, Gloucester, MA

October 14, 2013

Letter: GOP minority's terrible constitutional toll

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

The country is being held hostage by a minority of the House of Representatives and their speaker, John Boehner.

Plain and simple: if Boehner allowed a clean budget vote it would have enough Republican support to pass. However, he remains beholden to a minority wing of his own party, so-called Constitutional purists, over the Affordable Care Act.

The irony is astounding. Using the ACA as a tool for shutting down the government and bringing America to the edge of default is a slight to our founding fathers and the Constitution. Good or bad, the evolution of the ACA to law is a textbook example of how this country was designed to function. The bill was passed by the Legislature (Congress), signed into law by the executive (president), and upheld by a conservatively leaning Judiciary (Supreme Court).

In another litmus test of democracy, the 2012 elections were framed as a referendum on the ACA in which the president won in a landslide and Democratic candidates garnered nearly 500,000 more votes than their Republican counterparts.

But now we are told both parties are at fault and there needs to be compromise.

There already has been. The ACA was a compromise from the single-payer system liberals wanted. It was a health-care plan born of the conservative Heritage Foundation, trumpeted as Bob Dole’s counter plan to President Clinton’s, and implemented by the last Republican presidential candidate here in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor.

Compromise has already happened.

The Tea Party has set a dangerous precedent in American politics. Never in our history have we failed to pay our bills; that would be a violation of the 14th Amendment.

We can only hope this does not become a cyclical process in which minorities of either party can take the entire country hostage when they don’t get their way. We should look to the Constitution to get us back on track.



(Formerly of Gloucester)