To the Editor:
Fueled by years of right wing extremism, Republicans have, once again, shut down the government and further threaten to ruin our nation’s good credit if their demands are not met.
For years their fanaticism has been growing and nowhere is it more evident than in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
They have painted themselves into a corner with overblown rhetoric aimed at their base who believe their very way of life is under attack and the greatest sin Republicans can commit is to engage in compromise with the “enemy.” The saner among them understand the awful consequences of a long government shutdown, so they are now engaged in a clever campaign to deflect blame, putting forth hollow bargains disguised as “compromises,” insisting the government shutdown is something Obama made them do and putting forward the idea that “both sides are to blame.”
A simple look at the history will tell us otherwise.
When President Obama was first elected, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said his main goal was to deny Obama a second term and party boss Rush Limbaugh stated his wishes for the first term as, “I hope he fails.”
When health care reform was originally proposed, Tea Party darling Sen. Jim DeMint immediately stated his goal was to “make health care President Obama’s Waterloo.”
Thus, they were very open about their goals. Can any of us remember a time when a major political party was so determined to see America’s president fail?
To this end, right wing groups spent hundreds of millions of dollars to deceive and frighten the American people and portray Obama as not really one of us and one who did not share our values.
Who among us can forget that summer when senators and congressmen went to their districts to discuss health care only to be greeted by organized groups trying to disrupt democracy in action? (That did not happen here, but it did in many places elsewhere.)
The campaign has continued with lies about Congress exempting itself from its own health care bill, citizens unable to choose their own doctor and fearful nonsense about socialized medicine when there is no such thing. A program originally suggested by a Republican to cover the cost of end-of-life counseling was turned into “death panels” by none other than the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party, Sarah Palin. Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Grassley told people the entire bill was “pulling the plug on grandma!”
During the debate in Congress, Democrats gave in on the idea of a single-payer plan, a kind of Medicare for all, and they agreed to special provision prohibiting any funds for abortions. Still, Republicans objected, saying the bill would cost billions of dollars and add to the deficit and they cited the Congressional Budget Office as their source. The bill was modified and the Congressional Budget Office then reported back saying the bill would now actually decrease the deficit.
What was the response of the radicals whose single-minded obsession was destroying any effort at reform? Republicans replied by attacking the credibility of the Congressional Budget Office, the very office they had previously used to support their charges! And even after receiving the assurances they wanted, they all still voted against it!
President Obama and Democrats repeatedly tried to engage Republicans, but they had their agenda and compromise and helping Americans gain affordable health care was not part of it. Fear mongering and obstructionism were the Republican contributions to the health care debate.
In the end, Republicans, who no longer believe in the idea of majority rule, attempted yet another filibuster. The filibuster was broken and the health bill passed with a super majority. Now, amazingly, Republicans are claiming the bill was passed without their input! It was not bipartisan! Who can negotiate with ideologues like these?
Which brings us to the final crisis. In an unprecedented move, Republicans put forward a list of demands, among them the gutting of Obamacare, and demanded President Obama must either accept their demands or they will shut the government down; and blame him for their actions!
President Obama and the Democrats could never yield to this extraordinary blackmail.
Americans must never forget; Obamacare was passed by a super majority in the Senate and by the House, signed into law by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. It was the principle issue in the last election. They lost and Obama won. That is the way the system is supposed to work, but they refuse to accept that.
And in view of their false information, now put forward by Cranston’s own mistress of right wing nonsense, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, talk about polls that show people opposed to Obamacare are meaningless.
Right wingers call themselves patriots and are often seen waving their flags and talking about the “Founding Fathers” and Obama’s alleged assault on the Constitution, but in the end, they are the ones trying to win through extortion and blackmail what the American people denied them at the ballot box.
For the sake of our democracy, they cannot be allowed to succeed.