GOP’s three lessons for kids

September 30, 2013
Sen. Ted Cruz (AP Photo/Senate TV)
Sen. Ted Cruz (AP Photo/Senate TV)

Listening to the national debate over Obamacare is sometimes jaw-dropping, especially the Republican rationale for obsessively trying to kill the law and driving the country toward a government shutdown. Here are three of the strange lessons related to history that kids can take away from the behavior and words of some Republicans:

1. The Founding Fathers compromised on profound issues so the Constitution could be written and ratified, realizing that they couldn’t always get whatever they wanted. But you kids don’t have to because we Republicans don’t. 

The president’s health insurance law was passed by Congress and found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court, but we don’t like it. So we voted more than 40 times to get rid of it or change it, and now we are driving the government to shut down because of it.

2. Adolf Hitler committed genocide and led the world into its deadliest war. But you should feel free to equate actions taken during the Third Reich with stuff you don’t like. Some of us do that with Obamacare.

Consider what Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, said during his recent 21-hour and 19-minute anti-Obamacare talkathon in the Senate. Taking aim at critics who said he was wasting his time, Cruz likened them to the kind of folks who would have tried to appease Hitler as he was preparing to take over Europe. He said:

If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany — Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe but that’s not our problem. Let’s appease them. Why? Because it can’t be done. We can’t possibly stand against them.’

And then there was Sheryl Nuxoll, a Republican state senator from Idaho who, early this year, sent out a mass mailing saying:

The insurance companies are creating their own tombs. Much like the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps, private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange.

3. The U.S. Congress has passed some hideous, immoral laws in its times, including those that have permitted slavery and that allowed for the kidnapping of runaway slaves, and even freed men, from the North so they could be returned to the South. But it’s okay if you think Obamacare is the worst law ever passed. Some of us do.

U.S. Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana recently said that “Obamacare is the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in Congress.” In August, Bill O’Brien, a state representative in New Hampshire, likened Obamacare, in its sheer destructive power, to “personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that allowed slave owners to come to New Hampshire and seize African Americans and use the federal courts to take them back to … slave states.”

You may be also be interested in: Five lousy lessons Congress is giving to kids

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | September 29, 2013