The real reason Mike Lee fears Obamacare

I’m not sure if any of you were as annoying a child as I was, but one fun activity I used to engage in was to pick a short, irritating melody and play it on our piano repeatedly and loudly to see how long it would take for my mom to scream at me to knock it off. (Our grandson Silas seems to have picked up that particular genetic trait.)

The very obvious modern parallel to this little story is the Republican obsession with Obamacare, and I have long since passed the point where I wish they would just knock it off. Some adult Republicans like Sen. John McCain agree with me. For the previous three years up to November 2012, the main Republican campaign issue was Obamacare. We had an election, and the Democrats won the White House and the Senate. Not only that, only the blatant gerrymandering facilitated by the fluke Tea Party election of 2010 allowed Republicans to keep control of the House. (Over 1.4 million more Americans voted for a Democrat than a Republican for House of Representatives in 2012.) As Sen. McCain has stated so eloquently, we fought hard, we lost, elections have consequences. It’s the law of the land. After four years of arguing, why are Senator Lee and his fellow Tea Partiers risking serious damage to our nation to continue the fight against Obamacare, instead of coming to the table to help fix the flaws and make it work?

The answer is pretty clear. I’m certainly not the first to talk about this (read here and here). The truth can be gleaned from a subtle shift in talking points you are starting to hear from these warriors. They are starting to roll out old the “bread and circuses” argument. A recent Facebook debate with a conservative friend was a good example. He argued that the subsidies for the less affluent to buy insurance on the exchanges were de facto a bad thing, and worried people would become addicted to more government handouts. (He didn’t have an answer when I pointed out we’re already subsidizing poor folks who can’t pay, but in a system that is inefficient in the extreme.) It's basically the old "creeping socialism" song and dance, another irritating tune I'm really getting sick of.

Yes, although he won’t admit it, what Senator Lee and his fellow warriors really fear is that Obamacare will work and people will like it. And when I say “fear”, I mean dark, petrifying, wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night nightmarish terror. As well they should. The Republican Party history of opposing Obamacare gives “doubling down on a bad gamble” a whole new meaning. If this turns out to be the most egregious example of crying “wolf” in the history of the American Republic (and evidence is already starting to come in that it's working), if the American people conclude they’ve been deceived – it’s not an overstatement that the current balance of power in California may be the future of the Republican Party in America. No wonder they’re willing to take the nation down with them to prevent a fair trial of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The mission of the LDS Democrats is to convince our fellow Mormons that Republicans don’t have a monopoly on our most cherished values; that in many ways Democratic values are more consistent with what our religion teaches. I can think of no better example of that message than the obsessive, pathological drive of extremist ideologues to block an imperfect but pragmatic effort to rein in the exploding cost of health care in this country while providing access to hard working American families who cannot now afford it. Let’s close with that timeless quote by our first progressive President, Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

No matter where you stand on the law, the above description certainly fits Barack Obama and his courageous, herculean efforts to fix our broken health care system.

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