For the record, I've stated in previously here on Ruminations and elsewhere that there is plenty of blame to go around. My purpose today isn't to show that the Republicans aren't to blame, but to strengthen the case that they are not solely to blame, since that is the position held by the less enlightened and more partisan Leftists. And because they see themselves as being completely blameless, I have to come down hard. In truth, both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the latest impasse in Washington. Based on the feedback I've gotten, Republicans are, for the most part, quite happy to agree with me.
Democrats, however, are not. And their talking points have become more and more bizarre as the days wear on. A few recent examples:
- Conservatives are "burning down the house to get what they want at gun point"
- Republican opponents of the ACA are compared to terrorists with "a bomb strapped to their chest" (that one came from a White House advisor)
- Republicans are "100% responsible" for the government shutdown.
- The opponents of the ACA are a tiny minority, rather than the majority party the House.
- The Conservatives' complaints about the ACA have nothing to do with the manner of its passing, though it violated both the Constitution and the established legislative process.
- The ACA is "settled law", and the House doesn't have the authority to defund it.
Each of these is factually incorrect, and the Leftists are relying on their control of the media to sway public opinion to believe the lies.
A quick refresher: the ACA (H.R.3590) was originally a House measure to provide tax breaks to military members who bought or sold a house. It had nothing whatsoever to do with healthcare. Under the pretense that the bill number (and the bill number alone) "originated in the House", the Senate Democrats stripped out every word of that original bill, replacing it with the huge and complicated legislation that is Obamacare. They even replaced the title. The American public, having been told by candidate Obama that the healthcare discussions in Congress would be open and televised, saw none of it. Instead, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the cameras that we'd have to pass the bill to see what's in it. Rather than do this in the normal Senate/House conference committee process, Democrats (and only Democrats) met with the President at the White House. Having told the American public that there would not be a single tax increase, Obamacare's "fines" were revealed to be new taxation by a Supreme Court opinion [PDF] that declared that unless it were taxation the bill must be declared unconstitutional, having violated the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Thus, though these fines are never described as taxation and the Administration itself never argued that they were, the Court, in a split ruling, declared them to be such. In addition, the law itself explicitly places new taxation on things that can be construed to be "medical devices". Further discussion and links supporting these facts are here.THAT is the process followed by Democrats in the passing of this law. THAT is what they have described as "legitimate".
It is a fact that the Democrats lost their majority control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 election immediately after the passage of this bill. It is a fact that they could not regain that control in 2012. It is a fact that the primary issue in both of these campaigns was the Affordable Care Act. It is a fact that the Republicans are now the majority party in the House.
AND, it is a fact that according to our Constitution, spending authorizations must originate in the House of Representatives and not the Senate or the Executive branch. There's a good reason for that. Representatives in the House have the shortest terms in office, and are elected by the smallest constituencies. They are the arm of the government that is closest to and most responsive to the will of the People. The fact that they hold the purse strings is by design. As James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper #58:
"The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government." ... "This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure."This response by the people through their Representatives is not a subversion of the process... it IS the process. The fact that not all of the People agree, and that there is significant media opposition is immaterial. For one thing, one party controls most of the media. For another, our system of government is such that it should be difficult to trample the rights of minorities... the individual being the smallest minority there is, by definition. In this case, a narrowly divided opinion is not sufficient to justify the extent of the intrusion into the wallets and privacy of the People by the Federal government. You may say that's debatable, and that's the point. It's a debate that should have happened in public in 2009 rather than in secret, behind closed doors, and only by the ones who supported the Act.
This IS what this partial government shutdown is about in great measure, and until you recognize the problem you cannot come to a lasting solution.
However, the Democrats don't listen to the people who are telling you what their beef is, instead shouting them down in public as "terrorists". Nor do many of them really give a shit about governing within a Constitutional framework, as we've seen from the way the ACA was passed... and as we've seen from their denial of the right of the House to control spending.
As I mentioned previously, the Leftists control most of the media, to providing them with their talking points. This is why you rarely hear the qualification that 85% of the government is already funded. And why you rarely hear the entirety of the Republicans' complaints rather than repeated charges that they are "unreasonable" and "partisan". It is from this quarter, as well as the White House itself, that we hear complaints about the "checks" within our system of "checks and balances". When faced with these checks, the Administration and its mouthpieces lament that the President doesn't have the authority to exert unilateral control.
To anyone wondering how a populace can willingly choose a dictator... take note. Bribery of the public. Lies and demonization of your opponents. Forced frustration. These are the methods historically employed. I don't like it when those same tactics are employed by here in the US. So while I'm perfectly willing at the start of the day to declare that the Republicans share responsibility for the partial shutdown, I find myself having to side with them, as the Leftists have talked WAY "past the close"...
CASE: By deliberate design, the House alone is empowered to originate spending bills, and may choose to withhold funding, as has been demonstrated by historical documentation. Yet Democrats hypocritically tout the "legitimacy" of a law that was formulated outside of both the Origination Clause AND the process for joint conference. If I were cynical I'd say that the Democrats want to hold the Republicans accountable to the due process they themselves shun because they know that Republicans are capable of the fair play that eludes Democrats. The one thing that keeps me from saying this is that it's not true. Republicans can be just as underhanded. Instead, I have to satisfy myself with the truth; they both cheat.
CASE: Democrats speak of the House passing numerous resolutions to fund absolutely everything but portions of that one questionable Act as the HOUSE shutting down the government. The facts speak otherwise. Government would be up and running but for BOTH parties' refusal to agree.
CASE: Tuesday the House floated a proposal to to fund all of the ACA save the medical device tax and government subsidies of top politicians' health benefits. This was decried as "partisan" though it would have saved money for the taxpayers who use those devices and would have affected all lawmakers equally. In fact it was "partisan" because the Republicans suggested it, and the Democrats have stubbornly clung to their "no negotiations" marching orders.
CASE: Democrats call their opponents "terrorists" while they themselves deliberately instill fear in the Public through the use of inflammatory rhetoric, claiming that those who legitimately disagree with them have "bombs strapped to their chests", and are "holding the country hostage".
CASE: Democrats insist that the House Republicans are "burning down the house to get what they want at gun point", as if that reasonable compromise is what they want, and as if "at gun point" is an apt or correct description of the House of Representatives exercising its enumerated Constitutional powers. Meanwhile, armed agents of the Federal government have forced people from their homes and off of public lands. They are literally attempting to get what they want -- Everything they want, no compromises -- at gun point.
Reasonable people can not hold views such as these.
It is not possible to negotiate with unreasonable people. Whoever caves will be the reasonable ones. They will be the ones who have sacrificed for the sake of the country. And this is what needs to be remembered on election day.