My column last week generated quite a bit of misdirected venom from readers who apparently believed I had made light of the tragic Bataan Death March that caused the deaths of thousands of American GIs and Filipino troops during World War II. Nothing could be further from the truth. At least one online commenter took me to task for “insulting” those brave and doomed soldiers and all they stood for.
In fact, I was insulting Texas Senator Ted Cruz, because he had the foolish wit to liken his 21-hour “filibuster” to the Bataan Death March. He has since apologized profusely to a couple of 90-year-old Filipino survivors whom he invited to his office the other day. He said his remarks were wrong. And they were, and that’s why I took a poke at him. I’m sure he’s a fine, decent guy whose tongue got out ahead of his brain after a particularly long and stressful night speaking to an empty Senate chamber. He said he was apologizing to and thanking the Senate guards and staff who evidently had to work all night because of his event. He thanked them for enduring the “Bataan Death March” that he had put them through. I get it. He got it after it was too late. He couldn’t put that toothpaste back in the tube so he did the next best thing — he apologized, sincerely, I’m sure.
Some commenters said I should be ashamed and one even offered to be ashamed in my stead. If I had said what Sen. Cruz said, indeed I should have been ashamed. But since I didn’t, I felt no need to be ashamed. I’ll never be ashamed for poking good-natured fun at fat-headed politicians who are way more full of themselves than is warranted. That goes for Democrats as well as Republicans, Independents, Whigs, Communists and bloviators of every stripe in between.
I made fun of President Obama not long ago over his much-hyped but completely unconvincing speech to the world about why we had to attack Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons. I’ll go after a legislator or two, who this week, stated unequivocally that Obamacare is “the worst law” this country has ever known. It may be bad, and there’s certainly some lame aspects in it, but “the worst law” in this country’s history? That makes it sound about like it’s the Bataan Death March all over again. But of course it isn’t. And it’s not Armageddon as John Boehner declared a couple of years ago, and it’s not likely to be the absolute “destruction of America as we know it,” as another top congressman said earlier this year. And it isn’t going to force a majority of small businesses to relocate overseas as Sen. Cruz said during his marathon speech.
Can you imagine any small businesses in El Dorado County moving their operations to India to save money that they’d otherwise have to spend for Obamacare? Remembering that “small business” is defined as having fewer than 250 employees, it’s possible that some of those in the 200-plus range could conceivably do their business or make their products somewhere in the Third World cheaper than they could here. The majority of small businesses? Not even. I heard a statistic that there are about six million “small businesses” in this country, and of that number about 200,000 have around 250 employees or have the kind of business that they could do elsewhere. So, about four percent of small businesses might be tempted to relocate because of Obamacare. Four percent is a far cry from a majority. So why do these guys say this stuff?
Because they can and they know they can get away with it for the most part, and because it appeals to a certain segment of the population on whom they evidently depend for re-election. And if things get too hot for them, they can always check themselves into “rehab” for a few days and get their over-inflated egos and exaggerative disorders curbed, if not cured. When they come out, they can go back to the difficult work of hyperbolizing as their own worthy substitute for actually governing.
Speaking of governing or not-governing as is more accurate lately, you hear everything about the government shutdown — that it’s just another one like the 17 we’ve had since 1977 and no big deal. On the other side, it’s yet another new Apocalypse that will drive business away to Lower Slobovia and beyond, that all manner of “aliens” will surge across our borders and wreak every kind of havoc, that a little girl won’t get her experimental cancer treatment because the National Health Institute had to close its doors. Responding to the latter, Sen. Harry Reid came across as downright cold and churlish. He walked away without answering the reporter’s question, probably because there’s no good answer. But at least he could have said, “It’s a darn shame and a tragedy” and blamed it on the Tea Party. Ask a Republican and the answer would be basically the same. “It’s a darn shame and it’s all the president’s and Harry Reid’s fault.”
Maybe to their credit or discredit, they won’t answer that question because it’s too real. If I were the parent of that little girl who can’t get treatment because half of Congress thinks the national debt it too high while the other half is afraid to look too “weak,” I might be inclined to change my view on the assault rifle with the 100-round clip.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.