Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not Another Shutdown

What is it with these Republicans?  In yet another nod to the influence of the Tea Party and the nut fringe...They are now threatening to shut down the government to defund "Obamacare" as they call it!


The growing clamor around the Beltway in D.C. is that everyone should batten down the hatches and get ready for the inevitable government shutdown. How many is this now? It's an outcome that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)says he has worked hard to avoid, for the sake of his party's reputation.

 But House Speaker ,John Boehner, short on time and tactics, may have no other choice now than to let calamity physics work its will.

For the past week, warnings over the possibility of a shutdown have rung out. Jonathan Chait advised just last week that "a government shutdown is more likely now" because the time in which to actually deal-make around it is quickly elapsing. Not that a deal seemed likely.

As one source, positioned to suss out the state of negotiations, told Jonathan Cohn, "The breakdown is more extensive than you've heard ... There is no discussion going on at all at this point." And why should there be...This is a done deal...It was a done deal two years ago.  Why can't these Republicans get that through their thick skulls and move on?

And Peter Weber cautions, "Brace yourselves," because everyone's incentives seem to align in such a way that makes a shutdown a fait accompli. President Barack Obama thinks the shutdown will add political capital to his coffers. Democrats believe it will improve their position to bargain on the budget.

Tea party Republicans believe the conventional wisdom -- which holds that the GOP's brand loses out in the event of a shutdown -- is wrong, and that they actually have the leverage. The Hill reports that "at least 43 conservatives want the GOP leadership to go for broke" over this.

I have never in my life seen such stupidity in action until now! I have to tell you...It's pretty frightening.

Standing at the center of all of this is of course, House Speaker John Boehner, who has, thus far, attempted to stave off a shutdown on the grounds that it would be bad for the GOP's brand. But he might be all out of options.

His most recent gambit was to try to get the House to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government functioning, with a sidecar resolution attached that would defund Obamacare.

The idea is to give his caucus colleagues another chance to vent their disapproval of Obamacare without imperiling the federal government. At the same time,House Speaker Boehner has extended the notion that there will be time enough for hostage-taking when the debate over the debt ceiling is enjoined. (Of course, there's no indication that Speaker Boehner thinks a debt ceiling row would be any better for the GOP than a shutdown, but if his colleagues accepted this plan, he would at the very least buy some time.)

The real problem, however, is that the more raucous members of his caucus have rejected John Boehner's "continuing resolution with a side of Obamacare defunding," and call this plan a "sell-out." Speaker Boehner is further hamstrung by the fact that his colleagues have turned the "Hastert Rule" -- which holds that the speaker can't bring anything to the floor for a vote without first securing a "majority of the majority" -- into official House GOP dogma.

All of this brought Speaker Boehner to his lowest point last week, when he vented his frustrations at reporters, saying, "Do you have an idea? They'll just shoot it down anyway." So now, as The New Republic's Noam Scheiber posits, John Boehner might just let his colleagues take aim at their own collective foot.

They've been doing that since day one anyway...They've learned nothing from the shallacking they got in the last election....

So in the end there's a good chance that Speaker of the house,Boehner's non- plan will simply further tarnish the GOP's standing, without providing sufficient motivation to push his colleagues in a saner direction.

But as John Boehner himself has asked, "Do you have a better idea?"

And here in lies the problem...They haven't had an idea...good or bad period other than let's just stick to President Obama since he took office...I seriously think that as America becomes Blacker, Browner, younger et al...that more people are going to see this and the republicans are about ten years away from being irrellevant...Which is not good for any democracy...They will have brought it on themselves.

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