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As Long as We Remember...

July 12, 2013

A Plague on Both Your Houses

Joe Charlebois

Arguments have been made for decades that the only difference between the two major parties in the federal government is the speed in which either party would send us over the cliff of decline. The current Republican leadership confirms these arguments even for the most ardent GOP apologists.


Decades after the Reagan Revolution – which made the first real progress in turning back progressive advances since Calvin Coolidge – the Republican leadership no longer fights the progressive agenda but rather insists they can manage it.


Republican leadership in Washington has attempted several times to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.” These attempts, of course, are strictly symbolic. With a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democrat as the sitting president, any attempt in real repeal is going no further than the walls of the House chamber. In itself these “repeal” efforts may make donors feel good about what their representatives are doing, but it is little more than talk and no real action.


The GOP leadership is well aware that bringing up bills that eliminate Obamacare are destined to fail; but the leadership can point to their voting record in the next election cycle and claim that they did what they could without worry that they were disrupting the political status quo.


Recently on FOX News' Hannity show, host Sean Hannity interviewed House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R., VA). Mr. Hannity brought the congressman on to discuss the latest development in the implementation of Obamacare, which is the one year delay in the implementation of the employer mandate portion of the bill.


When discussing the White House's recent move to delay the enforcement of the employer mandate portion, Mr. Hannity asked the Mr. Cantor to comment on the July 5th news dump.


Mr. Cantor, instead of speaking on how to effectively repeal this law, turned his attention to argue for delay of the individual mandate as well. In essence, he was creating the same class warfare style argument that would make any progressive proud.


He said: “But the other extraordinary piece of this, Sean, is that here we have the White House and this president coming down on the side of big business. But what about the rest of us? What about the rest of the American people left out in the cold, left to be hanging with these mandates, to apply to individuals?


“Again, not a fair and just outcome, and I hope that we can take it to this White House and act on this in Congress to say everyone should be treated the same. It is time to remove the mandate for everyone, not just the employers.


Of course the GOP leadership in the House has the power to act, but refuse to do so. Instead the GOP leadership stutters as they "hem and haw" about how the president did this or the president did that but never really effecting any opposition.


In Britain they have the "loyal opposition." In America the House of Representatives has the "loyal to self-preservation and power crowd.”


With the House of Representatives in control of expenditures, they hold an amazing amount of power – such power that for political reasons they refuse to use.


Mr. Hannity then asked Mr. Cantor after failing to repeal Obamacare over 30 times. “Would you use the option of defunding Obamacare because that is in your authority?”


What followed was a politically ambiguous answer from the Majority Leader.


“Right, and we have continued, when we – to do just that, we've continued to say under the sequester that we're operating on, that the president says, you know, he wants to do something about it, but never has come forward with any kind of other suggested reforms in the entitlement areas. But when they ask for more money for Obamacare's implementation, we said no. We said no, we don't feel that this law is the right direction to go in. Nor do we feel this administration should have the ability to take taxpayer dollars to go and sell and market this bill.


“But I think one of the options going forward, Sean, is to take a look at what this White House has done and say, you know what? If it's fair for big business to be exempted from this mandate, we ought to say the same for individuals. We ought to go ahead and delay the individual mandate. And as you know, that individual mandate is the crux of Obamacare, without the individual mandate, the whole law collapses.


“And again, I believe that the decision that was made by this administration last week is a game changer because it will and has now demonstrated cracks in the coalition behind this law. And I think you're going to see bipartisan support to go in and try to come down on the side of the people, not just business on this mandate issue.”


Mr. Cantor knows that his party as a whole does not have the political stomach to defund Obamacare. In fact, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., OH) in March stated that he will not defund this law as he feared it would lead to a government shutdown. He, Mr. Cantor and other GOP leaders are just hoping that it fails on its own accord and not get in the way of what they feel is a train wreck.


This current power structure and Republican leadership does little to effect debate or accentuate differences, but rather enforces the idea that leadership on both sides of the aisle are more concerned with ingratiating themselves to the power brokers and growth of bureaucracy than true representation of their constituents.


A plague on both your houses!


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