On False-Equivalence and the Government Shutdown.

Hi. My name is Patrick, and I’m a conservative. And as a conservative, I’m furious at the behavior that has led to the shutdown of the U.S. Federal Government. But even more than that, I am positively livid at the weak-kneed media and the larger population that continues to believe that both parties in our system of governance are equally responsible for the current situation.

Let me explain this to you simply. This is a Republican shutdown. It was completely unnecessary. The only members of Congress who forced this issue were entirely Republican. Only the Republicans have spent the last three years boasting to their base about how they were going to shutdown the government.

And further, let’s look at the sequence of events that led to this nonsense. A law the GOP didn’t like (despite being a conservative law with 20+ years of history inside the movement, indeed born from within the movement itself via the Heritage Foundation) was passed with majorities in both chambers of Congress, thus meeting the approval of the Legislative Branch. It was then signed into law by the duly elected President in the Executive branch. It then went on to survive a lawsuit filed by members of the GOP in the Supreme Court, despite the Judicial branch being currently held by a Conservative-leaning majority, including Bush II appointee, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote an opinion in support of the constitutionality of the law in question.

The law has therefore gone through the entire Constitutional framework of checks-and-balances as designed by our founders. Not only that, but the engineers of the law then went on to face the voters once more in the 2012 election cycle. Guess what? Not only was the President reelected, but his party won more seats in the Senate, AND gained more seats in the House, (while actually winning a majority of votes nationwide in the House, but were unable to take the chamber due to extremely skillful gerrymandering on the part of the state-level GOP, but that is another post).

The ACA is the LAW. It has withstood all of the tests it needed to in order to be called a law. Now, if the GOP wants it to be repealed, there is a mechanism available to them written into our Constitution which has served us for over two-hundred years. That mechanism is elections. If they want the ACA repealed, all they must do is go to the American people with a compelling message and get themselves elected to a ruling majority by retaking the Senate and Executive Branch. From there, they can repeal the ACA through the exact same Constitutional process that passed it in the first place.

Here’s the problem. They tried that in 2012, and failed. No matter how the country feels about the ACA (which is an open question for any number of reasons I’m not going to take the time to get into here) they were given the choice to let the GOP take control on the promise of rolling back the law. We, as a country, declined. As President George W. Bush said in 2005, “Elections have consequences” and one of those consequences is the duly elected ruling majority gets to set legislative priorities and domestic policy. The GOP, being the losers of four out of the last five election cycles, and for good reason, have decided that such Constitutional niceties don’t apply to them, and have taken the historically UNPRECEDENTED step of shutting down the government with the demand that the sitting President undo his signature domestic policy achievement as the ransom for agreeing not to destroy the economy.

THAT is why this is the GOP’s shutdown, and THAT is a far, far bigger threat to our democracy and our Constitution than the ACA could ever be. And anyone who doesn’t clearly see that is a fucking idiot.

Comments (3 Responses )

  1. Sylvia Adler - 10/10/2013 - 1:31 am #

    THANK YOU for this eloquent expression of what we are ALL thinking!!!

    Their actions are simply unconscionable!!!

  2. Rich - 10/11/2013 - 3:06 pm #

    Well, if this is the ONLY way you can define the problem, then I’m a fucking idiot… but, if you open your mind a bit further, you will actually discover what’s going on. Then you can join me in being a fucking idiot.

    • Kempesh - 10/11/2013 - 5:00 pm #

      This is what’s going on, Rich. There are two separate issues at play here which need to be considered independent of one another. One is the ACA, which regardless of anyone’s feelings on the subject, is settled law. The other, and the more important one to the long-tern stability of our political system, is the GOP blackmailing of the country in an attempt to completely bypass the democratic process on which our entire government and identity as a country is based. We will survive the ACA, indeed I rather think it will be a net positive, despite many issues that need attention, attention that a responsible minority party would be working to address through actual good-faith negotiations within the Constitutional framework that has been in place all along. What we may not survive is the normalization of these sorts of hostage-taking tactics over funding the government and paying our debts on the part of an intransigent oppositional party who is busy pretending the last three elections didn’t count. The rampant abuse of the filibuster the GOP has displayed over the last four years was crippling enough to the proper functioning of representative government. What they’re doing now is simply beyond the pale.