“Standing ground”

“…calls to Idaho’s congressional delegation are running two to one or more for continuing the shutdown until President Barack Obama defunds or delays his health program. That’s why all four of Idaho’s Republican congressmen have steadfastly – up to now – stood their ground opposing reopening the government,” Rocky Barker reported in a Sunday, Oct. 13, Idaho Statesman story, which has gone nationwide.

In that loaded phrasing, Rocky telegraphs the subliminal tea-party message that, like George Zimmerman in Florida, the guys who have shut down the US government are just standing their ground to protect the neighborhood from the likes o’ that uppity, hoodie-wearing black kid from the white house down the road who don’t belong in this neighborhood anyhow!

“I believe we should stand our ground,” said Ted Cruz, the tea-party senator from Texas, pledging to derail Obamacare over the president’s guaranteed veto a few weeks ago, the Associated Press reported. Cruz was working up to his one-man fauxlibuster on the Senate floor, where he stood his ground for 21:19 hours to stop a House bill, which would do what he wants, from coming to a Senate vote, where it was amended after the senator’s tirade was over.

In recent weeks, such ground-standing has elevated Cruz to be the congressional face of the tea party—and it’s apparent shutdown strategist and visionary. While it is Congress that holds and has tied the government’s purse-strings largely through their efforts, Cruz and his ilk blame Obama and the Democrats for the government shutdown. Yesterday, Cruz co-opted a rally of veterans shut out of the World War II Memorial by the government closure when more than 300 Park Service workers who staff and maintain the National Mall, where the memorial is located, were furloughed.

Sunday’s protesters removed the barriers at the WWII memorial and stacked them outside the White House gates several blocks away. Park police, who are working without pay during the shutdown, secured the memorial again following the protest. Seems like Mr. Cruz wants federal employees to support his tea-party shenanigans by working overtime without pay.

Supposedly, Cruz and other tea-party Republicans want to keep the government closed until the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is defunded or delayed, as Rocky Barker has relayed. However, there’s something else going on.

While polling shows that less than a third of the country (28percent) supports the shutdown, it hasn’t mattered. House Speaker John Boehner could end the charade at any moment, by allowing a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution to loosen the government purse-strings. Boehner, too, has adopted the “stand your ground” motto and stance. He has concerns such as keeping both his seat representing his Ohio district and his seat as speaker, in control of the House of Representatives.

Idaho’s second congressional district is an excellent example of what’s at stake in the push to move the Grand Old Party even further to the radical right. Second district congressman Mike Simpson is a very conservative Republican, but he’s been in Washington long enough to understand, respect and master the process. He is on record saying that a shutdown is not an effective tactic for attacking Obamacare, which he has voted to repeal scores of times along with other House Republicans.

With sentiment for continuing the shutdown running two-to-one at home, Simpson would be foolhardy to sign a discharge petition to force a House vote and courageous to help pass a clean continuing resolution. According to Rocky Barker, Simpson hoped the situation would force an agreement to reopen affected parts of the federal government. Simpson has proposed piecemeal authorizations that would reopen the National Parks, for example. He said he could support a continuing resolution to end the shutdown without linking it to the Affordable Care Act for a short time, possibly two weeks.

If the shutdown continues through the end of the week, the Idaho National Lab, a mainstay of the Eastern Idaho economy (and Simpson’s wife’s employer) begins furloughs. Then, perhaps Simpson will hear the other side of the story. He may have a real race on his hands because of the shutdown. Unseating what passes these days as “moderate” Republicans like Simpson, and replacing them with more reactionary, tea-party leaning opponents, is another, key objective of the current congressional brinkmanship.

In districts like Simpson’s across the country, where Republicans are guaranteed the seat and where many of the 28 percent of Americans who support hijacking the government to stop Obamacare reside and vote, tea-party patriots are standing their ground and they’re not gonna let folks like Mike Simpson trample it.

Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Matt Miller interviewed Canadian capitalists who wonder what all the fuss is about:

Canadians don’t understand Ted Cruz’s health-care battle

My take-away is that American businesses are crazy not to support a single-payer system, which would relieve them of any responsibility for employee health care, a huge and complex part of many companies’ costs.

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4 thoughts on ““Standing ground”

  1. Vic,

    My “Standing Ground” blog entry only incidentally touches on Obamacare because, as I apparently poorly articulated, I think it’s kind of incidental to the shutdown, which is more about smoking out “moderates” like Simpson—and, of course, standing ground against the socialist programs of that Kenyan in the white house. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a whole other discussion, which I may tackle at another time. As I’ve expressed to you in personal communications, I have lots of problems with Obamacare (which could as well be called Romneycare until he disowned that stepchild to gain tea party acceptance). The ACA is a mishmash of insurance programs that I have difficulty seeing as socialized medicine. It’s socialized medicine like mandating auto insurance is socialized transit. You wanna talk socialized medicine, take a look at the outfit that did your knee surgeries, which I believe is taxpayer-funded. Hope they got this one right!

    When you say, “Your position lacks reality, is fiscally irresponsible…[most of the rest of your rant],” I don’t know to what position you’re referring. I’ve made no fiscal argument in favor of the ACA. In the blog I never apologize for the ACA or argue the merits of Obamacare. In discussing the shutdown, I’ve contended (like Simpson) that hijacking the government is not the way to amend or repeal proven law that you were unable to repeal or amend through legislative due process. Our constitutional system is very conservative. It is very difficult to pass new concepts into law. It’s taken a century since national health care was first considered for social pressure to build up enough to extrude a law (like sausage). Once enacted, it requires a similar kind of effort to change it. Tweaks, to fine tune are fine, but fundamental changes in law are not meant to be easy.

    My call is: “Medicare for all!” It works more efficiently than most private insurance programs. It needs only occasional tweaks to stay fiscally and actuarially sound. It should be expanded to cover everyone within our boundaries; we want ‘em all as healthy as can be, including undocumented immigrants. A healthy society is a happy and productive society. As civilizations developed, one of the earliest and most universal customs was to offer hospitality to travelers and guests, even uninvited ones. Some of our earliest stories and dramas are of ill fate befalling the guest who abuses the code of hospitality or the householders who overlook their duty toward a stranger. I don’t believe in a free lunch, just a shared lunch.

    As I recall, it was at Republican insistence that undocumented immigrants were not “exempted” but prohibited from participation in the ACA when the bill was drafted. So, we will continue to tap another of our socialized medicine programs—the county indigency fund—to pay for their care when they end up in emergency rooms or hospitals, in many cases for conditions that could have been prevented with proper ongoing care which every other developed country provides to people within their borders. Humans flow like water, where there’s least resistance. In the case of people, most often the force that pulls them is perception of a better life.

    It seems like you are reading Obamacare and immigration into more than is justified. Some of the personal charges and challenges in your comments seem misdirected, as if responding to some other comments.

  2. Pingback: Tea party groups still want Obamacare gutted | The Fifth Column

  3. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog
    loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end
    or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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