Editorial: Hoppy Kercheval: Republicans charge into the… cul-de-sac
10/03/2013 - WV Metro News
CHARLESTON - 159 years ago this month, Lord Cardigan lead 600 British cavalrymen into a valley near Sevastopol, Russia. The Russians thought the charge of the Light Brigade was so foolish that they concluded the English must be drunk. (They weren’t; it was mistaken orders.)
Tennyson immortalized the ill-fated attack with a poem where he wrote, “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.”
Have Washington Republicans taken similar marching orders from Senator Ted Cruz when it comes to their opposition to Obamacare?
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer says the Republican destination is more cul-de-sac than valley; at least a valley has an entrance and an exit. The Cruz course, Krauthammer concludes, leads nowhere.
Yes, GOP opponents of Obamacare are taking a principled stand. In fact, some House Republicans were elected on the promise of stopping the Affordable Care Act. In doing so, they have secured the patronage of core Obamacare opponents, as well as a reliable list of donors.
But the Republican gambit never had a chance of legislative success. The Democratic-lead Senate was never going to defund Obamacare and, even if it did, President Obama was never going to agree to the demise of his signature legislation.
Tying the dismantling of the health care law to temporarily funding the government was tactically puerile. Republicans wanted to slam the door on Obamacare and instead they closed down the Smithsonian.
Keeping non-essential government employees home for a few days is not that big a deal. The borders are still being defended, the mail is going through, Social Security checks are arriving and meat is being inspected.
The larger issue is the dysfunction that lead to the shutdown.
The Founders, despite all their disparate ideas, managed to form “a more perfect union” in just four months in Philadelphia in 1787. Now the Congress can’t even pass a bill to keep the government from running out of money, much less an annual budget.
Republicans will get the blame for the shutdown for three reasons: they always do; the media tilt to the left; and, well, they deserve it this time. Now House Republicans have to figure a way out of their mess while Americans, who are busy with their lives, try to comprehend that the Statue of Liberty is shut down because the GOP doesn’t like Obamacare.
In the 1854 Charge of the Light Brigade, nearly 300 of Lord Cardigan’s 600 troops were killed, wounded or captured. Cardigan survived and, in fact, returned to England a hero. Senator Cruz and other fervent Obamacare opponents are also getting the hero treatment from their core supporters.
But that neither changes the outcome, nor validates the tactics.