Letter: It’s called standing on principle  

So, let me see if I have this correct: Your beef with “our man in Big Washington” [Editorial, Aug. 22] includes the fact that Robert Hurt has joined his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives “to vote 40 times . . . to repeal Obamacare when there is so much new urgent business that needs his attention.”

Gracious! Just imagine! Here is an issue (Obamacare) which polls have indicated since before its enactment that the American people oppose with ever-increasing margins, partly because it has become increasingly evident that its implementation is nothing short of a train wreck, and those rascals in the House have voted against it, not once, but 40 times. Ordinarily one would expect such tenacity to do the public’s bidding would result in approbation, not condemnation.

And the reason for the 40 votes instead of just one? Because the Senate won’t vote on any of the measures. The House has now given the Senate 40 chances. Where is the condemnation here?

Which brings us to your charge that the Republicans have “threatened shutdown of the government if they don’t get their way.” Here’s a little lesson on the U.S. Constitution: All spending measures must originate in the House of Representatives. All the House bills fund government, with the exception of Obamacare. If the Senate and President approve just one of them, there will be no cessation of funding. Why, then, do you and others in the media keep blaming the Republicans for a threatened shutdown?

Having participated in shutdown dramas as Reagan’s budget director, I know how governmental forces play to the media and the public to frame the debate to their advantage. But the threat is clearly overblown. Once in the Oval Office I was pacing the floor as a shutdown was imminent. President Reagan clamped his hand on my shoulder and deadpanned, “Jim, Jim, just settle down. Let’s close ’er down and see if anybody notices.”

This was a bit of levity, of course. But Reagan’s resolve on this and so many other issues is evidence that standing on principle may upset the chattering classes, but serves the best interests of our nation over the long run.

James C. Miller III
Washington

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