Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Republicans' shutdown spectacular

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I want to repeat what I wrote yesterday:

Yes, the federal government of the most powerful country in the world, a country that prides itself, delusionally, on its grandiose historic exceptionalism, a country that rants and raves about how it's supposedly the greatest country in the world, a bastion of liberty and democracy, is about to be shut down because its federal legislative branch, Congress, is apparently incapable of contributing to the governing of the country, and essentially of fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities.

But let's be more precise. It's about to be shut down not just because the system reduces the country to governmental paralysis but specifically because the opposition party is allowing it to happen, and indeed wants it to happen, or at least enough of its members to matter do -- an opposition party with enough clout, given its majority status in the House of Representatives, to make it happen.

In other words:

House Republicans, at least those whose heads aren't completely up their asses, showed signs of last-minute desperation earlier this evening, reaching out to Senate Democrats to set up a conference committee to try to work out their differences, but that was a pathetic non-starter given that the GOP plan still calls for delaying Obamacare implementation, a sign that Republicans aren't interested in compromise at all.

House Democrats, for their part, sought compromise with their Republican counterparts earlier in the day, proposing a short-term spending deal that would leave Obamacare untouched but would include some sequester cuts -- a stupid deal, in my view, that should be off the table on Monday, but at least it shows an effort on the part of Democrats to get something done to avoid a shutdown.

In any event, here we are. As of 12:01 am, just a few minutes ago, the shutdown is happening. While there will no doubt be an effort in the media to blame both sides, it's clear where the blame lies: with the Republicans, who obviously want to shut the government down in order to get what they want, so delusional they are, so convinced are they that it's President Obama who will cave. So enamored are they of their far-right ideological agenda, they've taken to taking the country hostage, shutting down the government and threatening debt default that could trigger economic catastrophe.

The federal government of the most powerful country in the world has been shut down, a disastrous development, and the GOP did it. Period.

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  • The Democrat-controlled Senate hasn't passed a budget in years. For this and other reasons one might be forgiven for quibbling with your narrative.

    By Anonymous Evan, at 10:13 AM  

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