Senator Jon Kyl on AG Holder and The Senate Debate Ahead on Obamacare
Arizona’s Jon Kyl joined me yesterday to review Attorney General Holder’s disquieting testimony from Wednesday as well as the debate ahead over Obamacare. The transcript is here. Key exchange on AG Holder and the decision to try KSM in criminal court in NYC:
HH: But why is the Obama administration doing this?
JK That is hard to fathom, although there was a report today that the decision was actually made by the president in May of this year, and communicated to Governor Paterson in New York. So perhaps the decision was made a long time ago. But if you think about what could go wrong, and although both the president and the attorney general have said in no uncertain terms, nothing will go wrong, he will be convicted and he will be executed, first of all, that’s probably a violation of prosecutorial ethics. You can taint a jury pool by that kind of language. But nonetheless, they’re so doggone certain of that, when you ask them the next question yes, but what if by some fluke one juror decides no, they don’t have an answer for that. And that…if that should happen, I think it could make this president a one-term president.
HH: Do you believe, Senator Kyl, that it is possible that one of the motivations here is to turn this into a trial not of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his confederates, but of the Bush administration interrogation tactics?
JK: I don’t want to question the motives of the president or the attorney general, but when you say what conceivable motive could there be, the only other motive that I can think of is well, we want to show off our jury system to the rest of the world. Now think about that for a minute. If that’s what we’re doing here, and we’re declaring in advance that we know for a certainty that he’s going to be convicted and executed, what kind of a system is it?
Key exchange on the debate over Obamacare in the Senate:
HH: And how long do you think it’s going to take?
JK: Well, it depends upon whatever agreement is reached between the majority and minority leaders. They’re negotiating that right now. Just because your audience is pretty steeped in this, what we could do is continue debating things that have nothing to do with health care, as we are right now, and then this vote occurs at 8:00 on Saturday night, and then we debate health care for thirty hours. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, and I think one suggestion the two leaders are thinking about is how about if we start the debate on health care tonight, basically, and have that debate through Saturday at 8:00, then have this vote, and then go home and start talking to our constituents about it, and come back ready to start the amendment process the Monday after Thanksgiving.
HH: How long will that amendment process go, if in fact they get to take up the bill?
JK: Assuming they take up the bill, if you compare it to other bills of this kind, it’s, you can easily justify a six or seven week process. So I’m assuming it will be into early next year.
HH: And how important will the public’s reaction…I mean, there’s things in here like the Botox tax we just found out about. I mean, that’s going to devastate a bunch of businesses that do cosmetic surgery.
JK: The answer is that this bill will pass or fail depending upon the degree of energy by which the American people express their opposition. They’re essentially in opposition by a 60-40 vote. That’s probably not going to change a lot. And so the question is, will the majority, the substantial majority who oppose this legislation be heard by their representatives? If they are, then it will be defeated, and we’ll go back and try to do it in a more responsible step by step way. If these representatives or these Senators hear the voices but choose to ignore them, they’ll probably be defeated in the next election, but we may have some very bad policy in the meantime.
Senator Kyl believes the bill can be defeated in the Senate, though he takes Senator Reid at his word that the Democrats will all vote to take up the bill Saturday night. The key will be the debate that follows, the six or eight weeks that determine whether American medicine is sent down a road of ruinous mediocrity and rationing.
The Senate switchboard is 202-224-3121. The key Democrats are Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Michael Bennet of Colorado. Lincoln and Bennet are up for re-election next year, and need to hear from their constituents that a “yes” vote on cloture means a no vote on them in 49 weeks.