Government a lá Tony Soprano

“[Yesterday] morning, Senate Democrats rejected common-sense efforts to re-open the government, and rejected fairness for all Americans under the president’s health care law. We hope that Senate Democrats – and President Obama – change course and start working with us on behalf of the American people.” – Speaker John Boehner

No, Mr. Speaker, you’re wrong. House Republicans have attached a provision to the continuing resolution necessary to keep our federal government open. The provision–to de-fund the Affordable Care Act–is an obvious deal breaker. Your caucus is presenting the Senate and the White House with an ultimatum: “Want to keep the government open? Then scrap the law we don’t like.”

I’m not a huge fan of the ACA (I would prefer a single-payer system), but regardless of that, my frustration arises out of the belief that ultimatum politics is a good thing. If the shoe was on the other foot, if we had a Republican controlled Senate, a Republican in the White House, and a Democratic controlled House, would it be appropriate for the House to insist that any continuing resolution also repeal the Hyde Amendment (which restricts federal spending on pregnancy termination)?

Of course not. Republicans (and some Democrats) would howl in protest.

Using an ultimatum to try to achieve a political goal is despicable at best, a dereliction of duty at worst. If your political goal of repealing the ACA has merit, you should be able to persuade your colleagues. If they are not willing to listen, then you keep talking, making it a campaign issue, and use the democratic process to achieve political goals.

Instead, this tactic and strategy are what I would expect from a thug involved with organized crime. “Nice government you got here. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

#obamacare #governmentshutdown

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