Always remember to prepare yourself (rubber gloves and a clothes-pin) before glancing at the Wisconsin State Journal editorial page. The thing is, they’re not always wrong (who could be?), but when they’re wrong, they can seem to be writing from another planet where important pieces of news haven’t yet arrived.
Consider this one, on the subject of Obamacare. This baleful effort posits that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) ain’t perfect (true enough). So what stands in the way of improving it? For the State Journal, the answer is always the same. It’s those two political parties. Both of ’em, equally. Why don’t they meet somewhere in the “sensible center”™?
Some Republicans and Democrats are digging in for a political standoff…
The 173-member House Republican Study Committee is committed to repeal of Obamacare, disdaining the idea of fixing it. Meanwhile, Democratic rhetoric focuses on defending Obamacare against all criticism…
Good grief. What would it mean to work together here? Where would discussion begin? The GOP (as the editorial noted) is demanding outright repeal of the whole hard-won thing. It’s really nonsense to suggest that the Republicans will discuss tweaking the ACA to produce actual improvements. All the evidence is that they want it to go down in flames.
House Republicans have now voted 40 times to abolish/defund the ACA. Once or twice might have been semi-normal symbolism, a bit of political grandstanding, but at 40 times — each time guaranteed, in advance, to be futile — it’s become a kind of bizarre and repetitive ritual performance art. This is a party with an overabundance of oddballs and zealots.
Hatred for the ACA is now a standard doctrine within the GOP. Gov. Romney promised he would ‘End Obamacare’ (on his first day in office!) and he really did need to make that promise in order to win nomination, even though Obamacare looks a heck of a lot like Romneycare in Massachusetts. In fact, Obamacare looks a lot like ideas that used to come out of the Heritage Foundation. Still, the Republicans now just hate, hate, hate it. A kind of inchoate rage boils within the Republican Party about this, so the very last thing they want to do is sit down and discuss improvements.
They’re threatening government shutdown.
They’re offering crazy-talk about forcing another downgrade of US debt unless President Obama weirdly agrees to somehow end/kill/renounce it (headline: “Obama renounces Obamacare”?). As Politico warns, one of these times, the Money wing of the party may not be able to overrule the Tea Party wing.
There has always been a lunatic fringe in our politics, and they do no great harm as long as they remain a “fringe”, but now they compose an important wing of the GOP. The same thing has not occurred in the Democratic Party. It’s time for the State Journal to notice. If the State Journal could just do that, it would work in their favor, and everybody’s, really.