Our opinion:?Thompson then and now

“That’s never a good thing…I’ve run those numbers. (It) should save money, but you don’t. It costs a significant amount of money to wind down the government and money you haven’t budgeted…to start it back up.”

That was U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, this area’s representative in the House, talking to Times Observer editors back in August about the possibility of a government shutdown to force a dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. In August Mr. Thompson made it clear he was opposed to that gambit.

Sometime between then and Monday night, Thompson joined the rest of the lemmings in their head-long scramble over the precipice of a government shutdown, voting precisely to do that which he said he opposed only weeks before.

Of course, like the rest of his herd, he laid the blame for the shutdown at the feet of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had the audacity, like others, of insisting that a law passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the president, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, often called “Obamacare”, is an issue separate from the continued operation of the federal government.

Imagine the precedent created should Tea Party recalcitrance prevail.

Is this the future of the Congress of the United States -political extortion?

What’s the next target for which the government and the people who rely on it for employment and necessary services will be held hostage? How about gutting the Environmental Protection Agency? How about repealing the Voting Rights Act?

The way you repeal a law in a democracy like the one created by our Constitution, is you debate the matter and then take a vote. That has happened 40 times prior to this week with the same result. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t to the liking of a minority of congressional members, who have now resorted to political blackmail.

The day the shutdown went into effect, Thompson said he would vote for a “clean” continuing resolution to put the government back to work without mention of the ACA.

That’s fine, but we’re troubled by his affirmative votes on resolutions that were sure to fail in the Senate and thus sure to precipitate the shutdown.