The Republican “Plan” for Our Nation: Using Extortion and Blackmail to Get Their Way

cantor-boehnerWhenever politics is involved, there’s a seemingly endless amount of rhetoric that goes back and forth between both sides.  It’s politics — we disagree, we debate, we disagree some more, debate some more and eventually come to some kind of a compromise.  At least that’s how it used to go.

Now it’s governing by way of blackmail and extortion with a hint of blatant sabotage and hostage taking just for good measure.

Since the wave of tea party Republicans took over a good portion of the GOP, conservatives have “governed” (if you want to call it that) more like extortionists or hostage takers rather than members of Congress.

Bob Woodward, Associate Editor for the Washington Post, apparently agrees.  On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” he said, “The Republicans are out here, a group of them in the House, essentially using extortion and blackmail methods to say, ‘If we don’t defund Obamacare, we’re not going to do the routine things of government.'”

He’s absolutely right.  Compromise has suddenly become “liberally biased” and they spend more time campaigning for their next primary battle or presidential bid than they actually spend trying to do their jobs.

Now by “do their jobs,” I don’t mean showing up when they’re required to and going through the motions.  I mean actually showing up and doing something to help this country.  And no, “opposing everything President Obama supports” isn’t a credible political platform of governing.  Because that’s really all they stand for.  Well, that and the same policies of the Bush administration.

You know, the policies which led us into one of the worst economic collapses in our nation’s history.

The only thing House Republicans have done is hold 41 futile votes to repeal “Obamacare.”  Something that stands exactly zero chance at happening while Democrats hold power in the Senate and Obama is the president.

But let’s not forget Senate Republicans either.  They’ve managed to break their own records for number of filibusters used to block the debate on proposed bills.

And now with two key items coming up — the exchanges set to open for the Affordable Care Act and the debt ceiling needing to be raised — Republicans are essentially trying to extort and blackmail the president to get what they want.

The problem is, what they want is to stop Obamacare, and they’re really powerless to stop it.

See, “Obamacare” has been the law of the land for quite some time now.  A fact many Republicans just don’t seem to get.

Unless they gain some kind of super majority in both the House and Senate (which isn’t going to happen for either party any time soon) they stand absolutely no chance at stopping the health care law.

So what are they trying to do?  Well, as many Americans already know, they’re either threatening to hold the debt ceiling hostage or shutdown the government.  It just depends on which section of the Republican party you ask.

The more “mainstream” Republicans (Boehner, Cantor, McConnell) seem to be contemplating using the vote to raise the debt ceiling (which is just a procedural vote to pay our bills on money we’ve already spent—it is not about new spending), while the more right-wing radical Republicans (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and others) are calling for a full government shutdown until the law is defunded.

They can’t repeal the law.  Their only real “option” is to try to defund the law.  But they really can’t do that either — not without President Obama allowing them to.

Their only option is to basically say to the president and Democrats, “Look, we will either crash the economy or shutdown the government if you don’t sign off on defunding Obamacare.”

Basically, “Give us what we want—or else.

Who in their right mind would think blackmail and extortion are good practices for members of our Congress to use?  These actions completely undermine not only our president but our Constitution.

Especially as it relates to “Obamacare.”  Please take a moment after you read this to remind these people that not only did Congress approve the health care law, but the president signed off on it and the Supreme Court ruled it Constitutional.

But that’s not stopping some Republican members of Congress from threatening blackmail or extortion in order to get their way.

And when all is said and done, these threats will accomplish absolutely nothing.

If they don’t raise our debt ceiling, it will drastically hurt our economy.  In other words, it will cause millions of Americans to suffer.  But guess what?  Obamacare will still be the law.

If they don’t fund our government for a few weeks—it will cause millions of Americans to suffer.  But guess what?  Obamacare will still be the law.

Sound like a broken record?  That doesn’t seem to matter to Republicans.

At the end of the day, the President of the United States isn’t going to be blackmailed into doing something he’s said countless times he’s not going to do.

And I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you fall on, nobody should support our president giving into extortion and blackmail.

But that’s exactly what Republicans are banking on happening.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Mr. Smith

    What I would like to know is why republicans would rather destroy America over the affordable care act (which is largely policies they themselves drafted) then move on with making America a better place for everyone.

    • houndlover

      Thank is the $64 Million dollar question isn’t it?

    • Karen Christie

      Because their supporters truly believe that the economy will be worse off if the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, thanks to Faux News, Ted Cruz and the rest of that ilk.

      Very sad 🙁

  • Pipercat

    Kind of a bad way to conduct business, I reckon.

  • daveopolitico

    Frankly, neither party is behaving in a way that is admirable or respectable. The system is very broken. None of the branches of government are operating within their proper scope, so they resort to bad behavior, crossing lines they shouldn’t, etc.

    • jazzychow

      Only one party is holding the nation hostage to have their demands met. Don’t fool yourself. The majority of Americans see exactly what is going on.

  • Suzie

    Well, they basically accept bribes from the lobbyists that tell them what to do anyway, so is it really any surprise that they would also be into blackmail and extortion? Nope.

  • Phil the observer

    And yet the same vision of an American Government going to waste….When did we lose the Government and start having a highly paid group of pre-schoolers making the rules???

  • SOP for Conservative leaders these days is “Party Over Country”.


  • SOP for Conservative leaders these days is “Party Over Country”.


  • SOP for Conservative leaders these days is “Party Over Country”.


  • Matthew Reece

    A hostage-taker is a person who threatens to harm peaceful people unless certain demands are met. Any legislator who passes a law of any kind is
    doing exactly that, because anyone who peacefully disobeys a law is in danger of being harmed by agents of the state. Therefore, every member of every legislature is a hostage-taker, not just a few Republicans in the US Congress.

    • Peter S. Linder

      Except that legislators are elected and swear an oath to defend the constitution, and are expected to do their jobs, that is to legislate. The majority get their guys in those positions, and if they act against the interest of their constituents, they should be voted out.

      The difference here is that this minority of the GOP is refusing to allow the government to function unless the Democrats agree to dismantle the ACA, a settled law, passed and signed and vetted by the Supreme Court. Your analogy doesn’t hold up, and this business of “everyone does it” is pure nonsense.

      • Matthew Reece

        The job of legislation is immoral, as a statutory law is a murder threat. There are several steps between disobedience and being murdered by agents of the state, but that does not change the moral equation.

  • gemma liar

    I love when Obama recently said,,,,” when the affordable care act DOES start being successful you KNOW the right(wingers) will stop calling it 0BAMACARE”