Democratic leaders in the House are apparently moving towards the "Slaughter Solution" of avoiding a direct vote on the health care legislation and instead passing the Senate health care bill by voting to "deem" it passed. As they do so, they keep reassuring the media--and each other--that the American people don't care.
A memo from a top aide to Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen late last week counseled other Democratic staffers to tell their bosses not to worry, that "things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL." Yesterday House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters, "I don't think any American...is going to make the distinction" between the Slaughter procedure and a straightforward vote on the legislation. "Process is interesting, particularly to all of us around this room. But in the final analysis, what is interesting to the American public is what does this bill do for them and their families."
In other words: the American public doesn't care about how our representatives govern us--which is to say, about how we govern ourselves. Whether Congress follows its rules, whether there is democratic accountability, whether there is constitutional probity--none of this matters according to Hoyer. Rather, the self-centered and self-concerned American people only care about the (alleged) results of the legislation.
Here the Democrats betray their contempt for the supposed simple-mindedness and short-sightedness of the American public. They also convey their vision of the American people living under the big government liberalism: We are to be passive consumers of government action, who accept what is done for us and to us in light of our perceived narrow short-term self-interest. We are not to think of ourselves as self-governing citizens with a stake in the process of constitutional self-government and a concern for the good of the whole.
This may be the outcome--turning citizens into consumers, self-government into the nanny state--that the Democrats would like to achieve. I don't think it's one the American people wish to accept.