President Bush said a number of embarrassing things when he was president. I got a kick out of most of them – especially the line about working hard to "put food on your family." So I was as delighted as any Democrat when the first Bushism books came out. Those days are gone, but I think we may have the pleasure of reading a book of Pelosisms soon. I say this because, on the 9th, Pelosi made the following statement at the National Association of Counties Conference:
We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.
When I first saw the video clips and blog posts showcasing her comments, I assumed that those who published them had taken them out of context and that she did not really mean what she seemed to say. But now that I have looked at the full transcript of her speech, I am astounded. She seems to have genuinely meant what she said. Here is the transcript, from Pelosi's own web site:
There are two troubling things about her statement.
First, it is wrong. The controversy will not die upon the bill's passing. Controversies surrounding civil rights, abortion and taxation have gone on long after bills meant to address the issues have been passed. I can see no indication that the controversy surrounding this issue would be any different.
Second, Pelosi seems to indicate that debate over issues is an inconvenience that she should not have to put up with. The people should not consider the merit of a bill or voice any concerns about it. Instead, we should let the bill's authors decide what is best, let them pass the bills they like, and only then, when objecting will be of no use, should we be allowed to see what's inside. This is offensively condescending and it is also a dangerous precedent to set.
It reminds me of a game kids used to play (at least when I was younger) that involved saying to someone:
"Open your mouth and close your eyes and I'll give you a big surprise."
Nice kids would give you something like a candy heart or a gumdrop. Mean kids would substitute less pleasant things like vinegar, worms or dirt. Smart kids wouldn't close their eyes.
We have a good inkling of what's in the healthcare bill, Speaker Pelosi. It's something a lot less tasty than candy hearts and the smart kids have their eyes open.