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Shame on ‘tea party’ obstructionists

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If the current government shutdown doesn’t illustrate the harm that’s going to be done by the rabid strain of “tea party” conservatism in the national GOP, then some people are just choosing not to understand.
    To hold hostage the very operations of the government itself in order to insanely pursue a strategy that simply cannot work; well, it’s a choice of madmen. It’s Hitler in the bunker stuff...
    Recent history easily demonstrates that such an action will indeed come back to bite the small minds that conceived it (and it won’t be biting them on their minds, either).
    In 1995, Newt Gingrich’s government shutdown not only turned voters against him and his policies, it handed an easy victory to President Bill Clinton.
    It would not be an overreach to say that the shutdown that year ruined Gingrich’s entire political career, in which case, he got what he deserved.
    This time, the radical right-wingers known as “tea party,” believe that they are on a Mission From God to “stop Obamacare.” They don’t have enough respect for anything else to refrain from shutting down government. After all, government – in their warped view – is “evil” unless its funding the military.
    For government to do anything else – in the guise of “helping others” - is “socialism,” and that of course....well, you don’t need that explained, do you?
    Although, if you actually believe that, you do need an education, and you are only supporting harmful and hurtful policies.
Right-wingers always cry “socialism” when government attempts to do anything beyond bloating the Pentagon (which, of course, they don’t complain about).
    They cried “socialism” in the 1930s when FDR unveiled his “New Deal” policies to help victims of The Great Depression. If ever there was an election that posed a referendum on whether we would use the central government to ease economic ills, it was the one in 1932.
    FDR and the Democrats won that election, and of course Roosevelt was elected three more times to continue his “socialist experiments,” which were widely approved and supported by the many Americans who benefitted from them.
    The right cried “socialism” again with the proposals for Medicare and Medicaid in the Johnson era. Just Google some of the remarks that California Governor Ronald Reagan made about those programs. You’d have thought the world was going to end if government helped senior citizens and poor people get access to medical care.
    These days, the “tea party” voices of extremism are winked at by too many other Republicans, who don’t seem to realize that they are letting these people ruin their electoral prospects for a generation to come, or more.
    Our three local Republican congressmen – Goodlatte, Hurt and Griffith – all cast cowardly votes in favor of the shutdown. They are little more than lap dogs for Eric Cantor and the “tea party” zealots.
    Ken Cuccinelli, an increasingly desperate candidate for governor of Virginia, has got to be wringing his hands. A show of “tea party” insanity was the last thing he needed, since he is so utterly in tune with their agenda, and everybody knows it.
    Yet, he still welcomed “tea party” U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to Richmond last week. His campaign had the gall – and the desperation – to say that it “wasn’t a campaign event.”
    What the “tea partiers” want was rejected by the voters in 2012. “Obamacare” is the law of the land, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and having already implemented some of its provisions.
    The “tea party” is the worst thing that’s ever happened to the national Republican Party. But, now, it’s starting to hurt America, too.

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at RickDem117@gmail.com.