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Those unfamiliar with Utah politics are still familiar with the cliche that ignorance is bliss. The most blissful aspect of that ignorance comes from lack of exposure to intense conservative dogma.
The most recent example of this was found through Sen. Mike Lee. The World Health Organization was considering printing warning labels on the back of his suits reading, “WARNING: Continued exposure to Mike Lee may lead to dizziness, stupidity, dogmatic stubbornness and partisan deafness.”
All joking aside, Lee has made Utah the butt end of the jokes across the nation with his most recent attack on President Obama. When he was featured on Fox News, he commented on the president delaying the Affordable Care Act. The movement of which he’s speaking is summarized by the allotment of more time for compliance of small businesses to insure their employees. This was a pro-business move from a deep blue administration. You’d think Lee would have welcomed such a bipartisan measure.
Not so. If Lee is anything, he’s consistent. He was quoted on the Fox News Sunday program as saying, “This is a shameless act, a shameless power grab that is designed to help the president and his political party achieve a particular outcome in a partisan election.”
This was the same Mike Lee who supported the government shutdown because of the ACA. He wants to defund it at the cost of the nation’s wellbeing. Any delay of that act would seem to play to his agenda. The Tea Party seems unwilling to hear what the president and nation have to say. If it’s marked with any democratic sympathy, the blinders go up, and they plow forward without regard for party or constituent. This should be avoided, as most of the country has realized that the Tea Party separatists are as bullheaded as they are outdated.
The Obama administration unveiled the sophistry behind Lee’s remarks in an official statement released late last week: “Let’s just be honest — the Republican criticism is that the president is taking into account the need to lessen disruptions to small businesses and employers?”
Gene Spurling, the director of the White House National Economic Council, countered Lee’s accusations, turning the political puppetry back toward the Utah senator: “Do you have any question that had he (Obama) not made those adjustments, the criticism would be coming from completely the other direction? I find it unusual that the president goes out of his way and the team goes out of its way to have a smoother transition to new policies with less disruption for small businesses, and Republicans are complaining about that.”
Partisanship is a cancer that is slowly creeping toward the spinal cord of the country, threatening to paralyze even the best of intentions. Regardless of anyone’s personal opinions about ACA or Obama, was this really the best soapbox from which to decry the administration?
Lee has cut off his nose to spite his face. Politicians deserve noses. The state deserves politicians who know how to keep them. When making political grandstands, it behooves all politicians to ensure their footing before taking swings.
Making stupid decisions is one thing if you’re by yourself, but when you represent a state full of constituents, it might be in politicians’ best interests to think before speaking. As for the ACA, it’s clear that no petty senator can take it down singlehandedly, especially if they insist on taking blind, erroneous shots in the general direction of the law.