It’s week two of the federal government shutdown and many of us out here in the hinterlands are still wondering what the Republican end game is. We know what the shutdown represents symbolically: a ransom note to President Obama and Senate Democrats to give in to House Republican demands on the federal budget, i.e., defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, or else the Republicans will increase the pain their hostages — the American people — are enduring at their expense. And if the Democrats don’t cede ground on the budget, the Republicans are threatening to not raise the national debt limit the President and Senate Democrats have refused to bargain over as yet another destructive negotiating tactic. What the House Republicans refuse to take is Yes for an answer from the President and Senate Democrats. The short-term continuing budget resolution the Senate passed before the shutdown would have locked in spending levels for two months at sequestration levels and close to the House Budget Committee’s 2014 recommendations; the difference between the two figures is $19 billion.
It’s pretty clear that House Republicans are incapable of governing in the traditional sense because of the House leadership’s inability to control 30 to 40 Tea Partiers in the GOP caucus who are hell bent on destroying everything the Democrats accomplished before the GOP took over the House in 2011. If that means ignoring our democratic processes, so be it, seems to be the Tea Party’s modus operandi. We get it. The Tea Partiers don’t care, or they’re too stupid to understand that their actions and threats are having negative consequences for our recovering economy. They are the most unruly, uncompromising, undemocratic, unpatriotic, politically illiterate, delusional, paranoid bunch to ever serve in either house of the people’s government, and, for the time being, we are all at their mercy. But something has got to give pretty soon.
The good of the nation can never be served by this tail-wagging-the-dog form of government that the Tea Party has led us into, one manufactured fiscal crisis after another. It’s time for House GOP leaders and moderates to stand up to these rogue agents of change and, for once, put the country’s interests before their own political interests. Let’s have votes in the House on the Senate budget resolution and raising the debt limit, and see if the dog will finally restrain its out-of-control tail. SB