Elliot: Shuttered like a window


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Some meandering thoughts as we meander through a federal government shutdown (although, with 400,000 civilian workers called back to work in the Defense Department, that’s half the federal workers who were furloughed, so it’s merely kind of a shutdown).

Speaking of meandering, creative gerrymandering is apparently the only creative thing Republicans can do. That’s how they hung onto control of the House, and that control brings us to where we are today. (You have to remember, yes, in the last election, the GOP maintained its majority in the House, but Demcratic candidates polled 1 million more votes nationwide than did Republican candidates. Yes, Virginia, I know; we don’t representatives nationwide, we elect them district by district. Which brings us back to creative gerrymandering.)

So now, we have approximately 30 hard-liner tea-partyites running the House GOP, as BBC Radio and others have reported — not Speaker John Boehner, who is scared to death of losing his job, according to many observers — and those 30 have around 70 allies. Another 170 GOP representatives are scared to death of the hard-liners because of potential primary opponents from the wacko wing. Thus, you have a government shutdown engineered by those who would be the engineers of human souls — the House GOP.

(Note: “The Engineers of human souls” is the title of a famous novel by Czech writer Josef Skvorecky. He attributed the phrase to Joseph Stalin. Take from that what you will.)

An interesting note about the GOP and Boehner in particular. There are probably enough Republican votes in the House to pass the so-called “clean” funding bill, which would not have shut down the government. But Boerner never held a vote on it. That’s how scared he is of his party’s hard-liners.

That clean bill, by the way, contained most of the spending cuts the Republicans had demanded.

What’s curious about Boehrner is that in March, he said the Republicans shouldn’t try to attach killing Obamacare to the spending bill: “I believe that trying to put ‘Obamacare’ on this vehicle risks shutting down the government. That’s not what our goal is.” Really? Then why are we here?

Right after the 2012 election, Boehner said, “It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected. Obamacare is the law of the land.”

Once again, really?

And you were thinking of buying a used government from this guy?

The bogeyman in the cupcake shop for Republicans is Obamacare, because the hard-liners believe the act is the freeway to socialism. I’m a veteran of national health care (in Germany); Obamacare is nothing like that.

And the freeway to socialism? Back in the day — say, in the ’60s — Medicare was controversial among conservative Republicans.

Republican St. Ronald Reagan, in the mid-60s, long before he ran for president, warned against the then-upcoming Medicare legislation by railing that it meant the United States was starting down the freeway to socialism.

Odd, because, Reagan lived in Southern California at the time (as did I, as a kid), and without freeways, Southern California could not travel.

Yet even more odd, years later, when Reagan was president, he expanded Medicare. Yep, there’s your freeway to socialism.

Oh, well. One of these days, there will be a Republican president again, assuming the Latinos and Latinas either stay away from the voting booths (or aren’t allowed in) and the African Americans the same.

And he or she will probably expand Obamacare.

Nice shutdown, huh?

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