Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Psychology behind Fault-Finding and Government Shutdown
Faults are thick where love is thin.
James Howell (1594-1666), Proverb
The blame game over the impending government shutdown  over ObamaCare in three days is peaking  on both sides of the aisle.  It is getting nasty.
·         President Obama blames Republicans for “extortion,” “extremism,” and “hostage taking.”   He accuses Fox News of “misinformation.”   Senator Harry Reid is transparently dismissive of any GOP efforts to defund the ObamaCare .Minority leader Pelosi  labels Republicans as “legislative arsonists.” Tea Party “terrorists” are the butt of much of the criticism, which is growing quite personal. 

·         The Republicans say President Obama’s refusal to negotiate is the source of the problem, and surely some sort of compromise is possible if only the President would talk with them.  If he can negotiate with the presidents of  Russia and Iran, why not with us, why not  his fellow Americans  And if his law is good enough for  Congressional lawmakers and their staffs,  why not for ordinary Americans.  And why not delay it for a year if the public is so adamantly against it.
Commentators carry on endlessly on the budget blame  game, House-Senate counter moves, and President Obama’s refusal to negotiate, meet, or even discuss how to resolve the impasse.

To my mind, the whole standstill is quite simple.  It's a love-hate thing. It dates back to the unilateral passage of Obamacare and questionable tactics behind the passage.  The law passed without a single Republican vote. Its passage fostered a love-hate relationship between Obama and the GOP.  The feelings have not gone away.  The method of passage poisoned the political well. It  created the Tea Party movement, and it illustrates why Obama’s rigid ideological policies and his political  and personal isolation, have disturbed not only its opponents but his Democratic allies, such as national unions.
The Obamacare  passage and its subsequent adverse consequences are at the core of the personality disputes between the President and the Republicans. 
Compounding  the difficulties a slow economic growth under Obama,  and his dicey relationships with the business community,  Catholic organizations,  unions,   the health care community,  and those who espouse limited government, market-driven solutions, and individual choice. 

It’s a classic clash between liberals and conservatives.   The failure of Obamacare policies to decrease costs,  increase access, and maintain choice of hospitals,. doctors, and health plans ;  and the number of businesses dropping coverage  add to political  animus and skepticism.  Then there are growing uncertainties as to the effectiveness and long-term costs of the law.   Add to this the  hostility of the majority  of  GOP governors who say Medicaid expansion is  unaffordable,  and you have a love-hate relationship of the first magnitude on your hands.
Many segments health care stakeholders are ambivalent about the law.    Doctors like having mofre  paying patients, but they resent the low payments and regulations imposed by the Medicare and Medicaid bureaucracies.   Health insurers like the fact that the law requires most Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. That’s new business for them.  But they rebel against regulations telling them whom they must cover and which drive up their costs of doing business  and the dislike  cuts in payments.
Like all quarrels,  the Obamacare budget dispute has two sides.  Obama did get reelected. His  reform law is the law , and it does help certain segments of the population.   But costs are going up, not down,  access for the employed are going down,  health plans are being dropped. Half of its provisions have been delayed.   This  has triggered  a steady stream of criticism   By a 56% to 40% margin,  Americans disapprove of  the health reform plan.  But they do not oppose it enough  to defund it at the cost of  government shutdown, but enough to want it either repealed or fixed.
That Democrats lost 63 House seats in the 2010 midterms and control of the House  That  loss still rankles President Obama.  The rise of the Tea Party and opposition to Obamacare were deciding factors in that election. This time around, Obama  believes  a government shutdown over defunding Obamacare would play to his political advantage.  He figures the odds are the public would blame Republicans.  He may be betting that disfavor with Tea Party activists within the GOP would carry over to the 2014 midterms and restore Democratic  control of the house.   That would be a tremendous setback for the Tea Party and sweet revenge for President Obama and the Democrats.
Tweet:   The love-hate relationship between President Obama  and his party is psychological and dates back to the unilateral passage of Obamacare without a single

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