapundit has photos of the crowd.

UPDATE 11:13 a.m. ET: Waxman says “no deal” with Bart Stupak and pro-life Democrats:

A top House Democrat says party leaders are unlikely to cut a deal with abortion opponents to pass President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
Rep. Henry Waxman tells The Associated Press that “the likely outcome” is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will move ahead without the votes of a group of abortion opponents who want tougher restrictions in the bill against taxpayer funding for the procedure.

(Via Michelle Malkin on Twitter.)

UPDATE 11 a.m. ET: Via Hot Air, Rep. John Boehner talks health care in the GOP weekly message:

“It’s clear where the American people stand. They want no part of this bill, and they haven’t been shy about saying so. We’ve seen standing room only crowds at town hall meetings. Rallies in towns and cities around the country. And now, jammed phone lines on Capitol Hill. All of this coming from citizens yelling ‘stop’ at the top of their lungs.”

UPDATE 10:42 a.m. ET: Stupak has postponed his 11 a.m. press conference. Reports suggest Pelosi may have enough votes without cutting a deal with the remaining pro-life Democrat holdouts.

UPDATE 10:26 a.m. ETMichael O’Brien reports in The Hill:

Veteran Democratic Rep. John Dingell vowed Saturday to work to defeat fellow Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak (D) on abortion in the healthcare bill. . . .
“I strongly disagree with Bart,” Dingell said during an appearance on MSNBC. “I think he’s wrong.” . . .
The House has reconvened for the morning, and Stupak has scheduled a press conference on the Capitol for 11 a.m., in which he’s expected to address the latest on his abortion-related negotiations.

Just got this phone report from a friend who is traveling downtown via Metro: A full train just left the Greenbelt station, and there are still more than 100 Tea Party activists on the platform waiting for the next train.

UPDATE 10:12 a.m. ET: Twitter buddy Jennifer Lewis sent me a message this morning that she and her hubby drove all the way from West Palm Beach, Fla., to attend today’s rally in D.C. Michelle Malkin reports that there will also be “Kill the Bill” rallies today in Boston, San Diego, Salt Lake City and St. Louis. Meanwhile, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput writes at First Things:

However the national debate on health care reform ends this week, the struggle has shown the worst side of a certain kind of “Catholic” witness.
On March 18, the advocacy group Catholics United, which worried so earnestly about Republican faith partisans controlling Catholic thought in the last election, rolled out an attack-ad campaign against Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak in his home state. . . .
[T]he captivity of some Catholics to the agenda of current congressional leaders and the White House proves that faith partisans are not a monopoly of the political right, and that some Catholics have an almost frantic unwillingness to see the abortion issue for what it is — a foundational matter of social justice and human rights. It can’t be avoided in developing our public policies without debasing the whole nature of Christian social teaching. No rights are safe when the right to life is not.

UPDATE 9:43 a.m. ET: A pro-life source is hearing that, on the one hand, there are technical and legal questions about the rumored Stupak deal and, on the other hand, such a deal may be enough to cause Pelosi to lose an undetermined number of pro-choice votes. Stupak will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. ET. KJL at NRO quotes NARAL e-mail:

Pro-choice Americans stand strongly alongside our allies in Congress who are resisting Mr. Stupak’s outrageous last-minute attempts to hijack health-reform legislation. The public has grown tired of this unnecessary drama and wants to see Congress move forward with a bill that is not tainted with Stupak-like provisions.

“Unnecessary drama”! Yeah, I’m tired of this ObamaCare crap, too, but if Nancy Pelosi’s going to ruin my weekend, she might as well make it as dramatic as possible.

UPDATE 9:10 a.m. ET: Just in from Kathryn Jean Lopez:

Prospects for a Stupak deal may be collapsing . . .

We’ll keep an eye on this. Much more below. Spoke to Smitty about 30 minutes ago. He was en route to FreedomWorks for pre-rally coffee and donuts and may be posting video interviews with VIPs later this morning.

PREVIOUSLY: “Pro-life” Rep. Brad Ellsworth will vote yes. What does this mean? David Freddoso at the Washington Examiner:

Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., Indiana Democrats’ likely nominee for the U.S. Senate, will vote “yes” on health care. This probably makes his run for Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh’s seat futile. . . .
If Ellsworth is being pushed into voting for this, you can bet that Speaker Pelosi has no votes to spare. But by the same token, you wouldn’t be hearing him commit in public if she didn’t have the votes.

Michelle Malkin has the “bribe list” of what Pelosi and Obama are promising Democrats in exchange for their votes. National Review‘s Robert Costa reports that Pelosi’s wheeling and dealing went on into the night. The report that pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak has sold his vote to Pelosi may be just smoke from the Speaker’s office, and Allahpundit has more background on that.

The last whip count I saw, after Jason Altmire was reported to be a firm “no,” was 211 “no” to 205 “yes” — meaning that six more “no” commitments would kill the bill — but those numbers may have changed.

Heath Shuler of North Carolina is a “no,” as is Harry Teague of New Mexico, which was the Friday announcement that caused panic at Firedoglake:

Teague puts the definite No votes at 210, with five leaners, four of them part of the Stupak bloc. There are only 8 undecideds left, and 208 Yes votes with leaners.

That put Pelosi in the corner where she reportedly offered a deal to Stupak — infuriating the hard-core pro-choice Democrats. But the fanatical pro-choicers are also the kind of manic-progressives who’d swallow a live scorpion if you told them it was “social justice,” so their objections are meaningless. The Democrats doesn’t have to worry about losing their votes, so they’ll roll over and take whatever Pelosi tells them to take.

On the other hand, the ease with which Pelosi will likely break the Stupak bloc goes to show the futility of voting for “pro-life” Democrats. If they were really pro-life, they wouldn’t be Democrats. And, frankly, abortion isn’t the issue here — this is about socialized medicine, which I’m against whether it pays for abortion or not.

Infanticide, breast implants, tattooing, nose piercing, sex-change surgery, ritualized human sacrifice — that’s just details, compared to the big question of whether it’s going to be run by the government at taxpayer expense.


Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

Pelosi sold out her base to get passage of a bill in November, and now is preparing (allegedly) to sell out her base again through procedural maneuvers to get Stupak his language in order to pass a Senate bill her base hates.

The question is whether this insanely complicated deal will implode and collapse under the weight of its own absurdity, unpopularity and unconstitutionality. If not, Michael Tanner at National Review predicts what would happen under ObamaCare. (Hat-tip: Ui2.)

One thing’s for sure: The Anchoress is spitting mad at Nancy Pelosi’s invocation of St. Joseph: