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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When insanity reigns in Washington

So let me get this straight. The Republican-led House of Representatives voted more than 40 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare, but failed to do so. And 26 states challenged the constitutionality of the law in 2012, but failed –– even before the conservative-leaning Supreme Court upheld it.

Still, that’s not enough.

The House’s Tea Party caucus recently forced a partial shutdown of the federal government over Obamacare, and secondarily, the debt ceiling. As we went to press on Monday, there was still no end in sight to the stalemate.

I normally look at politics through a bipartisan lens. My views tend to veer left of center, but I respect the other side. Not this time. Tea Party Republicans are behaving like angry preschoolers throwing a collective tantrum, and they’re bringing the entire GOP along for the ride.

Despite every possible legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, conservative GOP lawmakers could not overturn it. Rather than concede defeat for the good of the country, they have demonstrated a steely willingness in recent weeks to take down the federal government in a spiteful death spiral that threatens the long-term financial well-being of the nation, which is only starting to recover after the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression –– precipitated largely by the second President Bush’s wayward economic policies.

Lest we forget, a Republican was in the White House when the nation’s economy went off the proverbial rails. A Democrat was there when it got back on track, despite our overtly partisan, inanely obstructionist Congress.

My sense is that House Tea Partiers had planned the shutdown ever since June 2012, when the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance was constitutional, though the court declared the mandate a tax. To have Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, cast the deciding vote in the 5-4 decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was just too much for the Tea Partiers to bear.

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