Lebanon Reporter

January 8, 2011

Dear GOP: It's time to stop

By Rod Rose
Assistant Managing Editor

Lebanon — Indiana Congressman Mike Pence bragged Friday that Republicans in Congress will slam their heads against the Capitol Building’s pillars until they bleed.

In a manner of hyperbole, of course.

Friday, Pence was quoted by CNN in a story on the “sharply partisan” but ultimately irrelevant vote to initiate steps to repeal the national health care bill snidely called “Obamacare” by its foes that Republicans will keep voting, regardless of the outcome.

The House vote “probably will set up a final House vote to undo the measure next Wednesday,” CNN said.

Because Democrats have a majority in the U.S. Senate, and because that Obama guy happens to be the president of the United States, with the power to veto any bill that might miraculously survive both houses of Congress, the 236 representatives who voted for repeal are wasting their time.

Some Republicans promised during their campaigns they would vote to repeal the health care bill. Because it is unusual for politicians to do what they said they’d do once they get into office, the GOP deserves acknowledgment for the vote.

There is, however, a time to vote and a time to stop voting

Pence, who was re-elected to the state’s Sixth Congressional District by a minority of the district’s registered voters, told CNN Friday that, “We will vote to repeal Obamacare again and again until we consign their government takeover to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” Pence said. “Welcome to the 112th Congress. American people — this is your week.”

To be accurate, Pence should have said, “A minority of American people — this is your week.”

While Republicans have been thumping their vocal cords proclaiming that the American people soundly rejected the Obama administration in November’s election, the truth is that most Americans stayed home.

According to the United States Elections Project, using only races that received the highest number of votes, an estimated 89.1 million persons voted in November — or 40.8 percent of the total registered.

Nationwide, in only nine states did more than half of registered voters bother to complete a ballot. In 17 states, the turnout was 40 percent or less.

Winner for most apathetic voters?: The District of Columbia, with a 28.9 percent turnout.

That’s government of the minority, by the minority, for the minority.

In Pence’s own district, an average of 43.8 percent of voters cast ballots — the median was 43.5 percent, with turnout in the 19 counties in his district ranging from an abysmal 36 percent to 55 percent.

Republicans have made their point: They don’t like the health care plan. There are parts I’m not pleased about, too — particularly the requirement that everyone must purchase health insurance.

Having done what they said they would do — vote to repeal the health care law — Republicans should retire with honor and work to modify the law, rather than wasting time performing the same futile action again and again and again.

That is, after all, one of the definitions of insanity.

— Rod Rose is the assistant managing editor of The Lebanon Reporter. He may be reached at rod.rose@reporter.net; c/o The Lebanon Reporter, 117 E. Washington St., Lebanon IN 46052 or at (765) 482-4650 x 127.