Sunday, August 04, 2013

Across The Pond, They Call It Monarchy

Another week, another opportunity for the House GOP to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, this time with the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013.  Supported by every Repub and four "Democrats," it would prevent the IRS from enforcing or implementing any portion of the ACA.

The seemingly pointless effort of the GOP to strangle health care reform in the crib enabled Representative Lloyd Dogget of Texas to charge legitimately that party leaders "have one alternative to ObamaCare. It's called NothingCare" and Paul Krugman to note they

haven’t had the courage to tell the base that Obamacare is here to stay, that the sequester is in fact intolerable, and that in general they have at least for now lost the war over the shape of American society. As a result, we’re looking at many drama-filled months, with a high probability of government shutdowns and even debt defaults.

Over the longer run the point is that one of America’s two major political parties has basically gone off the deep end; policy content aside, a sane party doesn’t hold dozens of votes declaring its intention to repeal a law that everyone knows will stay on the books regardless. 

Krugman is right on policy but the Repub strategy is far from insane, inasmuch as they seem to be following the same playbook they have for decades, only substituting health reform for abortion, or perhaps adding to it.  By trying to end the signature legislative achievement of their mortal enemy, they assure the popular base they're with them all the way, while they pursue the corporate agenda laid out for them by ALEC. Symbolism works; sometimes there is no better strategy than to appear to repeal a law which they know will stay on the books.

If Krugman is searching for insanity, however, he need look no further than what may be happening in the party of reason..  Blogging for Up with Steve Kornacki, Anne L. Thompson has found a few Democrats longing for a Clinton presidential nomination.  Iowa State Senator Tony Bisignano, a member of Joe Biden's 2008 Iowa steering committee, says "I think it's Hillary Clinton's time."   And Jim Demers, the co-chairperson of Senator Obama's 2008 New Hampshire presidential primary campaign, said on Up on Sunday morning

I'm one who's ready for Hillary as well. In '08, when I made my decision, it wasn't that I didn't like Hillary Clinton, but I really was caught up with how impressive Barack Obama was, and I thought he was the right guy for the time. And I think myself and a lot of people, particularly in New Hampshire,think that now's the time for Hillary Clinton.

No, really- a guy who thought Barack Obama "was the right guy for the right time" is applying the same logic in now endorsing Hillary Clinton.  Let's review: a fellow who virtually promised the most transparent administration in history who now runs arguably the most opaque administration in recent history; who promised to put on a pair of walking shoes and march with strikers, then (as Andrew Levine put it) "remained serenely detached" in the face of the "brazen, corporate-driven assault on public sector unions" in Wisconsin;  who campaigned as a peace candidate but whose national security policy, including drone strikes, has made Dick Cheney proud.  But then it was "time" for Barack Obama and it's now "time" for Hillary Clinton.

Not surprisingly, only a woman feels sufficiently secure to put it honestly.  Terri Goodman, described by Thompson as a "longtime Biden friend and Iowa supporter" who "would back a Biden run," explained "As far as Joe's concerned, I think he's acutely aware of the challenges ahead and he's a student of history. There are challenges inherent in running against someone who could be the first woman president."

Here we go again.   It appears it really wasn't State Senator Obama's speech in 2002 assailing the Iraq war, nor his opposition to a health care mandate during the campaign.  It was because it was his time, and now it's Hillary Clinton's time.  It's a simple theory- one's qualifications are determined not by experience, views, or values, but by the accident of the individual's birth.

There is no shame in making a mistake.  But it is now year five of an administration in which more whistleblowers have been prosecuted than in all others combined, and one in which there has been no prosecution of Wall Street figures after the financial industry nearly destroyed the global economy.  And now there not only are Democrats beginning to line up in support of H. Clinton before anyone has announced a candidacy or made concrete steps toward running.  There are Democrats who have aligned in the past with Joe Biden who have signaled their support for Clinton.  And they appear to be doing so for the same reason they supported a different candidate over her four years ago.

These guys, who presumably five years ago wanted a progressive president, made a mistake then.    It's too late to erase that error, but there is no reason to compound it by applying the same logic by again supporting an individual- and prematurely, at that- because of the circumstances surrounding his or her birth.

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