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Blame Tom Rooney, Florida's Most Conservative Congressman, For The Shutdown

Maybe you don't know Tom Rooney. We wouldn't blame you. It's easy to forget the face of one ubiquitous, white, Southern conservative in a whitewashed mishmash of ubiquitous, white, Southern conservatives.

But Tom Rooney, more than just about anyone else in Florida, is to blame for the government shutdown.

So let's acquaint you with the Tequesta representative, who's been quoted more often than any other Florida representative trumpeting the call for casting down Obamacare.

For starters, Rooney is the only Florida congressman to receive an astounding 100 percent conservative rating from the American Conservative Union -- earning the coveted designation of "Defender of Liberty." Meanwhile, in South Florida, there wasn't even one Republican congressman among Cuban-American representatives who even qualified as "conservative."

Next, the National Journal gave Rooney a conservative score of 89.7 -- only a few points behind Florida Representative Jeff Miller, who got a staggering 94 to rank as the nation's most conservative representative.

That means one thing: Rooney's love for America is so profound, he has no other choice but to kill it.

He and Miller, along with 226 other Republicans, passed a bill late last night that would tie further government spending to delaying the requirement that Americans buy health care for one year.

But that's more of the same, meaning he's positioned himself in an entrenched position that grants President Obama only one option: Defund his greatest legislative achievement. And this, as we know, is something that will never, ever happen.

So why keep battling an inevitability?

Freedom, that's why.

And stupidity, too.

At the beating heart of this drama, Rooney and the others want to screech to a halt the richest and most powerful country in the world -- just because they're upset about legislation that passed three years ago.

This would be like Bud Selig cancelling baseball because he's vexed the Texas Rangers didn't beat San Francisco in the 2010 World Series.

But it gets worse. Rooney knew this would happen. "I find it hard to believe that Barack Obama would do any damage to Obamacare, as much as I would like it," he told Politico.

That means he's marched this country over the edge for a misguided cause that he knew would never work.

There's no other way to say it: That's insane. But then again, he's also Florida's most conservative Republican.

Follow Terrence McCoy on Twitter



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