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Kevin Buck: Government by Crisis

Posted: October 9, 2013 4:36 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2013 4:36 p.m.

On Oct. 1, 2013, the Republican Party shut down the United States government. On Oct. 1, 2013, the Democratic Party expanded the availability of health insurance for millions of Americans.

I am often accused by conservatives of being overly negative toward the Republican Party and Republican politicians. I am also accused of failing to mention the legislative, diplomatic and political accomplishments of President Barrack Obama and the Democratic Party.

In regards to the former, it is a target-rich environment. When you are willing to shut down the federal government or crash the world economy just to deny millions of Americans access to affordable health insurance, your party has a serious problem with reality.

Conversely, while President Obama and the Democrats have accomplished many good things for the nation — rescuing the economy from Bush’s Great Recession and ending Bush’s wars come to mind — I do wish there were more major legislative accomplishments to write about.

It would be wonderful to say comprehensive immigration reform had been enacted or that legislation requiring reasonable and thorough background checks for gun buyers and a ban on assault weapons had been passed. I also wish that there had been a jobs bill putting Americans to work fixing our crumbling infrastructure or that the prison at Guantanamo had been closed and more vacant federal judgeships had been filled.

These things have not been accomplished during President Obama’s time in office, but certainly not for lack of effort on the president’s and the Democrats’ part. All of these initiatives have been killed by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives or filibustered to a standstill by the Republican minority in the Senate.

Republican politicians in Washington, D.C., have refused to negotiate or legislate, and not because reasonable compromise could not be reached on these issues, but because blocking any and all achievements by the president is the driving force of their nihilistic political philosophy.

So if I sometimes appear irritated with the way Republicans approach governing, it is because I certainly am. These political screeds provide me a vent for my political opinions and frustrations.

The current budget hostage crisis is a perfect example of conservative intransience. The government shutdown could be ended immediately if Speaker of the House John Boehner and his doppelganger, Senator Ted Cruz, dropped their futile ransom demands and allowed the House to vote on a clean continuing resolution to fund the government.They will never repeal or delay Obamacare, so this is hardball politics, nothing more.

The Affordable Care Act is written law. It was passed in 2009 by majorities in the House and Senate and signed into law by the president of the United States.

It withstood countless court challenges and was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. Contrary to conservative fever dreams, this law was not “passed in the dead of night”; it was debated, changed and modified in Congress for 14 months before it finally passed.

The Republican presidential candidate in 2012 successfully implemented the exact same plan as governor of Massachusetts and considered it his finest legacy until he needed tea party votes in the primaries. He campaigned to repeal the ACA on Day 1 if he was elected president and he lost in a landslide.

America has voted.

The dire predictions of death panels, socialized medicine, rising deficits and government bureaucrats standing between you and your doctor are all sound and fury, signifying nothing, with little or no connection to reality or the truth. And next November voters with affordable, quality health insurance will cast ballots accordingly.

The third pillar of the social safety net is now in place, and it will be the Democratic Party who will reap the whirlwind, and rightly so.

The United States is nominally a democracy. Billionaires and corporations have not bought all the votes yet, If Republicans want to repeal and replace established law in the United States of America, they are going to have to do it the old fashioned way, by winning elections.

Since the prospects of that happening grow dimmer each year, political hostage-taking and governing by crisis is their only alternative, and that gets old fast.

On the upside, I’ll never be at a loss for an opinion or a topic to write about, so there’s that.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays in The Signal.


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