Mental gymnastics


In a recent letter, using stunning mental gymnastics, the writer blamed the Senate and President Obama for the government shutdown.

The letter stated: “The Republican-controlled House has constitutional responsibility for funding all government activities and several bills were offered to do that (except fund the ACA) so it was the executive branch (Obama) and the Senate that actually blocked government funding — then forced the House to cave in (which it did in order to keep government functioning).”

Stating “except fund the ACA” is like saying the 1940s were generally peaceful (except for World War II).

The ACA is a law. It was passed by Congress and found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. Holding the government hostage to defund it up to hours short of default was an act of legislative terrorism. Some tea party House members were not worried about defaulting on our debts even though economists and political leaders around the world from all persuasions begged them not to because of the high probability of dire consequences.

As it was, the House GOP effort cost the nation $24 billion and disrupted the lives and livelihoods of millions as collateral damage.

Here is a list of 49 Republicans on a websote ( — representatives, senators, governors, old-school conservatives and pundits — who thought shutting down the government to defund the ACA was a huge mistake. Peter King R-NY: “This party is going nuts.”

The writer also said: “Every tea-party group supports the U.S. Constitution but insists our government abides by its constitutional limitations. They object to Obama’s end runs around those limitations. A single-payer, government-controlled socialized medicine system is not constitutional and that is the stated goal of Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others.”

Note — The ACA isn’t a single payer system. However, Medicare is a single-payer, government-controlled health system. It has been in place since 1965 and hasn’t been struck down by the Supreme Court.

I venture to say that the mostly older Republican audience members in “Coffee With Cathy “gatherings at the airport or the like-aged members of audiences at local tea party meetings gladly use their Medicare benefits and do not send their Social Security checks back.

As to the tea party true believers in general, I think they should consider a quote a friend uses: “Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.”

Norm Osterman

Walla Walla


thrifty 2 years ago

I agree, we wouldn't want to miss seeing just how great the Affordable Care Act is. Democrats should stand up and be proud of what their party has done for our country. A program that is inoperable, a program that provides insurance for those that didn't have it, a program that takes insurance from those that did have it, and a program that increases the cost of medical insurance for recipients. It is hard to believe that Democrats up for election next year are concerned about retaining their positions. Some are even suggesting that the implementation be delayed for a year. I think that was one of the proposals made by the House during the shut down but those not responsible for the shut down would not consider it - until now.


PearlY 2 years ago

No great mental gymnastics are needed to know that when two sides are at odds and either of them has the means to end the conflict by giving up its goals, then both sides can be said to be blameworthy for continuing the conflict. The one you actually blame is always going to be the one whose goals you find objectionable.

Defunding a valid law was considered perfectly acceptable by most Democrats when it came to defunding the NSA's domestic surveillance program. So it isn't the principle of defunding that they really object to, it's the target. The 'holier than thou' attitude is sheer hypocrisy and the accusation of domestic terrorism is vicious demagoguery.


NewInWW 2 years ago

You (conveniently for the argument you were making) leave out the part that the Republicans wanting to defund Obamacare held the federal government hostage for sixteen days; while the Democrats wanting to defund the NSA's domestic spying simply voted on defunding the NSA - no hostage taking and no $2.5B adverse consequences for the nation.

If the Republicans had simply voted on defunding Obamacare, no one would have cared - it was and is their ongoing threat to do great damage to the country through a government shutdown or debt ceiling default that allows people to accurately assign blame.

As I recall, Obamacare was a central issue in the 2012 presidential election. Obama won. If Republicans wanted to improve the law, I'm sure they'd find willing Democratic negotiators. However, they are single-mindedly focussed on repeal, and that's simply not going to happen.

If there's a "holier than thou" attitude and sheer hypocrisy in all of this, it resides in the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives, who apparently feel that they have the right to substitute their preferences for the results of the last presidential election.


PearlY 2 years ago

Well, the Republicans DID vote on defunding Obamacare, and they won the vote in the House. The Democrats, on defunding the NSA, lost the vote. If they'd won, we'd find out whether Obama would have refused to accept a budget with the NSA defunding included, as he did the budget with Obamacare defunded. Would the Dems then have stuck to their guns or not? We simply can't know, since we don't get to live in two alternate universes at the same time.

Obamacare was a central issue in the 2012 election but Obama ran on the basis of fraudulent claims about it. We now know that much of what Obama said about it to sell it was false. Had he told the truth, we'd have a mandate one way or the other, but he didn't.

Congresspersons are supposed to represent their constituents, not the President or his policies. They DO have the right to substitute their preferences if they can. I don't know if you've ever read the Constitution, but there's absolutely nothing in there about the President being superior to the legislature when it comes to making laws.


NewInWW 2 years ago

Talk about mental gymnastics!

The issues about "keeping your current health plan" weren't widely known while the House Republicans were having their little temper tantrum and were never mentioned during their hostage taking. If "keeping your current health plan" was the issue, once again, I'm sure Democrats would have been happy to negotiate about it.

You can try to spin it any way you want, but a minority of the House Republican caucus doesn't run the entire federal government. Perhaps you should take another look at the Constitution.


downhillracer 2 years ago

Concise synopsis with a focus on the facts, Mr. Osterman – thank you.

Now we have the usual responses from the usual crowd, stuck deep inside their ideological bubble to the exclusion of all logic, compassion or reason.


Iopine 2 years ago

It seems rather disturbing that as you sit at home and draw your healthy pension check that you criticize the Seniors for drawing Social Security and Medicare after paying into those institutions the majority of there life. When you invest in a fund such as Social Security and Medicare it is not an entitlement it is an investment.

You also remember the words of the great Nancy Pelosi " We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it"! A far comparison to this bill is the same as what a Doctor would tell you for a stool sample. Totally self-explanatory!


fatherof5 2 years ago

This has nothing to do with this letter, but I wanted to let Barracuda know I learned today that the school board is having a work session on Tuesday (11/12) at 6:30 p.m. to look further into the facilities planning for a potential Wa-Hi bond.


stvsngltn 2 years ago

What a novel idea -- using the U-B letters to the editor comments section to pass private messages rather than such routine and boring means of communication as telephones, texts, private e-mails,etc. You may have just started something. Namvet60: salutes for your honorable service (meant to pass this along on the 11th) and -- if that service was as a Marine then happy birthday anf Semper Fi as well (238 years old on this past November 10th). (Celebrated the event with three old Marine buddies last week in Peoria.)


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