U.S. Government Shutdown Might Continue Indefinitely

Both sides now have reason to dig in and refuse to budge. Both sides think they’re on the verge of achieving a cherished goal, if only they hang tough.

For President Obama, the Affordable Care Act is taking effect even as we speak, despite the so-called “partial” government shutdown. Health care for all has been a Democratic goal for 60 years or more. Obama has a passed bill, a signed law with his name on it. The president and Democrats believe that once Obamacare is implemented, people will decide they love it — just like Social Security and Medicare — and will refuse to give it up.

The Republicans are dead set against Obamacare, just as they were against Social Security and Medicare.  But in the process of seeking to block Obamacare, conservative Republicans have achieved their long-sought goal of limited government. They’ve shut down all the “nonessential” parts of government; only “essential” functions continue, such as the military and air traffic controllers. This is exactly the kind of severely limited government the Tea Party wants. And I think  it’s what most conservative Republicans want as well. Are there any nonconservative Republicans? No, I didn’t think so.

Bottom line, the way I see it, neither side is willing to give up what they’ve already won — Obamacare for the Democrats, and smaller government for the Tea Party and Republicans.

Republicans in Congress have offered a slightly revised bill that would include funding for the National Institutes of Health and for National Parks. President Obama doesn’t think Republicans are likely to negotiate in good faith, and he’s probably right about that.  Nonetheless, the president’s repeated refusal to negotiate is starting to wear thin. Poor Harry Reid seemed downright befuddled today.

Red vs. Blue on the chess board, and nobody wants to make a move. Folks, this could continue for a while.

— John Hayden

7 thoughts on “U.S. Government Shutdown Might Continue Indefinitely

  1. We have a constitution that clearly spells out how a bill becomes law and how a law is amended or repealed. Extortion is not listed any where in the constitution. The GOP has voted 40 plus times in an attempt to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, and 40 plus times have failed. The Supreme Court has upheld the law. To now attach the law to the running of the government and use it as a bargaining chip would set a dangerous precedent that takes us out of the realm of democracy and into the realm of anarchy. Giving an inch would have ramification on all laws in the future. So I do not see it as the democrats are dug in…I see it as a matter of preserving the “what and how” our founding fathers set forth in the constitution. Negotiate about a budget; negotiate about spending; but do not make this or any law of the land a pawn in any negotiation. There is a protocol for how to repeal a law and, and black mail is not it! Our very democracy is at stake here and the GOP have backed themselves into a corner that I am not sure they can get out of without hurting themselves and everyone around them.


    • Your description and analysis of the situation sounds just right to me, Stephanie. I think you’re seeing this more clearly than the cable TV news talking heads. I’ve been listening to them too much, enough to be somewhat infected by their confusion.

      We have experienced a FAILURE of representative democracy. As you say, Congress is not following proper or normal procedures. It’s a failure of CONGRESS. I don’t think it means that our grassroots electoral democracy has failed, although it is shaky.

      To take it a step further, I was beginning to think yesterday and feel more strongly today, that we are BEGINNING TO ENTER a Constitutional crisis. I emphasize “beginning.” I don’t think we’re in a full-blown Constitutional crisis. Yet.

      Republicans are attempting an extraordinary procedure to reach their goals. I strongly oppose this extraordinary procedure. You’re probably correct that Republicans have backed themselves into a corner that they can’t get out of without damage to themselves or others. An animal backed into a corner is very dangerous.

      I don’t like negotiating at this juncture any more than you do, but I’m afraid it might be the better part of valor. When at a dangerous impasse, it’s a good idea to negotiate, even if one side’s demands are totally unacceptable. My view of this is based on my principle that it’s always better to negotiate than to go to war.

      I’ll leave questions about about whether this would set a bad precedent to the Constitutional lawyers.


  2. I think one of the main problems is that Obama doesn’t understand how the US Government works. I heard his speech on the BBC that made me think this.
    He thinks he’s the master of the government, not an equal of three parts.


    • I would agree that the president’s skills at communicating with Congress are weak. We do have a three-part government with separation of powers. That can lead to messy situations. If Obama had worked with Congress more effectively throughout his two terms, perhaps it would not have come to this. However, I must point out that certain Republicans have not conducted themselves as the “loyal opposition” from the first day Obama was in office. They made clear they wanted only to bring him down, not to participate in two-party government.


  3. Nice posting, I’m glad I found it.

    And I might riff off your blogpost…given the responses to the shutdown I’ve seen in the media and online, it is interesting how these same events are interpreted completely differently by different people.

    I was searching for an analogy and at first I was thinking it is like those optical illusions that can look like two different images (e.g. the image of an Old or Young woman http://hubpages.com/hub/Two-Faces-or-a-Vase-10-Simple-but-Wonderful-Optical-Illusions#slide2012693 )

    But now I think it is like people are looking at two different things and acting like it is the same picture.

    For me this Continuing Resolution seems obviously an excuse by republicans to further their goal of shrink and then drown it, much like your blog post. For others it is a clear example that Obama thinks he is a dictator and can try to rule by fiat, even when the Senate and possibly the majority of the House agree with him. For each it is obvious and almost impossible to see the other view.

    So I think republicans are seeing and reacting to a core political principle and the democrats are looking at how to fund the government. So the discreet facts have a different overly that adds context for the opposing views.

    This may have always been the case, but In times past personal and political self-interest might change some votes, like getting some sweet deal for a home district. But we are no longer making political sausage, rather now the goal is some purified political perfume that entrances the believers. And again, for me I see the republicans as the purity police and the democrats as simply trying to pay for the programs enacted, but I imagine somebody else might even like my observation but reverse who is the purist dictator.


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