From a conservative Republican perspective there seems to be little good from the outcome of the shutdown fight. ObamaCare remains funded, and that was the chief goal that concerned most conservative Republicans. However, sometimes it is a good idea to take a look at an event from the eyes of an adversary. Here is what things look like to liberal Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast:
For their part, Democrats bristled at the prospect of a “clean” CR. Four days after Cantor’s memo, the Democratic-aligned Center for American Progress warned that by extending the sequester, Republicans were “trying to lock these additional spending cuts into place and create a new baseline from which future negotiations must begin.” CAP added that “It’s easy to see why this approach would be attractive to Speaker Boehner; it is much harder to understand why any progressive or centrist would support such an approach.”
Let’s pause for a moment to underscore the point. In early September, a “clean” CR—including sequester cuts—that funded the government into 2014 was considered a Republican victory by both the Republican House Majority Leader and Washington’s most prominent Democratic think tank. Now, just over a month later, the media is describing the exact same deal as Republican “surrender.”
Partly, that’s because of Ted Cruz. Starting last month, as we all know, the Texas Senator—in conjunction with his fellow Tea Partiers in the House—forced GOP leaders to abandon the very “clean” CR proposal they had once championed. The new Republican position became no funding for the government and no increase in the debt ceiling without the defunding (or at least delaying) of Obamacare.
Now that Republicans are backing off those demands, the press is saying they’ve caved. But that’s like saying that the neighborhood bully has caved because after demanding your shoes and bike, he’s once again willing to accept merely your lunch money.
Most of the press is missing this because most of the press is covering the current standoff more as politics than policy. If your basic question is “which party is winning?” then it’s easy to see the Republicans as losing, since they’re the ones suffering in the polls. But the partisan balance of power and the ideological balance of power are two completely different things. The Nixon years were terrible for the Democratic Party but quite good for progressive domestic policy. The Clinton years were, in important ways, the reverse. The promise of the Obama presidency was not merely that he’d bring Democrats back to power. It was that he’d usher in the first era of truly progressive public policy in decades. But the survival of Obamacare notwithstanding, Obama’s impending “victory” in the current standoff moves us further away from, not closer to, that goal.
It’s not just that Obama looks likely to accept the sequester cuts as the basis for future budget negotiations. It’s that while he’s been trying to reopen the government and prevent a debt default, his chances of passing any significant progressive legislation have receded. Despite overwhelming public support, gun control is dead. Comprehensive immigration reform, once considered the politically easy part of Obama’s second term agenda, looks unlikely. And the other items Obama trumpeted in this year’s state of the union address—climate change legislation, infrastructure investment, universal preschool, voting rights protections, a boost to the minimum wage—have been largely forgotten. Continue reading
Whenever the government is “shut down”, all the fifth assistant briefcase holders keep coming into work while the White House orders the shut down of popular sites like the Statue of Liberty. It is all theatrical bovine droppings. Yesterday some World War II vets refused to play by the White House script:
Wheelchair-bound elderly veterans pushed aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning, in defiance of the government shutdown which closed all of the memorials in the nation’s capital.
The four bus loads of veterans — visiting from Mississippi as part of a once-in-a-lifetime Honor Flight tour — ignored National Park Police instructions not to enter the site as lawmakers and tourists cheered them on.
The scene was both emotional and comical at once. After it was clear they had lost control of the situation, Park Police officials stood aside, telling press that they had “asked for guidance on how to respond” to the breach of security Continue reading
Well, time for a phony government shutdown. I say phony because all essential, and many non-essential, functions of government will keep ticking away. The media will be filled with pictures of the Statue of Liberty being shut down and commentators damning Republican members for their “intransigence” in not recognizing that every whim of Obama is eternal law. All humbug. Continue reading
Ashton Kutcher + Teen Choice Awards = Disaster, right? No, actually Ashton Kutcher delivered one of the most heartfelt, awe-inspiring speeches an actor has ever delivered.
Here’s what he said:
I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof. And then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant. And then I got a job in a grocery store deli. And then I got a job in a factory sweeping cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a steppingstone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.
He later added.
The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart, be thoughtful, and be generous.
Rush Limbaugh basically spent most of his show today talking about this speech. This is the first time many of these kids are hearing this message. Kudos to Ashton. I mean Chris.
If you haven’t heard, a rodeo clown in Missouri was barred from all future state fairs basically for the high crime of offending our President. Michael Auslin at National Review says it’s high time we bring back lese-majeste.
By now all America has heard of the national tragedy that occurred in Missouri. A rogue rodeo clown insulted the dignity of our princeps civitatis, I mean, President of the United States, at the Missouri State Fair. According to Tribune of the People, I mean U.S. Representative, William Lacy Clay, the offending clown threatened the safety of our Nation by showing “hatred, intolerance and disrespect.” This was echoed by provincial deputy governor, I mean state lieutenant governor, Peter Kinder, who “condemned the actions disrespectful” to our President.
At this point we need to start keeping track of the women that San Diego Bob Filner (D) hasn’t sexually harassed. Of course since he has a D next to his name it’s totally cool to sweep this under the rug and ignore it. That’s exactly what the Democratic party did because winning elections is more important than protecting women.
Clearly just another liberal prelate done in by the siren song of the Calvinist American heresy.
Okay, here’s how this defund Obamacare thing is going to play out. We’re going to have six weeks of nonstop jabbering. On one hand, we’ll have the chorus of folks who claim that anything short of an absolute government shut down is a complete RINO sellout that signifies the death of our republic. On the other, we’ll hear the chorus of the perpetually concerned who will argue that the Republican party will be doomed for all eternity if we even sniff a government shutdown. Each side will hurl their anathema sits, and this will be the topic of approximately 95% of all political discourse in those six weeks. We’ll come close to the point of no return, then we’ll get a deal, and then we will be back to where we started. There will be no political repercussions, good or bad, for either side. And we’ll basically forget about this until the next political crisis.
There, I just saved you six weeks of news reading. Can we get back to other things now?
Yeah, number three is especially annoying.
Unsurprisingly the big story here in the Washington DC Metro area is the potential government shut down. While most Americans go about their business, hardly giving it a second thought, dire predictions of the doom to come are broadcast throughout all media institutions. We should expect rioting in the streets (no, seriously, I heard someone suggest this), mass mayhem, a crippling of our Nation’s infrastructure, and worst yet – feline and canine cohabitation.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Washington Express – the free, Reader’s Digest version of the Washington Post – had a headline this morning that blared “NOT THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS!!!” It seems that this weekend’s cherry blossom parade would be canceled if there is a government shutdown.
This is indeed horrible news. Sure American troops are in harm’s way around the world, and we are printing money hand over fist as our country goes deeper into debt to totalitarian regimes, but that’s nothing compared to the sheer terror of tourists being slightly inconvenienced by the cancellation of a hokey parade in downtown Washington. Leave aside the fact that they will still be free to see the cherry blossoms themselves (even if they are now past their peak bloom), and that many of the tourist attractions in our Nation’s Capital are outdoor sites that will still be open. It is surely worth compromising on such an insignificant thing like the federal budget in order to avoid this catastrophe.
The Express goes on to detail some of the ways in which we are all going to be affected by a shutdown. I would recommend listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings as you read the proceeding paragraph in order to set the appropriate mood.
The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal shutdown would undermine the economic recovery; delay pay to troops fighting in three wars; slow the processing of tax returns; and limit small-business loans, and government-backed mortgages during peak home-buying season.
The Express then calls this a “dire message.” Indeed.
Now that you’ve had the appropriate amount of time to digest this warning of the coming apocalypse, let’s take these items one at a time.