Kindergarten is in session.
The House of Representatives is in session.
But I repeat myself (with a nod to Mark Twain).
Forty or so ultra-rightwing members of the Republican conference, acting like kindergartners, have thrown a temper tantrum, making a government shutdown likely if they don’t get their way.
Now, there are many ways to handle a temper tantrum-throwing brat, but caving is not one of them.
Caving is exactly what the Republican House leadership (in-name-only) did last Friday when it allowed its most extreme members to dictate policy. SINO (speaker-in-name-only) John Boehner had said he wants to avoid a government shutdown, and only last month he counseled rank-and-file House Republicans not to tie a government funding bill to defunding the Affordable Care Act.
Yet when the showdown came, it was Boehner who blinked, bowing to pressure from the 40 tea party members of his caucus who vow to block implementation of Obscure regardless of the harm done.
The feckless Boehner called caving a win. “We had a victory today for the American people, and frankly, we also had a victory for common sense,” said the Ohio Republican.
Let’s see, what other “victories” can Boehner and his rightwing-driven caucus achieve? Well, after shutting down the government, Republicans then can carry their tantrum-throwing tactics forward and refuse to raise the debt ceiling, causing the United States to default.
This is what five-year-old spoiled brats do.
This is what rightwing members of the House of Representatives do.
Again, I repeat myself.
But it’s not cute (sometimes five-year-old brats are cute, ultraconservative House members never are), and it’s not the way the system is supposed to work.
Never in American history (with the exception of Southern Democrats on the eve of the Civil War) has a minority party threatened so often to bring the government to its knees in an attempt to win by terrorism (for that is what this is) what it can’t win legitimately.
I know, I know, Republicans repeatedly cite polls claiming Obamacare is unpopular. Two points about that: First, electoral polls, not opinion polls, determine policy; and second, Obama won two elections, Democrats control the Senate, and Democrats outpolled Republicans by a 1.5 million cumulative votes for House seats (Republicans control the lower chamber through creative gerrymandering and unfair voting restrictions). Obama and the Democrats made no secret of their healthcare policies in those elections.
If opinion polls ruled, we would have tougher gun control regulations today. How dare Republicans cite opinion polls on Obamacare after voting down earlier this year in the Senate a weak gun control measure backed by 90 percent of the public? How dare they cite public opinion when they so baldly ignored it to do the bidding of the gun lobby just a few months ago?
President Obama is right to stand up the hostage takers. “There’s a faction on the far right of the Republican Party,” the president said Saturday in his weekly radio address, “who’ve convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act. Some are actually willing to plunge America into default if they can’t defund the Affordable Care Act.”
Hang tough, Barry.