Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today commented on President Obama’s suggestion that repealing the 1099 tax provision in the health care law represents an opportunity to work with Republican Members of Congress:
“I am confident that small businesses and job creators across the country share my appreciation in hearing the President suggest repealing the 1099 provision of the health care law because it is ‘counterproductive’ and ‘too burdensome for small businesses,’ said Johanns. “I have worked diligently to repeal this nonsensical mandate and my legislation to repeal it is ready for another vote the moment the Senate comes back into session later this month. I hope my colleagues take to heart both the President’s words and the concern of job creators across the country and join me in repealing this job stifling provision.”
An excerpt of President Obama’s comments at a White House press conference:
“Now, if the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our health care system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster and more effective reform to a health care system that, you know, has been wildly expensive for too many families, businesses, certainly for our federal government, I’m happy to consider some of those ideas. For example, I know one of the things that’s come up is that the 1099 provision in the health care bill seems to be burdensome for small businesses. It requires too much paperwork, too much filing. It’s probably counterproductive. It was designed to make sure that revenue was raised to help pay for some of the other provisions. But if it ends up just being so much trouble that small businesses find it difficult to manage, that’s something that we should take a look at.”
Most Americans appreciate the diligent efforts Senator Johanns has put into attempting to get this horrible, Democrat mandate out of the monstrous health care bill. I would caution Johanns, those in the Senate, small businesses, and job creators across the country to avoid being too appreciative for the president’s remarks. I would also tell them to remember Lani Guinier.
In 1993, Bill Clinton abandoned a desire to have Lani Guinier go through the nomination process. He gave up without too much of a fight, and this was unusual for Clinton at the time. At the time, Clinton did not back away from political entanglements, and to my recollection he never lost one to the Republicans. So, the question becomes, why did Clinton give up so easily?
In my opinion, the Clintons planned to have Ruth Bader Ginsberg as their Supreme Court nominee from the very beginning, but they had an idea that a member of the general counsel of the ACLU would have a lot of trouble successfully moving through the nomination process in Judiciary Committee and in the Senate, so they gave themselves a bone. Politics is all about compromise some will say. Others would tell you that elections matter, and some of the times you have to live through those consequences. Some would tell you that part of getting along in Washington is about getting along.
During the Ginsberg’s nomination hearing, William Cohen (R-Maine) suggested that judicial ideology should be used only to determine if the nominee’s philosophy is “so extreme that it might call into question the usual confirmation prerequisites of competency and judicial temperament.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg was apparently not “so extreme”, according to the Republicans at the time. How could they possibly come to such a conclusion, you ask, well the Clintons gave them extreme. The Clintons gave them Lani Guinier “the quota queen” as an example of too extreme.
Many conservatives will tell you that Ginsberg is the most liberal jurist ever elected to the Supreme Court. Many conservatives will tell you that she is “so extreme that her competency and judicial temperament” should’ve been called into question more. She was, after all, the first nominee to expressly confirm that she believed in a woman’s right to abortion, she refused to answer questions about the death penalty, and she refused to answer questions about gay rights. On Thursday, July 29, 1993, the Judiciary Committee voted unanimously in favor of her confirmation, a mere six days after the hearings concluded. The makeup of the Senate at the time in the 103rd Congress was 57-43 in favor of the Democrats, but Ginsberg sailed through the nomination process 96-3. The Senate, including 40 Republicans, then approved the nomination of the most liberal member of the Supreme Court by a vote of 96 to 3. They approved a nominee that rules exclusively on ideology, they voted for a jurist that considers foreign law in her decision making process, and they voted to nominate a jurist conservative Seeing Eye dogs would veer their owners from.
Why was this nomination process so easy for Ginsberg and Clinton, because Ginsberg was not Lani Guinier. Guinier was the bone Clinton threw for the Republicans to gnaw on and show their voters while Ginsberg sailed through the process.
I believe Obama is throwing McConnell, Johanns, and Republicans a “Guinier” (AKA a slow curve) straight out of Cominsky Park (sic). If this isn’t the case, if the Democrats were not creating a Lani Guinier with the 1099 proposal, the question becomes why they would put such an unpopular proposal forward. One could say that the health care legislation itself is so unpopular, why would they propose that. Well, the Democrats want that as evidence of the fact that most of them were willing to lose their seats over it. They want the power over 1/6th of the economy that the HC bill will give them, but they know that that’s unpopular, so they deicded to create a bone, a Lani Guinier. In other words, they create something to compromise on, so that they don’t have to compromise on other aspects of the bill they hold dear.
I have read through Johanns updates on this provision, and I know how hard he has worked to have this repealed, I just hope that he remembers Lani Guinier. I also hope he’s heard Søren Kierkegaard’s dictum: “When we feel most saintly, we could be working for the devil.”