Letter: Hostage strategy is dangerous

Whatever your politics and however you feel about Obamacare, the hostage strategy being pursued by the tea party is extremely dangerous and represents a real and present threat to our country and our system of governance — not because it has already resulted in an economically disastrous government shutdown — but because of its implications for America’s future.

The tea party strategy to dismantle Obamacare amounts to “the nuclear option” in legislative politics. If this gambit proves successful, it will subvert our entire process of representative democracy. Consensus rule and representative democracy will be replaced with an anarchic environment of legislative piracy in which minority factions — not majorities — will control the legislative process. Small constituencies will feel empowered to hold the country hostage with the hopes of forcing legislative outcomes they could never hope to achieve through majority approval.

Forget for the moment it’s Republicans targeting Obamacare. What if Democrats wanted to use the same strategy to institute a national gun registration program? This would forever undermine our already struggling American democratic process.

— David Tessler