So, the government shutdown is over and the world can get back to running as normal. Or, can get back to running as normal as it can considering we’re governed by the me and women we are. Nonetheless, the sky isn’t falling and the late Senator Lautenberg’s wife gets the customary payout widows tend to receive. I guess that’s all a good thing, except for the fact that Republicans have managed to screw up their messaging more than their governance during the profligate Bush years.
Both sides in this are guilty in this whole debacle. Before going into exactly how they are guilty, I think it is important to discuss the two sides I am talking about here, neither of which is the Democratic Party. It’s a given they wish to govern with a greater role for the central state and all that comes with that – wealth redistribution policies, higher tax burdens on the “wealthy” and more social assistance for those in “poverty.” Generally speaking anyways, they are pretty consistent. No, the problem is in the Republican Party itself from two sides that individually are quite craptastic. Together, we could be amazing, but that bridge refuses to be built. Instead of meeting in our own Promontory, Republicans on each side are demanding that the effort be made at the expense of the other. For all the talk of game theory involved in this debacle, we seem to have poor players.
So, that said, who are those players? Well, if you live here in Georgia like I do, it’s probably just convenient to label them “establishment” and “liberty,” regardless of how ridiculous those names are to begin with. Names aside, the context in which both operate are pretty consistent. “Establishment” = demande we play the politics game with all players involved, negotiate and compromise, assume the public notices the big things and not the details. “Liberty” = play the drum loudly, decry compromisers, appeal to emotion and assume the public gets it. To a degree, both sides have the answers. Problem is, they want to have all the answers. That’s just not possible, as demonstrated by the ridiculousness of this Obamacare fight.
First, I think it’s a bit ridiculous that Mitch McConnell negotiated a partial rollback of the sequester cuts that took place. $19 billion is a drop in the bucket to be sure, but the fact that the cuts did not in any fashion lead to the end of the world – at least no more than the shutdown did – proved that the hard fought compromise they represented was worth retaining in the form they were developed. It’s hard to explain to the conservative, anti-government base that you’re working on their side if something that small is unimportant to you. Small things matter. If nothing else, the rise of folks like Cruz should signal that. After all, he took quite small differences with a very conservative Lt. Governor Dewhurst all the way to a U.S. Senate seat. You’re not going to gut Obamacare right now, Mitch. At least stand for the small victory that you’re able to have up to this point. Oh yeah, don’t allow a $3 billion pork project either. That’s kinda crappy.
Second, I think it’s a bit ridiculous that Ted Cruz feels the need to filibuster – wait, not filibuster – against a bill to defund Obamacare that he supports by comparing those that don’t want to defund Obamacare to Neville Chamberlin. Yes, he filibustered a bill that he supported because the Democrats in the Senate would change it. I think the hard cores “get it” Senator Cruz, but Republicans who aren’t activists probably don’t. Not because they’re stupid, but because they see the obvious political theatre you’re engaging in. Theatre isn’t reality, which explains why college students who major in it are working at Starbucks. When Republicans are in the House and Senate trying to find solutions to a troubling situation, you stage a talk-a-thon devoid of any intellectual consistency. After all, voting for the bill that you just filibustered that you initially supported is wildly inconsistent.
The truth is that this is all just a microcosm of the schism we see here on the ground. It’s just rather sickening, honestly. I canno do anything but shake my head in disgust when I see someone point to the compromise and say “I wish our Senators could be more like Ted Cruz…” Here’s a tip, principles are meaningless if you’re the only one that believes in them. Then again, I don’t know that I can feel good about party elders bashing the “libertarians” in the party and ostracizing them in the process when the antics of McConnell are the result. Really, it just make me feel like being a Republican ain’t worth it anymore. It’s like the AVP poster says – “Whoever wins, we lose…” So, hooray!..we just let the Democrats retain their ability to govern horribly…