House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) likes to remind people he is not a scientist, especially when asked difficult questions about global warming, but he doesn't have to be a scientist to understand Albert Einstein's Theory of Insanity.
The greatest scientist of the Twentieth Century defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results each time.
That's the best definition of Boehner and the House Republicans' approach to the Affordable Care Act. This week they voted for the 56th time to repeal ACA in one form or another. All without success.
Joe DiMaggio's hit safely in 56 consecutive games in 1941; Boehner and his team have struck out 56 straight times over the past five years.
There was a time when Republicans spoke of "repeal and replace" but they were never very serious, as evidenced by their failure to come with any realistic alternative over those years. Just saying "no" is not a policy.
At the same time the House was casting its anti-health care bill the Senate was casting repeated (thought not yet as many) failed votes to block President Obama's immigration reform executive orders. They know that even if they could pass the repeal measure it would be vetoed and there's no chance that could be overridden. But that won't stop them from ignoring Einstein's advice.
The latest ploy by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is to threaten to shut down the Department of Homeland Security, including the Transportation Security Administration, which monitors safety at all airports, in an attempt to force Obama to capitulate.
McConnell in the past has vowed that if he is majority leader there will be no more government shutdowns; that will be tested very soon; the deadline for funding DHS is February 27.
The two parties remain far apart on immigration reform. Republicans want to round up the illegal aliens and toss them in jail or ship them back where the came from, including children who were brought here when they were very young and have grown up as Americans in everything but formal status.
Democrats want to block the wholesale deportations, allow those young people to continue to get their education (they're called "Dreamers") and find a way to help the rest gain some kind of legal status. Republicans call that amnesty and have vowed to stop it; Democrats call it human rights.
With the two parties so polarized (the GOP is internally split as well), it is unlikely they are capable of finding a solution to the immigration problem. The best hope is that, as the 2016 election nears, Republicans realize their punitive approach is costing them big time in votes among Latinos and other immigrant groups.
Whether they're trying to repeal Obamacare or Obama's executive order on immigration, the GOP's "just say no" approach instead of producing viable alternatives only serves to validate Einstein's theory of insanity.