The Widdershins

Archive for October 3rd, 2013

“I’m tired of being the Party of stupid.”  Nicole Wallace

Good Thursday. Widdershins.  I’m with Fredster – things have be come completely stupid.

We are now in Day Three of the Great Shutdown, and have learned a great deal about our elected representatives.  Frankly, it looks that this might just grind on for a while, eventually rivaling or even surpassing the shutdown of Clinton administration fame.

House Republicans are whining, Speaker Boehner is thundering, and Harry Reid is holding firm.  National parks are closing, cancer research has screeched to a halt, WIC is out of money, close to one million civilian employees are on the street, and Panda Cam has gone dark.  Only the “most essential” employees are at work and getting paid, and per Fredster who lived through a shutdown, some are working without pay.  And of course, then there are the members of Congress, who are getting paid while not exactly working,  The President will soon be off to a somewhat abbreviated Malaysian visit, and I suppose that there’s no problem with that, as there’s really not that much for him to do in a country that has officially ground to an incomplete standstill.

The best that I can tell, we can get comfortable and brace ourselves for another round of bipartisan bloviating and Congressional calisthenics until either one side or the other caves.  The House Republicans have graciously offered to fund the government until the debt ceiling has been reached on two conditions:  first, that a budget which afflicts the afflicted while comforting the comfortable be adopted; and second, that Obamacare be defunded/cancelled/postponed/whatever.  If and when those demands are met, they will re-open the government for that nanosecond of time until the debt ceiling is reached.  At that point, we will get to sit through an encore of the annual debt-ceiling drama.  Good times.

“We’re right because we’re right.”  Rep. Steve King

I have read that the isn’t actually the fault of the Republican party, but rather just one group of that one party occupying space in one chamber of one branch of government.  Might be so, but history is thick with episodes of squeaky wheels that rolled their way downhill to ridiculous destinations.  Speaker Boehner is whining that the Senate will not meet with the House regarding the budget, but fails to mention that attempts have been made to so this since Spring, and all efforts at compromise have been soundly rebuffed.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated his willingness to negotiate, but only if the debt ceiling is part of the package, and defunding Obamacare is not.  In the meantime, Congress appears to be dead in the water.

A few Republicans, mainly from blue and purplish states, have indicated their willingness to pass a clean bill, then negotiate forward in good faith.  There may even be enough of them to pass the bill with the assistance of Democrats. But Boehner holds firm, despite the fact that I am beginning to believe that he is also desperate for a way out of this mess.  In the meantime, some folks have been rather busy.

 “It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.” — Rep. Michelle Bachmann

Rep. Michele Bachmann was on-scene at the WWII Memorial to assist an Honor Flight of veterans from Mississippi in pushing the barricades away from the entrance so that they might visit the site.  RNC Chair Reince Priebus read a stirring address which excoriated the Democrats for their failures.  Rep. Marcia Blackmon screeched that the Senate took too much vacation time and needed to come back to work this thing out.  These good folks are attempting the best example of group transference that I have ever witnessed,  Freud would be so proud of them.

“We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable it insists the nation be ungovernable, too.” _ Charles P. Pierce,

It’s all beginning to wear thin.  National polling indicates that the “blame the Democrats” efforts are falling flat. The markets are diving, Wall Street is appalled, and even usually friendly editors are exhorting the Repubs to stop the lemming-like rush to the cliff.  The comfortable are also being afflicted by this nonsense, and that may well be all that saves us now.  The only good thing about this is that our President no longer believes that he is the true harbinger of a post-partisan era, and that is a relief.  Apparently he has checked out of the Republican suicide pact and will allow it to progress unhindered.  That seems to be the only reasonable avenue open at this point.

“We’re not going to be disrespected,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Some day, this might be amusing, but for the moment, I’ve just about had it.  The only positive statement that I can make at this time is to send beaucoup thanks to the individuals that are underwriting the costs at food banks and clinics, and to United Airlines for giving the service academy football team a ride to the game this weekend. Perhaps their examples will inspire others to pick up some slack for people who are caught up in this political mess through no fault of their own.

This is an open thread.


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