With the signature of President Obama, the sham melodrama
of the government “shutdown” and the “debt ceiling crisis” is
officially over. You are allowed, then, to officially breathe a
sigh of relief. Everything, we are now told by the Old
(established) Media, is going to be o.k.
The problem with this scenario is that it wasn’t about real
public matters. The government was not “shut down,” and
the government was not going into default. Yes, there were
short-term consequences affecting a relatively small number
of persons, a few government services and some inconveniences.
President Obama, for example, to melodramatize the situation,
arbitrarily ordered national parks and public monument areas
The opposition, led by folks such as Republican Senator Ted
Cruz “stood up for principle,” but accomplished only the
diminishment of their party’s public image and the obvious
advance of their own personal ambitions. Speaker John Boehner,
who wanted to avoid this confrontation and understood that his
party did not have the votes to stop or delay Obamacare, faced
a revolt from his own members, and was unavoidably revealed
to be ineffective. He will not be replaced until 2015, but he has
been prematurely made into a lame duck by his own allies. No
“standing ovation” from his members will alter this.
Newt Gingrich called this a “sad day for America,” and he’s
right. The closing “deal” was made at the last minute without
any public input other than an hysterical stock market and the
portentous words of imminent doom by self-styled experts
who apparently didn’t read the Constitution, or know how
government really works.
Nothing was accomplished other than delaying the same kind
of confrontation until after Christmas.
The Old Media will now proclaim this a victory for the
Democrats, but if you are a serious liberal elected official,
you have little to celebrate. The issues of Obamacare and
public spending/deficits only get worse as time goes on. And
the time is going to be next year --- 2014 --- an election year!
Nor do Republicans have much to celebrate either. Their
party is now de facto leaderless, and once more revealed to
be inept in the ongoing contest of public opinion, a contest
which they lost in 2012, and could lose again in 2014.
I have been citing for a few years now the inability of the
member states of the European Union to face their problems
and take steps to resolve them. They have continually “kicked
the political can” down the road. President Obama’s desire to
imitate the worst of European public policy and practice has
now reached an apotheosis. (I’m surprised they didn’t give
him the Nobel Prize for economics this year.....)
Behind the scenes, some Democratic and Republican leaders
have been trying to end the self-destructive divide in the
country, but so far few of their efforts have borne political
fruit. I have stated over and over again that the next political
task is the 2014 national mid-term elections. All else is
self-aggrandizing rhetoric. The Republicans should have as
their focus winning back the U.S. senate. Democrats should be
concerned with taking back the U.S. house.
The voters should be concerned about ALL those who are
representing them in Washington, DC.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.