Democrats and the Kabuki Drama Over the ACA

Today, Senate Democrats championed a new piece of legislation that for the first time makes it a federal crime to discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons in employment. It was legislation that was long overdue, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they did this out of the goodness of their hearts. This is a cynical and despicable effort to misdirect public attention.

I’m a fiscal conservative who sees little sense in social conservatism. Most Americans today understand that God didn’t really call being gay an abomination. That whether or not you have an abortion should be between you and your doctor (just don’t make me pay for it) and that people who want to burn an American flag in protest are engaging in protected First-Amendment speech. And having spent more than two decades watching Congress and the federal agencies, passing through the halls of the White House and attending more Congressional hearings than any mere person should be forced to endure, I know how the games are played inside The Beltway. And that is how I know that what unfolded today in Washington was pure Kabuki Theater straight from the Democratic playbook. Here’s the script:

  • Act I. The Death of The Tea Party. Tired of the Tea Party Republicans whining about the exploding federal debt, the Democrats and their loyal RINO henchmen conspired to kill them. Had the rookies in the House read their copies of The Art of War, they would have seen the ambush coming. But like a posse riding into the box canyon to catch the bank robbers, these rookies never saw it coming. When Senate Minority Sellout Mitch McConnell shot them in the back, they died hardly knowing they had been betrayed by their own sheriff. RIP, Tea Party. RIP, fiscal conservatives.
  • Act II. The Wheels Fall Off The ACA. But the Democrats and their pet RINOs had little time to enjoy their victory, as the Affordable Care Act – the great liberal fantasy that would have assured the Democrats a return to complete power after the 2014 elections – suddenly careened off the cliff. The wheels had fallen off, with no way to put them back on before the bus went over the ledge. And suddenly the great dream began to vanish before their eyes. They would lose the Senate, and likely the White House in 2016. The situation was made worse by the mid-term elections, which proved only that a sleazy politician with a lot more money could beat a sleazy politician with little money in Virginia. Facing doom and gloom, the Democrats at greatest risk of being tossed out of office made the long trek to the White House yesterday to kiss the ring of their leader and plot a way to get out of this grisly ACA mess.
  • Act III. The Redemption. Which brings us to today, and the Democratic Playbook. Scene One sees the President weep crocodile tears in apology to all those Americans he has known for three years would be slaughtered by the ACA’s provisions, and pleading to “do something real, real soon.” This enabled the Democrats to do what they did with Hillary Clinton over Benghazi (or for that matter, what they have done for Jane Fonda for years). The Dems and their lap dogs in the media loudly proclaimed, “The King…er, President…has APOLOGIZED! All is well! Go back to sleep.” But in Scene Two, the sheep refuse to be placated. So the Dems set up their most fearsome strategy – drawing the clueless Republicans into a social battle they cannot possibly win in order to make them look like heartless, mindless buffoons. Little wonder they chose this play – it has worked almost every time for the past 50 years. The chosen instrument is a bill that stood little chance of even being read on the Senate floor this year until it was dusted off for this strategy (even though it has sponsors from both parties), the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).” This set up Scene Three, in the minds of the Dems, in which they win again when the Republicans go charging off into the lunatic mists of righteousness by somehow pretending that gay people are not human beings. The oppose the bill in the House and return to looking more stupid than the Democrats.

But if you have been a long-time fan of the Washington Redskins…um, Washington Whatevers…you know that the play often does not go according to the playbook. In my vision of Scene Three, the Republicans follow the lead of 88 percent of the Fortune 500 companies and 21 of the states, and just approve the bill. It has exceptions for religious organizations. It is a tactful but meaningful bill that is just puts all Americans on an equal legal footing for employment. In my vision, the Republicans for the first time in recent memory remember who they represent and do the right thing, leaving the Democrats still sliding over the precipice wondering why their precious playbook has failed them. Gasping for oxygen all the way to the bottom of the ravine they dug for themselves in passing the ACA.

It could happen that way, but I fear the most likely end will be a head-on crash of the two positions that ultimately will serve both parties badly and the American people worse. On the other hand, you don’t get to be a writer if you are not a hopeless optimist and romantic, so I will wait to see what happens before the curtain falls.

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