Friday, October 18, 2013
Latest Newspaper Column:
Well, I know we’re all glad that’s over. The House and the Senate have finally reached both a continuing resolution to keep the government running at current funding levels and a raising of the debt ceiling so we can continue to pay the bills we’ve already run up.
This came about after a small but noisy group of Teahadists decided to take the government and the economy hostage to try to undo the legislative loss they’d suffered when they were unable to defeat the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Once again, they assumed that everyone hated and feared President Obama and his “Care” as much as they did, and once again, they were wrong. Even the people who disliked or distrusted the ACA weren’t, in the final analysis, willing to destroy the country’s credit rating and its already shaky ability to function to magically make it go away.
When it became apparent that the president and the Democrats were, for once, united, and that the legislative process does not include threatening to dynamite the government if a bill you don’t like got passed, the desperate and doomed Teahadists and their hapless enablers in the Republican Party began strutting and raging like Al Pacino’s bumbling bank-robber-turned-hostage-taker playing to the crowd by yelling at the cops outside the bank in the movie “Dog Day Afternoon.”
Some of my favorite (and by “favorite” I mean “I had to laugh to keep from banging my head against the wall”) moments:
— Congressman Marlin Stutzman (R-Kindergarten) fuming, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” If you ever needed a quote to perfectly sum up the incoherent, unfocused rage and childish hissyfits that characterize the current American right, there you have it.
— Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert deriding John McCain’s criticism of the Teahadists by saying John McCain (who was a POW) was “a guy that’s been to Syria and supported al-Qaida and the rebels” — followed by McCain’s shrugging off the insult by saying, “If someone has no intelligence, I don’t view it as being a malicious statement.” Zing!
(By the way, there are some people who like to email me to express their outrage that I’m disrespecting Sen. McCain’s military service every time I say something less than complimentary about him. I’m sure you’ll want to express your displeasure to Loony Louie at his website: http:// gohmert.house.gov/contact/. Don’t bother thanking me, I’m here to help.)
— Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham admitting that while the Republicans “overplayed their hand,” he was “frustrated” at the refusal of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the president to negotiate with a gun to their heads.
“This is a very frustrated Lindsey Graham,” he added, “which is a very dangerous thing.” It would have sounded a lot more impressive if Graham didn’t sound like Aunt Pittypat from “Gone With the Wind” when he said it.
— GOP strategist Alex Castellanos likening Ted Cruz’ Quixotic crusade to “having bunny sex” — something that feels good while you’re doing it, but which is ultimately destructive because the population boom leads to an inevitable bust.
To which host Anderson Cooper incredulously asked, “Are you high?” and Castellanos replied: “I wish I was.” (By that time, he wasn’t the only one.) The next night, Cooper showed up with an actual bunny for Castellanos, who thankfully did not try to make a date with it.
— A group protesting the closure of war memorials by marching on the White House and waving Confederate battle flags.
Because nothing says you love your country more than brandishing the flag of the people who made war on it because they lost an election.
In the end, for all their posturing, the Tealiban got nothing.
They chose Obamacare as their hill to die on, and die on it they did, but not before costing the U.S. economy an estimated $24 billion (according to Standard and Poor’s).
People who contracted with their government suffered from the delays in contracts and payments. People trying to buy homes with FHA or VA loans found their closings delayed because the personnel needed to verify their incomes were “furloughed.” In short, for one brief moment, the government functioned exactly as it would if the Teabaggers had their way, which is to say barely at all. And people didn’t like it one bit.
So now the government is up and running again. Well, not so much running as lurching and staggering ahead toward the next crisis like an addled drunk who briefly rallies from slumbering in the gutter to make a few hundred more yards of progress toward home before collapsing again under an inviting oak tree, all the while swearing to himself, “I’m never doing this again.” I hope they don’t, but I’m not betting on it.