Earlier this week, I spoke with a highly placed Capitol Hill lawyer who filled me in on what's going on behind the scenes with the Democrats, Obamacare and "comprehensive immigration reform."
He told me that the Democrats are holed up busily trying to draft a version—any version—of health care legislation that they think might pass a floor vote.
Then, according to my confidant, leadership will turn its attention to amnesty.
The insider's thinking: Majority Leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi badly want to deliver a big win for Obama to help his plunging poll numbers.
My take: the Democrats are delusional. While I'm sure they would dearly love to score a major triumph for their deity, it will be a struggle for them on health care—and on amnesty, it's just not going to happen.
The status of Obamacare changes almost hourly. But as of today the Democrats have, in my analysis, only a 50-50 chance.
Senate maneuvering during the last week indicates not only discord but chaos. Reid is reduced to discussing proposals that include the controversial "public option" that he knows he does not have the votes for. [Public Option Push in the Senate Comes with Escape Hatch, By Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times, October 26, 2009]
Operating secretly, the Democrats can't agree. That's a bad and possibly fatal sign. (Read S. 1796 here)
Over in the House, one of Pelosi's laughable solutions is to change the phrase "public option" to "competitive option"—as if that would fool anyone.
Less amusing is the actual 1,990 page bill with its $1 trillion price tag that Pelosi introduced this week.
Pelosi's preliminary version, that she promises to actually read, still does not require the immigration status verification that she's been loathe to include since the health care debate began months ago. [Democrats in House Present $894 Billion Health Package, by Robert Pear, New York Times, October 29, 2009]
The probability that any final legislation may include a provision that Americans must have health insurance in some form by 2013 (as Pelosi's does) could be a killer for the Democrats.
(If you have nothing to do until Christmas, read Pelosi's H.R. 3962 here. The Congressional Budget analysis is here.)
Federally mandated purchases of any good or service is universally considered in legal circles as unconstitutional.
Conventional wisdom says that because Democrats hold a large majority in the House, health care will sail through. But House Democratic whip James Clyburn (immigration grade: "F") admits he doesn't have the votes yet and will only say : "We're getting there."
For Blue Dog Democrats, Pelosi's bill goes too far; for the ultra-liberal left, not far enough.
Here's how I see it:
Once the final bill's details become well known among voters, especially its exclusion of E-Verify that will allow illegal aliens coverage, an outrage similar to what took place during August Town Hall meetings is certain.
The Democrats could choose to ignore public sentiment and ram a bill through except for the pressing problem they face: the November 2010 election.
According to Ed Rollins, a Republican consultant and Ronald Reagan's former advisor, at this very moment as many as 30 Democratic Congressional seats are at risk. Rollins foresees that by the time the 2010 campaign season gears up, an additional 30 seats currently thought safe will be considered in jeopardy.
That's potentially sixty Democratic seats up for grabs.
Nothing will alter a Congressional representative's vote faster than if he thinks it will drive his constituents to the other party.
My instinct tells me that all sixty of those at-risk Democrats will wish that they never heard of health care.
What will also influence the House's eventual vote are next week's gubernatorial elections.
Anything less than two decisive wins for New Jersey's Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine and Virginia's Democratic candidate R. Creigh Deeds are warning shots over Congressional liberals' heads.
As of October 29, it's grim for Deeds and dicey for Corzine.
In Virginia, a pivotal state that helped elect Obama, Republican Robert F. McDonnell's lead has increased from seven to 13-points during the last week, despite campaign appearances from Obama on behalf of Deeds. Only four percent of voters are undecided.
One reason behind McDonnell's surge is that he advocates strict immigration control.
As Attorney General, McDonnell advised local law enforcement agencies to enter into agreements with federal agents to detain illegal immigrants, advised revenue commissioners to deny illegal immigrants business licenses and demanded in a letter that President George W. Bush curb illegal immigration.
That's not all.
McDonnell also repeatedly urged Governor Tim Kaine to partner with federal agents to allow agencies to deport illegal immigrants, and asked state police to look through the Virginia's sex offender registry to find foreign-born offenders and turn their names over to the federal government for deportation. [McConnell Critics Question Ideology, by Anita Kumar, Washington Post, October 28, 2009]
In overwhelmingly Democratic New Jersey, prospects for incumbent immigration enthusiast Corzine are only slightly better.
Corzine trails his Republican challenger and former U.S Attorney Chris Christie by three points. New Jersey has been buffeted by scandals, a budget crisis, excessive illegal immigration and is generally such a complete mess that it's hard to imagine any incumbent being reelected.
One reason Christie is not doing as well as his fellow Republican McDonnell is that he holds a self-proclaimed "soft" illegal immigration stance. Last year in an interview, Christie had a chance to condemn illegal immigration as harmful to New Jersey residents.
Instead, he answered in double talk about whether it is a crime to live in the United States illegally.
In summary, I'll repeat: if the Democrats don't score clear cut wins in both Virginia and New Jersey, then their states' angry constituents will have sent all the Democratic Congressional candidates a frightening and possibly career-ending message.
Assuming Democratic defeats in Virginia and New Jersey, it would boil down to whether Congress wants to save its own skin or make nice with Obama, Reid and Pelosi. Their decision won't be hard to make.
On an Obamacare victory then....only maybe. If I were you, I wouldn't bet the ranch on it.
But when it comes to "comprehensive immigration reform"—go for it! Wager your ranch, the horses and the barn that it won't happen.
If the Treason Lobby thinks that the Democrats will follow up a bitter fight to the end over health care with an even more contentious amnesty battle, they are, to use a Halloween-appropriate expression, whistling past the graveyard.
The Democrats can't even deliver on their minor amnesty commitments.
Senator Chuck Schumer promised an immigration reform bill by Labor Day. The calendar reads October 31st, yet Schumer remains uncharacteristically quiet.
Ditto for Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez who pledged a House version of amnesty three weeks ago. But to date, his bill hasn't dropped. No one has any idea when it might—if ever.
My prediction that no amnesty bill will pass or will even reach the floor this year is familiar ground to readers.
The reason the Treason Lobby can't sell amnesty to Congress or to America is simple: No sale—because the merchandise is damaged. No matter how it's repackaged, no one can be persuaded to buy it.
In the best case, Obamacare, the Democratic Congress and gubernatorial candidates and amnesty will all take a licking.
Wouldn't that be a great way to start Campaign 2010?
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.