Government shutdown is sheer lunacy

OlympianSeptember 24, 2013 

The sun rises over the Capitol in Washington, at dawn, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Congress, seemingly at an impasse over funding legislation, struggles this to avoid a government shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — AP

After Americans re-elected President Obama a year ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called on fellow Republications to “stop being the stupid party.” Apparently, House Speaker John Boehner and his colleagues didn’t get the memo.

House Republicans voted last Friday to avoid shutting down the federal government next week, but only if the Senate and the president agree to defund Obamacare. It’s sheer lunacy. It won’t and should not happen.

Everyone believes the GOP – driven by tea party zealots – is just playing another game of fiscal brinksmanship in the House, and the parties will reach an agreement at the 11th hour on Sept. 30. Nobody believes maniacal Republicans will actually drive this nation over another concocted fiscal cliff.

Or would they? Are they capable of being – to use Jindal’s word – that stupid?

Both chambers of Congress voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010. A majority of Americans re-elected Obama, decisively, based on his program to insure millions of people who do not have access to health care. For the last three years, hospitals, state governments, private insurers and health care providers have done an enormous amount of work to make this dramatic transition.

It’s pure folly to think the reforms can be undone. But the GOP keeps trying, having taken more than 40 votes to repeal Obamacare. It reveals a party frantically trying to make itself relevant in a new America that is passing them by.

The GOP could not win the presidency or gain control of the Senate in 2012 because the party has lost touch with women, a growing minority population and the majority of Americans who understand why we need health care reform.

Republicans held the House only by creative redistricting in red states. As The New York Times reported, Democrats won the popular vote in the House by a margin of 1.4 million votes.

It’s outrageous that a few conservatives might hold the nation hostage. If they follow through with these threats, it would throw the U.S. economy back into chaos and drag along the global credit markets.

This is no way to govern a great nation. American voters should remember that as we approach the 2014 midterm elections.

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