Republicans have now lost three successive elections to control the Senate, and they've lost the last two presidential elections. Nonetheless, they fought tooth and nail to kill President Obama's health care initiative. They lost that fight, but with the corporate wing of Democrats, they managed to bend it toward private interests.
So, we should be here on this: Obamacare, as it is known, is deeply flawed. Big subsidies to the health insurance industry, a bonanza for lobbyists, no public option and, as the New York Times reported this week, "Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law" -- largely because states controlled by Republicans refused to expand Medicaid.
Despite what they say, Obamacare is only one of their targets. Before they will allow the government to reopen, they demand employers be enabled to deny birth control coverage to female employees; they demand Obama cave on the Keystone pipeline; they demand the watchdogs over corporate pollution be muzzled and the big bad regulators of Wall Street sent home. Their ransom list goes on and on. The debt ceiling is next. They would have the government default on its obligations and responsibilities.
When the president refused to buckle to this extortion, they threw their tantrum. Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn down the place, sink the ship.
At least, let's name this for what it is: sabotage of the democratic process. Secession by another means.
[Ed. note: Watch the full essay below.]
Producer: Gail Ablow. Associate Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Sikay Tang.
Moyers is an award-winning journalist who began his latest media venture with the launch of Moyers & Company on air and online at BillMoyers.com in January 2012.