Outside of Ron Paul, few office-holders are known for being ideologically consistent and as we inch closer to a government shutdown Republican legislators are offering another shining example how maddeningly capricious most politicians are.
For instance, to offer support for the union restrictions implemented by Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio, Republicans quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who stated that a strike by public sector employees "manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied." Yet here we sit within hours of the government being shut down because Republicans are obstructing until their demands are satisfied.
Additionally, while debating the Farm Bill, Republican Representative Marlin Stutzman -- a staunch proponent of separating the agriculture and food policy portion -- stated: "Congress must remove welfare provisions from the farm bill and give taxpayers the honest debate they deserve on both. It's simple: food stamp policy isn't farm policy" and "separate consideration of these policies will allow us to forge ahead with real solutions and reform instead of repeating the mistakes of the past."
Well, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) isn't the federal budget and Americans deserve an honest debate on both instead of repeating the same mistake 42 times. Because if Republicans are serious about the effects of the ACA on the federal budget, they would recognize that repeal would actually increase the deficit.
There has also been much consternation of how the ACA was passed with errant suggestions that the method of passage was unprecedented. And while this talk is purely rhetorical, if historical norms are important then the fact that Republicans have voted 42 times to repeal the same bill and are content to shutter the government rather than offer a single change, certainly seem like an out of the ordinary way to jam something through the legislature.
There is plenty to dislike and discuss about the ACA but the hypocrisy over how the Republicans are handling what should be a valuable debate is astounding. Perhaps instead of worrying about how the ACA polls, Congress should take a look in the mirror and recognize that these sort of inconsistencies are part of the reason that Congress has an approval rating slightly higher than North Korea, Lindsay Lohan, and gonorrhea.