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U.S. Opinions: St. Louis

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Oh, to be a Republican extremist for just one day

From an editorial Sunday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Just once we’d like to know how it feels to be a Republican extremist in the second decade of the 21st century. Just for a day.

It must feel good to be so sure of things, to be so certain in our beliefs that we can ignore data from science, economics and history, to say nothing of religious teachings. It must be great to be free of doubt.

How wonderful it would be to go to church, open our hymnals and sing out loud, secure in the certainty that whatever we tossed in the collection basket covered it. How nice to believe that “love your neighbor” is an individual mandate (to coin a phrase) not a societal rule. How comforting to render unto Caesar as little as possible.

What would it be like to be Ted Cruz for only a day, and to spend that day standing on the floor of the United States Senate, railing against the Affordable Care Act?

How great would that be, to ignore my party’s own leaders and threaten to plunge the nation into fiscal crisis, all in a futile effort to stop a duly passed, signed and constitutionally upheld law that could bring health insurance to 25 million of my fellow Americans?

How marvelous to be a graduate of Harvard Law School and not know or care that researchers across the campus at the medical school had concluded that the lack of health care contributes to the premature deaths of 45,000 Americans each year.

How soul-enriching it would be to say to the nation’s poor and uninsured working poor, “It’s your own damned fault.”

And oh, to be part of the GOP – God’s Own Plutocrats – like Robert Benmosche, the chief executive officer of AIG, and say to the Wall Street Journal that the uproar over bonuses paid to AIG executives who helped crash the economy in 2008 was like a public lynching.

The uproar, he said, “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitchforks and their hangman nooses, and all that – sort of like what we did in the Deep South (decades ago). And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”

How sensational to gaze at “the American people” and discover that they all think and look and love just like you. How marvelous to judge people not by the color of their skin or the content of their character, but by whether they are likely to turn out at a Republican caucus in Iowa in January 2016.

How comforting it is to know you are doing the will of the privileged class, to know that many of the same people whose pockets you are picking are so confused that they might actually vote for you, or so discouraged that they won’t vote at all.

How great would it be, if you could just sleep at night.

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