GOP making ‘lollipop threats’Published 10:39am Friday, September 27, 2013
Republicans are determined to prevent the start-up, in just a few days, of Obamacare. They must act now because, as George Will writes, to paraphrase, people like entitlement programs and Republicans can’t have more of that.
Seriously, that is the entire argument regarding the Affordable Care Act, under all the hyperbolic rhetoric about the program is the simple truth that Republicans fear most that Obamacare will work and people will like the program.
And if Americans like Obamacare, then Democrats will get all the credit (rightfully) and the great Republican fear of bigger government will be realized yet again.
It should be noted that Republicans only fear Democratic big government as Republican administrations have expanded government jobs and Democrats have reduced government jobs in their respective administrations over the past 30 years.
But memory is not important in politics, perception always takes center stage. So it is that if there is only one thing that unites Republicans today, it is their hatred of Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare.
Driven by rich supporters on the extreme Right of the political spectrum Republicans have turned over party control to the Tea Party contingent to kill Obamacare in its crib.
Of course there is the unfortunate fact that they do not have the power or the votes to kill the Affordable Care Act.
Nevertheless the hostage taking is underway, and the first hostage to stand in front of a lollipop aimed squarely at his neck is the continuing budget resolution. Ah yes, Republicans say they are not going to shut down the government, while threatening to do exactly that, unless their minority demands are met and Obamacare is killed.
The problem is, if your hostage is government shutdown but you already state you will not shutdown the government, then isn’t the knife at the throat really just a lollipop at the neck?
Indeed, it is a lollipop threat and should be seen for what it is, a threat that if executed is more likely a self-inflicted wound than an attack. So by all means, attack with that lollipop from the Right and go for the throat, except, whose throat?
Yesterday the same Republicans who have mounted the lollipop attack on the budget changed their plan and are now offering to lollipop attack the debt ceiling instead and pass the continuing budget resolution with the foolishly designed sequestration portion left in place.
The strategy includes demanding the end of Obamacare in mid-October when the federal government runs out of money to pay already approved expenses passed by Congress. The idea is to then default on the US debt to force responsible legislators and the president to save the country from their willingness to destroy the national credit and damage the economy.
The strategy has but one problem, the President has indicated that he will not deal on the debt ceiling at all. If that is the case then, Republicans brandishing the lollipop once again will be left with no one to threaten but the American people.
Democrats, for their part, seem perfectly willing to sit on the sidelines, vote for funding the government and paying the debt, and watch the extreme right of the Republican Party use their lollipop threat as loudly and as often as they like.
At the end of the day there are still no votes to accomplish what Republicans demand be done so the budget will be continued and the debt ceiling will rise, and as Shakespeare once noted, it will much ado about nothing.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.