By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor

Since the collapse of our economy in 2008, we have slowly been rebuilding our nation’s highway to prosperity. The outlook appeared bleak in those first years of the Great Recession.

The titans of the financial world, the oligarchs of industry and nearly our own government came within days of creating the world’s second Great Depression. But we rebounded from those bleak days and are on our way back.

Now in these waning days of 2013 as our nation’s economic highway is being rebuilt there are some who don’t think it is straight enough and want to fill it with potholes.

Somehow level-headed men and women managed to rise above the turmoil and the confusion and began the process of restoring the world’s greatest country and the world economy.

At times it’s been a difficult haul, as men and women, because of various ideological motivations attempt to halt the progress we’ve made and transform our country into what they call a Tea Party Nation, which at its core promises or desires to abandon just about everything this nation stands for.

The Tea Party, which ideologically mostly binds itself to the Republican Party, has indeed taken the Grand Old Party hostage, forcing moderate, reasonable republicans to toe the line, in fear of being “primaried” by a more hard line, conservative, ideologically-driven Tea Partier. Former moderate conservatives like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner are cowering in a corner of the nation’s capital, unable to get anything accomplished for fear of the Tea Party - and our nation slowly weeps.

The hardliners in the House of Representatives were demanding that if the Congress wanted to avoid a government shutdown, the Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare, has to be dismantled, despite it being the law of the land. Obamacare was passed by Congress, affirmed by a presidential election and found constitutional by the United States Supreme Court.

The Tea Partiers don’t care. It just doesn’t fit their ideological mold.

There are many moderate, well-meaning Republicans in the U.S. Senate and the House who don’t like Obamacare, but they intensely dislike the idea of having a gun held to their heads as they deliberate the fate of the country.

Anybody with an ounce of brain matter believes the Republicans are at fault in this standoff, and that includes many Republicans. Don’t believe The Leader, read what others have to say about this untenable position:

The Washington Post editorial

“American’s respect for their Congress, has, sad to say, diminished in recent years. But citizens still expect a minimal level of competence and responsibility; pay the bills and try not to embarrass us in front of the world.

“By those minimal standards, this Congress is failing. More specifically, the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives are failing. They should fulfill their basic duties to the American people, or make way for legislators who will.”

Los Angeles Times

“The GOP’s clear objective is to dismantle the act, not to improve it – and the single-minded focus on that goal is what has led to the partial government shutdown that began Tuesday. Democrats can hardly be blamed for refusing to bargain over how to sabotage the law before it fully takes effect.”

New York Times

By midnight on Tuesday, the leadership failure of Speaker of the house John Boehner was complete. By encouraging the impossible quest of House Republicans to dismantle health care reform, he pushed the country into a government shutdown that will now begin to take a grievous economic toll.”

The Fresno Bee

“As we noted yesterday, the House GOP is responsible for manufacturing the current crisis by insisting that delay or dismantling of Obamacare be part of any funding plan. This comes after voters re-elected President Obama in 2012, and after Congress has rejected repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare.

“If House Speaker John Boehner were to put a clean funding bill up for a vote, one that was stripped of language to undermine the Affordable Care Act, it would easily pass, with Republican and Democratic votes. Yet Boehner refuses to do so, fearful of a minority of tea party extremists in his caucus that could end his leadership.

“We've heard from readers who support the House GOP's tactics. We wonder how they'd feel if the tables were turned. Imagine in 10 years that a Republican is in the White House, with the GOP controlling the Senate and Democrats running the House. Then imagine the reaction if House Democrats were to threaten to shut down the federal government unless Republicans agreed to one of their policy demands -- such as an assault weapons ban.”

The Leader urges our local representatives: Costa, Valadao, Nunes and others to abandon the unworkable, extreme positions of that small but vocal group of House extremists and do what is right. Yes, Obamacare has problems, but they can be fixed. And if Republicans are serious they would push for reforms, or even the dismantling of the Affordable Health Care Act. But don’t attempt to eliminate Obamacare by threatening to bring down the nation’s economy and embarrass us in the eyes of the world.