English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Some people just can’t admit defeat.  They kick and scream and cry and refuse to admit they lost.  The other side cheated!  The other side lied!  When the empty echo of their own voices forces them to the realization that no one’s listening to their whining, they either bury their head in the sand or they turn to throwing temper tantrums as often as they can.  Anyone looking for a perfect example of such juvenile (dare I say asinine) behaviour need look no  further than our neighbours to the south, where vengeful Republicans have shut down the American government.


The Republican controlled Congressional House shuttered the White House and most American Federal agencies at midnight last Monday in an effort to kill President Obama’s signature domestic legislation, the health care reform bill commonly called Obamacare.  After failing to repeal Obamacare 41 times over the past four years, House Republicans tried to extort the Obama administration, telling the White House that they would not pass a budget, essentially de-funding the American federal government, unless the President delayed the implementation of his own health care law, scheduled to begin going into effect October 1st, by a year (the full extent of the law takes effect January 1st of 2014).  For the last 48 hours of September, Congress and the Democratically controlled Senate played ping-pong with various bills, each one outdoing the previous in absurdity.  And when the clock struck midnight Monday, a Republican forced shut down ground the American Federal government to a halt.


This isn’t about the law (and that’s what Obamacare is, a full-fledged law), or the ethics or philosophy behind it.  Entire libraries have been written about the pros and cons of health care reform in the U.S. and no one from either side of the debate is ever going to change the mind of anyone on the other.  This is about the American Republican party failing to cope with the reality that they lost this fight.  Several times.  Health care reform was central to Barrack Obama’s campaign when he was first elected president in 2008 (more than doubling John McCain in the electoral college and collecting nearly ten million more votes) and Obamacare was a huge issue when he was re-elected in 2012 (beating Mitt Romney by 126 Electoral College seats and over three million votes).  The American people were given two opportunities to vote on Obamacare, essentially approving it by referendum, but Obamacare has weathered even greater storms on its way to becoming law.  It was passed by Congress (yes, the same body that’s moving political heaven and earth to repeal it now) in November of 2009, following fierce debate and Congressional vote where a handful of House Republicans voted to pass the bill, making it law (the backlash over Obamacare’s passage was disturbing in its violence, with the offices and even homes of some Representatives who supported it being vandalized; failed 2008 vice presidential candidate Sara Palin even posted a bullseye over the constituency offices of members who voted in for the law, one of whom was Representative Kathy Giffords, who would be shot in the head months later).  Obamacare even survived a constitutional challenge heard by the conservative dominated Supreme Court of the United States.  It has cleared every obstacle it has faced. This government shutdown is nothing more than a temper tantrum thrown by Republicans who have failed to defeat it with the legitimate devices the American democracy affords them.  They have been unable to man up and deal with their repeated losses.


It’s estimated a government shut down will cost the American taxpayer an estimated 200 million dollars a day, agencies such as the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centre for Disease Control are immediately affected and the effects will only grow.  And if you think this won’t affect those of us north of the border, consider the following; depending on the time of year, up to seventy percent of Canada’s goods and services flow south.  If demand decreases, it will create a drag on our economy headed into the most consumption heavy time of year.  And if the shut down lasts long enough to affect border security . . .   The GOP claims that current polls demonstrate that Obamacare is unpopular with the American people and that’s why they’ve turned the government’s lights off for now.  And in truth, there is some merit to this argument.  But polls also show that a government shut down, for whatever reason, is even more unpopular with American citizens as well.  Funny how they ignore that one.


Shayne Kempton


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2 thoughts on “TEMPER TEMPER

  1. rrredmeat says:

    How the GOP can (maybe) now win this showdown…

    Okay so all except the most one-eyed conservative has to admit the reality that the GOP will be blamed by voters for the budget / gov’t shut down crisis. But an interesting thing may very well happen on the way to next month’s circus.

    The debt ceiling D-Day is just around the corner. In fact it’s so close that it now seems VERY probable that the budget / shut down crisis will not be resolved by mid Oct and THEN an interesting thing may happen – the budget / shut down / Obama-care crisis and the debt ceiling crisis will combine into one ENORMOUS crisis that revolves around both issues.

    This could be VERY interesting. Mainly because just as the public supports the Dems on the budget / shut down issue, they broadly support the GOP on the debt ceiling issue. So if the two fights turn into one BIG fight, who will the public end up supporting?

    It could be a hail-mary / gift from God situation that saves the GOP.

    Boehner has made it clear that he wanted to avoid the shut down confrontation in order to save his ammo for the debt ceiling crisis. And he may kinda sorta get what he wants now. The conservative wing of the GOP (I think that may be me) may then get what they really want – the opportunity to force changes to the ACA set-up with the FULL BACKING of the US electorate. Because the political conversation / vicious trench war will be about balancing our national kitty, we can make changes to Obama-care by making the simple argument that the US simply can’t afford the ACA. Because it is a financial reality and not an ideologically based argument, independent voters are much more likely to respond to it.

    With a bit of luck our gleefully anticipated thumping at the polls in the mid-term elections will then remain a Democrat pipe-dream and the ACA will be amended as we’d like.


  2. Teepee12 says:

    This is carrying poor sportsmanship to a whole new level.

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