I need someone to please explain to me how certain self-proclaimed Tea Party Republicans can face the American people and say they were correct in shutting down the government and taking our country to the brink of financial disaster.
I realize I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I knew that in the seventh grade when my IQ score fell just shy of being high enough to place me in the special kids classroom whose scores deemed them the “smart ones.”
But what I lacked in academic learning, I feel I’ve made up through a strong dose of common sense – at least more than many politicians I know.
So I’m confused – and I’m serious about this. It’s not a laughing matter. The party of Abraham Lincoln, who I feel would be embarrassed by the antics of the Tea Party faction, caused a painful shutdown, put almost one million people out of work, and took our country to the very brink of financial collapse.
I seriously want someone smarter than me to explain how Tea Party Republicans, after what they did, can say they had no part in this situation and that they did not create it.
The entire debacle that embarrassed us on the world stage and has significantly hurt the Republican party in the polls seems to have been led by a few first-term Tea Party members of Congress, who apparently felt it was OK to initiate a shutdown and possibly not pay our nation’s bills in order to get their way.
It reminded me of a group of kids playing touch football every Saturday in the park. One of the kids has asked and asked and asked to play quarterback on his team. The team votes, and even though it is a slim majority of 6-5, the vote is always vote no.
(Think of the original vote on Obamacare, which passed by a very slim majority, and then the subsequent 42 bills the Republicans proposed in Congress, all cast to defund the Affordable Care Act, which all failed.)
But on this particular day, this kid has had enough. He’s not getting his way. So he puts into play a plan that he devised a couple of weeks earlier to keep everyone from playing football. He plays wide receiver, so he knows he’ll get his hands on the ball at some point. When he does, he runs for home, yelling back at the other kids, “If I don’t get to play quarterback, nobody gets to play football.”
(Think of the Aug. 21 letter written by first-term Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina that urged the House “to affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any appropriations bill.” The letter, which included 80 signatures of the 234 House Republicans (not even 50 percent), quoted James Madison, who wrote in the Federalist No. 58, “that the ‘power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the complete and effectual weapon … for obtaining a redress of every grievance … .”)
Now, this kid has the ball hidden away at home. He tells some of the kids on the other team that if by the next Saturday, his team will let him play quarterback, he’ll bring the ball back. But if they don’t, he won’t. Well, they don’t.
(Think of Oct. 1, when the shutdown begins.)
So, he waits. He figures that after a couple of Saturdays, at the very least, some of the members of the other team will try to talk him into giving the ball back. But surprise, surprise, they don’t. A week passes. No contact. A second Saturday passes and still no contact.
(Think of President Obama refusing to negotiate with House Republicans, saying, "I'm happy to have negotiations, but we can't do it with a gun held to the head of the American people.")
Finally, after almost three weeks, some of his own teammates come to him. They say they won’t beg him to come back with the football and inform him that they’ve decided to play soccer with another kid’s ball instead. However, if he wants to come back with the football, they’ll let him play, but he still won’t get to play quarterback. But they’ll throw him a bone. He can play running back on a couple of plays.
Tired of being alone on Saturdays, the next Saturday, he heads back with the football.
(Think of the passage of the bill that ended the shutdown and reopened the government through Jan. 15 and extended the debt limit to Feb. 7, with the only concession Republicans got being income verification before issuing subsidies. The final bill requires the Department of Health & Human Services to issue two reports: one detailing the income checks used by the insurance exchanges and the other being a review of the effectiveness of the verification processes. Even that was less than their original demand that the system be “successfully and consistently” verified by the Inspector General.)
So, again I ask, will someone please explain to me how this ultimate chest puffing, led by a few freshmen lawmakers and supported by less than half of the majority party in the House, was not the fault of self-proclaimed Tea Party members?