This shutdown is an amazing spectacle. And what it reveals about what America has become and about the state of our leadership would be sit-com worthy, except that it's happening in real life as I write this, and isn't funny in the least.
Government shutdowns are not all that unique - Democrat Tip O’Neill shut down the government eight times during the Regan administration, supposedly the Golden Age of 'bi-partisanship'. And during the Clinton years, the government was shut down twice after Clinton rejected the budget. And here's a fun fact. Popular mythology to the contrary, out of the 17 times the government has shut down, Democrats are much more prone to shut the government down than Republicans. The Democrats controlled the House during 15 of these shut downs and actually controlled both houses of Congress during 8 of them.
But what's unique this time is that this is the first time a President and a majority leader from his party have absolutely refused to negotiate at all. In fact, President Obama has been almost totally disengaged, except for fits of explosive rhetoric aimed at 'radical Republicans' and the Tea Party. In contrast, both President Reagan and President Clinton were very hands on and seemed to acknowledge and even enjoy at times the give and take of negotiating as part of the job.
President Obama, in contrast, feels he shouldn't even have to. In an amazing instance of hubris, he actually went to the extent of finally inviting members of Congress to a meeting...for th esole purpose of telling them he wasn;t going to negotiate! Thank you, good night.
Another thing that unique about this shutdown is the off the charts rhetoric and actions emanating from the White House and its allies in Congress and the media towards anyone whom has the temerity to try and even suggest that the White House might need to negotiate some kind of compromise.
The President, Harry Reid and the Democrat caucus are even refusing to allow bills to come to a vote that would fund things like pay for veterans, the National Institute of health, and PX's on military bases....while the president's golf course remains open.
Countless monuments and facilities that have never been closed in previous shut downs have been deliberately closed by the White House with an eye towards using this for political gain to demonize his opposition. It's almost an extension of President Obama's use of the IRS against those he perceives as his political enemies.
The monument in Washington to America's WWII vets, a monument funded by private donations had no fence at all around. On the day of the shutdown, veterans visiting the monument to their heroism found the monument blocked off by barriers and manned, as Senator Rand Paul quipped 'with more security than Obama had at Benghazi'. The vets, with the aid of a number of GOP congressman stormed the barriers.
Today, they were threatened with arrest and arrived to find the barrier wired shut to keep them out.
Even the D-Day beaches and cemeteries have been shut down. Along with a number of privately funded, privately run parks, who are being ordered by the White House to shut down 'to be consistent with National Parks services'. The president's private retreat at Camp David remains open, of course.
The president didn't even shrink at threatening seniors that they wouldn't receive their social security checks if he didn't get his way.
Federal agencies are deliberately blocking access to a number of government websites, something that obviously has nothing to do with any lack of funding.
Even the Grand Canyon has been closed down by Obama's diktat - after the State of Arizona actually offered to pay to keep it open.
The idea here is obvious - to make things unnecessarily painful for as many Americans as possible and try to spin it politically as the fault of 'those evil Republicans'. It is a despicable tactic, and it says volumes about the kind of person President Obama is.
President Obama has also had the help of a number of his minions in the media. Andrew Sullivan and Salon's Joan Walsh, among others have no problem putting the whole thing down to racism. Of course, that kind of attitude reveals a pretty racist mindset of its own, the belief that a president shouldn't be held to the same standards simply because he happens to be black, but that's meaningless in itself because I doubt even they believe racism is behind this. It's merely a convenient tool to use to demonize people they disagree with, and it resonates with people who want to believe it.
In fact, in a particularly funny exchange, MSNBC lunatic MartinBashir raved on the air about 'how long it was going to be until Obama was called an angry black man'...only to have the ObamaBot site 'The Root' call for the president to tap his inner angry black man!
Others have referred to the Tea Party 'jihad', the 'Tea Party shutdown', called Republicans 'radicals' 'deluded' 'bananna Republicans' arsonists and worse. And these are not people on the fringe,but mainstream writers working for mainstream media outlets.
The similarity in the venom of the rhetoric and messaging make it pretty obvious this is being co-ordinated out of the White House, like it always has been.
So aside from that, what's really going on here?
The first thing, obviously is politics, followed closely by this president's tremendous, overweening ego and hubris. That's always the case. What Presidnet Obama is deliberately doing is attempting to cause the maximum discomfort and inconvenience for his fellow Americans with the idea of using that for partisan political purposes to demonize Republicans, with the idea that they will cave in and give him everything he wants.
And even the slightest change to ObamaCare is off the table, no matter what.
As Nancy Pelosi famously said, the Democrats had to pass ObamaCare to find out what's in it, and as the American people find out what's in it, they're appalled.
As they see their health care coverage or that of their spouses and children being curtailed, their hours cut and premiums skyrocketing, they're realizing they've been screwed, unless they're part of the influential few able to get a waiver, like members of Congress, the president and their staffs. One of the most appropriate facts to surface as ObamaCare rolls out is what the toll free phone number to apply spells out when you eliminate the 1, which has no letters attached: 1-800 - F*ck Yo...no asterisk.
The huge glitches and problems with this notoriously unpopular law are due to the way it was pushed through congress to avoid going back to the senate. Normally these things are ironed out in conference, but because of GOP Senator Scott Brown's special election victory in Massachusetts which would have allowed a filibuster,they weren't. Instead, our Democratic process was corrupted as ObamaCare was shoved through the House in a way never before witnessed in America,with the Republicans literally locked out of the chambers and bribes and kickbacks to garner votes galore.
ObamaCare has been revealed as a a trainwreck that is already derailing the economy. Even the president's allies at the unions want out, and if the president were actually to either delay it and/or modify it significantly, there's a chance the damage can be stopped.
The President has no intention of doing that. In fact, he's doubling down, bringing the upcoming debt ceiling into the mix and actually risking a financial panic and deliberately risking precipitating a crash by telling Wall Street they should 'be worried'. The Republicans in the House's stance is to not allow President Obama a higher credit card limit unless he's willing to act like an adult and negotiate on ObamaCare.
Finance expert Stuart Varney from FOX Business channel explains this pretty well, below:
President Obama's version of leadership is to put Majority Leader Harry Reid in charge of negotiations while returns to other, more important matters.
The things about tyrants and bullies is that they never are able to leave well enough alone. They always overreach.
In the last five years, President Barack Hussein Obama has pretty much ignored the Constitution and U.S. law and done whatever he wanted to. If congress refused to pass the DREAM Act, or fund ACORN or aid to a Muslim Brotherhood regime or his Palestinian friends unless they complied with certain requirements, or vote funds to allow him to go to war in Libya to install an Islamist regime, he just did it anyway. If he decided that the nation's laws on funding terrorism, the right to bear arms, immigration, DOMA, or offering federal jobs to office seekers to stop them from primarying incumbents wasn't to his liking, he just ignored them and did what he wanted. If congress demanded answers on things like Fast and Furious, Benghazi or IRS-gate, he just laughed at them, and instructed his team to lie, obfuscate and stonewall.
He has been given leeway far beyond any other president and done whatever he felt like for reasons that can be easily surmised, and at this point he undoubtedly feels there's no reason for him to do anything else. His current tantrum is on the borderline of adult behavior, let alone being presidential.
The next step, of course, is easily predictable. When push comes to shove, if the House Republicans still insist that this president negotiate with them before they OK more debt, it's very likely he will raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.
If it happens that is going to precipitate a major Constitutional crisis.
On the other hand, if the House Republicans cave in on this clear and present danger and allow business as usual, not only will they have been derelict in their duty to their constituents and the oath they swore, but it's hard to see them winning many elections in the future or being trusted to govern again.
Time will tell. If this kind of tyranny is allowed to metatisize, our Republic hangs in the balance.