With the debate over healthcare reform reaching a fever pitch, do the actions of Republicans like Sen. Jim DeMint (SC), Sen. James Inhofe (OK) and Rep. Roy Blunt (MO) signify an interest in real debate or simply a singular desire to rack up political points against President Obama? The party of “no” appears to have once again taken an issue of high importance and turned it into an opportunity for political theater with the President.
This is a serious debate and politicians on all sides have every right to agree or disagree with the myriad of proposals in play or even the very idea of an overhaul to the healthcare system centered on the notion of universal healthcare. But, to believe that “winning” this and walking away is somehow in the best interest of their party and country is both tone deaf and short-sided.
Sen. DeMint was the first and most notable public official to express his and many in his party’s real intentions.
"If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him," said DeMint on a recent conference call.
This comment is so bizarre because of the connotation DeMint infers regarding European military history. The “Battle of Waterloo” was the military defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815 at Waterloo, Belgium. This battle constituted the end of Napoleon’s reign as Emperor of France.
According to DeMint, the President’s good faith attempt to improve the health and well being of all Americans is the same as Napoleon’s serial desire for French imperialism throughout Europe and other parts of the world. So, I guess stopping Obama would be the equivalent of ending Napoleon’s reign of continual war on the European continent.
Leave it to the Republicans to be so dramatic and timely at the very same moment. Also, this infamous battle witnessed the death or wounding of approximately 47,000 soldiers. DeMint equates an effort to save lives to that of a situation of incredibly violent death. Nothing like a little sensible debate based on the current lives of Americans.
Always outspoken Sen. James Inhofe was next to chime in on the direction he hopes this healthcare fight leads his Republican Party.
“I just hope the President keeps talking about it, keeps trying to rush it through. We can stall it. And that’s going to be a huge gain for those of us who want to turn this thing over in the 2010 election,” said Inhofe while appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program.
Inhofe and DeMint act as if the idea of universal healthcare was some type of secret plan invoked by the President only after he was elected to office.
This concept was one of the central themes of the Mr. Obama’s campaign. He spoke about it in virtually every stump speech, debate and in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. And guess what, the voters of this country elected him to office knowing full well that this was what he intended to do. Nine states that voted for President Bush in 2004 became Obama states in 2008 knowing full well that this was his plan.
According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 59 percent of voters still approve of President Obama’s job performance, while only 36 percent approve of the Republicans in Congress.
In an even more striking poll, voters still trust the President’s handling of healthcare reform over that of the Republicans by 20 points.
Perhaps Rep. Roy Blunt (MO) best described the numerous ideas held by the GOP for answering the call from the voters to fix healthcare.
“Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus,” said Blunt in response to a question from reporters.
Well, I guess that sums it up. One side wants to fix a problem so clearly held by the voters, while the other wants to continue to yell “no” or just say nothing at all.