Vail Daily column: History lesson repeated
October 3, 2013
Here's the fatal flaw in the GOP's grand scheme to kill Obamacare by shutting down the government: People never appreciate what they have till it's gone.
Newt Gingrich, then House speaker, learned this to his chagrin the hard way nearly 20 years ago.
Now Ted Cruz, a senator playing pied piper in the other House, busily is helping fracture his party and destroy an edge the Republicans think they see in the polling numbers about the Affordable Care Act.
That is, that the public is ignorant and doubtful, especially the swelling body of unaffiliated voters.
Just as with Social Security and Medicare back in the day.
The Republicans were vehemently against those "socialist" programs before they were for them, owing to doubt and ignorance giving way to widespread acceptance of those programs, too.
Here we go again.
Now that the federal government train is sliding toward a long stop, sparks everywhere, hands of the House on the cord.
Hurry, hurry, before the dust settles and America discovers they like this awful thing. Never mind that the Affordable Care Act survived Supreme Court scrutiny and rather decisively in the last presidential election.
I still love that this originally was a conservative idea at root. Politics is so rich with irony, particularly when played with straight faces.
Rather than raising Halloween stories with boogiemen that vanish in reality, the GOP partisans should have the confidence in their conviction to let Obamacare play out.
There's plenty of time for the giant, allegedly unread (aren't they all?) act to fail on its own. Then with all "sincerity," the politicians can mourn sorrowfully that they warned America that hope and change doesn't necessarily mean for the better. Blah. Blah.
Then, as this theory goes, they can sweep the elections in 2014 and maybe 2016, and save America from the failed policies of the past.
That strategy actually makes sense, other than that tiniest flicker of a chance the damned thing succeeds. But if by some miracle — from the GOP point of view — that Obamacare does turn out well, just stop calling it Obamacare and move to the next issue. The Democrats are fully foolish enough to soon enough give up their momentary advantage.
Instead, the crazy wing of the Republicans is taking the lemming wing over a cliff. The irony is this only helps Americans understand again what they appreciate about government.
What a waste of a crisis, albeit a wholly manufactured one.
The Republicans will only get what they deserve.