Don't be confused.
U.S. Reps. Tom Cotton, Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford
and Steve Womack
sent two indelible messages yesterday:
* They oppose health insurance for millions of Americans,
including some recently insured sick people whose pre-existing conditions cannot be financially covered by insurance companies without the Affordable Care Act's expansion of coverage.
* They put in motion a government shutdown
, which will have costly economic ripples.
When the Republicans have the votes in both houses of Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act,
they may do so. Until then, the rest of the country shouldn't be held hostage to their refusal to accept the outcome of the 2012 election.
Here's the latest NY Times summary
of where things stand.
The episode is only the latest example of a subject that arose during a panel discussion in which I participated Friday at the University of Arkansas Law School
on nullification and secession
. (Short form from a couple of panels of speakers: Direct state nullification of federal laws is a non-starter legally. Secession? More possible in theory than you might imagine, though as a practical matter it obviously would be difficult. But there are other ways to skin cats, including massive resistance such as we now see on Obamacare and new Supreme Courts with different views on old issues, such as de facto segregated schools.)
During this discussion, Gov. Mike Beebe's
chief of staff and friend, Morril Harriman
, remarked sadly on the increasing polarization of political debate on the state level. He said he looked pessimistically to the ability in the future to form consensus policy. Compromise happens rarely on pitched issues, he said. It is true, however, that Arkansas had a rare and notable example in bipartisan approval of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
I tweeted a brief message about Harriman's remark and was rewarded by proof of its veracity — instantaneous sneering retorts from Republican operatives. In their view, Harriman was just spouting sour grapes about the inability of the governor to dictate political outcomes. Not since Faubus has a Democratic governor been so fortunate as to call all shots on a highly diverse legislature. But that is the way of the rising Republican majority in most matters. The Democratic opposition is evil. Anything they propose is to be rejected as unworthy of consideration and, preferably, silenced. Even a call for comity from a resolutely centrist former legislator.