Monday, September 30, 2013

Simply Ridiculous

As our staff gathered up research and discussed today's commentary idea, the fact that the U.S. federal government is less than twenty-four hours from a completely unnecessary shutdown was on everyone's mind.

As much as the right-wing media has spent the weekend trying to complicate the reasons for this fight, writer Kevin Drum on Friday nailed - in one sentence - the simple reason why Congressional Republicans are about to shut down the government:
"The Republican Party is bending its entire will, staking its very soul, fighting to its last breath, in service of a crusade to make sure that the working poor don't have access to affordable health care."
Drum was right, of course, as was The Washington Post's Greg Sargent when he said something similar on Friday.

Sargent in fact, recently proved there is no real Republican alternative to Obamacare, even more than three years after the law's passage. That fact, however, hasn't kept Republican clowns - like Nebraska's entire congressional delegation - from trying to convince the gullible rubes who elected them that Republicans have any alternatives, or that a government shutdown could, in any way, stop Obamacare.

For the record, Obamacare has already been rolling for three years now, and a shutdown of the federal government isn't going to stop the health insurance exchange markets from opening on Tuesday around most of the country. Further, a delay in the rollout of the individual mandate like Republicans in Congress are demanding would actually cost Americans billions. As Tara Culp-Ressler points out, not only would it add to the national debt, it would also leave more Americans uninsured, while jacking up insurance premiums for ALL Americans by an estimated 15 to 20 percent.

All of these arguments become moot however, when you look at the facts behind both the shutdown, and the looming debt ceiling battle.

Republicans in Congress are acting like terrorists, effectively trying to force President Obama and Congressional Democrats into giving the GOP everything Republicans lost when they blew it in the 2012 elections. President Clinton even defended President Obama's refusal to be held hostage over the weekend, noting that it's Congressional Republicans who really have no intention of negotiating.

Clinton is right of course, as is conservative writer David Frum when he notes that this shutdown - like when the Republicans shut down the government under Clinton - will only politically damage the GOP. When Republicans financially hurt millions of Americans this time, we highly doubt it will win them more voter approval in 2014.

Of course, Republican stooges in Congress like Rep. Michele Bachmann - who is conveniently retiring from Congress - keep saying they don't fear a federal government shutdown. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein even said on Friday that a shutdown now might actually be good news, as a shutdown now might shock Republican freshman into being more responsible during the debt ceiling fight. That kind of thinking assumes the tea partiers holding the rest of the Republican Party hostage will listen and understand when they lose on the shutdown - something that Klein himself ended up arguing against over the weekend.

No matter how you look at it, two facts remain: Obamacare isn't going away, and the clowns in the GOP still don't have any real alternative to Obamacare.

That Republicans refuse to accept those two cold hard facts - potentially at the expense of millions of Americans and billions of dollars - is simply ridiculous.