The implementation of the Affordable Care Act this week along with the government shutdown orchestrated by the tea party Republicans has surely brought out some of the most world class stupid reactions recently seen on our political stage. When you consider all the vast stupidity that has occurred in the political arena in recent years, you begin to get a true idea of just how insane this week's actors on the stage have shown themselves to be.
I think the one who tops my own personal list - and, admittedly, he has lots of competition - is Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R. - Texas, of course!) berating a park ranger at the World War II Memorial and telling her that she should be ashamed of herself because the memorial was closed. As if she personally had made the decision to close the memorial when, in fact, it was Neugebauer and his fellow tea party posse members who locked those gates. Neugebauer and other tea partiers, like Michele Bachmann, who showed up to have their pictures taken with World War II veterans who had traveled to the city specifically to see that memorial were shocked, shocked that anyone would dare to close it to the public.
Of course, their outrage was purely for the cameras and it certainly did not extend to all those pregnant women, infants, and children who are not getting their supplemental food this week or all those Head Start kids who have been kicked out of their classes because of the tea party's actions. No, their photo-op outrage only extends to old white guys in wheel chairs.
Another day and another stupid statement from a Texan. This time from our dear leader, Rick Perry. In a campaign appearance in New Jersey this week, Perry opined that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act was a "criminal act." He said, in part, " If this health care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price. And that, I suggest to you, reaches the point of being a felony toward them and their future." Perhaps Ricky could benefit from a brief review of the history of the law.
The Affordable Care Act was passed by the House of Representatives and then by the Senate, after which it was signed into law by the president. It was then reviewed by the Supreme Court and found to be constitutional. After all that, there was this little thing called an election last year in which the candidate for the Republican Party promised that on his first day in office he would repeal the law. The Democratic candidate, President Obama, promised to implement it. The Republican candidate was defeated, rather resoundingly. So, Ricky, I really do not think that word "felony" means what you think it means.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined the stupid hit parade by remarking that the president was perfectly willing to negotiate with the Iranians but not with Republicans in Congress. Well, that could be because the Iranians are more reasonable than Republicans in Congress.
And McConnell's teammate, Rand Paul (R-KY) chimed in that so far there had been no debate about Obamacare! Randy, you might want to read two paragraphs back, the paragraph beginning with "The Affordable Care Act was passed..." In fact, the ACA was debated extensively for eighteen months before it was passed and it has been vetted through every branch of the United States government and found to be viable and legitimate.
Finally, the last word in stupid comes from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) who said, "People are probably going to realize they can live with a lot less government than what they thought they needed."
Yep, forget about NASA or NOAA or the National Institutes of Health with their totally unnecessary attempts to find cures for diseases like cancer or the Food and Drug Administration with all those food and drug inspectors. We don't need no stinkin' researchers or inspectors or scientists! At least not in tea party world.
And so, until such time as Speaker John Boehner finds the courage to stand up to the tea partiers and allow a vote on a bill to continue funding the government - a bill that would certainly pass with bipartisan support - the government shutdown and the uncertainty that it brings to our standing in the world will continue. Sad. And so, so stupid.
UPDATE: Another take on the gross stupidity of the moment.