This possible government shutdown began long before today. However, that narrative is lost. As Democrat politicians and media sympathizers would have the country believe, the current impasse comes not from them but from the concerted efforts of Tea Party “extremists.” Blame them, they say. Get these “children,” out of here they holler. They bemoan that the government and their signature piece of social legislation is being held hostage by these so-called “policy nihilists.”
There is a certain amount of credence in their views. Despite the impassioned close-door negotiations that House Republican leadership has had with their Tea Party younglings, the Republican conference has moved forward- rejecting alternative strategies to delay a fiscal fight. “Why,” say the Democrats, “can they not accept that this is not a bill but the law and has been for four years.” Well, if the program were actually treated like the law, then perhaps the Tea Party would feel less emboldened to act as it now does. In fact, there are actually few aspects of the three proposed amendments that President Obama or his colleagues haven’t in some way attempted themselves.
No one will argue against continuing to pay our men and women in uniform- defending our nation while this hullabaloo takes place back home. The House and a great number of senators agree that the medical device tax should be repealed, if not rethought. And despite Democrat comparisons to the contrary, this is not just another one of those votes to repeal Obamacare but a one-year delay. Delaying aspects of this legislation should ring a bell. Was it not President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, who have delayed key portions of their legislation- despite it being the law? If Democrats seek Republican respect for the “law,” then where were the voices being raised when the White House upends the legislation to suit its own timeline?
Of course, these are hard questions for Democrats to answer. God forbid that anyone in the traditional media raises them either, especially since Republicans have operated within the limit of what they are able to do, constitutionally-speaking. And what of those dozens of votes intended to spur discussion on reforming or repealing Obamacare? The majority votes of the House of Representatives were regarded as a non-starter by an entrenched and hard-nosed Senate Majority Leader. Republicans are not blameless in this situation.
This is only the most dramatic of showdowns as a result of Republican and Democrat brinksmanship. For as much as Democrats have been unwilling to hold the opposing viewpoint with equal merit, so to have members of the Tea Party been somewhat unwilling to give ground- letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. The situation is a toxic outcome of recalcitrance on both sides.
What this latest episode may leave us with is a government shutdown, but the real government shutdown occurred long ago when members of this U.S. government, from the President to the lowliest House member, began to place a low-premium on actual discussion. In a government so reliant on engaging one’s fellow citizens on equal ground, it is indeed unfortunate that we can only do so with great chasms now separating each other.