Hungover from all that celebrating in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act? Well, with the cold light of a new day, hopefully, comes the realization that this little victory doesn't in any way mean that the battle is over when it comes to trying to provide Americans with health care that won't either leave them to die or just kill them with bills.
It took all of about five minutes for the tea partying right to completely lose its collective shit over the high court's ruling and what's important to keep in mind going forward is that -- in keeping with tradition -- Republicans absolutely will not let it stand and will never let it go. Get ready for weeks, months and years of attempts to repeal the ACA outright or clever back-door legislative tricks aimed at whittling away at it piece by piece; the over-the-top, drama queenie rhetoric from the usual Republican mouthpieces all but confirms this.
Take, for example, the words of Breitbart non-journalist Ben Shapiro, who tweeted that the Supreme Court's decision not to strike down a measure that attempts to guarantee affordable health care for millions of people represents, literally, "the end of America as we know it." Or maybe Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, who calls the ACA a "crushing blow to freedom." Or former Michigan GOP spokesman Matt Davis, who fired off an e-mail, wondering aloud if "armed rebellion" was now justified in the wake of the ruling. Or libertarian Christ child Rand Paul, who didn't even bother disagreeing with the decision but instead went right to dismissing it as unconstitutional, regardless of what the highest court in the land had to say.
It was Paul's reaction that was both especially irksome and not the least bit surprising, mostly because it so perfectly summed up the entire right-wing mindset and illustrates where their blind outrage comes from and how it will continue to manifest itself. It's all there: the complete ignorance as to how our government works; the arrogant belief that any reality that challenges conservative demands, be it a decision by the voters or the Supreme Court, can be casually dismissed as illegitimate; the unwavering obstinacy and vow to fight on no matter how many times they're told that they can't have it their way. This is the kind of thinking and behavior we've come to expect from the modern Republican party: From their willingness to hold the entire country hostage in what should have been an entirely routine and apolitical debate over the debt ceiling, to the insane conspiracy theories they concoct or enable to demonize Barack Obama as an impostor whose presidency isn't legally valid, to their insistence in fighting and refighting battles they lost decades ago, today's Republicans simply refuse to take no for an answer.
What's more, their go-to tactic for getting their demands met involves behaving like your average six-year-old: they stick their fingers in their ears, then stomp and scream in the hope that we'll all relent just to get a little peace and quiet, that we'll ultimately value our sanity more than our political ideals.
This is what we have to look forward to in the health care battle -- and yes, it's still a battle. We may have won a skirmish, but for hardline conservatives the larger war remains and will always be waged. This fight isn't over for them. It will never be. Not until they're satisfied on this issue and every other one and until they're given back complete control of our government. This is simply the way the Republicans are these days. Give them what they want and no one gets hurt. A complete refusal to accept any way other than their own -- anyone other than themselves -- as legitimate. Screw the will of the people, the good of the country, or the rule of law -- none of that can even be present when the GOP isn't in charge or isn't getting what it wants.
The only hope for progress is to be as ruthless, relentless and cunning as they are. Because they're not going to give up on this or anything else they petulantly demand.
This fight is just starting for them. As they say, an elephant never forgets.
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