The Government Shutdown of 2013

My Tuesday column:

For a brief moment in time on Monday, it looked like Rep. Pete King (R-NY) might’ve attained enough moderate votes to pass a “clean” continuing resolution to finance the government for another six weeks without de-funding the Affordable Care Act. It was a glimpse into what a more rational Republican Party would look like if it were free of the cuckoo’s nest influence of the irrational, extremist tea party flank.

Of course the effort only whipped up five Republican votes and, at midnight eastern time, the U.S. government has been partially shut down.

It’s difficult to know what exactly the tea party intends get out of this other than a brief surge of energy from its base and zero new supporters, amounting to what can only be considered a lateral victory. Did they think there was going to be a fireworks display and free balloons at midnight?

Congratulations, tea party, you’ve successfully retained your Obama Derangement Syndrome suffering gaggle of loonies and conspiracy theorists. But you’ve also thoroughly alienated everyone else — so much so that Democrats on Twitter were cheering for the comparatively “moderate” voice of Pete King.

What’s next?

Obamacare takes effect today. The government shutdown will eventually end, but only after hundreds of thousands government employees are furloughed without pay. Meanwhile, the president will continue to have a bully-er pulpit and a significantly higher approval rating than Congress, and so he’ll be able to more effectively frame the shut down as an irresponsible Republican stunt. The tea party and, with it, the broader Republican Party will win nothing. And while the government is closed, uninsured Americans will begin to shop for health insurance plans in the various Affordable Care Act state marketplaces and, in the process, will discover how eye-poppingly affordable and comprehensive the policies are. Suddenly all of the “Obamacare has failed” talk will seem more ridiculous than it did on Monday; likewise, previously on-the-fence voters will begin to ask the trenchant question: why does this excellent thing need to be de-funded and repealed?… [CONTINUE READING]

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  • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

    This is a somewhat silly OT question: Bob, does it make a difference if we comment here or on the Banter page? (in terms of your success?) I’ve been reading you since the blog was called f*ckin’ awesome and want to be sure to support you!