Saturday, May 6, 2017

Chicken Little Republicans

Chicken Little Republicans

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! So says a chorus of Republican Congressmen, convincingly. The problem is that the evidence for that claim is wholly unconvincing, and simply does not support that conclusion. Unless there is further sabotage to the health care program now known as Obamacare, the system will survive. It would even thrive with a few fixes and tweaks. Instead, the Republicans have figuratively hired dozens of crop dusting planes to seed the skies to produce as much rain as they can in the hope that the resulting torrential downpour will wash away what's left of the program. Political prognosticators always need a reliable bogeyman to rail against so as to advance their agenda. So, " Obamacare" became the bogeyman. 
     The real agenda? Cutting Medicaid by $880 billion in order to fund tax cuts for the top one  percent of our citizens. The stage has now been set for Republican tax reform plans. What? All of the rhetoric aside, the plan which takes away health care coverage for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled rewards the rich and punishes the poor. There is not enough lipstick in an Estée Lauder warehouse to cover up the fact that they are offering us an ugly pig. Repeal and replace has been a Republican hoax all along. They believe in repeal, but they have no sensible program to replace it. 
     The fact that the Republican House members were able to join ranks to finally pass something does not mean that that "something" is worth anything. The end zone victory celebration was a bit premature. They were cheering a half-time comeback, but the game is far from over, and one interception , spectacular as it may have been, does not a victory make. 
     The saddest part of this whole saga is the loss of integrity and credibility of moderate House members, many of whom reside in NY, and who have let their party loyalty trump their common sense. Seven of the nine New York Republican Congressmen voted for the bill. Dan Donovan of Staten Island and John Katko of Central New York were the only profiles in Republican courage. North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik offered a pitifully unconvincing rationale for her vote, and Congressman John Faso of the Hudson Valley reversed polarity on a direct promise to one of his constituents with a brain tumor after personally hugging her and telling her he would never vote to change the pre-existing condition exemption in the current law. They are two Congresspersons who should be given the bums rush for their timidity, insincerity and inability to stand up for their constituents against  their own party's leadership demands. 
     Simply put, they caved. They put Party above people, and that is not acceptable, in fact, it is contemptible. There are no winners here to be cheered. The Congressional win is only temporary. There is a Senate to contend with, and if these congresspersons attempt to further excuse their votes by saying they were relying on the Senate to fix what they had ineffectively crafted and passed, that is even worse. What happened when Mr. Smith got to Washington? Jimmy Stewart died. So did his fighting Congressional spirit. It has been replaced by political operatives who do the bidding of those special interests that fund their campaigns, and the average citizen be damned. Sad, but true.