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Another View -- Melissa Ritchings: Where was Shaheen when we needed her on Obamacare?

October 31. 2013 10:18PM

With regards to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's letter to President Obama requesting an extension of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) open enrollment period, I feel I must ask: why the change of heart?

Less than a month ago Sen. Shaheen's fellow Democrats and their media mouthpieces were decrying Republicans in Washington as terrorists with "bombs strapped to their chests" (senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer); hostage takers with a gun to the head of the U.S. economy (President Obama); jihadists (Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.); and seditionists (, among a slew of other insults; and for what? For having the gall to request that the President afford individuals the same opportunity he'd given businesses by delaying the ACA's individual mandate as he had the employer mandate.

In fact, the Republican request for a delay to the individual mandate would have had the benefit of actually being a legal exercise of legislative power, as opposed to Obama's illegal overreach in delaying the employer mandate through executive fiat.

The shutdown need never have happened — let alone the media circus over the debt ceiling "crisis" — had Obama and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., simply agreed to the House Republicans' many continuing resolution requests, all of which would have funded the government while either defunding or delaying implementation of the ACA. Instead, for 15 days Republicans were pilloried for having the temerity to tell the President that his signature legislation was a lead balloon.

Where were you, Sen. Shaheen, when I and those who believe as I do were being treated to a daily dose of unhinged abuse for requesting a delay similar to what you are now requesting of the President? Where were you when innocent Americans and foreign travelers in our country were being denied access to public spaces; when they were being barricaded in their hotels and threatened with arrest for the sin of "recreating"; when they were being pushed out of their homes and having their private businesses shuttered because they had the temerity to lease public land? Where were you, senator, when the rights and liberties of innocent people were being violated because you and your fellow Democrats would not budge on delaying implementation of the ACA? My, hindsight sure is 20/20, isn't it, senator?

The problems with the Affordable Care Act were obvious long before it passed — starting with its laughably Orwellian title — and the rollout of the exchanges was a disaster by the close of business on the first day of the shutdown. You could have asked for this delay then, senator. You and your fellow Democrats could have negotiated with the Republicans to prevent or shorten the shutdown while saving hundreds of thousands of Americans from the ruinous effects of the "Affordable Care" Act for at least one more year, but you didn't. Where were you?

No, senator, there are no do-overs. I'm sure next November is looming like a dark specter for you, and you would do anything to remove the pall of the ACA from your re-election efforts. With all due respect, senator, you should have thought of that sooner. You should have thought more about how this monstrosity of a law would affect every-day Americans rather than how you could leverage it for your own petty political posturing. But now that the bloom has fallen off the diseased rose, you want the Republicans to do what they always do and rush in to fix the mess your Democrats have made so that you can campaign as a politician who's "looking out for the little guy." I would laugh at the hypocrisy if it weren't exactly what I expected.

You want a delay? Sorry, that ship sailed with the shutdown. You didn't notice? Well, where were you?

Melissa Ritchings lives in Franklin.

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