Thursday, October 03, 2013

Shutdown Shenanigans

With the government shutdown now underway, there's a concerted effort on the right to paint this as a "Democratic shutdown," despite all facts and common sense indicating otherwise. At least one old friend I've known forever, and who should really know better, has pretty much bought into that nonsense wholesale. Nonetheless, it's worth remembering that this all has happened because one lone nut, Senator Ted Cruz  of TX, gummed up the regular appropriations process for months in the senate, and by embarking on his quixotic bid to tie de-funding the Affordable Care Act to a continuing resolution that merely keeps the government funded at current level.

The irony piled upon irony here is that the healthcare law has already been funded through a separate appropriation, and the rollout (which began October 1, same day as the shutdown) continues irrespective of what the Tea Party hopes to accomplish (and who the heck knows what that is, because they sure don't). All this chaos could come to
an end if John Boehner, an rudderless, neutered Speaker of the House, would simply bring a clean CR, bereft of all the anti-Obamacare stuff (not to mention all the other Republican agenda items they've tried to tack on), up for a vote. Between the two parties, there are enough "aye" votes, a simple majority, to carry it. And yet here we are.

As one House GOP-er (obviously not a fan of the Tea Party crowd), told the Washington Examiner's Byron York: "It seems to me that Boehner could do whatever he wants with Democrats on the floor and still get about 180 or 190 of us. So why doesn't he do that?" The answer, of course, is that doing so would essentially signal the beginning of the end of Boehner's Speakership. There'd be a vote of no-confidence that, egged on by the Cruise Cabal, could very easily sway the rest, and Boehner would be done politically. And so this ridiculous hyper-partisan nonsense must continue on for a little while longer, while we wait for the ostensible grownups to show up. If they ever do.

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