There is little that horrifies a good ‘Planet No’ Republican more than an immense, expensive government program that Americans feel is benefiting them, says our U.S. Correspondent Tomas Mega.
Observers of Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner know well that he is prone to crying in public. It’s understandable. Boehner has a large family of 234 Republicans in the House of Representatives, and about forty of his youngest are giving “Dad” a very hard time. Not getting their way, they resort to pitching constant tantrums, acting like kids who want to stay up all night with video games, the I-phone, hungrily gulping down junk food, and totally ignoring his counsel. Under such circumstances, any parent would throw their hands up in despair. Boehner’s Washington family, especially the adolescents, are reckless, unruly, undisciplined and have shown a penchant to scream until their faces are as red as the Republican districts they represent. Dad has no control over the kids who hate everything that doesn’t fit their way of thinking, including the law.
Despite Obamacare being the law, and upheld as the law by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congressional Republicans refuse to acknowledge it’s the law, preferring to call it a ‘bill.’ Since the ‘bill’ became law, they have voted no less than forty-one times to defund it. In mid September, forty mostly junior House Republicans, less than 10% of the entire House of Representatives, forced Father John to accept their idea of defunding Obamcare once again, in order to prevent the U.S. government from shutting down in October. It didn’t work. The government is shut down
No one said being a parent is easy, especially when your most rebellious children appear to be alien life forms. Boehner’s creatures all come from ‘Planet No,’ where the great mystery of life is how Obama ever got re-elected. Their only fear is that someone who can scream “no!” louder than they can will challenge them in a primary. The result of all of this juvenile behaviour is that Americans are held hostage by the Republican led House of Representatives.
But why are these kids so angry? Could it be that what they fear most is the fear that Obamacare could succeed? Is it possible that, after three years of deprecating Republican rhetoric, Obamacare may actually work? Will it really be a catastrophe that some, possibly many, of the forty million Americans without health care may actually have access to it under Obamacare?
It is an untenable prospect for Tea Party conservatives who control the agenda in the House of Representatives. There is little that horrifies a good ‘Planet No’ Republican more than an immense, expensive government program that Americans feel is benefiting them. Social Security and Medicare are good examples. When Americans like a big, expensive government program that is benefitting them, it is here to stay – forever. And Republicans know it. If Republicans don’t kill Obamacare now, it just might succeed. That is why first year Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has decided that demagoguery in the form of whipping up the Tea Party base to defund Obamacare, yet once again, is the best course of action. He also feels that it is the best course of action to further his own political career, and Speaker Boehner, bullied by his own kids, is left only to cower and capitulate.
Obamacare isn’t the only big government program the party of “No!” is targeting. House Republicans recently voted to cut $40 billion from the Food Stamp program over the next ten years. That would eliminate food assistance for about four to six million poor Americans and it comes as the Census Bureau reported that 46.5 million Americans, more than 1 in 7, live in poverty.
Failing to execute their most fundamental responsibilities as law makers, Republican Congressmen continue to thumb their noses at their leader. Pragmatic Republicans, like Senator John McCain of Arizona, Representative Peter King of New York, and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee perceive the danger in this pubescent uproar by House Republicans. They take governing seriously and apparently believe enough in government to keep it from shutting down. They know the public may blame Republicans for this nonsense. Polls show that while many Americans may not like Obamacare, they, unlike the Republican kids in Congress, recognize that it is no longer a ‘bill,’ but the law. They do not want the government shut down by a political ploy engineered by a handful of far right wing Republicans. That is why rational Republicans are publically criticizing Senator Cruz for his ‘defund Obamacare to keep the government open’ strategy.
There is a real civil war in the Republican Party between the rebellious far right wing and the more sensible. The Tea Party faithful see no need to compromise. Redistricting in the House of Representatives all but assures Republicans a long lasting majority. Their grand strategy is “Just say no.” Prudent Republicans understand that governing and reaching compromise is essential for a democracy to function. But prudent Republicans are an endangered species; there are few left and they don’t hate Obama, Democrats, and the concept of governing in a sufficient amount to satisfy those from “Planet No.”
If only Speaker Boehner could act like a leader. He is, after all, third in line to become President should the President and Vice President become incapacitated, or worse. Already he will be remembered as the most impotent Speaker of the House in modern American history.
There comes a time when every parent has to drop the hammer on rebellious children. Constant hate of everything eventually fatigues everyone. Mr. Speaker, do your job. Your children need some discipline. n
Illustration credit: www.iudexonline.com