Imagine a political party that keeps government from helping people, because that might lead people to support government. Imagine a political party that hurts parts of the country because those parts tend to not vote the way they want. Imagine a political party that would hurt the public, the economy and the country so they could say in the next election, "Hey look at how the country is hurting, vote for us instead." That could never happen here, could it?
This Is Who They Are Now
At RedState today the featured post is titled, Defund Or Be Challenged. It calls on Republicans to demand that Obamacare be defunded – killed – or they will shut down the governemnt. It says pass a budget that defunds Obamacare and if the Senate won't take it up or the President vetoes it, shut down the government rather than pass a reasonable budget.
If you say, "So what?" and ask, "Who is RedState" then you are making the same mistake that many in the Democratic establishment have been making for decades. Asking "Who is Rush Limbaugh / Glenn Beck / Sean Hannity / Sarah Palin / Ann Coulter / etc." or saying that what they say doesn't matter is a mistake. This is who they are now. This is who the Republican Party is now. It is RedState, Limbaugh, Coulter, Drudge Report, etc. It is not Bob Dole or John McCain or even Ronald Reagan. It is not Ronald Reagan playing poker with Tip O'Neill.
Ronald Reagan would be primaried out as a "RINO" in today's Republican Party.
If you don't get it yet, let this sink in: Mitch McConnell is being primaried for being "a big government guy" and too "progressive" and working with Democrats. Mitch McConnell!
This is who the Republicans are now. RedState, Limbaugh, Coulter ... this is who they are now.
Obamacare Helps People – So They Want It Killed
Obamacare, for all its policy and political flaws, makes our health care system far better than the corrupt and dysfunctional system we have now. (I think Medicare-For-All is the right approach and would have high public support.) People with "preexisting conditions" will finally be able to get insurance. Subsidies will help people afford private insurance. The expansion of Medicaid will help millions receive health care.
The Republicans want it killed, period, and are willing to sabotage everything to get that. They want this because it will help people and therefore will be popular. They offer no alternative plan and do not care about all of these people who will be helped. In fact, they complain that so many new people will have access to health care that it could cause a shortage of doctors!
They want the health care act killed because it helps people, which they fear could lead people to support Democrats and government in general.
They mean it. They are willing to shut down the government unless their demands are met. They are about sabotaging the program and sabotaging all of government to make that happen.
Is that a strong statement? Remember that they were willing to refuse to raise the credit limit and destroy the credit rating of the country - and destroy the world's economy unless their demands were met. Remember that they have actually shut down government to get what they want.
This is who they are now.
Norm Ornstein has an important piece at The Atlantic today, The Unprecedented, Contemptible GOP Quest to Sabotage Obamacare. In it he compares how Republicans are opposing Obamacare with they way Democrats responded to the passage of Bush's Medicare drug plan. Please read these next two paragraphs,
The clear comparison is the Medicare prescription-drug plan. When it passed Congress in 2003, Democrats had many reasons to be furious. The initial partnership between President Bush and Senator Edward Kennedy had resulted in an admirably bipartisan bill – it passed the Senate with 74 votes. Republicans then pulled a bait and switch, taking out all of the provisions that Kennedy had put in to bring along Senate Democrats, jamming the resulting bill through the House in a three-hour late-night vote marathon that blatantly violated House rules and included something close to outright bribery on the House floor, and then passing the bill through the Senate with just 54 votes – while along the way excluding the duly elected conferees, Tom Daschle (the Democratic leader!) and Jay Rockefeller, from the conference-committee deliberations.
The implementation of that bill was a huge challenge, and had many rocky moments. It required educating millions of seniors, most not computer-literate, about the often complicated choices they had to create or change their prescription coverage. Imagine if Democrats had gone all out to block or disrupt the implementation – using filibusters to deny funding, sending threatening letters to companies or outside interests who mobilized to educate Medicare recipients, putting on major campaigns to convince seniors that this was a plot to deny them Medicare, comparing it to the ill-fated Medicare reform plan that passed in 1989 and, after a revolt by seniors, was repealed the next year.
Dems could have taken down the Republican Party over this, but instead they let seniors get the prescriptions, at least as far as this program went. Compare to the way Republicans are trying to sabotage the new health care plan:
For three years, Republicans in the Senate refused to confirm anybody to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the post that McClellan had held in 2003-04 – in order to damage the possibility of a smooth rollout of the health reform plan. Guerrilla efforts to cut off funding, dozens of votes to repeal, abusive comments by leaders, attempts to discourage states from participating in Medicaid expansion or crafting exchanges, threatening letters to associations that might publicize the availability of insurance on exchanges, and now a new set of threats – to have a government shutdown, or to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, unless the president agrees to stop all funding for implementation of the plan.
This is who they are. It is time to recognize just who and what we are dealing with.
For President Obama's entire first term Republicans obstructed every effort to boost the economy. They blocked badly-needed additional stimulus. They blocked infrastructure projects because they would employ people. They blocked the Bring Jobs Home Act. They blocked everything. Then they campaigned by saying the economy isn't better, so vote for them.
Republicans are now sabotaging the new immigration bill. The reason? They say that Hispanics who get citizenship might vote for Democrats.
Republicans have been opposing statehood for D.C. for the same reason - the people there might vote for Democrats.
Republicans in the old slave states, newly unleashed by the Supreme Court, are working furiously to get minorities, senior, students and other who might vote for Democrats off the voting rolls. They are repealing early voting because black churches organize voter drives. They are passing extremely restrictive voter-ID laws specifically excluding the kinds of ID that minorities are more likely to hold.
This is who they are now.
Hold Them Accountable
They have to be held accountable.
The answer is not to threaten to withhold your vote when you don't get everything you want. The answer is for all of us – every single alienated, ignored, disillusioned citizen – to promise to always vote. Then the people you would actually want to vote for will have some assurance they can win, and take the risk of running, even if they can't raise a poop-load of corporate cash.
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