A Storm Is Coming; President Obama and congress in faceoff

Ever since the completion of the midterm elections President Obama has publicly stated time-and-again that he is going to use his executive power to do as much as he possibly can to begin to fix America’s broken immigration system.  This created a conundrum among Republicans in Washington and they immediately began to scurry around seeking a solution that would prevent him from moving forward with what they perceived as an overt threat to yet again abuse his presidential power.

Among the solutions that they are considering are another government shutdown and even impeachment.  Everything is on the table they say.  To support what they view as the lawlessness of President Obama and the severity of the situation, some of them evoked statements that Jonathan Gruber, who was a consultant to the Obama administration on Obamacare in 2009-2010, made calling the law intentionally vague so that it could take advantage of the ‘stupidity’ of the voters.  President Obama denies that Americans were duped into passing the healthcare law.

According to an article in U.S. News & World Report by Kenneth T. Walsh, ‘congressional Republicans expressed outrage at the deceptions described by [Gruber]’ and that Obamacare was falsely presented to the public to insure its passage.  I believe that this is just another expression of the vitriol that Republicans have for this president and another opportunity that they just cannot pass up to damage or destroy his legacy by branding him and dismantling Obamacare.

Congress has had ample opportunity to debate and work to fix our immigration system and still have not done anything.  The bipartisan bill passed by the senate has languished in the house for almost 18 months and continues to do so without being voted on.  Although during all this time they have done nothing to address this problem, they fume and threaten impeachment when President Obama even talks about using his executive power to make an effort to fix it.  Why is that?

The outrage that Republicans express at the president’s announcement that he will use his executive power immediately in an effort to begin to fix the immigration system rather than waiting until Republicans are in full control of the congress is just as disingenuous as the outrage they expressed during the early stages of Obamacare.

I wrote about this disingenuousness in an article titled ‘The Republicans’ Affordable Care Act Charade’ that was published in the Daily Camera.com about a year ago.  I reprinted it here and it immediately follows this article in the event that you would like to read it.

The Republicans’ Affordable Care Act Charade

Reprinted on 11/18/2014 for your convenience

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was controversial and created political battles between Republicans and Democrats when it was a bill and continues to do so since it has become law.  Republicans fought relentlessly to prevent the ACA from becoming law and since it has become law, voted at least 40 times to repeal it.

In the meantime, in conjunction with continuously working to repeal the ACA, they have made efforts to sabotage it in any way possible in the hope that they will gain additional support from stakeholders – both inside and outside of congress, who will join them in their efforts to repeal it.  Their latest effort to sabotage the ACA via Republican Fred Upton’s bill has garnered some success and has the GOP all but visibly salivating at the prospect that this victory will be the edge that they need to finally derail the ACA.  Some GOP lawmakers were even giddy about this victory while spouting that even 39 Democrats voted for the Upton bill.

I was deeply saddened to see that 39 Democrats voted for this bill but I was especially surprised to see that Representative Tammy Duckworth was among those 39 Democrats listed.  I was surprised because I have been aware of her position on various issues and this vote did not fit that profile.

It is important for anyone who is of voting age – whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent – to remember that there are things in the ACA that are beneficial to them.  Some of these things are already in effect.  For instance, insurance companies can no longer deny insurance to anyone due to a preexisting condition.  And, children can remain on their parents’ insurance policy until they are 26 years old.  If the ACA is not successful, these things along with other requirements in the ACA that make insurance companies more accountable will be lost.

Under the circumstances, those who want to keep these benefits and are represented by elected officials who are working to repeal this law should let them know that they do not want it repealed.  It is also important for young voters, especially college students attending colleges and universities outside of their home state, to know that some of the same lawmakers who are working to repeal the ACA are also working to make it harder for them to vote.

The world knows that the Republicans outrage at the ACA rollout debacle and deep concern that some Americans lost their insurance coverage and now cannot access the ACA website to get insurance is disingenuous.  That means that the 39 Democrats who abandoned President Obama and voted for the Upton bill are aware of this too.

I can understand that some Democrats might feel pressure to take the safe political road because they are up for reelection in 2014.  What I can’t understand is why after weighing what is at stake for all of the American people versus accumulating points toward their reelection they would choose the latter; especially when the 2014 election is so far away.  In every walk of life that I am aware of, leaders are expected to be strong and do the right thing.  So even if the election were tomorrow I expect our leaders to do the right thing.  They should circle the wagons around President Obama and do the right thing: thank you President Obama for doing the right thing.  Stay strong!

I am a proud Democrat and I believe that the leaders that we choose must have more faith in those who put them in office.  Although too many of us do not follow politics and too often fail to see the big picture, those leaders that we select to represent us must have confidence in their own ability to ultimately explain to us why they made the decisions that they made.  Many decisions have been made by our leaders at one time or another that some of us agreed with while others didn’t.  But that is the nature of things; common ground is the common denominator of life.

In school I was taught that there are large and small common denominators and there are the largest and the smallest common denominators.  I was also taught that when you reach the smallest common denominator, that is as far as you can go.

My admonition to those 39 Democrats who voted for Representative Upton’s bill is for them to reflect on their vote and in conjunction with their responsibilities as our elected leaders, truly determine if they had reached their smallest common denominator.  If they had reached it, then they had a charge to vote like they did.  If they had not reached it, then they should put that vote behind them and make sure that as they move forward they always assure in advance of their decisions at what point they are on the common denominator spectrum.

Eulus Dennis