Most Americans understand it is autumn in 2013, and that it has been nearly a year since voters re-elected Barack Obama to serve a second term as President. According to a poll released yesterday, by a margin of two-to-one, respondents said “the results from the 2012 presidential election represented a referendum on moving forward with the Affordable Care Act” that has been the law of the land since March 23, 2010. However, for Republicans it is still 2010 and they are fighting to defeat what they imagine is a health insurance reform bill in Congress even though the Supreme Court ruled the ACA was constitutional in 2012. To impress on Americans they are still fighting the health law, they shut down the government.
Now that it is October 1 and Americans can begin signing up to buy affordable healthcare insurance, it is unlikely that reality will sink in to Republicans in Congress that the next phase of the Affordable Care Act is underway and that their man-god, Ted Cruz, is just another deranged teabagger; albeit one Republicans admit is leading congressional Republicans. Traditionally, in both houses of Congress there are procedures for picking the leader of each party that worked for a couple of hundred years, and it is true that John Boehner was elected as Speaker of the House, but he is just a sycophant answering to Ted Cruz.
It is apparent that Boehner took Cruz’s order to heart when he told Republicans to “defund this bill that isn’t working, that’s hurting the American people.” However, according to the poll released yesterday, only 7% of voters support delaying or defunding the health law and in fact, 39% want Congress to expand the law even further. Another teabagger acolyte, Michele Bachmann, said “Obamacare as a policy is so far-reaching, so consequential, and so damaging that members of Congress should do everything they can — everything — to stop it before it fully goes into effect” even if it means shutting down the government. Bachmann, like all Republicans under Cruz’s leadership cannot cite how the health law is damaging anything, but they knew they had to do something to stop it before Americans had the opportunity to sign up for affordable healthcare insurance today. Teabaggers, the Heritage Foundation, the Koch brothers, and their mouthpiece Ted Cruz failed to stop the ACA’s implementation and as they promised Americans will pay with a government shutdown.
It is a mystery why Republicans voted in lockstep to defund or delay the ACA just because a junior senator from Texas demanded their obedience. Many House Republicans admit Cruz is their leader, and according to the National Review Cruz told House conservatives last Thursday to oppose the leadership’s fiscal strategy of passing a clean continuing resolution to fund the government and demanded that GOP leaders linked funding the government to defunding Obamacare that set the shutdown in motion. If John Boehner was Speaker of the House and a leader, he may have averted another Republican-caused crisis, but the extremist wing recognized his impotence and fell over themselves giving Cruz their allegiance and adoration for leading Republicans to shut down the government.
House Republicans were effusive in praising Cruz for pushing the government shut down, and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) said “I think he’s played a lot of role in where we are right now.” Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) said “I think Ted Cruz did a huge service to the nation and to the cause of Republicanism,” and he was echoed by Bachmann who said “He played an excellent role. I think what he’s done is strengthened our hand. He’s made the case that we need to act and act decisively, and so I think we have a lot to credit him for.” Another Republican representative, John Fleming (R-LA) said “He’s been the rallying flag that has pulled Republicans around conservatives. Just the mere fact that he’s out there talking, that he did a 21-hour speech that was highlighted in the media … all of these things are building energy among Republicans and conservatives who are unified in the fact that we oppose Obamacare.” However, opposed to the health law or not, it is moving forward on schedule and the people get punished with a shutdown for their part in re-electing Barack Obama and affirming they want the ACA to go forward.
It is easy to blame hapless teabagger Cruz for his leadership in the shutdown, but all Republicans bear the blame for the dysfunction over the Affordable Care Act. From the time the health law was being debated until this day, Republicans preached and decried the reform as an “existential threat,” “harmful to the people,” and “so far-reaching, so consequential, and so damaging” that eliminating it at all costs meant shutting down the government. After three-and-a-half years of “anti-Obamacare” propaganda, even moderate Republicans cannot rein in the extremists and it appears they are not interested in trying. In fact, after President Obama told Republicans that the ACA “funding is already in place, you can’t shut it down,” Boehner answered that “the new healthcare law is having a devastating impact. Something has to be done.”
Boehner is still fighting the 2010 healthcare reform battle in Congress and the results of the last election that, according to a majority of Americans, “represented a referendum on moving forward with implementation of the 2010 healthcare law.” President Obama recognizes what the Republican dysfunction is about and why they are hell-bent on extreme tactics to kill the healthcare law. He said, “One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government is refighting the results of an election,” but the President held back from laying blame on all Republicans for giving idiot extremists like Ted Cruz a forum and support that drove them to shut down the government.
Republicans cannot contend Democrats failed to compromise on funding the government because Senate Democrats conceded to House Republicans’ funding levels for fiscal year 2014 just to keep the government running, but they did not accept delaying or defunding a three-year-old health law. One of the only sane voices on the Republican side has been John McCain who said “the people spoke on the matter” of the health law when they re-elected President Obama in 2012. “We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost” and added that pressing for changes to the health law is one thing, but that attempting “to force change as a trade-off for keeping the government running” was unacceptable.
No party likes to lose elections, or legislative battles, but Republicans are taking their losses to an extreme and causing harm to the people and the economy. In fact, stocks are already falling because Republicans threaten to repeat their shutdown debacle when the debt limit is reached in a little over two weeks. The Affordable Care Act is, in John Boehner’s words, “the law of the land,” and yet he is blindly following teabagger Ted Cruz and holding firm that “something has to be done” to eliminate the healthcare law regardless the consequences to the economy and the people. It is 2013 and the ACA has been a law for over three years and it has been a year since the voters re-elected the President and his promise to see the health law fully implemented. As the President said, one faction is refighting the results of an election, but they are not alone and it is time to put the blame squarely where it belongs; on the entire Republican Party regardless they are being led by a maniac.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.