Skip to main content

Government could re-open, Republican extortionists say, if President Obama would surrender what the GOP failed to achieve through the normal democratic, majority-rule process. That is repeal of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama has said he won’t submit to this shakedown. He should, instead, counter with demands of his own – demands that Republicans approve legislation that Democrats want but didn’t get passed through the normal, democratic, majority-rule process.  

Republicans tried and tried, more than 40 times, in fact. Unlike the Little Engine That Could, the GOP couldn’t. They just couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Last week they switched tracks to exploit a different tactic – extortion. It’s an old style mafia shakedown. The threat made by the Grumpy Obstructionist Party (GOP) is simple: “Gimme what I want or I’ll kill the government.” Democrats refused to pay the ransom by defunding the Affordable Care Act, so the GOP defunded the federal government.

That cost 800,000 federal workers their jobs. It denied life-saving treatment to kids with cancer. It closed national parks and hobbled tourist-dependent businesses. It ended services to veterans, children and seniors. The suffering could stop, Republican extortionists say, if President Obama would just surrender the Affordable Care Act, just give the GOP what it failed to achieve through the normal democratic, majority-rule process.

President Obama has said he won’t submit to this shakedown. Instead, he should counter with demands of his own – demands that Republicans approve legislation that Democrats want but didn’t get passed through the normal, democratic, majority-rule process.

Democrats’ counter offer must be big and bold. Republicans want the Affordable Care Act repealed? Well, Democrats want gun control, immigration reform, a financial transaction tax, an income tax increase for the 1 percent,  a raise in the minimum wage, the Employee Free Choice Act, better Social Security benefits, an end to GOP challenges to abortion rights, re-institution of the Glass-Steagall Act regulating Wall Street, Cap and Trade environmental regulations, a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United campaign finance decision, immediate approval for all of President Obama’s federal judge nominees, a human heart for Grover Norquist, a spine for John Boehner and a chicken in every pot.

That would be a good start for negotiations.

Bargaining is what the GOP keeps saying it wants. It insists on haggling over doing the most basic job of Congress – properly funding the federal government and paying bills Congress racked up.<!--more-->

For example, here’s what Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky got caught saying on an open mic to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:  "I just did CNN and I just go over and over again, ‘We're willing to compromise. We're willing to negotiate.’ I think... I don't think they poll tested we won't negotiate. I think it's awful for [Democrats] to say that over and over again.”

And here’s U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the failed Republican vice presidential candidate and chairman of the House Budget Committee: “It’s untenable not to negotiate.”

President Obama is appalled by the prospect of horse trading to restore government operations that should never have been shut down. He believes Congress should fulfill its budgetary and bill-paying obligations without bribes or coercion.

He’s taking the high road.

In Congress, though, the wrangling is down and dirty. Democrats have a strong hand if they choose to negotiate, not only because their list of demands is longer, but also because some Republicans don’t have a clue what they’re fighting about.

Here’s Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman from Indiana, for example: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Stutzman doesn’t know what he wants in exchange for costing 800,000 federal workers their jobs and endangering untold numbers of small businesses and the economy. But he sure as hell isn’t going to be disrespected by someone somehow! Maybe Democrats could buy him a scepter, since, apparently, having his colleagues demonstrate reverence is more important to him than a functioning U.S. government.

Democrats should begin negotiations by offering to waive their demand for a human heart for Grover Norquist. He’s the dude who persuaded so many Republicans to pledge never to raise taxes, the result of which is that the 1 percent does not pay its fair share and the poor are denied food stamps.

This proposal from Democrats is really just designed to begin talks. Few Republicans have a soft spot in their hearts for Norquist because his no-new-taxes pledge has caused them so much heartburn. So they’re unlikely to accept a human heart for him in exchange for the death of the Affordable Care Act. That’s fine because what Norquist needs most is not a heart but a soul. And Congress can’t accomplish that. Securing a soul requires divine intervention.

With the two sides talking, the next step in negotiations is easy for Democrats. They could agree to repeal the Affordable Care Act in exchange for Republicans approving single payer health insurance – Medicare for all.

With Medicare for all, Norquist could get his human heart transplant, Boehner could get a backbone, and every American would get health insurance – just like the citizens of all other Western industrialized nations.

That’s a deal where everyone wins.


I am willing to give up the Affordable Care Act for:

100%13 votes
0%0 votes

| 13 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site