Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vitter On Wrong Side Of Government Shutdown Scheme

I like Senator David Vitter, even campaigned for him. My mom even has David Vitter’s picture (with me, of course) in a frame in her living room in Florida.

A couple of years back, my mom mentioned that she didn’t have any recent photos of me. I don’t take a lot of pictures, but I told her that I would bring her some the next time that I visited.

I went through my computer and talked to friends and found that, ironically, every photo had me standing next to or shaking the hand of a politician. So I printed the pictures out and brought them to my mom in Florida.

I showed her photos of myself and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Governor Bobby Jindal, Steve Scalise (my Congressman), Senator David Vitter and others. Aside from the 2 photos with the Bush’s, my mom was confused.

“Who are all these people?” my mom asked.

The next time that I visited her in Florida I noticed that my mom had framed the photo of me and Senator Vitter. I asked her why that photo, was it because he was a Senator, one of one hundred in the entire country?

“No,” my mom replied. “I really like the way that shirt makes your eyes look.”

So much for the power of being a United States Senator.

I like Senator Vitter and, more often than not, we’re on the same side of issues.

But, when it comes to shutting down the government to make a political point, Senator Vitter and I part ways.

Yes, Republicans and many Americans, myself included, want to defund and repeal ObamaCare. In my opinion, ObamaCare is everything that is wrong with government: it will stall the economy, kill jobs, provide another layer of bureaucracy, and give more power to the I.R.S. (like they need more power).

Senator Vitter wants to defund ObamaCare too but, because the Senate is controlled by Democrats and, realistically, President Obama would veto any measure to defund his namesake health care overhaul, Senator Vitter wants to shut down the Federal government to do it.

The Republican controlled House has already voted 39 times to defund ObamaCare. It may be 40 times by the time I finish writing this.

Congressman and Senatorial candidate Bill Cassidy is thumping his chest about how many times he’s voted to defund ObamaCare. But, Congressman Cassidy doesn’t thump his chest when he’s asked “How many of those votes have been successful and become law?”

That’s the question that Republicans don’t want to be asked.

While I don’t know how, with a Democratic President and Senate, ObamaCare could be defunded correctly, I know that shutting down the government is the wrong way.

Sure it sounds great – who doesn’t want to shut down the government? But, when confronted with reality, those words ring hollow.

Shutting down the Federal government could spiral us into an even deeper recession. Millions of Americans, both employed and not employed, receive government payments for everything from Social Security, Medicare and government paychecks, to Food Stamps, unemployment, and Section 8 housing.

Now, if you want to argue that too many people rely on the Federal government for payments, then we can have that argument, but not now.

Shutting down the government is an extreme measure that most Americans, and most Republicans, don’t want to happen. Sure, there’s a core group of folks out there that want ObamaCare sent packing and will do anything to make it so but, they are the minority.

Even President Obama realizes many of the flaws of ObamaCare and, whether you believe that it was a politically motivated decision or not, he’s moved the date for the Employer Mandate to 2015.

Instead of trying to defund ObamaCare, Republicans should come up with their own tweaks and changes to improve it and repeal the most draconian ideas. With a few Democrats by their said, that could happen.

The fact remains that Republicans don’t have a legitimate alternative plan to our country’s health care crisis. Until they do come up with a plan, most Americans will continue to view them as the anti-Obama Party of Obstructionists without any real ideas themselves.

No one would deny that our health care system needs to be fixed. When your hospital bill says $18 for an Advil when you can go to Sam’s Club and buy a box of 300 for that price, there’s a lot that needs to be changed, but, unless you have your own plan or have ideas to make ObamaCare more palatable to mainstreet America, the Republicans are just spitting in the wind and wasting our time.

Fix the problem – don’t shut down the government.

No, Senator Vitter, shutting down the Federal government to stop ObamaCare is not the answer. At least, not to this question.