Oh the webs we weave when we practice to deceive. These old words help explain another new crisis situation brought on by a failure to communicate in Congress, where Republicans, who have dismissed the results of last year's presidential race in which American voters, by a five million vote margin, elected President Obama to a second term over his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, whose campaign featured as its top promise the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare by Republicans critics, which was signed it into law in March of 2010.
Guaranteeing no comprise will ever be reached, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has allowed the federal government to close Tuesday by allowing one poison pill after another to be added to a Continuing Resolution that would have kept government doors open only until December 15, when presumably the carnival of dysfunction and obstruction, as coordinated by Speaker Boehner and promoted by Tea Party hero Texas Senator Ted Cruz, would again open for the business of demanding more concessions before agreeing to any so-called compromise.
Last night, President Obama placed separate calls to Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi. In a statement on what he told them, the President made clear that Congress has two jobs to do: pay the bills on time and pass a budget on time. "Failure to fulfill those responsibilities is harmful to our economy, small businesses and middle class families across the country," he said.
The President made clear to the Republican Leadership that they must act, as the Senate has, to pass the bill that funds the government for six weeks that doesn’t include any extraneous ideological riders. President Obama urged the House to bring up this clean Continuing Resolution for a vote tonight to keep the government open and avoid a shutdown.
The White House warned Republican Leaders including Speaker Boehner of Ohio that he will continue to oppose any politically-motivated attempts to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, attempts which would never pass the Senate or become law. He also said he will not negotiate on the debt limit: "Congress must pay the bills it has already incurred and avoid a devastating blow to our economy."
While GOP leaders talk about what America wants, a new Quinnipiac poll out Tuesday morning shows what Americans really want. American voters oppose 72-22 percent Congress shutting down the federal government to block implementation of Obamacare. By a margin of 64-27 percent, voters are against blocking an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling as a way to stop Obamacare or the ACA
A division among Americans over the ACA shows 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed, but by a 58-34 percent, voters oppose Congress cutting off funding for the health care law to stop its implementation. Republicans support the federal government shutdown by a narrow 49-44 percent margin, but opposition is 90-6 percent among Democrats and 74-19 percent among independent voters. President Obama struggles to push past 50 percent in job approval [45-49 percent overall job approval rating]. Quinnipiac reported American voters disapprove 74-17 percent of the job Republicans in Congress are doing, their lowest score ever, and disapprove 60-32 percent of the job Democrats are doing.
Kasich and Ohio will be hurt
Meanwhile, back in Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich faces mounting forces to his re-election campaign next year, a shutdown by many of his former GOP congressional colleagues will take a bite out of his narrative that he and his policies and programs—including his controversial private job-creating agency JobsOhio—are responsible for Ohio coming back from the abyss it fell into when the Great Recession hit the once mighty industrial state hard between 2007-2009. Ohio is still in recovery mode with an unemployment rate still higher than seven percent.
The Gallup group offers data to show the spread of government workers across the nation. While Washington D.C. has the most government workers by percentage of any state, Ohio has the lowest percentage at 12 percent. The findings underscore the extent to which government employment represents a crucial part of the U.S. economy, Gallup said.
At 31 percent, Alaska has the highest percentage of federal, state and local government workers.
"The potential for growth and for contraction within key sectors of the federal government, along with cutbacks in state and local government, have clear implications for the U.S. employment picture overall -- and far beyond the nation's capital," Gallup reported in a 2010 report.
But while Ohio's percentage of government workers is small by comparison to other states, it still has approximately 52,000 federal employees who are now jobless until this impasse can be bridged. Until that happens, total federal workers of 800,000 workers won't see paychecks, which the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association said will hurt the U.S. economy by as much as $1 billion a week.
Especially for someone who was on board 17 years ago to shut down the government when it last happened in 1995, the year Congressional GOP leaders under the leadership of then Speaker Newt Gingrich, who promoted Kasich, a living relic of Reagan/Kemp supply side economics, to the Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, thought they would hurt then President Bill Clinton by shutting down federal offices.
As Republicans found out then, and appear on tract to find out today, they will bear the brunt of the blame again this time, too.
What Gov. Kasich should be worried about is the unavoidable damage Boehner and other Washington Republicans are doing to Ohio's economy, which hasn't done all that well over Kasich's three-plus years in office, given the terrible beating it took at the hands of the Great Recession, which reduced jobs by over 400,000. And while the job loss during Ted Strickland's one term as Ohio governor, Strickland kept the state from falling further and actually had it on the rise again before Kasich took over in 2011.
Kasich's job creation portfolio has actually moved slower in recovery than Strickland's job creation record was in the immediate aftermath of the terrible recession, second worst to the Great Recession of the 1930s.
In the past months, Kasich's jobs numbers have been nothing to brag about, which he explains in part by continuing blaming "head winds from Washington." It seems clear to many that those heads winds are really coming from his own party, and yesterday's failure to keep federal workers on the job—and it's estimated that Ohio has about 52,000 federal workers—means Kasich communicators will have to devise new explanations about why future job numbers won't be robust.
An analyst at Policy Matters Ohio offers evidence that there are about 75,800 government workers in August, but couldn't say how many of those were federal workers.
Reports show JobsOhio is not the miracle worker agency Kasich has promised from its first controversial day on the job.
Gov. Kasich, a performance politician dating back to 1978 when he won his first campaign for office and who some critics call "Obama inside-out," prefers not to talk about his years in Congress. While there he voted against Bill Clinton's first budget, which raised taxes on the wealthy and led to a decade of great prosperity and job creation, that later enabled Congressman Kasich, who also voted to impeach President Clinton, to claim he was responsible for balancing the federal budget for the first time since men "walked on the moon."
Gov. Kasich now has two challengers, one a Democrat, Ed FitzGerald of Cleveland, and a second one a Libertarian, Charlie Earl of Tiffin in north central Ohio. Kasich can also look forward to a funded campaign by organized labor to attack him for his programs and policies that have enriched the wealthiest with tax cuts paid for by increasing taxes on middle class and senior Ohioans.
Ed FitzGerald offered this statement on government shutdown: "The current shutdown crisis is entirely self-inflicted, and it goes a long way toward explaining why Americans distrust and dislike Washington. Real leadership means never forgetting that you are elected to serve the best interests of the country, and that seems to be in short supply with Speaker Boehner and this Congress. I urge Congress to get its act together immediately, reopen the federal government, and stop playing these games before real and lasting damage is done. This current display is pathetic."
John Boehner, who served with Kasich in Congress for about ten years, by allowing his Tea Party caucus to rule the day, will deliver more headwind pains to Ohio, Gov. Kasich and the rest of the GOP superstructure which includes a Republican-led legislature than any program, including the ACA, the White House has pushed.
Now skating on thin ice for next year, any of Gov. Kasich's glib taunts that his Ohio model is working and should be echoed by other states will have a hard time when contrasted with the political reality of the day: Any hurt in Ohio is the result of Republicans like Boehner who have put party ideology over the needs of the nation.
Maybe Gov. Kasich will find that he can't escape his past 18-years record in Congress. His two challengers will certainly remind him and Ohio voters of it.