Irrational ExuberancePosted: August 22, 2013
So, I am not exactly going to use the term “irrational exuberance” quite in the context that it was originally uttered by Alan Greenspan in 1996. Maybe irrational mania or hate-driven zealotry or crazy-go-nuts gullibility are better terms. Whatever the case, the so-called “Tea Party” ginned up by the histrionics of folks like Ted Cruz , the low information and thought ability of Sarah Palin, and the whacko ideology of the neoconfederate Pauls believes that taking down “Obamacare” and our government is the be all and end all of their existence. There’s some articles today looking at their efforts. Why are they doing everything from crowing townhall meetings and running strange ads? There’s an interview there with one of the exhuberati that’s pretty damned strange.
Another objection that’s been raised is that this would only lead to a government shutdown or default, and Republicans would get blamed for that. Are you advocating that outcome?
The outcome we would like to see is that the American people don’t have to pay for Obamacare, however that comes to pass. It’s like driving from L.A. to San Francisco — there’s a million different ways to get there. We believe this approach is the last, best opportunity to prevent the American taxpayer from having to shell out the money and support Obamacare.
Think for a second. You’re a taxpayer, an ordinary American working woman. You’ve got to pay for a health-care system that Congress is exempt from. You have to participate in a health-care system that big business, political cronies, congressmen and their staffs do not have to participate in. That doesn’t sound like a democratic republic to me. That’s what’s got the grassroots upset. We are not serfs. We are citizens.
The House has had, what, 40 votes to repeal Obamacare, and what has that done? Besides given members of Congress a bloody shirt that they can wave on the stump back home and say, “I’m against Obamacare”? This effort to ensure right now that Americans don’t have to pay for Obamacare is the best way to go about it. It’s not just bloody-shirt-waving for the voters, it’s an actual, working thing.
For some reason, the right wing always seems to think they get to pick and choose what their tax dollars go for even though their representatives and our representatives do that for us as clearly outlined. They seem to think that they don’t have to pay for birth control or abortion services or whatever it is that drives them to hysteria while I have to pay for their wars, their Isreal at all costs policies, their police state, their gay conversion therapies, and their screeds and lies that basically outline state ownership of women.
The deal is that the anti-Obamacare movement will fail if it does not succeed now. Folks like Ted Cruz basically know this.
Cruz’s suggestion that conservatives can still win the defund fight is getting attention, but the really important quote here is Cruz’s concession that conservatives have not won “the argument” in a long time. Here’s why: Cruz almost certainly knows full well that this is the last chance to win the broader argument over Obamacare. Once the law’s benefits kick in, it will probably no longer be winnable.
Obamacare opponents cite polls showing Obamacare’s unpopularity to justify continued efforts to repeal and/or sabotage the law, whether through a government shutdown or through more prosaic methods. But, as even some Republicans are now acknowledging, the Republican position on health care is untenable as long as they fail to offer a meaningful alternative that would accomplish Obamacare’s core goals — expanding coverage to many millions of uninsured and protecting consumers and those with preexisting conditions from insurance industry abuse.
This is the argument conservatives are losing: As unpopular as Obamacare is, there is simply no evidence that this dissatisfaction translates into public support for repealing the law entirely and simply letting the “magic of the marketplace” ensure that everyone is covered. And a number of writers — Jonathan Bernstein, Aaron Carrol, Ezra Klein,Jonathan Cohn, and Paul Krugman — have already explained well why Republicans can’t offer an alternative to Obamacare that accomplishes what the law accomplishes, and why there’s simply no meaningful Republican alternative to embracing Obamacare’s general approach or essentially doing nothing.
For several years now, Republicans have been able to paper over this problem by making the political argument only a referendum on the lurid, nightmarish vision of Obamacare they have painted (with some success) for voters. But as even Cruz seems to recognize, the actual contours of the argument we’re having will only become clearer as Obamacare’s concrete benefits kick in — very likely rendering that argument unwinnable. That leaves Republicans in the position of hoping the law is a disaster and doing all they can to bring that about. But that posture only further underscores what makes the GOP position untenable in the first place. Cruz is absolutely right: time is running out.
Undoubtedly, the law will begin to morph into something else should the political and governance process in Washington work again. The absolute hysteria on the right caused by the law is nearly as bad as the attempts by the right to circumvent civil rights, gay rights or reproductive rights. The weird difference is this law has some component that is likely to benefit nearly every one. It isn’t aimed at relieving oppression of any one group. It’s aimed at solving a nationwide problem created by our very dysfunctional healthcare system that mostly became dysfunctional because of the system of paying for health care.
From the day the Affordable Care Act was enacted, every Republican in Congress and most Republicans in state and local governments have done everything imaginable to interfere with its implementation, and have systematically opposed the kind of legislative “fixes” that are normal for any major new law, while loudly cheering for its failure. Now we are told that executive measures to make the law work mean that it’s not the law of the land. So what exactly happened when the president signed this legislation on March 23, 2010? Does the legitimacy of a law depend on acceptance of it by its opponents? Think about the implications of that theory, and recall that not so very long ago Republicans tried to drive a president from office on grounds that his efforts to hide sexual impropriety threatened the very Rule of Law.
That last sentence deserves a second look because there are calls to impeach Obama over “ObamaCare”. This is another clear indication that the Tea Party and Republicans–n general–are rarely about the Constitution. What is their generally accepted definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors”? Even Republican congress critters don’t seem to understand our Constitution.
Kerry Bentivolio is a Republican member of The House of Representatives from the great state of Michigan. He’s also clearly deranged. Bentivolio is the latest TEApublican to throw his voice in support of impeaching President Barack Obama. Speaking at a town hall meeting in his home district, the congressman told a constituent that essentially he doesn’t like President Obama, would love to impeach him, but he just doesn’t have any of the pesky evidence you need to actually convict a sitting president on impeachment charges.
“You know, if I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true,” Bentivolio told the constituents. “I feel your pain, I know, I stood twelve feet away from the guy and listened to him. I couldn’t stand being there, but because he is president I have to respect the office. That’s my job, as a congressman, I respect the office.” A dream come true, congressman? There used to be a time in this country where impeachment was considered such a drastic undertaking that even a president’s political foes took no glee in doing it.
All of this just isn’t rational under any logical paradigm. So, that just brings me back to the the conclusion that this is mostly about anger, hatred, and racism at a very visceral level. This is also what probably ties what should just be a basic economic policy issue to basic civil rights issues and it’s also what makes the Tea Party a mostly white movement tinged with strong elements of neoconfederates, christofascists, and gun toting preppers. These folks seem to like their social security and medicare and scream loudly when these programs are threatened. They only seem to hate it when folks outside of their ‘own’ might get access to something that they’re convinced doesn’t benefit them even when it likely does. That’s just plain crazy talking.