Dear Commons Community,
We are coming again to what has become a ritual every nine or so months with the Republican Party in the House of Representatives threatening to shut down the government as part of the negotiation to expand the country’s debt ceiling. As in the past, the House is offering to expand the ceiling only if the Affordable Care Act ( also known as Obamacare) is repealed. Everybody except a small group of House Republicans think this is insane. Charles Blow uses the term “Kamikaze Congress” to characterize their actions.
“That is the House Republicans’ brilliant plan in their last-ditch effort to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It is a plan that threatens to grind the government to a halt and wreak havoc on the economy.
If they can’t take over Washington, they’ll shut it down. It’s their way or no way. All or nothing.
This is what has become of a party hijacked by zealots.
It would be tempting to blame all Republicans for this absurdity, but that would be unfair. There are still Republicans who are interested in good governance, but they’re being dragged to the nether regions of nonsensical policy making by younger, more ideological members of Congress, many from safely gerrymandered districts that form virtual echo chambers of irrationality.
The old guard has warned against the recklessness of the tactics of far-right House Republicans.
John McCain told CNN on Thursday: “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational.”
Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, said of the House Republicans’ strategy of threatening a government shutdown to force the defunding of Obamacare, “I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.”
Senator Jim Risch, Republican of Idaho, has said: “There isn’t anybody that thinks that Obamacare is going to get defunded. It cannot happen.” He added, “It is as impossible as anything can possibly be in Washington, D.C.”
Even Karl Rove struck a rational tone in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published online Wednesday evening, saying:
“Any strategy to repeal, delay or replace the law must have a credible chance of succeeding or affecting broad public opinion positively. The defunding strategy doesn’t. Going down that road would strengthen the president while alienating independents. It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it.”
But all those pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears, or at least defiant ones.
On Friday, House Republicans (and two Democrats) passed a spending resolution that would cut all funding for the health care law.
This bill has no chance of passing in the Senate, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to gum up the works and to force vulnerable Democrats in heavily red states to go on record as refusing to defund the health care law.
These Republicans aren’t afraid the law will fail as much as they’re afraid that it will succeed and become part of the fabric of the collective conscience — and worst yet, be a clear legacy victory for President Obama.
There is no more bitter Tea Party loss than a perceived Obama victory. The president is the focal point of the party’s frustrations. Tea Party representatives have been sent to Washington with a singular mission: obstruct Obama.
These Kamikaze members of Congress have made the House of Representative a house of horrors, where smart thinking is smothered, where rabble demand respect.”
The actual Kamikazes deserved more respect than this group of Congressmen who basically are cowards who care little about their country as a whole and whose only support for their cowardice is among themselves and a few of their deep-pocket financial backers.