It is indicative of Republican extremism that Ted Cruz and other Republicans insist that Democrats doing what Republicans want is “compromise.” Remember when Ted Cruz told David Gregory Sunday that delaying Obamacare is the “essence of a compromise,” that it is Demcorats who have adopted an “absolutist position.”
First Cruz insisted Obamacare be defunded. He insisted Democrats do exactly what he and other Republicans wanted – and had voted 44 times to achieve.
Now he insists Obamacare be delayed for a “at least” one year. He insists Democrats give him what he wants. If he doesn’t get it, he will shut down the government.
“And even now, what the House of Representatives has done is a step removed from defunding, it’s delaying it,” he added. “Now, that’s the essence of a compromise… On the other side, what have the Democrats compromised on? Zero. Nothing.”
He calls this compromise.
Compromise is both sides giving a little and meeting somewhere in the middle. Republicans aren’t willing to do that. From the very beginning of Obama’s presidency they have insisted that Democrats do precisely what they say, or America gets it – right in the head.
Nobody is fooled by Cruz and his word-play. Delaying Obamacare for “at least” a year is the same as killing it.
Rand Paul told Face the Nation yesterday,
“I’ve said all along it’s not a good idea to shut down the government, but I also think it’s not a good idea to give the president 100 percent of what he wants on Obamacare without compromise.”
What Cruz and Paul will continue to ignore is that Obamacare is a law. It is not reasonable to speak in terms of giving Obama “100 percent of what he wants” when what he wants is for the House to meet America’s obligations. The Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, upheld by the Supreme Court, and the Republicans refuse to fund it. This is not even remotely reasonable. Paul’s position is nonsensical and absurd.
They want America to believe Obama is the architect of the shutdown. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), for example, told Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer Sunday that Obama is “driving the shutdown.”
“He wants control of the checkbook,” Blackburn said.
What Blackburn and Paul are ignoring is that the Republicans are refusing to pay America’s legal debts – that Congress has already spent the money they are now fighting about. This is not about extra spending. This is not about Obama wanting to control the checkbook but about Republicans behaving legally and writing a check for debts they’ve already incurred.
Let’s look at an example: If Cruz owned a store and a customer bought something and then refused to pay it, Cruz would be incensed. He would tell the customer that he incurred a debt that he was now legally obligated to pay. Few of us would think the customer was within his rights to insist in exchange, Cruz change the name of his store.
One has nothing to do with the other.
But that is the game Cruz and his fellow tea partiers are playing.
And the thing is, Obamacare, while not perfect, works. The insurance is not expensive and people who don’t have it will be able to get it – even people that insurance companies can now legally reject. NBC News posted a guide just this morning answering pertinent questions about the healthcare law. It is pointed out that the government will even help people pay for their insurance, that even families making up to $94,000 could get a subsidy.
What makes the tea party games worse is that people don’t want them to shut down government over Obamacare. Indeed, people don’t want Obamacare delayed or eliminated.
Paul Begala wrote on CNN Sunday that
Obamacare clocks in at just 29% support in a recent CNBC poll. So you’d think that the Republicans’ position of repealing the ACA would be more mainstream. But you’d be wrong.
That same CNBC poll shows that Americans oppose defunding Obamacare, with only a little more than one-third of voters saying they want it defunded. They want to mend it, not end it.
What’s worse for the Republicans, when the question shifts to whether you support shutting down the government and/or defaulting on U.S. debt in order to kill Obamacare, the GOP position loses by a crushing 59 to 19 percentage points. When you’re down to just 19% of your countrymen and -women supporting your crusade, it’s time (as we say in Texas) to pee on the fire and call the dogs: The hunt’s over.
Who, precisely, we must ask ourselves, are Cruz and Paul and others fighting for if it is not the American people? As Jason Easley wrote here yesterday, “Cruz and his small band of Republican ACA defunders aren’t defending the poor and middle class. They are trying to keep them locked into a system that either denies them health insurance, or makes it unaffordable.”
As President Obama has pointed out, they are also not fighting for the Constitution. It is quite clear that House Republicans feel they are the only branch of government and that the executive and judicial branches are superfluous.
One thing is for certain: the tea party isn’t planning to pee on Begala’s metaphorical fire. Their plan is to pee on America and call the dogs: this experiment in democracy is over.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.