FALLOUT: As expected a tsunami of criticism washed over the White House over the president’s decision to deliver a political economic speech while the Naval Yard tragedy was playing out just blocks away. Republicans fell all over themselves to express their shock and indignation over the president’s tone deaf response to the shootings.
As a matter of record, we have supported, for the most part, this president’s efforts during his two terms in office. But he got this one wrong. Surely his economic agenda could have waited another day. We have to ask…would he have given that speech if one of his friends or family members were working in that naval yard. Would he have chuckled and delivered those political barbs while uncertain of the fate of someone close to him. Even his defensive response to the criticism, “I was in contact with the FBI making certain that the appropriate resources were in place…Congress has a lot of work to do…” lacked the compassion that we have come to expect from this president. Where was the Consoler in Chief that moved the nation in the aftermath of Sandy Hook?
That said is not the Republican indignation just as off-putting and tone deaf? Think of the hypocrisy in their shock and dismay. After all, aren’t these same Republicans the ones who have blocked even the most minimal attempts by this president to curb gun violence in this country?
Then again, maybe we are wrong. Maybe the president got it right…a few brief words of sorrow and then on with business as usual. For isn’t that exactly what we as a nation do whenever we have one of these mass shootings? We lower our flags, bow our heads…and then go on with business as usual. Nothing ever changes. In fact we re-elect those who stand in the way of any substantive change. Our society has become so immune to these senseless acts of violence that we just shake our heads and move on.
The Bureau of Statistics defines a “mass shooting” as one resulting in the deaths of four or more individuals. Since Barak Obama took office in 2009 there have been 49 mass shootings in this country.
SELF INFLICTED WOUNDS: The government will run out of money in two weeks. Absent a budget, the congress must pass a continuing resolution authorizing the funds to allow the government to continue to function. Tea Party house members have said that they will vote against any continuing resolution that contains funding for The Affordable Care Act. A government shutdown runs the risk of plunging a weak economy into a very costly recession. Tea Party Republicans, embolden by their gerrymandered constituency, believe that they can use this leverage to bring the president to heel and dismantle his health care achievement.
In a recent editorial, The Wall Street Journal, the flagship for conservative views, called Republican efforts to shut down the government a “Kamikaze Mission” noting “Kamikaze missions rarely end well, especially for the pilot.” The journal rightly notes that the “leverage” that Republicans think they have “exists only in the world of town hall applause lines and fundraising letters.”
It should be noted that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. The voters reaffirmed the law when they elected President Obama to a second term. Congress reaffirmed the law when they voted “No’ to 41 separate Tea Party attempts to defund the law. And the Supreme Court reaffirmed the law ruling that the Affordable Care Act fell within the legal tenants of the Constitution.
If the Tea Party Republicans are successful in shutting down the government they will not bring about the repeal of The Affordable Care Act. But they will bring about the end of the Republican Party’s as an influential participant on the national political stage.