Shoot first, ask questions later

There is a simple rule in politics: don’t do anything unless you are sure of the outcome. It seems the House Democrats, drunk with power, forgot this axiom when they brought “Healthy Kids” (House Bill 2201) out of Committee before they had enough votes. From day one, there were not enough votes for statewide health insurance for kids funded by a tobacco tax. Despite hours of negotiations (many behind the scenes) there still wasn’t consensus. The Democrats could not wait and acted rashly.

In the middle of debate (the healthy, spirited kind the Speaker said the other day was good for Oregon) Rep. Phil Barnhart called for a closure of debate and an immediate vote. What neither he nor his fellow Democrats expected was a 3 hour standoff from Representative John Lim who refused to vote until he had a chance to speak. Rep. Butler rolled out a blanket and took a nap on the House floor. Members played cards. Staff crowded on the side aisles to confer.

No amount of cajoling from anyone: Republicans, Democrats or the Speaker himself could dissuade Lim. It didn’t matter that all the other votes had been cast. It didn’t matter that even without his vote the bill had failed. What mattered to Rep. Lim was that before he had a chance to speak he had been silenced. The Democrats had made a motion that quieted the very debate the chamber had been built for. In a final parliamentary edict, Speaker Merkley ruled Rep. Lim out of order and closed the vote.

The gavel fell and the matter was over. But not for the Democrats.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick rose to change his vote in order to move to reconsider, the final act of CPR on a dying bill. But he was too late””the gavel had fallen, the matter was closed. Healthy Kids and another tax increase by the Democrats was dead.

It’s like my Dad said when he taught me about guns: “Don’t point at anything unless you intend to pull the trigger.” In this case the Democrats were not quick on the draw and shot themselves in the foot.

  • Anon Staffer

    Yeah, those stupid Dems. They got all the Republicans on the record voting against giving health care to kids–and all their own members on the record voting for it. What a bunch of fools. Everyone knows that voters just love it when Republicans try to screw over kids. Man, that must be why the Dems never win anything.

    • Anonymous

      And they got the Democrats on the record in favor of hiking the taxes of the parents of those kids, while the Republicans are shown to be thinking of both kids and parents with their refusal.

      The cracks in the armor of the Democrats is showing, and I predict they will end up losing some seats in 2008.

    • scooterdog

      Why is government in the business of providing healthcare for anyone? An individual’s basic needs like food, shelter and healthcare are a matter of personal responsibility. There is no provision in the Constitution that gives anyone a right to healthcare. If people want to have children then make the parents provide for their kid’s healthcare. I see no reason childless taxpayers like me should have to pay for other people’s responsibilities.

  • Wayne Brady

    I have never seen such an ill conceived bill in my life. The health care part of the bill subsidizes middle class families & promotes over use of medical care. The funding source is disgraceful. It taxes poor people most heavily and will not fund the program in the out years.

    The Republicans in the House should be proud of themselves for their performance today. This is a refreshing change from some of their earlier performances. I hope this is an indication of things to come.

    This is not about not caring about kids. It is about not creating poor policy.

  • Jerry

    Anon – no wonder you are afraid to use your name – you comments are so insipid. This bill was a joke from the get go and was not going to help any kid anywhere. It was only going to raise taxes.

  • John Fairplay

    You know, the Democrats big win in 2006 gave them a one-seat margin in the House, the first time they’ve controlled that body in what, a decade? While a win is a win, you might want to try a little humility in power, “Anon Staffer.” Research “hubris” or “arrogance” over the course of human history to learn your ultimate fate.

  • Homerf12

    Why so much ruckus over somthing that went nowhere?

  • beleveitornot

    House Bill 2201 was a bill to provide health care to Oregon’s uninsured children. Republicans twisted the bill into a taxes and policy issue forgetting that the average voter will look at their TV’s come election time remembering only that Republican’s cast their votes against children and for big tobacco profits. Of all the choices made by Republicans this vote will be fodder for years and years.


    Yawn, stale liberal banter in the form of a badly written bill…… was destined to fail.

    Boot the illegals and use the tax savings to fund the coverage, all Oregonians can benefit by that!

  • Disgusted

    Better yet, boot everybody off welfare, make them get a job, then only help those truly deserving of help. They come in my store every day, Sorry, I haven’t seen any illegals in the bunch. They walk up and down the street all day long. They buy lots of pop, cigarettes and beer from us. Our welfare system has turned our society into a fat, lazy, demanding society. Wake up People. Our politicians have taken our self respect from us as a society. Thank goodness I grew up in an earlier time and have respect for myself. I would no more stand with my hand out and whine, demand my rights. Darn it I’d go after what I needed.

  • Jerry

    If tobacco taxes are such a great thing why not levy $15 a pack? Or $20? Or $45? These people are crazy to say the very least.
    If tobacco is so bad they want to price it into oblivian why not just outlaw it?
    I feel sorry for people who are so obviously stupid.


    The truth is Jerry that the liberals in this state don’t want the smokers to actually quit, that would dry up their money tree. They will raise the taxes to a level that will keep Oregonians buying their smokes here instead of crossing the border to buy them.

    The bottom line is that our politicians couldn’t care less about anyones health, this only about money once you cut through the sound bites and rhetoric.