Dear Former Rep. Dahlkemper: Oh, Shut Up!

Actually, this is just a cartoon of the former Congresswoman from Erie, but then a Toon could have cast a vote for a bill without reading it too.

Former Democratic congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, a Catholic from Erie, Pennsylvania, voted for the health care mega-law in 2010. Now she says she would have never voted for the  bill had she known that the Department of Health and Human Services would require all private insurers, including Catholic charities and hospitals, to provide free coverage of contraception, sterilization procedures, and the “week-after” pill .

In a press release sent out while the HHS ruling was still pending, the pro-life Dahlkemper said,

“I would have never voted for the final version of the bill if I expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic Colleges and Universities to pay for contraception,. We worked hard to prevent abortion funding in health care and to include clear conscience protections for those with moral objections to abortion and contraceptive devices that cause abortion. I trust that the President will honor the commitment he made to those of us who supported final passage.”

To which I reply, “Oh, shut up!”

Dahlkemper, along with her lazy, irresponsible colleagues in both the House and the Senate, passed this bill without reading it, embracing their Machiavelian leader’s fatuous directive that they had to go ahead and pass the bill to find out what was in it. Well, now you are finding out, Kath, and I bet we’ll hear from lots of your fellow slackers over time, expressing horror over some outrageous expense or budget-busting requirement or infringement of basic rights that had its groundwork laid by that unconscionably huge bill that they couldn’t bother to read before inflicting it on us.

You, Ms. Dahlkemper, are accountable for the law and everything that flows from it. You didn’t have the competence, diligence,  common sense, fairness and respect for the American people to do your job, and personally examine the bill to make sure it was responsible and safe. You sat like a slug and voted in lock-step, trusting untrustworthy pols who loaded the mess of a provision with all sorts of things that they themselves barely understood. That’s not representation, that’s abdication. Don’t you dare try to duck responsibility now. Anything monstrosity that comes out of the bill is your own fault, because you betrayed your constituents, your office and your country by not having the decency and courage to do your duty.

So just shut up. I don’t care what you have to say now; nobody should care.  You are a disgrace. When you were in a position to make a difference, you were asleep at the switch. If you are going to say anything, just say this:

“I’m sorry.”

22 Comments

Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Incompetent Elected Officials, U.S. Society

22 responses to “Dear Former Rep. Dahlkemper: Oh, Shut Up!

  1. Dwayne N. Zechman

    Pennsylvania politics have always been interesting ever since the pro-life Democrat Bob Casey (Sr.) was governor. Since then, there’s been a general tendency for the PA Democrats to be pro-life and the PA Republicans (think Arlen Specter) to be pro-choice. As such, they’ve often been at odds with their respective parties at the national level.

    –Dwayne

  2. Hi Jack:

    Two words: Spot on. I wish I could offer something insightful, but you have covered every base that I can see, so instead, I’ll just offer moral support.

  3. Warren

    YES!!! The same goes to ALL who supported that incredibly ENIGMATIC and INANE legislation. It is truly frightening to know that well educated individuals who purport to have “serving” the people at heart can admit to such failure and what can only be considered outright NEGLIGENCE and BAD FAITH practices. The more amazing thing is that so many of these folks (and VOTERS) have been found so willing to sell out our values, national security and principles which have been so compromised. Who would have thought that?

  4. Jeff W

    I dare say that even if that very language was in the bill when it was voted on, she probably would have voted for anyway. Most legislators haven’t read these massive bills and don’t take the time to study the repercussions of their votes. Obviously the authority to do such a thing was in the bill from the start, so it is disingenuous to pull a Captain Renault now.

    • “I am shocked–Shocked!—that gambling is going on in this establishment!” is what Jeff means by “a Captain Renault”, for those sad individuals among you who have never seen “Casablanca.”

      • interested Blogger

        Jack – love this post – and I’m also sick of the senators and congressmen/women who blithely vote on bills they haven’t bothered to read then claim they’re not responsible for them. We shouldn’t be responsible for paying their salaries, perks and lifetime retirement benefits.

        Jeff W – Kudos for the Captain Renault reference. Very appropriate – and made me smile.

  5. She just knuckled under to the pressure from her party’s leaders and hoped she could get away with it with the voters. Sooner or later, all elected officials must face a challenge when they must LEAD in accordance with the values of the communities they represent and with their own conscience. If that puts them in conflict with the agenda of their party’s heiarchy- and a loss of financial campaign support thereby- then so be it. Being a member of Congress is a privilege and a responsibility, not a career.

  6. Bob In Minnesota

    Another politician with excuses…no surprise. There are things that should have been done better in the Affordable Care Act. But before everyone has their shot at the Affordable Care Act, how about the millions of uninsured and underinsured. If we’re talking ethics , should they have been ignored? It’s all well and good to hear righteous indignation without a reasonable alternative from people, most of whom have health insurance.

    Would you suggest the Boehner Plan presented in November of 2009, which failed to address almost all of the egregious practices of insurance companies and really was a placeholder for continuing business as usual? (the House much later adopted many of the patient protections for a later proposal that were not in their original proposal when they found the public supported these provisions in the ACA).

    The other option was to continue with the non system where people with preexisting conditions are denied insurance, the companies can cancel policies when they want, and a variety of provisions hostile to patient care.

    Expensive care… How about fee for service? It’s an anachronism which is expensive and doesn’t achieve the goal of rewarding patient outcomes. The ACA provisions move toward groups of physicians and hospitals having to work together and payment based on patient outcomes.

    The issue is too complex to deal with in a few paragraphs but too important to let slip by when no viable alternative is ever presented. Norman Daniels and John Rawls both discuss distributive justice, an issue that got short shrift then and now in discussing health care reform.

    • Irrelevant!!!

      “We gotta do something, so let’s do something incredibly expensive and complicated that we can’t even understand and can’t manage and can’t even describe honestly or read ourselves just to say we did something” is not responsible, not honest, not fair, not democratic, and, to be blunt, stupid. The bill was by definition irresponsible, since it was passed 100% by people who didn’t know what was in it themselves. I don’t care what the problem is or what the crisis is. You don’t vote yea on a huge law with massive unintended consequences THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ! It was rushed through, disguised, and lied about. The final vote didn’t even allow time to read the bill if anyone was inclined to. You defend that by talking about people without health insurance? There IS no defense for that!

      The law does not honestly address health care cost spirals, nor did the debate about it. It was passed using dishonest figures, deceptive estimates, and intentions buried in bureaucratese. “No viable alternative’….no alternative to WHAT? What’s the alternative to something nobody can fairly describe? Voting NO on such a bill is the only ethical course, just as the only sensible course if you are struck blind while driving a car on the highway is to STOP.

      Health care is expensive because of too much free choice. People are free not to get insurance. Illegal immigrants are free to wander around in the country and use emergency rooms. People with no chance of living are free to spend hundreds of thousand of dollars of other people’s money in end of life strategies. People with habits that lead to expensive health care that others have to pay for are allowed to smoke, drink, engage in unprotected sex, and get too fat. The bill addressed none of that honestly, and its defenders refused to level with the public. That’s unconscionable.

      Sarah Palin’s death panel comment was the most honest part of the debate, and the response should have been, “Damn right we need death panels! OR we need to tell illegals they can’t use our system…and/or we have to force healthy young people to pay for health insurance anyway…and/or we have to fine the hell out of people for being overweight…and/or we have to ban cigarettes, or triple their price with taxes…and/or we have to limit how much any one person can use in health care insurance, and after that, they die or pay. Which will it be??????” Because those are the choices, and this dishonest, cowardly, pathetic, incomprehensible, wasteful bill—that I in fact did read, in one of its iterations, which then had another 600 pages added to it and I said to hell with it—never addressed them in an honest way. And you are also defending a 2.700 page bill you’ve never read!! Don’t you see how ridiculous that is? How undemocratic? You, like the dishonest Democrats, are pointing to someething that lies under an opaque canvas, and saying–but at least we gave you THAT! Where’s your alternative. WHAT???? A citizen can’t look up a law that effects his life and read it, because it was designed to be unreadable? Orwell–Orwell–Orwell. You can’t apply a Rawls test to an action that is undefined. We can agree that heath care costs will sink us if we don’t address them, but this bill doesn’t, and its linchpin for the #1 thing it IS supposed to do was constructed in such a way that is probably unconstitutional, and dangerous to allow because it opens the door for Congress—which is, you know, populated by zealots and morons—to take over our lives.

      Yeah, great bill. Even though Nothing isn’t an option in this issue, it’s a better option than Mystery Crap, and that’s what we got.

      • That sums it up about as neatly and concisely as I’ve yet heard.

      • Bob In Minnesota

        Nice non-answer. You don’t address the crucial questions, which actually affect people’s lives. The bottomline is that if you don’t have a viable alternative- and you didn’t- quit complaining. If you didn’t have health insurance, you would feel differently. Spend a day with me treating patients and I would like you to then explain the meaning of distributive justice. Seems strange to me that I got non answers to the most important ethical questions.

        • It’s not a non-answer. You have a lousy law that addressed one problem while creating hundreds of others. Tunnel vision is not responsible policy. I don’t have to tell you how to solve the problem; that’s not my job. I can say that when the cure is infinitely worse than the problem and degrades the public’s trust in its institutions in the process, not solving the problem is preferable to solving it incompetently and destructively. Rawls liked imposing a conflict of interest on what should be an objective analysis…he was wrong. Should the President decide on sending troops into harms way by imagining that he was going himself, or was the parent of the first soldier to be killed? That’s no way to make national policy, and indeed Rawls’ methods are useful only in interpersonal relations, not national policy. Yes—if I couldn’t afford health insurance, I might like any program that gave it to me regardless of how many people it screwed over and how unaffordable it was for the country and how dishonestly it was passed. So what? That proves only the self-interest leads to ban policy.

          • Bob In Minnesota

            Another non answer. Unfortunately you avoid the questions that are most important. You’re misinterpreting Rawls. Perhaps reading Norman Daniels would clarify the issue for you.

            I will agree to disagree and I’m sure you won’t. As long as we have MSNBC and Fox plus the various far left and far right hate-monger/ entertainers plus elected officials that are bought and paid for by interest groups/now Superpacs, we will continue to slide down the hill with no ability to solve problems. It’s either red or blue. That’s a sign of a failed state. And yet we continue to hear about “American exceptionlism”.

            • Now THAT’s a “non-answer.”

              I understand Rawls just fine, and I’ve read Daniels.”You avoid the questions that are most important.” is a great all-purpose non-argument. Prove it. I don’t see any questions other than “what about the uninsured and underinsured” and “What about fee for care?” That, and “if you were uninsured, you’d feel differently” is the sum total of what you’ve presented. “You can’t solve the problem yourself so you have to accept the worthless crappy solution we’ve come up with” is a silly contention. I can spit out the food I pay for at an expensive restaurant whether I can cook something better or not.

              The system works just fine, when honest, courageous and intelligent are running it. America is exceptional. Americans, not always so much. When we tolerate cynical exercises like the health care reform bill, we become of the problem you want to blame on everyone else.

              Did you read the whole law you like so much. Bob? Yes or no?

              • Bob In Minnesota

                You never addressed the distributive justice issue: one of the four principles of biomedical ethics. You indicate you read Daniels and yet no response on ” fair opportunity”, his main focus. You skip over the point about paying for patient outcomes not fee for service. You indicate you read the bill but don’t respond to this critical point. You don’t mention the IPAB that will play a pivotal role in controlling costs but can’t do all they should do because the lobbyists got a delay for the first five years after implementstion.

                Costly care… Yes. One-third of care has no benefit. Let’s focus on changing that as the ACA does.

                You have made some comments about how the uninsured “might like” to get insurance and then take off on a diatribe. There is cognitive dissonance about that statement in the context of ethics and distributive justice.

                • 1. You still haven’t said whether you’ve read the bill, which I suppose is an answer.
                  2. I don’t see how distributive justice has anything to do with passing incompetent bills that legislators haven’t read, unless its that honorable motives waive all fouls.
                  3. America, democracy and the capitalist system, as well as principles of freedom and basic human nature are intrinsically opposed to distributive justice. There is some minimal level of assistance humane societies are obligated to provide to people who literally cannot provide for themselves.I think, like much of philosophy and Rawls in particular, distributive justice sounds peachy in theory but in practice fails the goal of increasing the gross welfare of society as a whole. People who can get things for nothing will tend to let others give it to them. Sorry. It’s true. It’s amazing that so many people are in denial about it. The alternative is hard and cruel, but it is still more fair and more productive. And, obviously, more free.
                  4. None of which has a thing to do with the post.

                  • Bob In Minnesota

                    Finally we get your answer. Enough said. A very different view of what is ethical.

                    • Not that it’s your obligation to muck through it all, but that answer in pretty well laid out through the 2600 posts here.

                    • Julian Hung

                      You know what; despite the fact that I’m probably more amiable to “distributive justice” policies than Jack here, I’d have to agree with him on this issue. Put it this way; say you have some anarchical wasteland. Now say people decide to institute a constitution that basically establishes a Stalinist regime, except most of them don’t know this because they never bothered to read the whole thing. True, the new system will help solve issues of law enforcement and provide some economic development and social services, but would you be telling people to not criticize it, even if they’re not quite able to think up a better solution yet?

                    • Julian Hung

                      Basically, all policies should be up for criticism; there may truly not be a better way of doing things, but we won’t know that unless we’re free to poke at the holes.

  7. For a good gut-bustin’ rant… yes! Anyway, you made the salient points on a complex issue (MADE complex by the extraordinary measures taken to dishonestly present it to the public) and made the case convincingly. The passing of Obamacare will be the basis of many a doctorial thesis in civics for decades to come.

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