Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shutdown Politics

The government of the United States of America has shutdown.  How embarrassing.  Stop the debate for a minute, step back, and look at it.  How ugly, short-sighted, stupid, and wrong is this?  Seven percent of all Americans looking for work can't find a job, we're at war in Afghanistan, and the effects of the "everybody-hurts" sequester have still not been fully realized.  In that context, our lawmakers hit the red button.

You will not find a "down-the-middle" review of the shutdown here.  The only people I hear promoting that position are embarrassed Republicans.  This shutdown was manufactured and executed by a sect of a faction of a party who seem to challenge each other with how extreme they can go.  One of the best quotes I've seen describing the looming shutdown was from Republican Senator Tom Coburn It depends if wisdom trumps energy. It hasn't thus far, has it?” 

For those that say the Administration will not compromise - poppycock.  We saw a protracted debt limit debate wherein federal spending was cut by hundreds of billions of dollars only to end with the sequester, which will end up cutting even those things Republicans believe are essential (you know we're not through with that, right?).  The President repeatedly gave ground while Democratic party sentiments said that cutting spending during a down economy was bad.  The President repeatedly gave ground while Democratic leaders wanted 10-to-1 cuts for revenue (i.e., tax increases).  Those with intractable positions on the left never saw the negotiating table because that's not how you get a deal done.

But whatever coalition House Speaker Boehner may have maintained during the debt ceiling debate has fallen to pieces with the mention of a single word "Obamacare".  This law passed both houses of Congress, was signed by the President, and sustained by the United States Supreme Court.  The Republican candidate for President ran on a platform of repealing the law and lost by 5 million votes, falling 3 points short of receiving the support of 50% of the electorate.  That is the only poll our elected leaders need to follow.  I do not understand how a party built on suspicion of media and science is now leading their charge on the basis of "polls".

There will be future opportunities to see how the American public responds to this kind of behavior.  It was already predicted that the roll out of Obamacare would have hitches and that the popularity of the program would actually go down further before Americans became comfortable with the new means of acquiring healthcare (to the extent it affected them at all).  I anticipate that the shutdown will steal the show on that count, particularly in Maryland, and especially with moderates.

This is unsightly.  It is ugly.  To steal from Jon Stewart:

Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!