His NCAA bracket a bust, President Obama believes he has a solution that will help salvage his predictions and his pride – reconciliation.
Having successfully used the legislative process to reform health care in the United States, the President believes it can be used for other major policy issues as well. The first item on the agenda? Getting his pick for the NCAA men’s basketball championship back in the tournament.
The President explained, “Getting the Kansas Jayhawks back in the tournament is not just a victory for any one party – it’s a victory for the American people.”
Recent polling seems to suggest otherwise, with 99 percent of all non-Kansan Americans opposed to the tactic.
Undeterred, the President said, “Let me be clear. The NCAA Reconciliation Bill of 2010 does not promote a lack of respect for the Michigan State’s, or the Butler’s, who have earned their way into the Final Four. It is about a redistribution of success. And, quite frankly, it is about damage control for my ego.”
Republicans meanwhile have expressed outrage at the thought of using controversial reconciliation rules for a basketball tournament.
House Minority Leader John Boehner stated, “Never before has such a monumental change to our office pools been carried out without the support of both parties. We’re talking about the overhaul of a multi-billion dollar industry.”
Echoing other Republican sentiments concerning process over policy, Boehner became emotional, angrily asking his colleagues, “Have you read the reconciliation bill? Hell no, you haven’t!”
Despite his opposition, Boehner hinted at a willingness to discuss a change of vote if certain elements of the bill were removed.
“If say, the bill replaces the term "Jayhawk" with "Buckeye," I would consider the President’s plan,” said the U.S. Rep. from Ohio’s 8th congressional district.
Republicans were also concerned about certain elements of the NCAA reconciliation bill – provisions that provide senators certain payoffs for their support.
One such sweetheart deal is the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback." The kickback allows University of Nebraska star Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh to remain in college until the age of 26.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) sought to deflect criticism saying, “There was never a time when I fought to get something only for Nebraska. Still, we look forward to participating in the BCS title game for years to come.”
Meanwhile, the college basketball world was still trying to get a handle on the massive bill. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo seemed confused about a process that would eliminate his team from the tournament.
“2,700 pages? Seriously? This isn’t Harvard.”
Hall of Fame commentator Dick Vitale expressed ambivalence toward the controversy saying, “I don’t care, I finally have the Dukies in the Final Four baby!”
Democrats countered the controversy with their own points of support. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged members of her party to support the bill.
“Congress has to pass the bill, so you can find out who’s in the Final Four,” she said.
Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid used a more controversial approach to drum up support for NCAA reform.
“Men, when they lose teams from their bracket, tend to become abusive,” said Reid.
The President however, brushed aside any criticism. When asked why he would push a bill that a clear majority of American’s oppose Obama said, “The American people voted for hope and change. Anyone who picked Kansas to win the tournament is hoping I will change it.”
“Look,” he said. “I lost the Olympics. I have no intention of losing to (Robert) Gibbs in the White House pool. I believe the American people want me to do whatever it takes to reform the NCAA tournament. Reconciliation. Recess appointments to the Final Four. Whatever it takes.
Plus, it would look better with ESPN hyping my picks all week long.”
He concluded, “Rock chalk, Jayhawk!”
Rusty Weiss is a political writer for NewsBusters.com, and has appeared in the American Thinker, and the Daily Caller. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit Rusty on his Facebook page.