We’ve read and heard all of the justifications for the congressional impasse that is terrorizing our nation.
We use the word “terror” emphatically. What else can you call tactics the perpetrators fully intend to wreck the stock market, throw people out of work and remove any semblance of stability for economic growth?
House GOP leadership has chosen tactics that cannot improve health care, immigration security, energy independence, education excellence or any of our nation’s urgent goals. Instead, Speaker John Boehner and his team chose tactics that are harming Americans.
These means are justified by a muddled end. At best, the House GOP majority showdown is intended to make a political point about government spending and deficits. Partisan candidates can afford the divisive rhetoric that is grist for campaigns. Elected leaders truly interested in reining in spending know that votes – not ultimatums -- are needed from both parties to effect change.
Like it or not, that’s how Obamacare became law. Proponents didn’t just lob insults. They courted the opposition, offered compromises and did the hard work of governance.
Today, we’re seeing an undisciplined House majority adamantly avoid governance. Republicans properly earned that majority by forcefully challenging key principles of governance and policy. But the litany of challenges that fueled the successful campaigns do not constitute leadership.
Last week, the man who represented the Republicans’ best hopes in 2008 condemned his party’s obstinate fixation on eliminating Obamacare. “We started this on a fool’s errand, convincing so many millions of Americans and our supporters that we could defund Obamacare," Sen. John McCain said.
"We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost. One of the reasons was because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation."
The House GOP majority could govern and pass legislation. But under John Boehner’s waffling direction, it has chosen to squander the faith American voters put in them. This collection of tea party candidates hasn’t grasped that they are legislators paid to govern, not campaign. Sadly, fomenting constant turmoil seems to be just the ticket for Republican re-election.
The problems facing America are not the fault of a single party’s legislators. Neither can they be solved by a single party. Resolving them requires the collaborative governance and an outlook longer than polling cycles. The House GOP majority seems fixated on ultimatums that make collaborative governance impossible. Instead, these threats terrorize the U.S. economy by forcing Americans to react fearfully to an out-of-control Congress, instead of planfully, forcefully and patriotically to shared ideals of governance.