Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 20, 2013

LEFFLER: Looney GOP keeps playing same Tunes

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Shouldn’t there have been a point at which Wile E. Coyote, super genius, realized that maybe he wasn’t actually that bright and was never going to catch and eat the Road Runner?

Over the course of about 50 cartoons, that stupid coyote devised more and more elaborate plans to catch his nemesis or, on a few occasions, Bugs Bunny. Once in a while, the coyote was able to catch the Road Runner, briefly ... but the Road Runner always got away.

The coyote was his own biggest enemy, oftentimes falling prey to his own traps and looking foolish in the end.

In his book “Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist,” Chuck Jones said that there were certain rules to which he and the writers adhered strictly when scripting the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote stories. One of them was that “The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic.” According to Jones, “A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.”

Jones also said that the coyote should be a sympathetic character. He wanted us to want Wile E. to catch that Road Runner. He wanted us to feel bad when he fell off cliffs. Or dropped a boulder on his own head.

I guess I should have read the rules when I was a kid, because I didn’t feel bad for the coyote. I never wanted him to eat the Road Runner. Just like I never wanted Sylvester to eat Tweety. Or Tom to eat Jerry. Or the dog to get the best of Foghorn Leghorn.

I just got increasingly angry with the coyote for being such a numbskull. I mean, how many times do you have to make yourself look stupid before you realize that you look stupid? Can we agree that 50 times is enough? What about 40?

Allow me to introduce you to House Republicans, super geniuses.

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, was signed into law three and a half years ago — and more importantly, since the GOP took the House in 2011 — there have been 40 separate votes to essentially kill Obamacare.

In fact, a story in The New York Times stated that the House has spent as much as 15 percent of all of its time on the floor focused on repeal. Fifteen percent of Republican representatives’ salaries over that time cost us about $17 million, based on numbers from the Congressional Research Service.

They’re hoping that the 41st time will be the charm. They feel that they’ve devised a newer, bigger, better, faster Rube Goldberg machine that will drop everything they need into place and allow them to finally get their way with that stupid Road Runner … er, Obama.

This time they’re offering up the entire economy in exchange for Obamacare, threatening to allow the United States to default on its loans unless the Democrats willingly give up their prized healthcare reform.

We’ve been here before. The GOP has threatened to shut down government on a number of occasions. They’ve even succeeded a couple times. But just like the Road Runner, the government always seems to get away in the end. It will this time, too.

Is there going to come a point where House Republicans realize they look stupid spending all their time focused on one bill that’s now been law for 3 1/2 years, while refusing to do anything to actually fix the healthcare system, help the economy or the long forgotten middle class?

“A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.”

Maybe not.

Scott Leffler loved Looney Tunes growing up. And as an adult. He also thinks that most cartoons are smarter than House Republicans. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler. Beep. Beep.