D.C.'s 'Corrupt Bastards Club'

The Corrupt Bastards Club. They said it. I didn’t.

In Alaska we had a group of politicos who chuckled as they dubbed themselves the “CBC,” which stands for “Corrupt Bastards Club.” But it was no laughing matter. I, and many others, took them on. We won. When I served as chairman of our state’s Oil and Gas Commission, I reported on the cronyism of the chair of my own Party, who had been appointed by our governor to that same energy regulating commission. (Click here to see a reporter’s reaction to a short Newt Gingrich interview on the matter.) The whistle blowing resulted in him receiving the largest ethics fine in the state’s history. But that was just the tip of the oily iceberg. The FBI investigated Alaskan lawmakers for taking bribes from the oil industry in exchange for votes favorable to that industry, and politicos ended up in jail.* The lawmakers actually called themselves the Corrupt Bastards Club and even emblazoned the CBC initials on baseball caps they gifted each other – that’s how untouchable they believed they were. But average, concerned citizens said, “enough is enough,” and shook things up. Though some of the CBC members ended up in horizontal pinstripes, much of the compromised party apparatus stayed in power.

I’ll never forget standing at the podium during our state GOP convention and asking delegates to stand up with me and oust the status quo because the political environment had to change for Alaska to progress toward her manifest destiny as a more productive—and ethical—state to help secure our union. Only about half stood up. The rest looked around gauging the political winds and sat on their thumbs. Our federal delegation was incensed at me. Their influence resulted in much of the party machine staying put, but I’ll never be sorry I fought it. 

Today, doesn't it seem like we have a Corrupt Bastards Club in D.C.? On steroids? It might not be as oily and obvious as its Alaska counterpart, but it’s just as compromised because its members, too, are indifferent to what their actions mean for We the People.

I’m prepared to be attacked for suggesting this comparison of the D.C. political establishment with the CBC. But I call it like I see it. And lived it. The fight over defunding socialized healthcare, aka Obamacare, should have opened everyone’s eyes to call it the same.

From the very start, we knew that any health care reform could move us in one of two directions: closer to a genuine free market and patient-centered system to allow choices, affordability, and continued economic freedom, or closer to full socialized healthcare in the form of a single-payer system. President Obama and many Democrats have always openly admitted they want socialized medicine in the form of a single-payer system.

It can be argued that Obamacare isn’t full socialized medicine… yet. Right now it is a sort of corporatism, which is the collusion of big government with big business. With Obamacare, the government has taken over an industry that comprises a sixth of our economy, radically changed the way it operates, and is mandating that we purchase the services of that industry. This is unprecedented. It’s radical.

For those Obama voters who are now flummoxed by the rise in their health care premiums, let me explain why they went up. Obamacare has changed the very nature of insurance, which is a hedge against a future possibility. A 27-year-old marathon runner is much less likely to suffer a major illness than a 57-year-old obese chain smoker with a pickled liver. But Obamacare has ruled that there be no adjusted costs for pre-existing conditions, which means we threw out the actuarial data and everyone is now required to pay more to cover those who are more likely to be sick. But now average Americans – especially those healthy 20somethings who probably don’t even want to buy insurance – can’t afford to pay for Obamacare.

Obamacare in its current corporatist form isn’t meant to last. It’s meant to push us towards full socialized medicine with a single-payer system. How do I know this? Simple. Let’s compare Obamacare with the Canadian single-payer system.

With Obamacare we have crappier health care (fewer choices, fewer doctors, and an IPAB rationing panel of faceless bureaucrats, aka the ol' “death panel” that has been admitted to existing in Obamacare), but it is very expensive for the individual American. For instance, you’ll find that the so-called Bronze Plans are just as expensive as the Platinum Plans when you factor in the $5,000-$10,000 deductible in addition to the monthly payments you’ll shell out. And those Americans who aren’t being pushed onto the Obamacare exchanges are still seeing their insurance premiums skyrocket as the industry shifts onto consumers the cost of not factoring in various conditions.

Now let’s look at what Canadians have. I dare say our good neighbor to your north, and my east, has even worse health care coverage, but at least it’s “free” for the individual.

Americans, if you’re faced with a 300% increase (or even a 65% increase like my family) in your health care premiums for crappier coverage, doesn’t “free” socialized medicine all of a sudden sound appealing?

And that’s how Americans will be led down the primrose path to a single-payer system. People will be frustrated, worn out, and broke under this new government burden. Many will end up concluding they’ll settle for – then demand – full socialized medicine because they’ll see how the unworkable Obamacare will break our health care system (where, presently, no one is turned away from emergency rooms and we have many public and private safety nets for people in need), along with busting our personal bank accounts. The cry will go out, “Can’t you just put us all in a sort of Medicaid-like system? It’ll be much less confusing than these awful exchange websites and a lot less expensive!” As things stand, many who are getting slammed by Obamacare will inevitably settle for less out of necessity. And that’s the left’s declared plan: a single-payer system. They said it. I didn't.

Of course, the Canadian system isn’t really “free." It comes with high taxes and even more rationing, which is precisely why the Obama-friendly economist Paul Krugman makes a point of reminding us that we’ll only bring health care costs “under control” by employing “death panels and sales taxes.” And, of course, our already broke country will go bankrupt even faster under the unsustainable strain of this expanding welfare state, and our economy will suffer under the stagnation of permanently higher taxes.

When Harry Reid laughs and says, “Yes, yes! Absolutely, yes!” when asked if his goal was to move Obamacare to a single-payer system of full socialized medicine, he’s spilling the truth. The evidence is right before our eyes. Please open yours, GOP establishment.

The broken websites and botched Obamacare rollout help push things to that inevitable conclusion by causing frustration and confusion that only the government can “fix.” In fact, these unusable Obamacare websites make a reasonable person wonder how this administration could have made such a colossal bungle of the rollout when they are, after all, the same savvy experts who had the most sophisticated and precise campaign websites ever built. They could pinpoint voters down to a city block, but they messed up a website that cost the government over $200 million more than it cost Apple to develop the first iPhone. Purposeful?

The full implementation of Obamacare puts us firmly on the path to the left’s desire of a single-payer system of socialized medicine. That was the end game for Obama and the Democrats all along. The end is now in sight for them, and the media doesn’t even ask about it.

So what was the GOP establishment’s game plan to fight this march towards socialism? They’ve been busy denouncing Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and their supporters, along with the good House Members who fought for our one chance to defund Obamacare. But what were the wayward Republicans’ alternative plans? They thought we could ignore the implementation of Obamacare and simply focus on some future electoral victories in the hope that some day the stars will align and we’ll have super majorities in the House and Senate along with a Republican president who would hopefully repeal this disastrous soon-to-be set in stone new “entitlement.”

There’s a big problem with that scenario. It overlooks the everyday reality before our eyes. As Obamacare is being implemented, Americans can’t afford to pay for it. We can’t even sign up for it on the impossibly cumbersome websites, but the IRS will fine us for not doing so anyway! Obama gave his pals, and Congress gave themselves, tickets off this train wreck via waivers. Cruz and Lee fought for us to get the same relief the big guys got. The media and disloyal politicians turned on them and, divided, we lost. Now we little guys are stuck on this train, which will soon collide with hardship and real-world economics that don’t pencil out. Friends, by the time the electoral stars align for this hoped-for GOP hat trick the country will be out billions, if not trillions, more of our tax dollars and will have already begged D.C. to relieve us of this corporatist nightmare even if it means a socialized single-payer system. And once there, do you think we’ll ever go back and strip this “entitlement”? Unarguable history proves otherwise.

The only credible plan of action was to do everything in our power to delay the implementation of Obamacare – defund it, postpone it, whatever – while at the same time work to elect a majority to repeal it. That is what Cruz and Lee and those Tea Party aligned House Members were doing. There was no other credible alternative plan to seize the constitutionally appropriate opportunity to legislatively close the purse strings to stop the juggernaut of full socialized medicine.

You have to wonder whether the permanent political class in D.C. really wants to get rid of Obamacare at all. We’re finding out it’s good business for them.

The same lobbyists who wrote Obamacare are now busy selling their wares to anyone with enough dough who wants to get around the law. Meanwhile politicians are busy collecting campaign donations and other favors while carving out the lobbyists’ requested exemptions for various cronies. Then every election cycle they get to capitalize on fundraising off Obamacare shenanigans while telling voters back home about how hard they’re fighting to stop it. Don’t be fooled. Too many of them merely took meaningless symbolic votes that could never have repealed this, and they sat on their thumbs without standing united in the fight for us.

GOP politicians claim they’re against Obamacare and promise to repeal it. But when it came time to stand up and use the Constitutional tools they have – the power of the purse strings – to finally halt the implementation, they balked, waved the white flag, and joined the lapdog media in trashing the good guys who fought for us.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, these same politicians are covertly pushing through amnesty despite evidence that the 33 million newly legalized voters will overwhelmingly lean Democrat! Obviously this makes the likelihood of a GOP hat trick electoral victory, and hence the repeal of socialized healthcare, even more improbable.

The media wants you to believe that the partial government shutdown “fractured” the Republican machine from grassroots commonsense conservatives who go by the acronym TEA Party (that stands for “Taxed Enough Already”). No, Tea Party patriots rose up because the Republican machine “fractured” itself years ago by marginalizing its conservative base. The recent “slimdown” didn’t cause the fracture. It happened because of the fracture – because wayward Republicans have refused for years to stand up and fight for economic freedom and limited government, despite campaigning on those principles every election cycle. That’s how we got into this debt-ridden mess in the first place. They campaigned one way, but governed another.

It’s the establishment’s choice whether this fracture remains unfixed because the conservative grassroots will never give up the fight for freedom. Never. Never. Generations of our sons and daughters sent off to war to protect our freedom have paid too high a price for us to ever give up the fight.

The conservative grassroots is rising up just like some did all those years ago at the GOP convention in Alaska. We’re rising up and calling on the rest of the Party to stand up with us against corruption and indifference – the twin causes of failure. Stand up, America! A great awakening is needed now more than ever. And it can happen in this most exceptional nation. By the grace of God it will happen!

President Reagan warned about socialized medicine, and ironically I quoted his warning in my closing remarks during the 2008 Vice Presidential debate: “If you don’t do this and if I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”

You deserve the best, America. And the best is God-given freedom.

*I encourage readers to see Stephen K. Bannon’s documentary “The Undefeated” for a full explanation of the Corrupt Bastards Club and how we took them on in Alaska.

Headline image: Shealah Craighead


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