So the House Republicans did it, just as expected. They voted to send a bill to the Senate stripping 40 billion dollars of spending out of support for the poor for food and the much ballyhooed defunding of "Obamacare."
Fortunately, for the rest of us, sanity still has a hold on the rest of us. This from The New York Times yesterday:
Delay and defund. And default.
That is the House Republicans’ brilliant plan in their last-ditch effort to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It is a plan that threatens to grind the government to a halt and wreak havoc on the economy.
If they can’t take over Washington, they’ll shut it down. It’s their way or no way. All or nothing.
This is what has become of a party hijacked by zealots.
It would be tempting to blame all Republicans for this absurdity, but that would be unfair. There are still Republicans who are interested in good governance, but they’re being dragged to the nether regions of nonsensical policy making by younger, more ideological members of Congress, many from safely gerrymandered districts that form virtual echo chambers of irrationality.
Here's where the people still in touch with reality came in, along with Charles Blow, who wrote this piece:
The old guard has warned against the recklessness of the tactics of far-right House Republicans.
John McCain told CNN on Thursday: “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational.”
Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, said of the House Republicans’ strategy of threatening a government shutdown to force the defunding of Obamacare, “I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.”
Senator Jim Risch, Republican of Idaho, has said: "There isn’t anybody that thinks that Obamacare is going to get defunded. It cannot happen.” He added, “It is as impossible as anything can possibly be in Washington, D.C.”
Even Karl Rove struck a rational tone in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published online Wednesday evening, saying:
“Any strategy to repeal, delay or replace the law must have a credible chance of succeeding or affecting broad public opinion positively. The defunding strategy doesn’t. Going down that road would strengthen the president while alienating independents. It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it.”
But all those pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears, or at least defiant ones.
On Friday, House Republicans (and two Democrats) passed a spending resolution that would cut all funding for the health care law.
And this is what it all boils down to:
Sometimes in a fight, you just have to know when your opponent has gotten the better of you, limp home and live to fight another day. But the House Republicans prefer a twisted, last-stand view: face sure defeat in a blaze of glory and be remembered for standing up for what you believe in.
If only their stance were honorable. There is no glory in this. This is petty and small. This is vindictive and vainglorious. This is what the end of seriousness looks like.
Here, however, is more truth:
“What the Republicans are doing is fighting for tax breaks for billionaires, for the one out of four corporations in America that pays nothing in taxes, and they’re going to war against working families, against kids, against the elderly and the children. And our job has got to be to expose what right-wing extremism is… at a time when the richest people in this country are becoming richer and the middle class is disappearing it is beyond shameful to cut food programs… for people in need… to allow people to go hungry.” --Sen. Bernie Sanders, Indep., VT
It should fail, these attempts from the Republicans. They apparently, likely will fail, too.
It just can't happen soon enough.
Links: Meet the 217 Republicans Who Voted to Cut Food Stamps Program
Fox's Williams: House Republicans Are "So Dysfunctional ...