Tom Harkin: This "defund" effort is as dangerous as the break-up before the Civil War or something

At least he’s creative. The typical answer to this week’s Democratic mad libs that “Tea partiers are like __________” is “terrorists.” Dan Pfeiffer used that metaphor yesterday and Al Gore, ever predictable, used it this morning. (The left, meanwhile, is a group of baby ducklings and fuzzy panda cubs.) I have no outrage left to muster over Democrats’ insane hypocrisy on civility, but let me make one request: If we’re going to smear Cruz and his backers as suicide bombers and lawless insurrectionists, could Obama at least make a pretense of faithfully carrying out the law himself? The “anarchy” charge sounds tinny when the guy floating it has decided he can choose which parts of ObamaCare he will and won’t enforce based on what’s best for his party politically.

Yes, Obamacare is the law of the land. But it is President Obama — who is legally and constitutionally required to faithfully execute the law — and not Republicans who has openly defied it. He has unilaterally and often with no statutory authority opted to waive and delay the parts of the Affordable Care Act that are politically inconvenient to him (or that his administration has been too incompetent to implement).

Obama has declared that in states setting up their own exchanges, no one will have to prove his income in order to sign up for subsidies. He is so desperate to get the subsidies rolling — and thus, he hopes, buy support for the unpopular law — he’s willing to let people skip the part in the law where it says they have to prove they qualify for the goodies. He delayed the requirement for large businesses to comply with the law because the initial turmoil of having millions kicked off their insurance plans was more than he could bear politically.

While this is closer to anarchy than anything the tea partiers have pushed for, anarchy still isn’t the right word for it. Because President Obama still believes people should obey the law of the land — when it pleases him, that is.

Needless to say, if the GOP ever musters the numbers to pass something as momentous as O-Care, like entitlement reform, congressional liberals will happily engage in obstructionism equal to and likely way beyond (think Wisconsin) what Cruz was guilty of this week. It’s a grander, more dire version of the debate over the filibuster; lefties are all about majority rule right now, but see how they feel next year if/when Republicans reclaim the Senate. Chris Hayes openly admits that he’d support tactics like this from the left in certain circumstances, like stopping a war that he opposed; it’s not the allegedly insurrectionist attempt by the tea-party minority to impose its will that troubles him, it’s the cause they’re obstructing in adopting those tactics that he cares about. Same goes for Tom Harkin, undoubtedly. They’ll gladly use this tactic themselves once the stakes are high enough and, thanks to Cruz’s precedent, the threshold for “high” on the other side will be a bit lower after this. In anticipation of that, let me just say now for the record that liberal Democrats threatening a shutdown in the future over whatever their pet cause happens to be is more devastating than a nuclear attack but not quite as devastating as an asteroid hitting the Earth, unless they bypass a shutdown for debt-ceiling brinksmanship instead, in which case yeah, >>> asteroid.

Exit question: Harkin does realize that Republicans have caved each and every time they’ve engaged in fiscal brinksmanship since the tea party swept them to power, including today, right?

Update: Barbara Mikulski has her own answer to the weekly mad libs.

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