I read recent reports about the House Republican efforts to repeal or de-fund “Obamacare” with great interest. I am astounded that there has been very little outrage over the fact that the House, under John Boehner’s leadership, has voted for the 33rd time to repeal or de-fund the legislation. If it is true that the definition of “insanity” is to repeat and act with the expectation of a different result, I hereby call for a competency hearing for every single one of these imbeciles.
The country is struggling to emerge from a world wide economic crisis, manufacturing jobs are vanishing and we have to pat down millions of innocent people because of the unpredictable threat of another terrorist bombing….and yet….these idiots are grandstanding about a bill that was duly passed into law and which has been upheld by the Supreme Court. But most interestingly, Boehner’s efforts have come at a time when the Senate is in the grips of those evil Democrats. I seem to recall a “School House Rock” cartoon….”I’m just a Bill and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill….” Mr. Boehner apparently missed that snippet. While I think that determination and commitment are favorable qualities in a human being….there is a real difference between reasoned and determined opposition and holding one’s breath to get one’s way. That is precisely what this pack of fools is doing. Speaker Boehner has apparently lost control of the tea party racists who are the single most vocal part of the right these days. People who want desperately to scream to the hilltops that our president is a “N$#@$&” but can’t. So they decide that they are opposed to anything the man says, proposes or does. Tax cuts for the middle class—No Way! We, people making less than $65,000 a year want tax breaks for the wealthy too. Huh? Obama wants to keep children insured by their parents until age 26—THAT”S SOCIALISM!
The last time I checked the Senate was controlled by the Democrats who, on the 32 prior attempts, refused to vote to repeal or de-fund the so-called “Obamacare” legislation. The House efforts in this regard are irrational, and should cause all of us to ask why in the name of hell we are tolerating this colossal waste of resources. I do not have the figures handy but I suspect that the drafting or editing of proposed legislation, the meetings and caucuses that go into a bill and the time utilized to call for a vote are costing a pretty penny. So why are we allowing this to happen?
The answer to that question speaks to what is wrong with our current political system. We either don’t care what is taking place, or we are resigned to the fact that we cannot change the course of events, or…in the case of the aforementioned racists… we are behind these ridiculous efforts. If voter turnout is an accurate indicator, about 40% of eligible American voters simply do not care about the goings on in Washington. In the last presidential election just over 60% of eligible voters bothered to vote. That strikes me as a remarkable figure given that we were in the midst of an economic catastrophe and one of the candidates was an African American and a candidate for the vice-presidency was a woman.
Of the 60% of people who do care, at least enough to vote, we know that there is a pretty even split among Americans on the healthcare legislation. Even those opposed to the law are split as to how the feel about particular provisions of the law. There is a remarkable dichotomy that exists on this subject. Most polls indicate that we almost universally endorse many of the provisions of the health care bill. For instance, we do not want pre-existing conditions to bar us from health insurance, and we pretty clearly support the notion that our children should be eligible to remain on our plans until age 26. There is almost universal acceptance of the notion that children should be provided with health insurance if the family cannot afford to cover them. But, despite the favorable view of individual aspects of the plan, at least half of the electorate remain steadfast in their opposition to the bill and as many as 38% support a full repeal. At best we are confused on the subject, at worst we are, like the House Republicans, simply imbeciles who likely need constant reminders to blink or breathe.
The answer to Boehner’s futility seems to be purely political. Since regaining the House, the Republicans have been the truest form of an “opposition” party. By that I mean that if the President indicated in a speech that there are fifty states, chances are better than even that some mental giant in the House would file a bill to dispute such a claim. Let’s be clear, “Obamacare” is, in actuality, a bill that reflects many of the proposals previously advanced by the Republicans. Their presidential candidate championed a strikingly similar bill in Massachusetts during his largely absent term as the state’s governor. But here’s where Boehner is on the subject: he is hell bent on wasting time and money to oppose the bill so that Republicans can argue that they need control of the Senate come November so that they can finish the job. It provides cover so that on the campaign stump this year the Republicans can say that they are working to eliminate the “Gestapo” legislation that they say is Obamacare.
If I am correct, this speaks to a deeper divide in this country along purely political grounds than anything we’ve seen before. Hell, Ronald Reagan raised taxes as did George H.W. Bush because they felt a responsibility to more than some billionaire Tea Party activist. The era when we can count on our elected representatives to make difficult and unpopular decisions appears to be over. Mr. Boehner claims to love America so much that he gets weepy when speaking to the issue. His actions are made all the more perplexing if his love of country is what he claims it is. If we continue to send these people to Washington with a mandate to stand solely for defiant opposition we have no hope to resolve the issues confronting this nation today.