Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hoist By One's Own Petard

In 2008 there was no question how incipient Tea Partiers, the future backbone of the Republican base, would react to the election of our first president of color. A quality ranging from dislike to hatred of the “other” is in their makeup. The reaction of the establishment was less predictable. We don’t know if Mitch McConnell is a racist or just a snob. But we do know now that when it came to treating Barack Obama as president he and his professional ilk behaved as both.

The various devices used by the birthers are common knowledge. Those used by the leadership haven’t been as obvious. They denied formal courtesies to a Democratic president traditionally extended to Democratic colleagues. Republicans in Congress from the start managed to find requests for social or political meetings inconvenient. He was shouted at from the floor of Congress.

Given this setting what could have been more up their alley than the Affordable Health Care Act? This subject has been a burr in the saddle of presidents since Teddy Roosevelt. Bill Clinton’s influence was shredded by it. No issue was as badly mishandled by Obama as the Clinton’s did this one. The disaster of 2010 may have been worsened by Obama’s health care legislation. But it is now law.

Naturally the immediate Republican response was to affix the president’s name to it, hence “Obamacare.” Amy Holmes, a right wing wag, mentioned it numerous times in a soliloquy on the Bill Maher show when the word “it” would have sufficed nicely, in the process saying less at greater length.
Now, like it or not and I suspect not, they have “Obamacare.” It was passed in both Houses of Congress, signed by the president and supported legally by a Supreme Court majority. In common parlance they will now have to refer to it as such, although some of the folks in three cornered hats might have found that affordable health care is too many syllables to remember.

At the beginning of the year Republicans were outraged by almost every entitlement that didn’t benefit their establishment. Now they’ve shut down the government and are threatening default unless Congressional Democrats and the president agree to repeal just the one law to which they have given his name.

If there is the life after death, as many of these people profess to believe, the perfect fate for those who fail the heavenly entrance test would be to spend eternity repeating the words “President Barack Obama.”