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Opinion

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Furthermore …

Coats

Coats’ vote for common sense over shutdown

“Something has to give.” With that phrase, Indiana’s Dan Coats came down on the side of common sense and common decency this week.

On Wednesday, he told his Senate colleagues that no matter how much some of them detest Obamacare, shutting down the government was not going to make the new health system go away.

Now, that simple truth may seem obvious to ordinary citizens.

A government shutdown could mean all kinds of problems for Americans. Veterans, for instance, might not be able to get disability payments processed. Thousands of federal employees could be furloughed. There would be cutbacks in federal law enforcement, and national parks would be closed.

Potentially far more worrisome would be the damage to the economy and to the nation’s self-image, just at a time when financial confidence seems to be on the upswing.

So to risk shutting the government down just to make a point – well, that’s obviously not rational.

But in Congress, rational thought, reasonable behavior and teamwork for the greater good too often are trumped by ideology. It is still possible to envision things spinning out of control, and blind ideology carrying the day.

All Coats’ Senate colleagues joined him in voting to retreat from the quest to overturn Obamacare by risking partial paralysis of the rest of the government.

A strategic retreat, with resolve to fight another day? Of course. But a tiny ray of common sense from the Republican senator from Indiana.

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