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Creative Loafing Charlotte columnist (and former editor) John Grooms wrote what may be one of the most cogent summaries anywhere of the absurdity of the Tea Party’s scorched-earth approach to politics, and how it has entrapped ostensibly moderate Republicans like North Carolina Congressman Robert Pittenger.
From “‘Bipartisan’ Pittenger now bending over for the Tea Party,” by John Grooms, The Clog, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Oct. 1:
Here’s the thing, though: there’s nothing to compromise. Obamacare passed both houses of the national legislature, was signed by the president, and is now the law of the land, period. See, Tea Partiers, the way the U.S. government works is that once a bill becomes law, that’s pretty much it. If you want the law to be repealed, nothing in the Constitution mentions legislative blackmail as an acceptable tactic. Here’s how you do it: you elect more people who agree with you, including a president, and then you go through the legislative process to change or get rid of the law. Really, that’s how you do it; you can look it up. So your idea of holding a law hostage — not holding a bill hostage, mind you, but an actual law — is, how shall I put this delicately? — batshit crazy. Poll after poll shows that the public disapproves of the Republicans’ tactics, and by wide margins. Unfortunately for The Pit and other GOP reps that know their Tea Party cohorts are kind of nuts but who are going along with them anyhow, they’ve gotten themselves between the rock of public disapproval and the hard place of Tea Party intransigence. One thing for sure: the poll numbers will only look worse (much worse) if the GOP continues this insanity and continues their quixotic quest when debt ceiling time comes along. Will they really threaten to make the U.S. default, and thus throw the world economy into chaos?
Finally, a little closer to home, CL Tampa sent intern Kyetra Bryant to find out what some of her fellow students at the University of Tampa are thinking about the shutdown. Most, while having not experienced any immediate impact, said they couldn’t understand the antipathy toward Obamacare — although more than one suggested that the reason might have something to do with Obama’s name being connected with it.
Here are excerpts from Kyetra’s report:
From “Government Shutdown: Students Sound Off,” by Kyetra S. Bryant, The Daily Loaf, Creative Loafing Tampa, Oct. 8:
Mia Ramos, a sophomore allied health major and recently enlisted military officer, wholeheartedly disagreed with the shutdown. “People work their asses off but don’t get paid, and people who sit on their asses do! I don’t think families should be penalized and have to worry about money,” Ramos exclaimed, visibly irritated. “It’s not simply about the money either. Libraries and parks are being closed. It’s just not right.”
Stephanie Woods, a junior applied sociology major, felt that the Affordable Care Act could be a safety net for college students who tend to do spur-of-the-moment things, and get injured as a result. “I’m all for the bill. It is only right to give help to those who need it. If you need assistance, take it!” Unlike the other students surveyed, Woods has been personally affected by the shutdown. Her mother works at the largest library in Washington, D.C. and has not been able to work.
“The heart of the issue is people don’t have insurance,” stated criminology major Stanley Petithomme, a graduating senior. “I don’t understand why there would be disputes over a bill that could help people.” He believes that the shutdown was a result of officials not putting themselves in the shoes of the ones who really needed this bill to come to pass. “Failing to empathize with those in need is what causes so many problems … I didn’t go to the best schools as a kid, nor was my family in the top 1 percent in terms of earnings, so we really need to focus on the heart of this cause. People do not have help, and we need to do something about it.”
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