Thursday, 28 January 2010

Republicans Sign Declaration of Health Care Independence

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Give me liberty or give me a Cadillac plan. Not quite the same ring as the original. There is so much fervor on both sides of the political aisle with regard to health care “reform” that it is little to be wondered that opponents of the plan have co-opted the patois of patriotism right down to penning its own “Declaration of Health Care Independence” and staging a signing ceremony in a show with everything but quill and powdered wigs.

On Wednesday nearly a dozen Republican members of the House of Representatives who fancy themselves “conservative” took a giant Sharpie in hand and appended their John (or Jane) Hancocks to an oversized copy of the declaration. This performance in all its pseudo-Jeffersonian grandeur was produced by Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and the Revolutionary War bingo card was full.

One of the signers, Congressman Todd Akin (R-Mo.), compared Scott Brown’s electoral victory in the Massachusetts senatorial campaign to the shot heard ‘round the world. With a straight face and without even a soupçon of irony, Mr. Akin likened Brown’s election to the Battle of Lexington in 1775. He went on to compare the Declaration of Independence that was written and signed after that historic battle to the document he and his cohorts were signing in the aftermath of Scott Brown’s election. After all, Akin asserted, both things happened in Massachusetts.

There was a queue of wannabes ready to sign the big board. Besides Akin and Bachmann, there was a cadre of unapologetic co-opters. One of the gang, Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) addressed the gathered spectators and actually spoke these words, “It looks like the Declaration of Independence on purpose. It has language and phrases from the Declaration, as well as the Constitution, but it does lay out the principles of what went wrong, the violations of the Constitution.… (Those who have voted for the bill) simply had a cavalier attitude about the Constitution, even though they took an oath to uphold it.”

Despite the hype, not every Republican lawmaker sees himself as a modern-day Button Gwinett (look it up), however. Representative Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) realizes that the signers of the Declaration of Independence committed treason and quite truly sacrificed their “lives and sacred fortunes” on the altar of self-government and republican rule. It is unlikely, however, that Mr. Franks’ voice was audible over the din of self-congratulation, however.

Unlike the signers of the actual Declaration of Independence, who never offered King George III the chance to get on board, the signers of this document invited President Obama to sign the statement. Recognizing that the invitation was just a bit of pantomime, Representative Bachmann spoke to her countrymen in her most eloquent tones, “We hear you, American people,” she said. “We are for having talks out in the open. We are for being against kickbacks but for holding a bill in the right way. And we are for making sure we don’t add any more to our federal deficit.” Curiously, Bachmann voted in favor of H.R. 3081, which would appropriate $49 billion in foreign aid, and which undoubtedly added to the federal deficit in way not consistent with constitutional principles ostensibly at the core of this declaration.

For the full text of the Declaration of Health Care Independence go to

Photo of Rep. Michele Bachmann with Declaration of Health Care Independence: AP Images

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