Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
Those immortal words were penned by Sir Walter Scott, the 19th-century Scottish poet and playwright. As I watched Harry Reid stammer and stutter last night on the evening news, they came to my mind. It seems that the tangled web of Harry’s political deceit enveloped him tightly as he struggled to deny the truth that slapped him aside his senatorial head.
Let’s set the scene. As all the nation must know by now, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is locked in a bitter debate with the Democrat-controlled Senate. Constitutionally speaking, the funding of federal spending is a prerogative of the House. Republicans are keen to defund the supposedly “Affordable” Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. (Low-information voters may not realize it, but the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing.) Democrats in the Senate are refusing to consider any bill sent to them from the House that doesn’t fund the new healthcare law. Eager to avoid the appearance of being ogres and haters of the needy, Republicans are sending over bite-sized pieces of legislation to fund particular portions of the federal government–while still holding the line on their refusal to pay for Obamacare.
Got it? Both sides are playing the political game known as “Washington Song and Dance.” The nation is split right down the middle on this issue. Don’t let either side fool you otherwise. What should be done when a nation is divided and when its federal representatives are also divided? The Constitution actually provides for that. We are seeing in in the halls of Congress at this very moment.
The stalemate in DC is a good thing. It’s a product of constitutional checks and balances. A poorly-designed law was rushed through Congress and is now being implemented. It wasn’t studied adequately or even read by many of those who voted for it with enthusiasm. Citizens are torn over its provisions and their disgust is rising as the administration of Pres. Barack Obama gives exemptions to big labor as well as the staffers of big government.
The Democrats and their supporters in the “mainstream” media are painting the Republicans and the Tea Party as extremists and anarchists. They complain about the refusal to compromise. Yet all the while, there is no offer of compromise from the Democrats. It became painfully obvious yesterday how foul a game is being played by Harry Reid and Senate Democrats under his command.
Folks, I have no pretensions here. I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. And I’m not happy with either of the major parties in DC. That’s why I’ve returned to the Libertarian party. But I’m entirely disgruntled by the fact that Harry Reid is acting so contemptuous and morally outraged and that he’s pointing a finger at the Republicans as if he himself is not to blame. I’m tired of being told that Democrats care more about the poor and the elderly and that they are “the party of the people.” I’m also tired of hearing so many of my fellow Christians wrongly think that the Democrat party is more charitable than the Republican party. Certainly that is the national political mythology. Many have bought into it with abandon–especially among the media.
Here’s the bottom line: it’s not true. Harry Reid proved it yesterday. Record the date: Wednesday, October 2, 2013. He was being questioned by a reporter from CNN (not Fox–CNN). Her name is Dana Bash and she had an urgent question for Sen. Reid concerning funding for the National Institutes of Health. She reported to the sidestepping senator that children with cancer were being turned away from NIH clinical trials due to the federal shutdown. Of course, Reid is eager to blame the nasty Republicans in the House of Representatives for this unfortunate reality.
Not so fast, Harry. Dana Bash decided not to let him off the hook. She made him squirm. Oh, goodness, how she made him squirm. She informed the senator that the House was sending to the Senate a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the NIH cancer trials, and that this CR was coming with absolutely no strings attached. After all, Democrats love children and the elderly. They are not as cruel and as politically-minded as Republicans. Democrats are reasonable. They are the party of the people. They always put children first. So goes the mythology.
So what did the fine senator say? Simple enough. He showed us his true political colors. He doesn’t care about children with cancer. He cares about power. He cares about winning. The reporter pressed him and challenged him. “If you can help one child with cancer,” she asked, “why wouldn’t you do it?”
Over at the Atlantic Wire they are taking up for Sen. Reid with a bold headline: “Come on, No. Harry Reid Doesn’t Hate Kids with Cancer.” If you want both sides of this debate, I encourage you to read the article. Reid’s comments are placed in their fuller context. I’m nothing if not fair. Nonetheless, let’s try to keep our focus. The question at hand has nothing to do with whether or not Harry Reid hates children with cancer. The question is whether he will allow those children to die in order to gain political capital. Perhaps he and the rest of the Senate leadership qualify as Obamacare’s first death panel.
Both sides are playing political games. Neither side has clean hands, but one side is playing particularly dirty. For my money, it’s the Democrats. Why is their game so much worse? Because it’s not just politics as usual. It’s nasty politics pretending to be objective morality. It’s akin to the divine right of kings claimed by tyrants throughout all of history. It disgusts me. It should disgust you, too.