Hume: Befuddled Washington Press Corps Sign that Pelosi Health Care Moves Unprecedented
It's certainly not business as usual in Washington, D.C., but that's probably not what the American people had in mind when they elected President Barack Obama to come to the White House and usher in a new era of change.
And this diversion from business as usual is something former Fox News "Special Report" anchor Brit Hume, now a senior political analyst for network, said he had never seen before. The veteran Washington, D.C. journalist said on the March 16 broadcast of FNC's "America Live" that with the potential of the House invoking the Slaughter Rule and the potential 51-vote reconciliation process in the Senate, the process was far from pure.
"I think the process is well tainted by now," Hume said. "This is a case where in the face of a level of resistance that I have never seen before, in the sense on a bill that the sponsors continue to push, I've never seen anything pushed this far for this long in the face of such resistance of this size. This is unprecedented."
But a true indicator, as Hume explained, that this was truly not business as usual in the nation's capital was how journalists were covering the story - that even reporters that could reliably predict these votes in the past are perplexed as to whether the bill will or won't pass both chambers of Congress.
"And you know Megyn, most of the time on the week of a major vote like this, on a main presidential priority of this kind, reporters covering the story and others around town will basically know where the votes are," Hume said. "We don't know and the reason we don't know is none of us has ever seen anything like this before. I know I certainly never have. And that's why it's so unpredictable."
The circumstances working against the bill, including disagreements in both chambers of Congress, a seemingly lack of public support and recent special elections have deterred congressional leaders, he pointed out.
"I mean, under normal circumstances this bill would have been dead a long time ago for a combination of reasons - that you couldn't get it through both houses in the same form, that the public's resistance to it was total and deepening as time went on, that it was tainted by all kinds of special deals that were used to get it through the Senate on Christmas Eve, that all of those things combined - the election results that occurred on the eve of an election year were all negative on this measure," Hume said. "All of this is combined to create a situation where I have never seen a bill go forward."
And with all these factors, Washington, D.C. insiders are still unable to determine the ultimate fate of so-called health care reform legislation.
"And yet here we are with a vote imminent and no one can say for sure that it won't pass," Hume said "This is truly remarkable."
Hume gave a vote of confidence to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's ability to whip the votes and admitted there was a campaign by Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration to create a sense the bill would be passed. However, he did note that is something we've seen before.
"If there is any conventional wisdom, it is that at end of the day on a presidential priority of this magnitude, with a Speaker of the House as effective as Nancy Pelosi has proved in the past at rounding up the handful of votes she needs, when she needs a handful - it's hard to say it won't pass," Hume said. "On the other hand, if she had votes, they'd be voting on it now or they would have voted on it before. So, you know, it may be that - hey - there is obviously an attempt being made at the White House and on Capitol Hill to project a sense of, a sense of inevitability about this. But we've had that before. Look at all the deadlines we've had that have come and gone - still, no bill. You know, by most political standards, this bill is a real dog and yet, here we are."