It’s unnerving enough that Tea Party Republican brinkmanship would irresponsibly shut down the federal government, but it’s even more disheartening that Aurora’s own Congressman Mike Coffman would take part in such a derelict political stunt.
Coffman, a Republican who up until this year has been bolstered by conservative forces in his former district, was among the Tea Party GOP tribe of lawmakers that bullied their own party and the House of Representatives into demanding that the country scuttle the Affordable Care Act or face a government shut down.
It is unthinkable that anyone having anything to do with the government 18 years ago, when Tea Party predecessors led by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, would stand for a replay of that disaster. Yet almost every current GOP congressman did just that, Coffman included.
Reached Tuesday, Coffman offered a fantastic explanation for his vote that only compounds his apparent lapse of good judgment. The three-term congressman, a veteran of state government, said that he voted on a budget that would end the Affordable Care Act because he didn’t like the fact that members of Congress and their staffs had been granted exemptions to the Obamacare health insurance plan.
Coffman’s response to reporter questions about why he voted the way he did only serves to make this a lose-lose situation. Most savvy constituents will quickly dismiss Coffman’s claim to be looking out for the American public by spanking arrogant members of Congress who think they’re too good for what’s good enough for the rest of the country. It’s nearly impossible to believe that a seasoned lawmaker would be so naive as to think that, given the politics of the situation during the last few weeks, that this was a credible way to make the changes Coffman wanted. In other words, the lame excuse falls flat.
More worrisome would be to stipulate that Coffman really means what he says. It means that he has gone so far over the edge that he’s willing to cheat millions of Americans out of badly needed health insurance — and cruelly take paychecks from other millions of Americans who are affected by a closed federal government — and risk wreaking havoc to an economy that is just now recovering from the last government-induced economic maelstrom — just so he can stick it to some loathsome members of Congress. That’s wholly irresponsible and alarmingly mean.
This is bad government, and Coffman has chosen to hitch his wagon to it. More likely is the notion that he felt more compelled to play to a dwindling Tea Party base in hopes they will be motivated to work for him during next year’s election.
Or Coffman, who has previously shown himself to be much more sensible, has suffered an epic lack of judgment that he must carry with him to the next election and for the rest of his political career.
In the meantime, his constituents and everyone else in the country must suffer and pay for the worst political decision Coffman and Tea Party Republicans have ever made.