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We know the real reason for the shutdown

Elinor Tatum | 10/3/2013, 3:52 p.m.
Elinor Tatum

America is not laughing anymore. The idiocy of what is happening in the halls of Congress comes down to five basic points:

  • The Republican Party refuses to accept President Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 and his re-election.
  • The Republican Party hates Obama.
  • The Republican Party hates the Affordable Care Act, and they are particularly outraged when it is called “Obamacare.”
  • The Republican Party will do anything to oppose the president, even if it is not in the best interest of their constituents or their sanity.
  • Finally, the Republican leaders are so twisted in their thinking that they believe they are actually doing what is right. (Banana Republicans have been bandied about, but let’s call it Rep. John Boehner’s boner.)

The hate that they have for this president is as palpable as it is repugnant. They have opposed him at every turn. The American people spoke in 2008. Then again in 2013, they re-elected Obama, and in that decision, the people effectively gave a mandate to the president that they wanted the Affordable Care Act. And the House and the Senate passed the bills, and the Supreme Court upheld the law.

Even as continued attempts by the House to curtail it have failed—and at last count I think it was more than 40—the Republican Party still feels that it is necessary to hold America hostage and shut down the government because they lost. The fact that they are trying to tie the Affordable Care Act to the passing of the budget is reprehensible.

They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job,” said Obama after the shutdown.

Obama is doing the only thing he can at this point, and that is not to negotiate with terrorists. He added, “This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it. It’s all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act. This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days. I know it’s strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is.”

It is clear that a great number of the Republicans in Congress don’t care about the American people who they claim to represent, and it is clear that it is not the entire party—it’s just a small fraction on the fringe. It is actually scary when the likes of Rep. Peter King and Sen. John McCain actually sound moderate.

We need to stand by the president against the tactics that the tea party Republicans and their conservative cohorts are using against America. The Affordable Care Act is a measure that will actually save us money and lives in the end. It will make us and keep us healthier and will make us a stronger nation.

The Republicans need to give up this battle, come back to the table and talk reasonably about the issues that can be negotiated—and Obamacare is not one of those. The American people have spoken up more than once on the issue. The Republicans just need to start listening, or continue to dig their own graves, an outcome we don’t exactly oppose.