EDITORIAL: Boehner owns consequences of this shutdown

FresnoOctober 1, 2013 

They can spin it all they want, but House Republicans manufactured the crisis that shut down the federal government and could end up wreaking havoc on world finances.

Republicans blame Democrats for not agreeing to their terms, but why should the Senate Democratic majority negotiate with hostage takers? Voters in the last election had an opportunity to reject Obamacare by electing Mitt Romney over Barack Obama. By a wide margin, they chose not to do so.

Thankfully, Wall Street reacted to the shutdown calmly Tuesday and stock prices rose on the strength of encouraging news from the manufacturing sector. But economic danger looms two weeks out when the United States will reach its borrowing limit. If that cap is not increased, the nation will default on its outstanding debt, potentially sending the world economy into a tailspin.

And for what?

House Speaker John Boehner says Obamacare is a "train wreck." But what's really a wreck is the current system of health care, which prevents people with pre-existing conditions from getting health insurance. It's a system in which a family's entire life savings can be wiped out by a stroke or bout with cancer. It's a system that utterly fails in providing preventive care that would bring down staggering medical costs.

Obamacare, however complex and imperfect it may be, offers the prospect of medical coverage for nearly everyone, and a shift toward preventive services that will save us all in the long run.

The Senate on Monday refused to meet the House's terms, a move that Boehner previously said would be "an act of breathtaking arrogance by the Senate Democratic leadership."

Yet it is Boehner whose arrogance and weakness is breathtaking. It might have cost him his leadership position, but Boehner could have stood up to the tea party extremists. Instead, he pandered to the most reckless and ill-informed members of his caucus, refusing to send the Senate a clean funding bill stripped of the condition that Obamacare be delayed.

Boehner will go down as the least courageous leader of a chamber of Congress in recent memory. He now owns the consequences of his wreckless actions.

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