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GOP leadership questioned

November 24, 2013
The Herald-Star

To the editor:

After reading the Nov. 17 letters to the editor and, in particular, the one from Richard Hord ("GOP should stand for something,") I was tempted to write, "Yeah, what he said." Not so fast, tea guzzlers, the writer left out a few things that, although they will make no difference to you, certainly make significant points to those of us who are not crazy.

Let's travel back in time to examine the beginnings of today's Affordable Healthcare Act. In the 1990s, then-President Bill Clinton attempted to reform the country's health insurance system. At that time, Republicans were not singularly stuck on obstructionism, but had some of their own ideas.

Opposing more progressive plans, the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank, proposed its own insurance plan, replete with private companies in competition and, strangely enough, an individual mandate. Yes, the Republicans were in favor of an individual mandate to purchase insurance on the open market. What a free market, capitalist idea.

Against the opposition, the Clintons were forced to withdraw their reforms, creating one of President Clinton's most substantial failures.

Fast forward two decades and, once again, a Democratic president attempts to reform a broken health insurance system. Unlike many, this president is thoughtful and has the benefit of history as an advantage. He was certainly mindful of failures and aware that he would not be able to pass better legislation, such as a single payer or even a public option.

Keeping in mind the obstructive nature of the current Republican Party, he looked at its proposal and the Massachusetts Romney insurance plan. Not allowing the best to be the enemy of the good, he brought in the authors of the Romney plan to devise a very similar plan for the nation. Their plan wasn't the best, but it was as much as possible.

This, America, is where politics enters and policy suffers. Realizing that the president was advocating their own plan, Republicans should have declared victory and asked the president what they could do to help with the implementation of their own plan.

Instead, with the most stunningly political, cynical, self-serving agenda they possibly could have found, they persevered in their attempts to obstruct, scuttle and destruct what they, themselves, had previously forged. This is the manifestation and naked facade of the most hypocritical strategy that I have ever witnessed.

The vitriol and hyperbole have long ago gone over the top and become more than any other president in history has endured. Tea partiers have done this, at first, with the tacit approval and then with the vocal and exuberant support of moderate Republicans for nothing more than political gains. Now, they wish to reign them in - good luck with that.

I admire this president's ability not to blow his top about five times a week. It is well beyond my capability and I am not the focus of their deceitful and despicable behavior.

In review, Heritage Care equals Romney Care equals the ACA equals Obamacare. Indisputable and dishonorable behavior by Republican leadership is clear.

Bob Atkinson


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