Welcome to PS 101

COMMENTARY BY:
COLIN BRUCIA

Attention: right wing Tea Partiers!
I know you do not like President Obama or Democrats in general, or even the more moderate Republicans. I also hear you have slight issue with the Affordable Care Act. Despite my endless disagreements with you, health care policy being one of many of them, this is not a lecture on why my views are right and yours are wrong. This is a lecture on how to govern. Welcome to Governing 101.
In a divided government, one group, especially the minority, cannot get everything it wants. This is the simple reality of compromise, which in turn is a fundamental pillar in governing. And yet many on the far right in the House of Representatives somehow fail to grasp that the president is not going to support gutting his own signature domestic achievement, and neither will the Senate majority that supports him. The bill that recently passed the House tied the fiscal health of our nation, which requires us to yet again raise the debt ceiling to prevent a government shutdown, to the condition that the implementation of the despised Obamacare law be halted. This is something that is obviously unthinkable for Democrats, and is therefore obviously a stupid proposal by the extreme right. The bill will not even be taken up by the Democratic Senate, and it will never even end up on the desk of a president who would immediately veto it anyway.
Instead of wasting time on proposals that will never be adopted, the Republican establishment (yes, John Boehner, I’m talking to you) should just try to man up and start to work to draft some serious policy. It is both financially and politically irresponsible that the House leadership just rolled over and bowed down to the radical elements in their party. Other Republicans, including John McCain, have called for cooler heads to prevail. Their protests are not because of the fact that they do not want to defund the health care law, (as I am sure many of them do, but their realization that they cannot dictate policy as the minority faction.
If the far right continues to refuse to seriously negotiate with the other side of aisle it will only mean more financial calamity — as if the sequestration was not enough — and political suicide come November 2014 for many Tea Partiers. As a bleeding heart liberal I will be very happy to see that, but as a rational student of the political process I am aware that compromise is an essential aspect of the governing process. I can only hope for the sake of the thousands of people who rely on government programs that cooler heads will prevail and prevent a government shutdown. Unfortunately, Washington is home to partisan gridlock and not moderate compromise.

Contact the writer:
colin.brucia@scranton.edu

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