Shutting down the shutdown and avoiding imminent default was not like Idris Elba in Pacific Rim “cancel[ing] the apocalypse.” Democrats making victory laps on the heads of irritated Republicans seems a bit premature, don’t you think? Talking point-fueled elation notwithstanding, the average person looking on won’t understand cheery partisan piston pumps when the $24 billion plus in damage is already done, not to mention the sting of a perennially uncertain political system. This wasn’t our proudest governing moment, unless governing by crisis is your thing.
Sixteen days after shutting down the government and less than 48 hours before pushing America into default, Republicans in Congress have finally abandoned their fruitless effort to preempt the lawful implementation of the Affordable Care Act and allowed the government to re-open and pay its bills.
I’m not sure exactly what convinced them it was time to fold; maybe it was their party’s historic plummet in public opinion polls, or perhaps it was the scolding they received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–a committed ally–for their intransigence on the debt ceiling issue.
The great fish moved silently through the water, and into immortality. Without question, Jaws was a classic, filled with memorable lines. But the one that best reflected the attitude of the times was Quint’s blunt speech to the business owners.
“(Killing the shark) will bring back the tourists. That’ll put all your businesses on a paying basis. Now you gotta make up your minds. Do you wanna stay alive and ante up, or you wanna play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter?”
It’s not at all clear if Republicans, especially those knee-jerking and red-necking in the House, have assessed that a government shutdown is having a massive impact on American foreign policy. The nation has been brought to an unnecessary and crumbling cliff—mostly because a small contingent of mostly rural, outhouse lawmakers want to make a point. But, beyond the domestic impact and future Constitutional crisis this will soon raise are the rather dangerous ramifications abroad.
Which is strange considering Republicans are quick to brand themselves as more hawkish and pro-defense than Democrats.
Infused with a new burst of political capital as the country shakes its head and laughs at the fanatical, obstructionist wing of the Republican Party, Democrats have successfully shifted the dialogue away from Obamcare and have begun trying to leverage the ill-conceived brinkmanship to avoid spending cuts scheduled for the forthcoming sequester.
1. Insufficient FDA inspections: The government shutdown has been tied to the increase in the “continuing” salmonella outbreak that has now hospitalized nearly 300 people and spread across 18 states. Due to the forced furlough of about 60% of its staff, the FDA is unable to perform routine inspections necessary to prevent food-borne illness. This has prompted one website to make a list of the top 10 foods to not eat during the government shutdown.
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As if Washington didn’t have enough to worry about right now, with a government shutdown more than a week old, a debt ceiling confrontation looming and no solution in sight for either, there’s suddenly another complication: A group of angry truck drivers is threatening to shut down the city.
The public knows very little about Miriam Carey, the woman who Capitol Police identified as the person who rammed her black Infiniti into a White House barricade last Thursday.
We know little about Carey thanks in part to a distracted District press corps, who’ve obliged readers with terse, routine reporting about her death so that they can get back to crafting their shallow insights into the government shutdown instead.
Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachmann promised that none of the House Republicans would blink in their efforts to defund Obamacare, even if it means closing down the government for weeks.
A short time later, 20 House Republicans started blinking furiously enough to create an autumn breeze: Seven of the early blinkers are from Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Democrats in Congress only need 17 Republicans to join them for a majority vote.
The Philadelphia area mass defection started a flurry of emails and blog posts with the accusation of “RINO.” Wikipedia defines RINO this way:
The great thing about government shutdowns it that they bring people together. If you go to Independence Mall today—or any day for the foreseeable future—you’ll notice large groups of people standing around on the grass, talking to one another. How nice. These are people who came for the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, or the Independence Hall Visitor Center–all of which are closed. In fact, if you want to play a sadistic parlor game, go linger by the entrances of any one of these places, wait for unsuspecting tourists to pull fruitlessly at the doors, and then–preferably leaning against a wall, with a toothpick in your mouth–say, ‘Closed, pal.’