With the outcome still in doubt a few weeks after Election Day, Republican activists protested outside the home of Vice President Al Gore, demanding that George W. Bush’s Democratic opponent get out of vice presidential nominee Dick Cheney’s new house.
Well before the Jan. 20, 2001, swearing-in of the 43rd U.S. president, the U.S. Supreme Court settled the matter of which candidate would succeed Bill Clinton. Gore accepted the court decision and dropped his objections despite the fact that Bush had won Florida and thereby the presidency by 571 votes. “May God bless our new president and new vice president and may God bless the United States of America,” Gore said during a congressional session to certify the Bush election.
While some Democratic activists refused to accept the legitimacy of the Bush election, elected Democrats in Washington and around the nation accepted the obvious — regardless of the process and the closeness of the vote, Bush was president and would remain so for the next four years. Reality is hard to beat.
How far this nation has drifted since then.
We are thinking of continued Republican objections to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Just like the margin in Florida in 2000, the vote required to pass healthcare reform in Congress was razor-thin. The Supreme Court vote to sustain its constitutionality was equally close, 5-4. The dagger in the heart of the anti-Obamacare movement was the re-election of Barack Obama in 2012.
When these close calls are combined together, Republicans are justifiably frustrated that this president’s policy on health care has seemingly slipped under the wire.
Yet, there comes a time when reality — in this case, Obamacare is here to stay — must begin to sink in. Much to the disappointment of this page, Republican leaders are not at this point. Want proof?
Consider that the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives has taken more than 40 votes to repeal Obamacare, a purely symbolic effort that is going nowhere with a Democrat in the White House and Democrats in charge of the U.S. Senate.
Consider that even now some congressional Republicans are talking about shutting down the government — and in the process severely rattling our economy — unless Obamacare is defunded.
Consider that many Republican governors, including Robert Bentley of Alabama, have turned down millions of Obamacare dollars — money that would have insured millions of Americans in need — out of ideological spite. They would apparently rather have their poorest constituents suffer rather than see the implementation of Obamacare.
Consider that Washington Republicans have painted themselves into a corner where their most clearly stated policy is to take away the promise of health insurance from working Americans who desperately need it.
And on and on the unreality rolls.