Funny Words: Andy Borowitz & others on the Shutdown

Thaddeus_Stevens2
What would Thaddeus Stevens have done about the shutdown?

The New Yorker wit nails the Shutdown.  Ted Cruz: “The dream of keeping poor people from seeing a doctor must never die.”

and later

Sen. Cruz’s closest ally, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also spoke reverently of the shutdown, calling it “the most expensive Civil War reënactment in history.”

“Unfortunately, once again, the wrong side won,” he said.

A history prof I had in college presented the thesis that Reconstruction, which wasn’t the tragic era of legend, had never really ended in U.S. history. Maybe he was right.

Philosopher and blogger Paul Wolff suggests so:

The emotions aroused on the right by the ACA are quite mysterious. It is not at all surprising that large numbers of people in the United States have intense feelings about abortion or same-sex marriage. I may find those feelings reprehensible, but I am not surprised by them. Nor does it surprise me that many people feel strongly about taxation, or about America’s military involvements. These are quite naturally subjects of controversy, and though we may grow angry at those who disagree with us, we ought not to be surprised by the disagreements. But medical insurance?

Medical insurance is a bit like highways, supermarkets, or television — a familiar part of life that we more or less take for granted. Most of the time, those of us who have medical insurance [which is to say, eighty percent of Americans, or more] use it without giving it a great deal of deep thought. I go to the doctor, present my insurance card to the receptionist at the front desk, perhaps pay a co-pay, see the doctor, and forget about it. There are of course problems — with caps, uncovered procedures, pre-existing conditions, and so forth — many of which the ACA is designed to address. But because the entire health care sector of the economy and society is so huge and impenetrably mysterious to most of us, it is very hard to develop passionate feelings about it. Indeed, I suspect that we feel about health care very much as we feel about the Congress — we have a low opinion of the system, if we have any feelings at all, but like our own doctor.

And yet, there is now a sizeable fraction of the American public, and a considerable number of Representatives and Senators, who say that they consider Obamacare an assault on everything they hold dear, a fatal blow to the American Way, a Socialist plot to destroy life as we know it, an evil so great that it is worth bringing the government to a halt and threatening the world financial system to defund it or even slow marginally the pace at which its provisions go into effect.

What on earth is going on? The answer, I think, is actually rather simple, although unpacking it will take me more time than I usually devote to a blog post.

To put the answer in just four words, the real, underlying reason for the hysteria engendered by the ACA is: Because Obama is Black.

I’m sure there are ranges of opinion fueling the division about ACA and in government generally–an African American senator voted against the re-opening bill–but some undigested chunks of reconstruction seem to be present.

Quotable Words: Galbraith and Gottleib on the Shutdown

“Politics is the art of choosing the unpalatable over the catastrophic.”  –J.K. Galbraith, apt words for these times.

I guess these have often been the options.  At Washington Monthly, economist Paul Gottlieb makes an analogy to Charles I at the time of Oliver Cromwell. Although there were some differences, of course… .

From the article:

One key difference between England in the 1640s and America today is that we have a written constitution. That fact should protect us from the more extreme and unilateral forms of constitutional re-jiggering that were practiced by both sides in the English disputes of the 17th century. But, as many observers of this month’s events have pointed out, changing the precedents that are allowed within the letter of the constitution can tip the delicate balance of our three-headed government in dangerous ways. The House of Representatives is using its budget authority to give itself, not a line-item veto over new legislation, which is sometimes defensible, but line-item repeal power over laws that both houses of Congress have already passed and the President has signed. That this new practice has made American governance chaotic is clear. That it is fundamentally anti-democractic is a point that has been made by many (“one-half of one-third of the government….”).

Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soliders by Delaroche
The shutdown meetings haven’t gotten to this at least.

Charles I Insulted by Cromwell’s Soldiers by Hippolyte Delaroche