Memo to Fox: We are in the midst of a government shutdown, not a government "slimdown," (in which event paychecks might be reduced, not eliminated, and non-essential governmental offices are still open but might be operating at less than full levels). That's not what's happening here, and we have 800,000 furloughed federal workers who can attest to it. Nope, Fox and Republicans, you're not getting away with it: This is a Republican government shutdown, and all the spin in the world doesn't turn anorexia into a sensible diet.
It's a sure bet that history will condemn this latest Republican gambit, the Republican government shutdown of 2013, in which Republicans as a collective doomed the fragile economy of this country and put 800,000 government workers on unpaid leave due to a rabid Republican desire to re-litigate a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court and which withstood 42 repeal attempts. And please, spare us your false equivalencies, the stuff of media invention, that somehow both Dems and Republicans are at fault here, that Republicans are willing to "compromise" but the Dems are giving them the cold shoulder, the photo-op drama the House has planned, to convene a budget conference with Clint-Eastwood-channeling empty chairs to symbolize the absent Democrats, who have steadfastly refused to negotiate at gunpoint. In fact, Dems tried 18 times to get Republicans to the budget conference table, and 18 times Republicans refused - and, if there's one rule of hardball, it's to not get in the way when your enemy is in the process of committing suicide. It also bears noting that, although Republicans seem to believe that the photo of empty chairs in a government conference room will make the optics of their petty, dangerous misbehavior somehow better, those empty chairs may also serve as a reminder to Americans that many government offices may now appear that quiet and dusty due to the Republican government shutdown and furloughed workers.
There's no getting around it, no matter how many times Fox calls this shutdown a "slimdown" in an effort to lend Republicans a hand with propaganda and help them avoid the inevitable, shattering fallout of what they created with their government shutdown: The cold, hard fact is that Republicans shut down the government, single-handedly, in a foot-stomping, door-slamming, plate-throwing rage at, well, something to do with Obamacare. As our President today noted, it's "strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda."
But that one party - Republicans - did just that, and now desperately seek to flip the script, to quietly slink away from the real-world, political consequences of their startlingly misguided government shutdown. As this author previously noted on SmokingHotPolitics.com, "From Cruz to Lee to Bachmann to all of the craziest Republican critters in the House Crazy Caucus (numbering about 30), they’re busy little beavers, spinning the narrative that it’s not their fault that the government will shut down. No, no, it’s because the Democrats just won’t meet them halfway. Meet them halfway to where? What’s the halfway point? Obamacare – and I call it that lovingly – is the law of the land. Debate is over. That ship has sailed. Harry Reid won’t blink and President Obama won’t blink. Next.
"Here’s the 'compromise' point, the 'negotiating' point, the 'halfway' point: Take a sledgehammer to key elements of the Affordable Care Act, or we shut down the government. Derail the most important parts of it – such as the tax on medical devices, which partly funds the measure – or we turn off the lights. Delay it for a year – after pain and sweat and tears and the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands to get the exchanges up and running in time for the October 1 blast-off, and after millions of people are already benefiting from it - or we call it a night, and hope those veterans without legs or arms will find a friendly doctor who will barter for treatment."
Fox can't save the Republicans this time, not with all the "slimdown" talk in the world. Americans - particularly those 800,000 furloughed federal employees - know what an absent paycheck means. On the other hand, if by "slimdown" Fox means that people will now be on the Republican-government-shutdown diet because they won't be able to afford food, then maybe, just once, Fox is actually right.