Saturday, July 27, 2013

Contemptible, yes; surprising, no

By Mustang Bobby

Norm Ornstein on the Republicans’ attempts to sabotage Obamacare and in the process deny people healthcare and demolish the system that provides it, all because they hate the man who signed the law.
When a law is enacted, representatives who opposed it have some choices (which are not mutually exclusive). They can try to repeal it, which is perfectly acceptable — unless it becomes an effort at grandstanding so overdone that it detracts from other basic responsibilities of governing. They can try to amend it to make it work better — not just perfectly acceptable but desirable, if the goal is to improve a cumbersome law to work better for the betterment of the society and its people. They can strive to make sure that the law does the most for Americans it is intended to serve, including their own constituents, while doing the least damage to the society and the economy. Or they can step aside and leave the burden of implementation to those who supported the law and got it enacted in the first place.

But to do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation — which in this case means finding ways to deny coverage to many who lack any health insurance; to keep millions who might be able to get better and cheaper coverage in the dark about their new options; to create disruption for the health providers who are trying to implement the law, including insurers, hospitals, and physicians; to threaten the even greater disruption via a government shutdown or breach of the debt limit in order to blackmail the president into abandoning the law; and to hope to benefit politically from all the resulting turmoil — is simply unacceptable, even contemptible. One might expect this kind of behavior from a few grenade-throwing firebrands. That the effort is spearheaded by the Republican leaders of the House and Senate — even if Speaker John Boehner is motivated by fear of his caucus, and McConnell and Cornyn by fear of Kentucky and Texas Republican activists — takes one’s breath away.

Maybe I’m more cynical than Mr. Ornstein, but the actions of the Republicans do not take my breath away. I was wondering when they would get around to doing all of this.

These are the actions of cowards, bullies, and racists. Cowards because in the decades leading up to Obamacare, they never had the guts to stand up to the powerful lobbyists who represented the groups such as insurance and pharmaceutical corporations that profited mightily from the broken system; indeed, they lived off their campaign donations. Bullies because they never allowed anyone the chance to try to fix a system that was keeping the poor and the chronically ill in a vicious cycle of debt and despair. And racist because they knew the system preyed upon the minorities and their families, and also because the law that passed was modeled on Republican ideas forged by the Heritage Foundation and Bob Dole and put in place by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts; but because it was championed by Barack Obama, it had to be evil socialized medicine because that’s what secret gay Kenyan Muslims want.

What I don’t get is that if the Republicans are right and Obamacare will crash and burn on its own, why don’t they just stand aside and let that happen? It’s probably because they really know that it will work and that people will like it and the GOP will end up looking like the cowards, bullies, and racists that they are if it succeeds. So they’re willing to let people go broke or even die just to score political points and win an election. Now that’s contemptible.

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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