Published on October 8th, 20130
After the Tantrum
The government shutdown has at least succeeded in making one fact apparent. Republicans in Congress do not like the ACA. Now we finally know.
They do not like it “in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse.” Sen. Cruz’s unintentionally insightful allusion to Green Eggs and Ham encapsulated the absurdity of the Tea Party Era on so many levels. It calls to mind a classic exchange from the movie A Fish Called Wanda in which Otto bristles at being called an ape. He explains in his defense that “Apes don’t read philosophy.” Wanda’s reply rings through the digital halls of the Glenn Beck Freedom Library, “Yes they do, Otto, they just don’t understand it.”
It is no longer entirely clear why our Congressmen so fear the ACA. No one is providing reasons anymore or offering the faintest suggestion of an alternative. Such details have been swamped beneath the screams of SOCIALISM!!! To complicate matters, it is becoming clear that a large percentage of those most animated in opposition to the law do not know what it is. The kind of people who will not try green eggs and ham do not need reasons.
We have brought the government to a halt and we’re now holding the entire global financial system hostage in order to protest a government program that gives more people access to affordable health care. There are lots of reasons not to like this law, including the fact that it probably won’t work, but the scale of the Republican tantrum over this issue bears no relation whatsoever to the law’s impact.
Nevermind the fact that the effort cannot succeed, what’s worse is that this “strategy” has no apparent endgame beyond two miserable choices: humiliating capitulation or national ruin. This government shutdown gambit may be the dumbest thing any major political force has attempted on a national scale since, well – ever.
So what comes next? Assuming that Congressional Republicans continue to hold their breath until they actually pass out, what are they planning to do when they wake up? What will they have gained besides a headache?
Is anyone in the GOP ever going to make a serious, reality-based effort to rationalize our health insurance system? Are we ever going to respond to our deteriorating finances with a realistic plan to raise revenues and cut spending? What do we see as our vision for America’s role in the world after the Cold War? How would we have government respond to the regulatory issues raised by the financial collapse?
The government is closed and we have all this extra time to harass park rangers. Shouldn’t we be taking this opportunity to lay out our alternatives? We probably would if we had any. The Tea Party’s gift to the Republican Party is hair-on-fire hysterical enthusiasm which drowns out any impulse to develop a plan.
For 50 years we were the party of sober-minded old men who pointed out the hard realities behind liberal dreams. Now we’re being driven by weirdos in costumes carrying misspelled placards. Before this ends, the remaining rationalists inside the GOP will have found their voice and begun to fight back.
When this ridiculous tantrum is over it will time to have a good old-fashioned family fight in the house William F. Buckley built. There will be green eggs and ham on the Thanksgiving table this fall. We are going to try some new things.
I do so like
green eggs and ham!
About the Author: Chris Ladd is a Texan who is now living in the Chicago area. He is the founder of Building a Better GOP and has served for several years as a Republican Precinct Committeeman in DuPage County, IL, and was active in state and local Republican campaigns in Texas for many years. (Email: chrladd AT gmail DOT com)