When Robert Hurt became Rappahannock County’s representative to Congress, many here rejoiced. For he was not Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was our representative until the 5th District was gerrymandered even more than it already had been. ABC: Anybody But Cantor!
Certainly, Rep. Hurt seems more approachable, friendlier and more inclined to listen than his predecessor. But when it comes to what he actually says and does, though the manner seems courtly, the substance remains “the same old, same old.”
This became most recently and sadly obvious during Rep. Hurt’s campaign-like swing through the 5th District on Memorial Day. After giving perfunctory thanks to “those who have served and those who are serving,” he glibly segued into the evils of Obamacare.
Just as our military “have sacrificed so much to defend our Constitution and our American way of life,” he said, so too were he and his congressional Republican colleagues continuing the courageous fight against Obamacare: “I am committed to do what I can to also defend the Constitution and our liberties.”
Never mind that equating Republican legislative obstructionists with those who have died in defense of our country might be viewed by some as outrageous. Never mind that the health-care law has already been passed, on the books now for two years – not to mention that the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality.
So what, really, is to be made of this Cantor-led intransigence? (Voting 37 times, at last count, to repeal all or part of Obamacare!) Are we to admire the self-righteous conviction? Are we relieved that Congress is spending its time trying to repeal Obamacare and creating similarly politically-ginned-up distractions? Do we hate Big Government so much that we really want it to grind to a complete halt?
Whatever one thinks of Obamacare, could it really be worse than the socialized medicine we have now – whereby those who are solvent and/or have good insurance subsidize the emergency care of those who don’t? Have the congressional Republicans got their own secret plan that would change the fact that the United States spends a higher percentage of its GDP on health care than any other advanced nation – yet has worse medical outcomes for individual patients?
Rather than acting like petulant kindergartners, wouldn’t it be better if Rep. Hurt and his congressional colleagues focused on what the American people overwhelmingly say they want Congress to do – namely, responsible governance. The biggest obstacle to renewed economic growth – businessmen and economists seem to agree, whether liberal or conservative – is the dysfunction of Congress. If only Rep. Hurt would be part of the solution . . .