OCALA, Fla., October 4, 2013 — Senator Ted Cruz wants the federal government to be shut down so he can make self-aggrandizing speeches that generate free publicity for a future presidential run.
His supporters at right-wing think tanks and political action groups support the shutdown as a means of raising money from highly charged, easily-led base partisans.
President Barack Obama wants the federal government to be shut down in compensation for his epic failure with the Syrian crisis. If he compromises with congressional Republicans, this would signify two major policy defeats in less than a month.
His supporters in various Democratic groups and left-leaning organizations are less than thrilled with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but many know that this is as close as they will get to universal healthcare for some time.
Speaker John Boehner tried to hammer out a deal that would be workable on both sides of the aisle, but found little success. Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are surely hard at work figuring out how to spin all of this to his disadvantage for the upcoming midterms.
Moderate congressional Democrats and Republicans alike are searching for a viable solution; something which would allow the government to operate once again. They have had surprisingly scant luck.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are now out of work, and those that serve essential roles still report to the office, but are unsure about their next paycheck. National parks and other federal institutions have closed their doors, though this didn’t stop a caravan of World War II veterans from visiting the memorial they hold dear in Washington, DC.
Who could have imagined that the heroes of the shutdown would be a band of soldiers pushing ninety? An all-American story if there ever was one.
Beyond the veterans’ comforting tale, though, Capitol Hill is in such disarray that it almost defies belief.
Neither side negotiates with the other because there is no compelling reason to. By not ceding any ground, Cruz is kowtowing to the whims of his treasured base. Obama, meanwhile, is trying to rebuild his political strength and salvage whatever positive public opinion remains of the PPACA.
The few moderates from either party have long since been cast into the wilderness. Quiet left- or right-wing radicals are falling into place; happily doing whatever it is that their electoral base and favored political action committee demands. The keyword here is “base”, not “mainstream”.
After all, the base has a disproportionate sway during primary season.
Our government’s shutdown is merely the symptom of a far larger problem: Political radicalism, fueled by special interest groups, has become the new normal across the fruited plains.
Such a thing has left the United States is no longer on speaking terms with itself.
Because of this, and this alone, expect to see more and more nonsense during the months and years ahead. One party or another might win at times, but the common American is the sure loser.
Far-left? Far-right? Get real: Read more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto
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