DO NOT FEED!
Like Penny Marshall in Laverne and Shirley, half of today’s Republicans really should have a giant “L” sewn on their lapels—you know, L for “Liberal.”
Wednesday morning, CBS News reported that House Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor had continued the finger pointing about who isn't negotiating. With no significant movement, it’s no wonder today’s latest approval ratings for Congress also show an unfathomably abysmal 5% approval rating along with 83% disapproval according to the Associated Press, down from an already anemic 11% according to Gallup earlier in the week.
But despite the defund and shutdown tactics that started out unpopular and have since moved toward fear and loathing, the assessment of the Tea Party wing of the GOP led by Ted Cruz is that if you don't endorse the current path then you might be a RINO, or as radio host Mark Levin called noted leftist Karl Rove a "big government liberal."
Regardless of the fact that Republicans themselves barely favor the strategy and independents are strongly opposed to defund and shutdown agendas, to believe Cruz and those who support him, such opposition is an indication of “giving in” or being a RINO or too liberal, any of which has apparently become the new Scarlet Letter, worthy of public flogging.
While even champions of the health care law such as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebillus are hopefully lost trying to defend or explain or defend it and President Obama is quite likely to parlay his lack of leadership into eventually making himself look as inept as the GOP even to supporters such as Piers Morgan and those who currently think otherwise, the current numbers don’t lie—Americans are strongly opposed to the defund and shutdown strategies.
Half the GOP, including the somewhat demonized establishment, has been critics of the strategy as well, prompting observations that they have sped right past dumb and dumber to dumbest.
Yet Cruz fans and the far right are standing by their man and even his Texas compadre, uberconservative Senator John Cornyn is hearing the calls of “off with his head!” as the Tea Party brands him with a big “L.”
Those who are ostensibly Ronald Reagan worshippers seem to have forgotten much of what he was actually about, including what he famously said about like-minded individuals who sometimes disagree:
“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”
Rather, they seem to be in league with John Mayer:
“But I’d gladly go down in a flame if a flame’s what it takes to remember my name.”
And constituents seem to have elected Cruz to stand firm and if he goes down in a flame, well…they lost three of the last four elections because of RINOs anyway so at least he'll lose in a different way, right?
Is it worth it to prove a point? Debatable. But in the end, isn’t the GOP about “personal responsibility” and the choices individuals make? Choices such as voting for Democrats and Barack Obama (twice) who support the PPACA?
Some people just have to learn the hard way. It hasn’t worked for Republicans lately but it is a time-tested tenet. Unfortunately, it’s often the most effective lesson but if it’s up to the Cruz and his followers, nobody will have that opportunity. Never mind that most Republicans, and audiences of Fox News and talk radio have been duly convinced that Obamacare stinks (which it does, incidentally.) But more than that, they are well aware that it’s socialism, communism, despotism, Nazism, nihilism, and a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham. They don’t need to see any evidence of that.
Oh— and it causes blindness in laboratory rats.
But for Democrats and independents who are giving the new health care law the benefit of the doubt, a heapin’ helpin’ of right-wing propaganda isn’t going to do it. So what about them?
Who doesn’t actually love to say “I hate to say I told you so but…”
Many wise men know that life’s experience is often the most effective teacher.
One such (ahem) wise man, Helen Keller, said,
“life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”
Note: Michael McDonald also said, “I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see,” but I digress.
Cruz and the Tea Party have led the faithful down the path of believing that opposition to the current strategy is somehow “less conservative” – but the logic of such thinking indicates nothing more than less wisdom and a refusal to listen to the American people the ostensibly wish to help and are telling them in polls they object. The best advice for the GOP’s dealing with Obamacare may be found in the words of Ulysses S. Grant:
“I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.”
Game, set and match.
President Obama may still cement is legacy of an inability to lead and narrow the gap of public opinion and the GOP will likely someday still be able to say "we told you so," but probably not until they suffer the logical consequences of such an unpopular strategy, at which point they may not even have enough votes in the House to repeal Obamacare a few more times. We'll see if anyone learns the hard way this time.