October 6, 2013

Another View: House Republicans must stand firm against ‘tyranny of the majority’

By holding out for changes to or repeal of Obamacare, lawmakers are responding to their constituents.

By Chuck Barnard

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” This quote came from Thomas Jefferson, who, like other Founding Fathers, believed in Republican government, but feared the prospects of a tyrannical majority.


Chuck Barnard is a resident of Portland.

In “Our View: House Republican threats harm the nation” (Sept. 28), you argue: “ ... no one ever intended that controlling half of one branch of government should give a minority party veto rights over every piece of public policy.”

You further hold the view that the current House of Representatives is trying “to achieve through undemocratic means what they failed to do at the ballot.”

Both of these statements represent either ignorance of the actual purpose of our governmental structure or a disdain for it. The Founders did expect the House to “veto” laws that a significant minority or majority of people oppose.

At the ballot box, Americans elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Some Republicans were not for the strategy of defunding Obamacare, but they responded to their constituents. They chose to fund the government but defund Obamacare. That is not “holding the economy hostage.”

It is more reasonable to conclude that President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership are the tyrants. The Democratic Party forced Obamacare through Congress without one Republican vote.

The Washington Post recently reported: “The actual support for the law, as written, was just 43 percent. But a more recent CNN poll, conducted in September, found that support had dropped to 39 percent.”

The House of Representatives is working to prevent tyranny of the majority. The House needs to stay united.

The reason for the government shutdown and the prospect of default is that President Obama and the Democratic leadership prefer that to negotiating changes to or repeal of an unpopular law. They are acting as “terrorists” and tyrants.

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