New York City mayoral candidate Joe Lhota is making big noises about what morons his fellow Republicans are for shutting down the government. But he’s all in with one of their central demands—to delay Obamacare for a year.
The socially liberal, fiscally conservative Lhota, who has referred to “Tea Party crap,” said on WNYC radio yesterday, “The shutdown is a disgrace…. I cannot tell you how upsetting it is for me to see 30 extremists in Washington control the entire government.” He says “both” sides (natch) “need to come to the table and they need to negotiate.”
But Lhota shares the extremists’ negotiating point of putting off the Affordable Care Act for a year, because, he says, “there’s so much confusion about the individual mandate right now.”
Bill de Blasio, Lhota’s Democratic rival, said through a spokesman that Lhota’s “endorsement of delaying Obamacare puts him in lockstep with Republican extremists like Ted Cruz—extremists who would rather shut down the government and furlough thousands of New York City workers than see hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers get access to health care.”
But last night, Lhota, Cruz, the Tea Party, John Boehner et al. got a boost from some unexpected quarters: as rightwing blogs brayed, Jon Stewart slammed into Human and Health Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius when she came on the show to push the ACA. After ragging (and rightly so) on the program’s technical glitches, an unusually obsessive and obtuse Stewart asked her five, six, maybe seven times why can’t the individual mandate to buy insurance be delayed for a year like the mandate for businesses has been?
Fair question. And it has an obvious answer (more on this in a minute, but in short, delay=death) that for some reason a nervous Sebelius could only dance around and Stewart acted like he’d never heard of.
When she gave tepid or partial answers—like, the employer mandate isn’t as big a deal as the individual mandate because most businesses already provide insurance—he seemed unable to follow, and asked, “Am I a stupid man?”
Of course not, Jon, but, as you’ve said of Fox’s Gretchen Carlson, you’re playing one on TV.