On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-7th) did what he and many within the Republican Party have made an art out of: speaking half-truths and downright falsehoods. In other words, Cantor made claims about the Affordable Care Act without the least bit of evidence during his visit to Chesterfield County, south of the city of Richmond.
According to Cantor, “This health care law [the Affordable Care Act] provides one of the biggest threats to economic growth out there today.” Cantor then added that both political parties want to increase the access and quality of health care, but the way to do so is to lower the cost so more businesses and working-class Americans can afford it.
Rep. Cantor failed to mention, however, that it is his own party that appears willing to shut down the federal government in order to derail “Obamacare.” This prescription for stopping the Affordable Care Act doesn’t sound to me like a political position that has the interests of the American people in mind.
Unlike many of my liberal friends, I’m no fan of the Affordable Care Act. I’m not a fan of bankrolling health insurance companies, requiring healthy individuals like myself to buy health insurance when I might not otherwise do so, and not easily explaining to the American people how this new health care system will work and how it will affect the lives of Americans.
But there are good ways and then there are really bad ways of going about derailing unpopular legislation, and the foremost plan in the minds of many House Republicans is NOT one of the good ways (i.e., forcing a government shutdown).
In addition to the irrational and immoral way some Republicans have proposed to stop the Affordable Care Act, many of the claims and implications made by individuals like Cantor are just wrong. As Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-3rd) notes, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are legally exempt from provisions of the health care law. According to Rep. Scott, “Small businesses at worst are just exempt and don’t do anything. If they provide the insurance they get a tax credit.”
To demagogues like Cantor, the truth is little more than an impermanent statue to be molded and remolded according to the political winds. Gone are the days, for now, when Republicans could give reasoned arguments for why this or that policy is undesirable. Cantor and many of his colleagues, in other words, care as much about the truth surrounding an issue as they do the American people. Their political careers and their egos will always come before the interests of the country as a whole.
So to respond to one ad asking if we can trust the people in Washington? With folks like Cantor, Paul Ryan, and their likeminded comrades in our nation’s capital, the answer is a resounding “no.”