Something. About the fact that the Speaker of the House just caved. I have friends on Facebook who are truly shocked. (I made a joke to that effect, but it ain’t so.) They post rants such as “You sold out! You are worthless! You will never get re-elected!” I wonder if, when this is over, they plan to go back and try again to win that darned “War of Northern Aggression” too? It’s about the same attitude, and from some of the same people, at least in spirit. Boehner is their whipping boy du jour, and I suppose that’s to be expected. The thing is, he finally showed some spine and stood up for the business loving Republicans who are the closest thing to moderates in the Republican caucus. Just as the folks who fired on Fort Sumpter decided that righteousness would prevail against overwhelming odds, so did the Tea Party Republicans think that their ideological purity would prevail over the forces of Obama’s evil. They say that Obamacare is Communist, which simply demonstrates that they don’t know how Communism works. If Obamacare were a Communist program, the government would simply nationalize all healthcare, doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc., and then not charge any citizen for the use of the (most likely substandard) facilities. Like all of Communism, it sounds good until you start thinking about it. If Obamacare did that, they’d have a point. The truth is, Obamacare makes everybody get insurance, on the theory that insurance is cheapest when everybody is in the pool. Worldwide, private, single-payer insurance yields the lowest cost health care, and that’s the truth. But, Obamacare won anyway, and that’s not my theme here.
My theme is that a less ideologically pure solution was reached in the end. I don’t know what it is with some people, but they can’t seem to accept that nobody gets what they want in a democracy, but over time, we all pretty much get what we need. Being free isn’t, as some seem to believe, the ability to do whatever the heck you want. Being free is getting to choose how you contribute to society. You can contribute however you’re best suited, or however you want, but you do have to contribute. Even to the point of paying (gasp!) taxes. I mean, really, think about it. After our revolution, nobody forced our forefathers to set up a government. They did it voluntarily. Those guys were pretty damned smart, too, so you’d think even an ideologue would realize that maybe, just maybe, they knew something that the ideologue didn’t. But, that’s the problem with ideologues: they believe their own BS.
There are a couple of very pure ideological movements from the first half of the twentieth century that serve to illustrate the problem with a rigid ideology. I refer to the Bolsheviks in Russia, and the National Socialists in Germany. One left wing, the other right wing, both of them devolved into cruel and vicious regimes that ultimately failed. The Bolsheviks praised democracy, until they lost the election. Reasoning that “The people were fooled and made a bad choice” they staged a coup and took over. That’s why for seventy years or so we got to watch the Soviet Union grow, stagnate, and crumble in the light of modern communications. The Nazi party decided that forcible racial purity and conquest were the road to glory. Unfortunately, the rest of the world, including the Soviet Union no less, failed to share their vision, and they went down, as it were, in flames.
Racial purity is a sure path to extinction. So is ideological purity. What Boehner did today may doom his career, although I wouldn’t bet on it. Those business Republicans have a lot of money, after all. What he may have done, and this is still not certain, is saved the Republican Party. If the deal hadn’t gone through in time, then the Grand Old Party would have been, for practical purposes, through. Those business people would have started a new party, sure as you’re born. The Liberals would still have hated them, and maybe vice-versa, but they’d have found a way to work together. I suspect that a lot of freshman representatives will not get re-elected next year. Partly because they “sold out” their Tea Party base, but more because they alienated a huge chunk of the middle of the American political spectrum. A little compromise may be a mess, but it’s how we’ve always done it. Just ask the boys at Appomatox.