News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 3, 2013

EDITORIAL: GOP should alter its strategy

Let’s hope more moderate voices will soon prevail

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Politics being unpredictable, it’s impossible to know how long the partial shutdown of the federal government will last. Not long, we hope. The employees whose lives have been put on hold by furloughs, and the people whose lives are affected by the disruption of services, don’t deserve to be pawns in this ongoing crusade by the Republican Party in Congress to damage or destroy the new health care law, or as they like to derisively call it, “Obamacare.”

Actually, it’s not really fair to lay the blame for the government shutdown on congressional Republicans. At least not all of them. In fact, there is a growing number who disagree with the tactic of using government shutdown as a political negotiating tool. Some are even starting to speak out about it.

One example is Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who accused tea party-backed lawmakers of trying to “hijack the party” and said he senses that a growing number of rank-and-file House Republicans — perhaps as many as a hundred — are tired of the shutdown that began Tuesday morning and will be meeting to look for a way out.

We wish them luck. And we would be especially pleased if our 8th District Rep. Larry Bucshon would join them.

For now, however, Rep. Bucshon has staked out his position with the tea-party wing of the GOP. He claims he is taking a principled stand and that his opposition to the Affordable Care Act in its current form is so intense that he is comfortable linking it to the ongoing debate over the budget, which needed to be renewed by a continuing resolution to keep the government open and functioning beginning Oct. 1.

Rep. Bucshon’s passion for causes he holds dear is worthy of respect. But he is losing touch with his constituents on this issue. Even those who share his disdain for Obamacare do not all agree with this strategy of closing down the government if he and his GOP allies can’t get it repealed, defunded or at least changed. They understand that political disagreements of this type should not be allowed to damage people’s lives or potentially do damage to the economy.

Rep. Bucshon need not alter his viewpoint on the health care law. He has made his position known, repeatedly. He has voted for its repeal in the House more than 40 times. Agree with him or not, everyone knows where he stands.

We do, however, implore him to change his approach to the matter at hand and drop his insistence that blocking the health care law be linked in any way to keeping the government open. To remain on this course is more than just unwise. It is wrong.