Bullies and weaklings; a**holes and chickensh*ts; Teapublicans and Democrats. Whatever you want to call them, many of the people who now take up seats in Congress generally fall into one of these two categories. Never has the distinction been more obvious than following the latest vote on “Obamacare.” 39 cowards chose to join the right wing extremists by voting for a bill to “fix” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by requiring insurance companies to continue to sell junk insurance policies.
The cowards are Democrats who have revealed themselves to be far more concerned about being re-elected and doing what’s best for themselves than doing what’s right for their constituents and their country. Indeed, they are Democrats who have sold out their constituents, their campaign contributors, their congressional caucus and the president. Instead of standing up for health care reform, they stood up for the status quo. They stood up for insurance company profits. They stood up for lobbyists. They stood up with their hands out looking for large campaign contributions from the insurance industry and Big Pharma.
Certainly, many of these weaklings have been targeted by the Republican National Committee and its billionaire sponsors. I have a certain amount of sympathy for these people since right wing Super PACs have already spent millions to attack them more than a year before the mid-term elections. But, if you’re a progressive voter, what’s the point of supporting a representative who refuses to support you on something as important as the ACA? These cowards are forcing their supporters to hold their noses and choose the lesser of the two evils.
For the record, I don’t believe in so-called litmus tests for politicians. I believe in compromise and bipartisanship, but not at the expense of betraying those they are elected to represent. Voting to undermine the ACA by eliminating insurance standards is just such a betrayal.
From the beginning, the ACA has been a difficult undertaking. Everyone knew that its implementation would not be smooth, even in the best of circumstances. (We all know that the roll-out of Social Security, Medicare and Part D did not go smoothly.) In order to get the bill passed, the administration was forced to drop the public option that was intended to keep insurance companies honest by providing more competition. Congressmen and senators spent months and months adding amendments that would weaken the bill. Then many of those same people voted against it anyway.
The ACA faced unparalleled opposition from both inside and outside the beltway; from lobbyists; from the insurance industry; from the pharmaceutical industry; from the medical supply industry and more. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in very public attempts to block it. Teapublicans have spent years bad-mouthing it and predicting that it would be a “train wreck.” They mischaracterized it as a “government takeover” of medicine. They said it would result in “government death panels.” The right wing media has called it “an end to liberty,” “socialism,” “fascism” and worse. The mainstream media has thrived on the controversy, reporting it as though it was some sporting event, trumpeting every setback and glitch. Now they are scoring the ACA by the numbers of people who have registered and purchased insurance policies.
Teapublicans made their opposition to the ACA the centerpiece of two election cycles. They have attempted to repeal the ACA or defund it more than 40 times. They even shut down the government in an attempt to defund the ACA.
Many Teapublican-controlled states refused to expand Medicaid leaving millions of their citizens without health insurance. Many of those same states refused to create insurance exchanges, forcing the federal government to pick up the slack and directing millions more Americans to the healthcare.gov website. At the same time, they cut funding for the website. They funded cyber attacks to disrupt the website. Then they held congressional “investigations” in order to call attention to the glitches.
And now, NOW, 39 so-called Democrats add to the headwinds by voting for a bill that would undermine the ACA? I can think of only two words to describe such a vote…cowardice and treachery! I spent the last election cycle supporting some of these people. I donated to their campaign funds. I can hardly wait until I receive another email from them asking for my support.
They won’t like the answer any more than I like their vote.