Here’s another volley in the endless blitz of retrograde comments from Republican congressional representatives, reported by The Wall Street Journal:
“When it comes to some health-care summit that’s nothing more than a photo op designed to pave the way for Obamacare 2.0, the answer is no,” Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) said Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Still, they plan to attend and highlight public opposition to the bills and to spotlight their own ideas. “If the president is sincere about moving forward in a bipartisan fashion, he must take the reconciliation process—which will be used [to] jam through legislation that a majority of Americans do not want—off the table,” House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said Friday.
“Obamacare.” How that term rings of partisan nastiness and intransigence! What on earth is the matter with the Republican party—one I once belonged to and was proud to serve? When did the Grand Old Party come to represent downright backwardness? I’m afraid that’s the word that comes to my mind (well—one of the words) as I watch members of my former party dig their heels in the sand and do every cussed thing they can think of to derail any positive action of any kind that might make life better for Americans…for no other apparent reason than stubborn hatred.
Not for one moment do I believe the GOP is even faintly interested in “the reconciliation process.” Actions speak ever so much louder than words. The actions we have seen have revealed extreme right-wing dogma and loyalty not to America but to well-heeled corporate supporters and their accomplished, amoral lobbyists.
The issue has little to do with universal health care coverage. As Megan McArdle writes for The Atlantic, we don’t even know for sure whether access to health insurance really does save lives—whether it has any long-term effect on mortality at all. No one has seriously asked that question during the fruitless “debate” (one might call it “impasse”) that we have watched over the past year or so. No. The issue is that the American political system is grinding to a halt, hung up by a kudzu-like bloom of stubbornness, dogmatic hostility, flowering greed, and grotesque thinking that the Founding Fathers could never have anticipated would take hold in America.
Politicians used to be self-serving now and again, but at least most could manage to get past their short-sightedness to function in their country’s interest. As we have seen, that is no longer true, particularly of the GOP. When Congress ceases to function—which is exactly what is happening—then America ceases to function as a free republic.
What a sorry spectacle!