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SPOTLIGHT
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Lost cause

Published on -9/26/2013, 10:16 AM

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Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., is confident the national 14 percent approval rating for Congress doesn't apply to him. He has unscientific survey results to prove it.

In a press release issued this week, the Big First congressman announced 89 percent of his constituents approve of his job performance in the nation's capital. We're actually surprised it isn't 100 percent, given the selection process involved in gathering the sample.

Nonetheless, when Huelskamp concludes he's "encouraged to know my representation of their interests in Washington has not gone unnoticed," he's entitled. And it's all harmless.

But when the congressman points to 74 percent of respondents saying: "... Kansans want no part of Obamacare, and want it defunded even if Senator Reid and President Obama force a government shutdown," he should not rely on the unscientific sample for justification of his actions on The Hill.

It was not long ago the most scientific of all surveys -- the March 2012 caucus results -- had Rick Santorum as the preferred candidate for the GOP nomination. Kansas awarded all of its 40 delegates to a candidate who eventually lost to Mitt Romney, who in turn lost to President Barack Obama. Using the First Congressional District in the Sunflower State to gauge the mood of the nation is hardly a reliable tool.

Still, Huelskamp and other tea party conservatives are following the lead of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who wasted 21 hours on the Senate floor this week trashing the Affordable Care Act. The obstructionist bloc is seeking to defund the law by attaching it to the 2014 spending bill and the upcoming debt ceiling increase. Both need expeditious approval as the new fiscal year begins Tuesday and the federal government will have exhausted its borrowing authority by Oct. 17. Failure to pass the first will result in a partial government shutdown; the second would lead to the first default in U.S. history. Neither should happen, for the good of the economy.

The so-called Obamacare is the law of the land, was vetted through the democratic process (including the U.S. Supreme Court), and goes into effect Tuesday. Even shutting the government down will not stop the president's signature domestic legislation from going into effect.

And even though virtually every Democrat in Washington and most Republicans understand this, the tea party conservatives refuse to grasp the reality of the situation. We're not convinced even Sen. Cruz understands what he's talking about. During his close-enough-to-call-it-a-filibuster, he brought up comparisons of those not fighting Obamacare to those in the 1930s who weren't fighting the rise of the Third Reich. Cruz even read the entire Dr. Seuss classic "Green Eggs and Ham." That wasn't lost on a number of scribes who pointed out after repeated assertions he would never like green eggs and ham, the children book's protagonist actually does like them -- once he tried them.

Cruz, Huelskamp and ilk are fighting a lost cause. Potentially jeopardizing the fragile U.S. economy with a futile, last-minute attempt to prevent uninsured Americans from receiving the elusive coverage makes no sense. Regardless of what Huelskamp's latest polls say.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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