Whacking yourself on the head with a ball-peen hammer would be stupid. But doing it again and again — that's insane.
Welcome to your U.S. House of Representatives, presently led by a pack of Tea Party Republicans. They are so crazed by Obamacare that they repeatedly hammer themselves over the head with it, having voted 46 times (so far) to dismantle, defund, delay, deny and otherwise destroy this landmark health-care bill — all to no avail. They would be hilarious, were they not so pathetic.
But now, their anti-government, anti-Obama obsession has turned into insanity. Acting as though the USA is nothing more substantial than a banana republic, this Tea Party clique of petty potentates has forced a shutdown of our national government. The craziest part of their stunt is the duplicitous claim that finally providing health care for millions of uninsured Americans will have, as one leader of the mad-dog pack put it, "horrific effects."
Yet, even as they publicly insist that they're heroes for trying to save the people from the horror of receiving fairly decent health coverage, the GOP hierarchy is quietly warning its members that defeating Obamacare now is essential to their own health. Why? Because they know the program will work, providing better care and nearly universal coverage at a cheaper price. It will become widely popular, and any politico who tries to kill it later will become wildly unpopular.
Even the senator from Oz, Ted Cruz, understood that the program had to be aborted before it was born. It will be so loved, Cruz candidly conceded (as he desperately tried to suffocate Obamacare with a painfully long filibuster), that the public will be "hooked" on it for the long haul.
Yes, Sen. Oz, the American people tend to support policies that are beneficial to them. What's crazy is you and your cohorts thinking they're crazy for thinking that.
So now, Dr. Hightower offers this advice: Don't fume about the GOP's lunatic effort to kill health-care reform — just laugh at their farcical show. It won't affect them, but it can improve your mental health.
For starters, take Cruz's 21-hour blabathon that he said would stop Obamacare in its tracks. Not only did he fail spectacularly, but senators voted 100-0 against his crazy ploy. Yes, that means that even he ended up voting against it! What a hoot he is.
A shameful hypocrite, too. While going to extremes to keep millions of Americans from getting vitally needed health coverage, Cruz goes to great lengths to keep the people from being reminded of his own health care, past and present.
Having been born in Calgary, Canada, little Ted's parents were able to take advantage of the country's universal health care, or as the Tea Party darlings like to call it, "socialized" medicine. That's right, for the first four years of Ted's life in Calgary, he was covered under government subsidized health care. I find it absolutely hysterical that little Ted would grow up to throw a 21-hour temper-tantrum over affordable health care for hard-working American people. Recently, Cruz had been repeatedly refusing to answer whether taxpayers covered his health care. Finally, he piously responded that he was eligible for taxpayer coverage, but had nobly declined.
Such slapstick! It turns out that Ted was fibbing, for he's covered by his wife's policy. As a millionaire top executive at Goldman Sachs, she and her family are given gold-plated Cadillac coverage by the Wall Street giant. Goldman pays some $40,000 a year for her and Ted's policy (more than most families make in a year) — a benefit-cost that the firm passes on to us taxpayers by deducting it from its corporate tax bill. Hilarious, huh?
Then there's the comic twist that's included in Congress' current government shutdown. While more than a million regular government workers are going without a paycheck, the Congress critters who forced the furlough continue to collect their $174,000 in annual pay. Some lawmakers are donating their checks to charity, but four out of five are happily pocketing theirs.
"Dang straight," Rep. Lee Terry barked. "I've got a nice house and a kid in college. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That's just not going to fly," the Nebraska Republican told his constituents.
And that's your Congress at work. Laugh 'til it hurts.
— Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.