Nobody asked me, but I have some advice for Democrats who are said to be thinking about using the people’s veto process to kill a new health reform law that was rammed through the Legislature and signed by the governor this week.

Don’t do it.

I don’t say this because I like the new law. I think its critics raise good questions, and the way the Republicans have pushed the changes through the process without answering those questions makes me think that there is probably something to them.

What I don’t like are people’s vetoes. Don’t get me wrong: I like people and I like to vote (love to vote), but reducing 50-page bills into bumper sticker slogans, which is what people’s veto campaigns amount to, is the worst way to make law.

You make not like the Republicans’ recent antics — starting with the majority members of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee voting out a 50-page amendment to a four-page bill on the same day it arrived with the insurance lobby’s blessing — but people’s veto campaigns are worse. The winner tends to be the side with the most money and most alarming rhetoric, but not necessarily the ones who are telling the truth.

If you want to find people who don’t like the people’s veto process, just turn back the calendar to last June, when a tax reform law was rejected by voters just six months after same-sex marriage was overturned.

Some of the same liberal activists who were complaining about how shallow and misleading those campaigns had been would be the same people who will start circulating clipboards this summer, trying to turn back the health insurance law, or at least disrupt its implementation.

These are not the only people who are singing a different tune.

It is remarkable that when the Democrats and Republicans in Augusta traded the majority and minority office suites after the last election, they also seemed to pick up each other’s talking points.

So we hear about Democrats who are outraged about bills being forced through without any legitimate opportunity for debate or amendment, just like the Republicans used to say.

And it’s the Republicans who are forcing rushed votes, promising to fix the problems later, echoing a certain former speaker from the U.S. House of Representatives.

They both come out sounding a little less sincere than Claude Raines when he was shutting down Rick’s Cafe American (“I’m shocked — shocked! — that lawmakers are exempt from these fees!”).

But, even though it’s not pretty, it’s representative democracy, which is the system we use to govern ourselves. You don’t have to like this bill to realize that there are more Republicans than Democrats in the State House these days, and when all the Republicans decide that they want something, they win.

But take heart, donkey partiers — there aren’t very many more Republicans than Democrats, and it wouldn’t take much to claw back six seats in the House or seven in the Senate to regain the majority. Then the Democrats would be able to stop stuff like this from happening. All it takes are good candidates and a good message.

The people’s veto is something else entirely. Most Maine kids are not taught in school how to read an actuarial table. So when they vote up-or-down on a 50-page insurance law, they would probably be focusing on something a little more superficial, like “They want to kill your granny in Aroostook!”

Most legislators aren’t insurance experts either, but some of them are, and there are plenty of other experts around the State House to answer questions.

The best place for a bill like the one that just passed to get started is a committee room where members of both parties can work a bill into shape.

What the rest of us are better prepared for is evaluating people, like we do every day. We listen and we make judgments about who we think is smart, who is lying and who we agree with.

That’s why when we go behind the curtain to vote, we should be deciding between people, not reading legal language.

If people don’t like the bill that was jammed down their throats this week, they can do something about it at the voting booth.

But if you’re asking me, they should do it by voting against the people who did the jamming and not by exercising the people’s veto.

Greg Kesich is an editorial writer. He can be contacted at 791-6481 or at: [email protected]