Things I've learned during the first few days of the latest government shutdown:
• Canadian/Cuban/Texan Ted Cruz is a bitch. That's a term that I only use on males and, even then, only on particularly despicable males.
In one of the most shameful acts of self-promotion in Washington in decades—and that's really saying something—Ted Cruz somehow convinced House Republicans that if they acted to shut down the government, Senate Democrats would cave on the Affordable Care Act. There's no way that was going to happen and after Cruz's faux filibuster, he was shown to have no real strategy (or clout) other than to simply have his name mentioned a lot in the media.
Even tax fanatic Grover Norquist, one of the most rigid ideologues of the past 20 years, said of Cruz: "He pushed Republicans out into traffic and then wandered away."
Please, oh please, oh please, Republicans, please nominate Ted Cruz for president in 2016.
• One of the RWDs (Really White Dolts) on Fox "News" suggested that Cruz could swing the Latino vote. Cruz is Cuban. That means less than zero to people whose families came from Mexico. Mexican-Americans aren't more likely to vote for someone who is Cuban or Puerto Rican. If anything, they're less likely to do so. Fox News should do some research on that. Maybe they can ask the dude who sweeps up at the studio.
• Republicans used to have this reputation of being greedy people who care very little about the poor. That has changed. After voting en masse to cut the food stamp program in half (while retaining billions in farm subsidies), they have revealed themselves to care not at all for the poor.
• One-term Arizona congressman Ron Barber can't seem to get out of his own way. At least three times last week, he voted with Republicans on cynical bills that were nothing more than a public "Screw you!" to President Obama. Barber tried to explain his votes, but all that matters is that he voted with the GOP when that party is not serious about making the country better but is instead willing to throw the entire country back into recession just because it can.
• The Republicans biggest fear about the Affordable Care Act is not that it will fail and, in the process, mess up the federal government. Their biggest fear is that it will work exactly as designed and expose Republicans as the heartless cretins that they are.
• There was much chortling going on when the Affordable Care Act websites went online and were quickly overwhelmed. Tea Party morons took it as a sign of government incompetence when, in fact, it showed that there was far more interest in the program than had been anticipated. It's like when Yogi Berra, talking about a restaurant, said, "Nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded."
• There should be a special place in Pandering-To-The-Camera Hell for Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas. Two days after he and other House Republicans cast votes that in effect shut down the government (including the National Park Service), he publicly chastised a Park Service employee for doing her job, which, on that day, meant keeping people out of a national memorial that was closed because of Neugebauer and his buddies.
Really classy, Rep. Neugebauer. Bitch.
• I have yet to find one Republican who can tell me why they are so hellbent on denying health care to their fellow citizens. Is it because the people that the Affordable Care Act will help are poor, or maybe because they look different than you? Or ... what? I don't know how to tell you this, but having poor people die off in large numbers will not fix the problem of poverty.
While I'm at it, I'd like to ask Republicans if they're embarrassed at all by the fact that the United States of America—the greatest country in the history of mankind—does not provide health care to all of its citizens. We're the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't do so. That's just wrong.
• There is a thing in calculus called an inverse function. Simplistically put, it involves switching x's and y's around to find a new, related function. Just imagine if the GOP controlled the White House and the Senate, but the Democrats who held a majority in the House said that they wouldn't fund the government or raise the debt limit unless Republicans would revisit the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (That act was supported by 80 percent of Republican legislators back then; those stalwart and ethical folks of yesteryear bear almost no resemblance to the clods who call themselves Republicans these days.)
Imagine that House Democrats said that they were going to hold their breath and pee their pants if the president didn't agree to negotiate and compromise on a law that was duly passed by both chambers, signed into law, and then given the constitutional seal of approval by the Supreme Court. That's what's going on with this standoff and it's insane.
John McCain was right when he said Republicans fought the health-care fight, did their best, and lost. They also lost the 2012 election over it. The tide of history is moving on, but Republicans want to stand on the shoreline, palms held outward, and keep shouting at the ocean to stop!