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ONLY IN AMERICA


Only in America, and only in this political climate can the vast majority of members of a political party become unhinged at the possibility that a piece of legislation that was germinated largely from their own political and philosophical underpinnings is moving into implementation.

  Yes my friends, “Obamacare” is legislation that, at its core, is philosophically aligned with conservative ideas.  To use one of the Presidents oft-used phrases, “let me be clear about this”.

 The Heritage Foundation is an ultra-conservative think tank.  It is a place that works vigorously to define and broadcast conservative ideology.   Some of the most vigorous defenses of conservative ideology have their political DNA developed in the writings of Heritage Foundation scholars.

 In 1989, Stuart M. Butler of the Heritage Foundation penned the following:  “Every resident of the United States must, by law, be enrolled in an adequate health care plan to cover major health care costs….Americans with sufficient means would no longer be “free riders” on society by avoiding health insurance expenditures and relying on others to pay for care in an emergency or in retirement.”

 The idea of requiring all individuals to purchase health care is a policy suggestion that originates in conservative ideology.  It is interesting that within that thinking, comes the concept that individuals who do not buy their own insurance are considered “free riders” on society.  That makes sense.  If conservatives are about anything, they are about making sure individuals “pull their own weight”.

 The man that conservatives have pinned their Presidential hopes on for this election has, in the past, hitched his wagon to this conservative way of dealing with “free riders” in society.  Mitt Romney penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in 2006 where he said that “either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay”.  I don’t think I have to remind anyone that the WSJ is a significantly conservative publication.

 In his term as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt’s crowning piece of legislation resulted from his efforts to pass his health care plan we know as Romneycare.  Mitt worked tirelessly with conservatives and liberals to get the legislation passed.  This legislation was a crowning achievement for Governor Romney and he was extremely proud of his work.  In fact, he was so proud of his achievement, and believed so strongly in it that in Baltimore on February 2, 2007 he commented that he was “proud of what we’ve done.  If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.”

 With today’s decision by the Supreme Court, conservative politicians, pundits, and talk radio hosts are absolutely apoplectic about John Roberts’s characterization involving the penalties imposed by the legislation for not purchasing health care as “taxes”.  Rush Limbaugh said today that this was, in effect, the largest tax hike forced on individuals in the entire world.  Let’s see what the conservative nominee for President had to say about this in the past.

 In USA Today on July 2009 Romney wrote the following: “First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.”  

 How is it, that conservative ideology has absolutely reversed itself during the past 3 or 4 years?  Actually, it is very simple.  Think back to the absolute near-death grudge match that occurred during the development and passage of the health care legislation.  It was a political free-for-all that has been unrivaled in my lifetime.  The dissemination of lies and half-truths that emanated from our politicians was incredible and disheartening.  Remember the “death-panel” claims?  These claims were completely debunked as untrue and determined to be the biggest political lie of the year the year those claims were made.  Yet, these claims still rise up into the blogosphere and into our political discourse to this day.  It is rather amazing that politically motivated falsehoods are still believed by individuals attempting to justify their ideology.  This in spite of the fact that the legislation they have fought so hard to defeat has conservative ideology at its core.

 Do you remember the day that members of Congress were spat upon and endured racially motivated slurs as they walked to perform their duties as rightfully elected representatives of the people during this process?  I do, and you should too.

 Let me suggest several legitimate explanations for the vitriol and actions of those who disagreed with the decision of the Supreme Court today. 

 One is that those who are unhappy have forgotten or never have known that the origins of this legislation are rooted deeply in conservative ideology.  While none of us fully agree with every provision of this mammoth piece of legislation, there is absolutely no doubt that a huge percentage of the provisions, and specifically the one they most disagree with, owe their roots to conservative ideology.  In fact, a very large percentage of the provisions were added after consultation with conservative leaders in an effort to get the legislation passed.  These provisions were added to appease conservative politicians who later refused to be appeased for political reasons.  Many liberals at the time were furious with President Obama for giving up on their single payer proposals and inserting conservative ideas into the legislation.  He did it to get the legislation passed.

 A second possibility is that the Republican Party has moved so far to the right in the political spectrum that there is no possibility that any Republican can agree with what happened today for fear of rejection of their future candidacy by people who believed their vitriol in the first place.  They have created a party that does not allow for any possibility of bipartisanship in spite of the fact that bipartisanship is really one of the only ways any of them will ever get anything done for the American people.  Republicans have created an environment for themselves that keeps them from backing legislation filled with Republican ideas.

 Lastly, and probably most disheartening, the stated goal of Republican leadership is to do everything they can to oppose any legislative effort backed by the President of the United States.  The Republican Party has absolutely impaled itself by doing everything it can to oppose a major piece of legislation that has its roots in conservative ideology.  Sadly, this conservative ideology is the very thing they are trying to get the majority of Americans to believe in.  The truth is, Republicans did nothing for years about this issue, and because it wasn’t identified as their legislation, they have to oppose it.

 Anyone denying that this legislation has, at its very core, conservative ideology, and had complete conservative backing is denying a truth that even the most ardent supporters of conservative thinking have agreed with.

 Romneycare is exciting and has tremendous potential.  The health care law that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system.  The individual mandate requires those who earn enough to afford insurance to purchase coverage…we agree strongly with this principle.”

 Can you guess which former Republican candidate spoke these words in 2006?  It was Newt Gingrich, the cherished conservative thinker who was recently completely rejected by the party he was once a major player in.

 So here we are, Republicans coming unhinged at a conservative Supreme Court Justice for making it possible for legislation based upon conservative ideology to stay the law of the land.  They are left with no place to go politically that is not disingenuous and hypocritical.

 And of course, we have the future Republican nominee for the Presidency of the United States standing in front of the American people claiming that if elected the first thing he will do will be to start the process of repealing legislation that is based upon his own cherished conservative principles and patterned after legislation he claimed was terrific for the State he governed and that should be the pattern for national health care.  The base of his party eats this up because every word out of his mouth is designed for their ears in spite of the hypocrisy the words represent.

 As Americans, we like to point out that certain things can only happen in America.  Today’s predictable reaction by Republicans fits perfectly into that category.  At what cost to the American people?

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