“…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.