Fork you, America: political chess move attacking Obamacare & budget creates win-win for Republicans, big business

In chess, a fork is a tactic whereby a single piece makes two or more direct attacks simultaneously. It’s typically difficult or impossible to defend both attacked pieces.

A core group of conservative Republicans created the political equivalent of a fork: defund or delay Obamacare or we’ll shut down the government. Democrats, and much of the pundit class, have been shaking their heads, wringing their hands, verily clutching their pearls in aghast shock. They have applied all sorts of mannered logical arguments against the tactic, which can be summarized as:

  • Implementation of Obamacare will not be affected by a government shutdown
  • Obama will not give up his “signature achievement”
  • Shutting down the government actually costs money, and thus is wasteful
  • This could hurt the recovery

They tried to reason with those Republicans in much the same way that a parent might use their sing-song “adult” voice when trying to reason with a child in full throttle temper tantrum. And they were about as effective as that parent, which is to say not very.

The Democrats and the pundits are all missing the point, though. The Republicans DON’T CARE what happens, because to them either outcome is a win.

“We have a number of Republican senators and lots of Republican House members who don’t believe in government,” [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid said on the Senate floor. “They want to get rid of it, and they’re doing everything they can to get rid of it.”

It’s obvious that delaying or defunding Obamacare would be a win for those Republicans. (It would also set a dangerous precedent: the child would realize that all they have to do is throw a hard enough tantrum, and they will get their way.) What is not immediately obvious – but should be once you Continue reading

GOP House Reps clearly don’t believe in a representative form of government: trying again to kill Obamacare

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

The Republicans are at it again. Undaunted by the failure of their previous 40 attempts to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, Republicans are now trying to tie the raising of the debt ceiling limit to delaying the implementation of Obamacare. Setting aside for a moment arguments about costing money/saving money, job growth/job killer, etc., let me step back and ask two basic questions….

Dear Republicans: what part of “the bill is passed” do you not understand?

Dear Republican House Representatives: what part of “representative democracy” do you not understand?

On March 21, 2010, the House passed the Senate’s bill – their version of the Affordable Care Act – with a vote of 219 to 212. That’s YOU, dear House of Representatives, YOU. You. Passed. The. Bill. It was signed into law on March 23, 2010. That is how our republic works.

Republicans increasingly are being seen as not the party of “limited gummint”, but the party of gumming up the works. That doesn’t save taxpayers money, it costs money. Using the figures from one estimate , this unrelenting, now 41-foot-stomps-and-counting repealing temper tantrum has cost taxpayers around $60 million, and there is nothing to show for it. That figure doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story of legislation that hasn’t been worked on, or held-up appointments that are hindering the work of federal agencies.

Wait…legislation not worked on…appointments not confirmed…I’m beginning to believe this quixotic quest (and to say that is glamorizing it far too much) is actually Continue reading