On the EDge: Shutdown; now’s not the time for middle ground

OPINION – It would be very easy to take the populist approach and start firing salvos at the entire Congress right now over this government shutdown mess.

There are a lot of people who are taking a middle ground, laying blame at the feet of both parties.

We have had a number of instances in the last 40 years where the blame could have and should have been doled out equally.

This is not one of those times.

The bottom line on all of this is actually quite simple.

The Republicans are still smarting over having lost the Affordable Care Act battle.

The fact is, the bill passed in the House of Representatives, it passed in the U.S. Senate, it was signed by the President of the United States and enacted into law, and it survived a Supreme Court test.

What more does it take?

The Republicans lost on this particular piece of legislation and the Democrats won.

Nobody railroaded this bill through, it didn’t come by decree, it went through the same channels as any other bill that is passed into law in this country.

If you don’t like it, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is done here; how it always has been done here. There was nothing unconstitutional about it, nothing illegal, nothing underhanded. You may not like it, you may think it is horrible legislation, but that does not mean that it came into being in an unusual manner. The votes were cast, the bill was passed.

Ever since, the GOP has been licking its wounds and plotting its revenge.

It held out on a debt ceiling crisis until the last minute. It shut down the government last week, all because of a piece of legislation intended to provide a decent level of health care to everybody in this nation, regardless of income, pre-existing conditions, or age.

There are a lot of laws I disagree with as well but I can’t think of one of them that is worth shutting down the government to overturn. You simply take to the election booth next time around and vote for people who will represent your point of view. If they don’t win the majority in the House and Senate, well, that’s the nature of the federal government.

This latest GOP tantrum, spearheaded by Speaker of the House John Boehner, is an example of just how willing Republicans are to trash the country in this effort to get back at President Obama for whatever reasons they hold deep in their heads.

It happened when the GOP strung out the American people over extending unemployment benefits during the run-up to the Christmas season several years ago. We saw it when they strung out the decision on the debt ceiling.

Unfortunately, this political and highly personal vendetta against the president is manifesting itself in an ugly manner on the news channels, in social media, and what used to be called polite company.

The thing is, these petty little actions of the Republican Party do nothing but show contempt for the Constitution and the democratic process.

Instead of swallowing their bitter pill and girding their loins for a tough midterm election, they have plotted a course of obstructionism, which is doing nothing but adding to the voter fatigue that has already infected this country.

There have been a lot of different reactions to all of this, of course, including some acts of civil disobedience where people have scaled the barriers set up in front of our National Parks.

“This is the people’s land,” they say, and rightfully so.

However, the people’s land is fraught with danger. There’s a reason why they employ park rangers and crews to provide services at the parks, from security to cleanup operations.

But, that doesn’t seem to matter.

In fact, the fires were fanned by Washington Times columnist Wesley Pruden, who in a recent opinion column, alleged this quote from an anonymous national park ranger: “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

The quote is highly suspicious.

First, it comes from the extremely conservative Washington Times, which has been horribly inaccurate in what it reports about President Obama, from his faith to campaign finances. Just check out the Snopes.com website or do a Google search.

Secondly, do you really believe an executive order would include such language or instructions, especially with the leaks that find their way into the media?

And those grandstanding pictures of wheelchair-bound vets showing up outside of national park barriers? A typical GOP tactic. When all else fails, bring God or military veterans into the picture, whether relevant or not.

I understand, of course. The religious right and military veterans pack a lot of votes, which, in the end, is the most important part of politics, regardless of what it does to the nation.

But, this is a large, diverse nation, with needs that extend far beyond the narrow vision and grasp of the Republican Party.

The basics – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – have been chipped away at as a result of bad economic decisions instituted more than a dozen years ago; a seemingly endless war that has broken us financially and emotionally; a turn-around in priorities, leaving the working men and women of this nation at the bottom of the heap, subject to the wants, needs, and desires of an elite upper class that continues to exploit their hard work for outrageous and inequitable financial gain.

There are a lot of reasons to be disgusted with all of Congress, but this isn’t one of them.

So, be careful before you start pointing fingers.

And, please, be civil about which one you use when singling out who is to blame here.

No bad days!

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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Karen October 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Well said, Ed. I’d like to be civil when talking about Utah’s own obstructionist, Mike Lee, but I find that I can’t so I’ll just say, “Let’s make sure Mike Lee is a one-term Senator”!

  • DoubleTap October 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

    First, you are correct the ACA is now law and if the Republicans are not happy about it, they can go about changing it in the proper way. Second, that being said, if it is a law now, why is it that Obama is allowed to break the law by his actions of changing what he does not like about it? How is it that he and his family, Biden and his family and the entire Congress (House and Senate) and their staffs, and Obamas business cronies are all exempt from it?
    The President is the Executive branch, and Congress is the legislative branch which is who makes law. The President merely signs it into law. He does NOT have the authority to pick and choose what parts of the law he will implement or not. IT IS ILLEGAL for him to do so.
    Finally, as a Vietnam veteran I am offended that you would consider the WWII veterans wanting to see their memorials and “outside national park barriers” as “grandstanding”. I shudder to recall where I was in Vietnam as you were enjoying your tenure at rock concerts reporting on the rock stars of the day…probably in some pot smoke induced haze.

    • philiplo October 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      There is no exemption. The more you try to sell that notion, the more ignorant the rest of your argument appears by association.

  • J. Robertson October 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Ed, you sound like a political hack friend. Why do you not mention all the special favors spread around by the god in chief for all his buddies and supporters? Was that special privledge listed in the bill that nobody read? I think both, those in favor of the law passed and those against shouldn’t make up rules and free passes as they go.
    No getting off this train about to go over the cliff edge Ed. It’s the law of the land. right? If you hear someone warning that the train tracks ahead are all screwed up, plug your ears– close your eyes– don’t say a word, you might hurt someones feelings.

  • Alex October 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I am a moderate. If these antics are now going to be permitted by the minority in congress every time we pay the bills, our country would become ungovernable for any president Blue, Red or other. The Tea Party wants to do away with or change Obamacare, which may not be a bad idea, but you don’t threaten the pattern of governance we have over it.

    Mike Lee is an embarrassment to Utah, his father’s name, and his religion. He hitched himself to the wrong wagon (Ted Cruz) to gain quick access and power. He would say that he is doing the job his constituency has sent him to do. No, he is doing the job SOME of his constituency has elected him to do. He is in fact ignoring the sensible majority that elected him.

    Anarchists make headlines and are good for ratings and pot stirring. Sensible people make boring, consistent arguments and are largely unaccounted for because it is maddening to try to explain the what should be obvious to irrational people. The Republicans took the car out for a joy ride, crashed it, and left the President to help them get out of their own mess. Kudos to President Obama for standing his ground. People, Obamacare can be fixed through normal legislative processes and executive influence. Win an election, a few seats in each house, and come to the table like an adult.

    — Now cue the Tea Party guy who quotes, “speaking truth to power,” or about “speaking truth as a revolutionary act” as I roll my eyes —

  • John Adams October 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Come on Ed you can do better than that. This kind of tactic has been happening for decades by republicans and democrats. To suggest that Republicans are trying to do this because of a tantrum is stupid. Bottom line is the President is not a very good leader. This bill is crap and does not help the American people. All it has done so far is raise health care prices for those that can afford it and give more subsidizes and handouts to those that couldn’t afford it. Then lets talk about all those that are exempt from evening participating huh? This bill is just a stepping stone to the single payer system that all the dems want. I have not idea why since based on history the single payer system does not work. The UK has been trying to move away from it. I have friends in the UK that pay 50% of their income to taxes because of all the socialized policies they have passed. These are not high income friends either these are middle class families. This is exactly what is happening to us. It came out today that a family of two with no kids making 50k a year will pay 12k a year for heath insurance through the new market place. Great Job Government!

  • Ed Kociela October 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Double Tap…
    Sorry you are offended. I have utmost respect for veterans. But, I believe that by using them as pawns in a political game, as they are so often used, is a travesty. Veterans do not serve to defend any particular party, they serve to defend a nation, yet every time a politician, who usually did not serve (only 121 of the 541 members of the Congress served, by the way) gets into a jam, he or she trots out a bunch of vets, whether from WWII, Korea or Vietnam and exploits them to push their perspective and that is wrong. The vets in Washington to visit the memorial were taken to the gates, set up there, and posed there by GOP politicians for the benefit of publicity. The paragraph you referenced did not accuse the vets of grandstanding (Here it is in its entirety: And those grandstanding pictures of wheelchair-bound vets showing up outside of national park barriers? A typical GOP tactic. When all else fails, bring God or military veterans into the picture, whether relevant or not.) And, if you wish to judge my character by whether I served in the military or not, well, that’s your business.

    On another issue, there will be a lot of people who do not sign up for ACA because they don’t need to. If they are already covered, they need not sign up. The act is intended to help those who have no coverage, who are self-employed or work for a company that employs 50 or fewer.

  • Richard October 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    As a moderate I would agree with what was said. Doubletap so since your a veteran does that give more credence to what you say? For the last time if people already have insurance they don’t need the ACA. The president..vice and Congress all are covered by Federal employees insurance, so enough of that argument!

    @J Roberston if your first line is calling someone a political hack, you lack any in-depth argument on much of anything. Secondly all politicians give favors and special things to their friends and cronies, yet your trying to chest thump it with Obama! So what this has happened since the beginning, sorry you didn’t find out until 2008.

    The veterans had planned this trip and when one Republican found out they turned it into a media circus and used it for political grandstanding!

  • truthseeker October 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    To Ed the writer, “economic policies chipping away at our liberties”? How about more hardcore things than that like the Patriot Act, TSA, NDAA, list goes on…
    To J Robertson, yes on target.
    To John Adams, yes on target.
    To Alex, men of truth don’t necessarily belong to a political party. Not even to one claiming to have constitutional ideals, which the tea party has been hi jacked by the mainstream establishmnt bcus it was a threat. Now its up to a different group of people that claim no affiliation, so it can’t be demonized. Let’s not vote for presidents, but for Ideas. Not the Ideas they thrust upon the people.

    This Is another article fueling the false left right paradigm.

  • truthseeker October 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Double tap on target. Govt shouldnt.be exempt.from any law.it passes… I sense youre holding back. Tell these folks more please. We need to wake people up!

  • Michael West October 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    ..why were the fingers in the photo censored..?

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