Today I dropped into the part of my mind that obsesses over such things the question of whether this federal government shutdown makes any sense from a governmental or political point of view. But before I get to the conclusion reached, there are a few things that need to be pointed out.
Saying that the Republicans shut down the government is about as legitimate a statement as saying the Republicans run the government. It takes two to tango, and anyone paying attention saw the Democrats angling and practically begging for a shutdown so they could beat Republicans over the head with it. The Democrats wanted this shutdown much more than the Republicans did and for one simple reason: to score political points.
The Republicans who pushed this to the limit did so because of their desire to see modifications to Obamacare. Now, the popular MSM/Democrat line on Obamacare is “The President won reelection in 2012 so the country ratified Obamacare.” But hold the phone. In 2008, the House of Representatives was controlled by the Democrats, in additions to the Senate and the White House. Obamacare passed with no Republican support. But then in 2010, Americans handed control of the House to Republicans, many of whom ran on the promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Again in 2012, Americans gave control of the House to Republicans, knowing full well that the Republican majority was intent on making changes to Obamacare. So, one election is legitimate but one is not? One is a referendum on Obamacare and one is not?
No. The majority in the House has just as legitimate a right to challenge Obamacare as Obama has in keeping it going. And don’t give me this, “Obamacare is the law of the land” stuff. If we all rolled over every time something was the law of the land, we’d still have slavery, segregation and Jim Crow. Women would not be allowed to vote. Want to keep going on that one? Let’s not get into this concept of the Republican majority in the House being crazy. They are following the mandate given to them by American voters to act as a check on the Obama agenda. That is the system folks and it is a brilliant one.
But back to the shutdown. I conclude that there is no political or governmental benefit to this shutdown, especially for Republicans. Democrats will grab more headlines in their Republican bashing, but even for them, the overall public attitude will be “you all suck!” Republicans will gain nothing politically in a larger sense. Some individual Representatives might benefit at home, but as a party this does nothing to advance the agenda. In the dysfunctional D.C. family Republicans look like the unmarried, drunk uncle who can’t hold a job, where at least the Democrats look like the neurotic mother getting through the work day on Xanax and the nights on Chardonnay.
But that’s about the size of it. Governmentally, it is a disaster. Thousands of Americans kicked to the curb, holding their “furlough” letters and trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage while the drunk uncle rolls over on the couch and the neurotic searches the purse for mother’s little helpers. I understand the fight. We love Obamacare – We hate Obamacare. I thought Ted Cruz showed true, as they say in Texas, cojones, in taking on what the Democrats are calling his “fake fillibuster.” I love cojonesey stuff like that. But for the life of me after putting this thing for 16 hours into my cranial ruminator, this outcome makes no sense.
Who does it help? What does it accomplish? Why couldn’t the Democrats consider giving individuals a one year suspension of Obamacare as so many corporations have been given by the President? Why couldn’t the Republicans go for 6 months instead of a year on the demand? Why couldn’t the Democrats accept a one week continuing resolution or the Republicans accept a sixty day delay to have one fight when the debt ceiling comes up? I think it is clear that the so-called “leaders” driving the agenda on both sides of the political aisle have forgotten what a real person looks like or deals with. Seriously, when is the last time these D.C. “stars” had any clue what it is like out there in America. I know there are a lot of good Congressmen, including our own, but the dim luminaries at the top of the D.C. heap are hopelessly out of touch and devoid of compassion.
I am certain that tonight Harry Reid and Ted Cruz are not worrying about making the next car payment. Reid is smugly sitting in D.C. or Vegas talking about how he didn’t blink and Cruz is polishing his cowboy boots laughing about how how he showed them. Pelosi is smiling her botox-crippled smile while Boehner is sobbing about it not being his fault. This is the theatre of the absurd and America is paying the price. Who are these people and how did they take control of America? Where are the realists? Where are the statesmen and stateswomen who can do the hard work of cobbling together diverse coalitions to find the middle ground? Our national political figures in D.C. have decided that their celebrity is more important than governing. They have determined that it is better to be superior than to actually work to make things better. I propose a constitutional amendment that will do this: If the President and Congress can’t exercise enough intellect and creativity to keep the government running, then the White House and all of its staff and the Congress, House and Senate, and all of its staff will go unpaid until the impasse is overcome. Keep the rest of the government running but pull the plug on them and see how fast things get resolved.
To sum up. Puke.