Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 3:57 am | Fair 36º

 
 
 
 

David Harsanyi: Democrats Created the Hostage Crisis on Obamacare

When Sen. Ted Cruz rolled out an epic 21-hour anti-Obamacare "filibuster," his efforts were ridiculed by journalists across the Twitterverse as a useless exercise in would-be obstructionism. No surprise there.

The New York Times editorial board joined in, spitting out an angry editorial accusing Cruz of employing an "aimless and self-destructive Tea Party strategy" — an egomaniacal attempt to cash in on the impulses of misguided conservatives. However hopeless a liberal cause may be (gun control, cap and trade, Wendy Davis — take your pick), it's always a worthy idealistic pursuit. Conservatives in uphill fights, on the other hand, are likelier to be fanatics or money-grubbing frauds; the Times can't seem to decide.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor as well, and declared Cruz's efforts a waste of time, unpacking his standard lament about the lack of compromise in Washington. Reid reminisced about the early 1980s, offering a personal story about a Republican who had helped him feel more comfortable when he first arrived in Washington. If only today's "anarchists" (his description) were half as cooperative, we'd really get stuff done.

Well, believe it or not, compromise isn't a holy sacrament. It's not a mitzvah. It's not particularly inspiring to voters. Politics is the art of compromising as little as possible, really.

So though conservatives may be fumbling for a plausible plan to deal with Obamacare, the contention that they're more ideologically inflexible than their opponents is preposterous. The only thing more preposterous is the idea that Cruz's crusade will hurt them.

But that's not the only myth. In a recent exchange on Real Time with Bill Maher, panelists went a few rounds on the GOP's strategy for the upcoming budget showdowns (wily anarchists or slack-jawed yokels?) and talked about the pros and cons of "hostage taking" before MSNBC's Chris Hayes chimed in with a pretty revealing comment, saying, "I think it is useful to separate the kind of tactical question here from the substantive one, which is to say, like, you know, if there were a liberal caucus in the United States government that could, you know, hold the continuing resolution hostage to try to stop a war that I thought was horrible, I would say, 'Yeah, do it.' The thing that they're trying to stop here is 30 million people getting health insurance!"

It's the substantive question liberals have a problem with these days, not the tactical one.

A potential shutdown over the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling would be fine if the issue happened to move the liberal soul. But Republicans can't possibly have a legitimate reason to want to defund/delay/defeat/de-anything Obamacare. The GOP opposes the law because of an insatiable impulse to deny millions of poor Americans health insurance. If Hayes were to concede that genuine objections existed — however misguided he might find them — he'd also be conceding that conservatives have a purpose beyond his own cartoon depiction of free market beliefs.

In this cartoon, Republicans are obstructionists, and that's that. When Reid says any Republican House budget he dislikes is "dead on arrival," how many nonpartisan publications will call him out on his uncompromising position? When the president states that negotiating with Republicans over the debt ceiling "is not going to happen," how many reporters are going to point out that his stubbornness could lead to a government shutdown?

But one of the remarkable and most often overlooked aspects of this debate is that it revolves around perhaps the least cooperative piece of major legislation in American history, Obamacare. Shouldn't those who idealize the D.C. bargain be concerned that a single party took control of a significant chunk of the American economy and compelled every family and business in the nation to participate without a shred of support from the minority party?

Even the wing-we-can-get-behind of the Senate — the John McCains of the world — weren't on board. Talk about a hostage crisis.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >