On Fox News it’s called the “Obama Shutdown,” or sometimes, the “Liberal Shutdown.”
In the real world, where truth matters, people know who is responsible for the current government impasse.
The extreme right wing of the Republican Party -- the tea party -- is holding the people of the United States hostage because it fears the Affordable Care Act will be successful. Those fears are well placed, judging by the millions who went to healthcare sites on the internet in the first few days of Obamacare to make inquires about health insurance.
It’s rather peculiar, and perverse, that Fox blames Obama and liberals for the shut down, since the tea party contingent in the House clamored for just such an action for months and is proud of its irrationality.
But, hey, for Fox and friends, if the sun fails to rise in the morning, it’s Obama’s fault.
Back in the real world, the government shutdown is disastrous, and the looming threat that Congress won’t raise the debt ceiling is catastrophic.
Still, dangerous and catastrophic as the situation is, Democrats must not cave into the right’s terroristic tactics. As Dana Milbank pointed out in The Washington Post, the nation and all political factions, Democratic and Republican, right and left, will thank Democrats for not surrendering to right-wing hostage taking.
“Compromise is usually a happy notion,” Milbank writes, “but in this instance it would invite more chaos. If Democrats agree to weaken healthcare reform, they will have proved that all it takes to change an existing law is for a minority of lawmakers in one chamber to threaten a rebellion against their own party’s leadership.”
Employing the current tea party tactics, a future faction of left-wing Democrats could shut down the government if a future Republican president refused to agree to progressive demands on gun control, abortion, expansion of Medicare and Social Security benefits, and so on. If Republicans succeed in undoing Obamacare using terrorist tactics, what prevents the GOP from using the same means -- shutting down the government -- to force restrictions on access to birth control, limiting Medicare, undoing environmental regulations, and other parts of the conservative agenda?
Thomas Friedman nails the issue: The future of democracy. “This time is different," Friedman writes in The New York Times. “What is at stake in this government shutdown forced by a radical tea party minority is nothing less than the principle upon which our democracy is based: majority rule. President Obama must not give in to this hostage taking — not just because Obamacare is at stake, but because the future of how we govern ourselves is at stake.”
Unable to win the presidency and failing to retake the Senate, a minority of the minority party has shut down the government in a futile attempt to undo what was accomplished legitimately by legislative process and ratified in subsequent elections. No less an expert than SINO (Speaker-in-name-only) John Boehner recognizes that Obamacare is settled policy, as he testified in the following exchange with ABC’s Diane Sawyer in November 2012, just after Barak Obama was reelected president.
SAWYER: You have said next year that you would repeal the healthcare vote. That’s still you rmission?
BOEHNER: Well, I think the election changes that. It’s pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare is the law of the land.
Mr. SINO, what’s changed between November 2012 and October 2013?
Boehner is the one person who can end the shut down. All he has to do is allow a simple up-and-down vote on a “clean” funding bill, which would pass with all Democrats and a smattering of middle-of-the-road Republicans voting for it. But the speaker won’t to that, because he fears the eighty or so tea party members of his caucus, the anarchists willing to take down the government. Those ultraconservatives have forced the rest of the caucus to go along with them, preventing the government from reopening.
Boehner fears he may lose his job if he angers the tea partiers. Apparently, the speaker thinks his job is more important than the jobs of millions of government workers and more important than the democratic system.