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home : opinion : news views May 26, 2016

10/5/2013 12:52:00 AM
Republicans Getting Nowhere
Gary Gerard
Times-Union General Manager

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I thought what Republicans were doing with regard to Obamacare and funding the government was asinine.
Nothing has changed.
If they think, for a minute, that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to allow a vote on anything that tinkers with Obamacare, they are delusional.
And beyond that, even if a bill like that passed the Senate, if they think the president would sign it into law, they are even more delusional.
Certainly, some of the things that this group of marginally unhinged lawmakers are harping on deserve debate. Things like the harmful medical device tax or the fact that corporations were exempted from the Obamacare mandate while individuals weren’t.
And there should be debates about ballooning debts and deficits and the massive expansion and role of government.
But withholding the funding of government – things already legitimately and legally passed by Congress – isn’t the bargaining chip they should be using. And in a couple of weeks, when the debt ceiling hits, that’s no time for bargaining either.
Congress needs to pay the bills. The consequences of not paying the bills – a downgrade of U.S. credit, spiking interest rates, a ripple effect across the world economy – is far too dire to even consider it as a strategy.
Yet it seems these lawmakers are even ready to do precisely that.
The odd thing about this is I can usually figure out the end game. I can’t figure this one out.
Maybe they just want to bury the U.S. government and the economy. Maybe that’s it. Bring the government and the entire nation to its fiscal knees. Defund everything and start all over.
Beyond that, I don’t really see there’s much of a strategy here. Just demand changes to Obamacare until ... what? Because there’s not going to be changes to Obamacare.
Having said all that, I also see that the other side in this mess is completely intransigent. And the thing that really chafes my posterior in this fiasco is the continual ululations that Obamacare is the “law of the land.”
To me, that’s just disingenuous. If the Democrats were so concerned about following the letter of the law with regard to Obamacare, they wouldn’t have changed so much of it already. There have been like 14 changes so far – including the aforementioned exemption of corporations from the mandate – all by a wave of President Obama’s magic pen.
So would it be that bad for him to wield that pen one more time and offer up, say, the device tax, as a sacrificial lamb to placate Republicans and get past this mess?
Besides that, there have been legions of “laws of the land” upended by one party or another.
Illegal abortion used to be the law of the land. Corporations are people and money is speech. That’s the law of the land now.
And isn’t the U.S. Constitution the ultimate law of the land?
Really?
How about, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or the people.”
Anybody feel like that’s being honored and obeyed by our federal government?
There are a lot of arguments you can make against what the Republicans are doing with regard to Obamacare, but the law of the land thing?
No. No good.
Just because something is the law of the land doesn’t mean everybody just has to shrug and say, “Oh, well, guess we have to live with it.”
If that was the case, black people and women still wouldn’t be voting in this country.
The biggest problem here for me is that I worry about the future of conservatism in government.
Certainly, Democrats, assisted by an all-too-compliant media, will make sure Republicans take all the blame for anything that goes wrong. I don’t have a crystal ball or any tea leaves, but I can tell you right now if the economy doesn’t come roaring back, it will be blamed on Republicans.
“If only those evil Republicans hadn’t messed with the budget, everything would be fine. It’s not President Obama’s fault the economy isn’t getting better.”
You see, I espouse many of the tenets of the Tea Party – smaller, limited government, balanced budgets, return to Constitutional precepts, state’s rights.
I just don’t think this takes us down to the path to any of those goals.
And it’s leading us down a path that may erode the chance for conservatives to gain enough of a majority to ever achieve those goals.







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