Dupuy: Tea party civics show us how a law becomes a bill
The President of the United States signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as ObamaCare, on March 23, 2010. It then became a law. In March 2012, the Supreme Court heard a challenge to ObamaCare, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. On June 28, 2012, in a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the law. It was deemed constitutional by the people whose only function in government is to decide what is and what isn’t constitutional.
Tea party intellectual Rand Paul wrote an op-ed in June titled: “Obamacare ‘is still unconstitutional’ one year after Supreme Court approval.” Which is like saying, “Just because it’s a force that makes things fall to the earth, doesn’t make it gravity.”
Actually, Rand, it does.
There’s an old adage that says it’s better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Rand Paul is a man of no mystery.
But he’s not alone. Tea-guzzling lawmakers still refer to this more-than-three-year-old law as a bill. Just last month, in September, Rep. Peter King, R-NY, on O’Reilly said: “We could have started three two or three weeks ago negotiating parts of the ObamaCare bill…” Sen. John Thune, R-SD, said on On The Record: “Well, I don’t think you can do what they did in the health care bill.” Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN, on CNN’s New Day said: “Republicans all are very concerned about the policies that are occurring through this health care bill.”
Why this word choice? I may be giving Republicans too much credit by saying it’s a subtle way of communicating there’s still time to stop ObamaCare and that will help in fundraising (Ted Cruz raised $1.9 million in the third quarter from his Cruz-ade.)
I think they actually just don’t know basic civics. They don’t want to know basic civics. They claim a monopoly on “common sense.” And that’s whatever their gut tells ’em. And their gut tells ’em willful ignorance is what those elitist professorial founding fathers would have loved about the tea party. That knowing nothing is a virtue if you believe hard enough.
As if this were finger painting instead of governing a nuclear super power.
Case in point: The tea party Republicans planned to shut down the government in hopes of killing ObamaCare. Sen. Cruz offered some pretzel logic — if you want to call it that — in his marathon on-and-on. He remarked: “There are a lot of people with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo” right next to his recurring, “ObamaCare will hurt you” hook. According to Cruz, ObamaCare is the status quo and we have to stop it before it goes into effect.
It hurts, yes … one’s head.
So Cruz and his clan shut down the federal government. All but essential personnel. Which led to three weeks of tired quips with overused air quotes about Congress being “essential.” Since the tea party lawmakers can’t be bothered to learn about the thing they hate (government) and the thing they now work in — tea partiers were outraged that the government they shut down, shut down D.C. monuments. Monuments, of, by and about the gubmint.
Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, who was instrumental in the government being closed for WWII vets (and other Americans) famously told a Park Service employee who at that moment all was basically an unpaid volunteer, “The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves.”
What does Rep. Neugebauer know about shame? Yet another desirable quality lost to willful ignorance.
Now tea party Republicans are upset because the government is open again, the country didn’t default on its debts and ObamaCare is still (as it has been for more than three years) a law.
The government goes back to being just dysfunctional and the tea party thinks it’s a loss for them.
Tina Dupuy is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist, investigative journalist, award-winning writer, stand-up comic, on-air commentator and wedge issue fan. Tina can be reached at email@example.com.
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