Never negotiate with an extortionist. You know how this is going to go. The matter how badly you want whatever it is they are holding over your head, don’t give in.
In the United States, we know how bills are supposed to be introduced in the Congress, how their discussed in committee how then they are passed by one Chamber of Congress. Then the other chamber of Congress has an opportunity to vote on the bill and modify it. If the bill is passed by both chambers of the versions of the bill are different then there’s a committee from both houses of Congress which discusses the bill and then it is voted on again by both houses of Congress. The bill then goes the president to be signed or vetoed. That’s exactly what happened to the Affordable Care Act. Then, the law was immediately challenged and it was upheld by the Supreme Court. We’ve all seen Schoolhouse Rock. That’s how this thing works.
If you don’t like a law that is currently, the law of the land, then there’s a process for repealing laws. As far as I know, the process does not include shutting down the government because you’re having a hissy fit. Republicans don’t have a prayer of repealing ObamaCare through the normal process. So, they thought they would circumvent the normal process and pretend nobody was looking.
More from Robert Reich:
What’s happening in Washington these days may seem far removed from my boyhood memories, but Washington is really just another children’s playground. Its current bullies are right-wing Republicans, now threatening that if they don’t get their way they’ll close down the government and cause the nation to default on its debts.
“The American people don’t want a government shutdown, and they don’t want Obamacare,” House Republican leaders said in a statement over the weekend. “We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government showdown.”
Really? The American people don’t want Obamacare as much as I didn’t want my softball and bat.
Okay, maybe not quite as much. But the only settled way we know what the American people want is through the democratic process. And the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is the law of the land. A majority of the House and Senate voted for it, the President signed it into law, its constitutionality has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and a majority of Americans reelected the President after an election battle in which the Affordable Care Act was a central issue.
Moreover, we don’t repeal laws in this country by holding hostage the entire government of the United States.
The bullies are a faction inside the Republican Party – extremists who are threatening more reasonable Republicans with primary challenges if they don’t go along.
And where are the Tea Party extremists getting their dough? From even bigger bullies – a handful of hugely wealthy Americans who are sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into this extortion racket.
They include David and Charles Koch (and their front group, “Americans for Prosperity’); Peter Thiel, leverage-buyout specialist John Childs, investor Howie Rich, Stephen Jackson of the Stevens Group, and executives of JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, (all behind the “Club for Growth”); and Crow Holdings’ Harlan Crow, shipping magnate Richard Uihlein, and investment banker Foster Friess; executives of MetLife and Philip Morris, and foundations controlled by the Scaife family (all bankrolling “FreedomWorks.”)
Their game plan is to not just to take over the Republican Party. It’s to take over America. The showdown over the budget and the debt ceiling is a prelude to 2016, when they plan to run Texas Senator Ted Cruz for President. (Cruz, if you haven’t noticed, is busily establishing his creds as the biggest flamer in Washington – orchestrating not only the current extortion but also the purge of reasonable Republicans from the GOP.)
Obama and the Democrats must not give in. They shouldn’t even negotiate with extortionists. As I learned the hard way, giving in to bullies just encourages them to escalate their demands.
The President began negotiations with the Republican bullies in 2011 when they first threatened to default on the nation’s debt if they didn’t get the spending cuts they wanted. He negotiated again at the end of 2012 when they threatened to go over the fiscal cliff and take the rest of the nation with them if they didn’t get the budget they wanted. Now they want to repeal a law they detest. If we give in again, what’s next? A coup d’etat?