Government shutdown countdown

Government shutdown countdown

Generally, when a political party controls both the legislative and executive branches of government, the one thing it can be counted on is to keep the lights on. I mean, that's the most basic requirement of a government. You have (or should have) the votes, you get the president onside, and you keep the damned lights on.

However, government is now in the hands of the Republican Party. And, as amazing as it seems, we are facing a government shutdown when this party controls all the levers of power.

Paul Ryan is faced with a revolt among the Freedom Caucus. The continuing resolution doesn't have the support of 50 GOP senators. Donald Trump keeps making last-minute demands about what should be included in the package. And Democrats, to their credit, are washing their hands of the whole affair. You boys and girls wanted power; now its time to face power's consequences and responsibilities.

The GOP is counting on blaming Democrats for any government shutdown, because Democrats won't accede to their hostage demands. This is both laughable and untenable. Even more so than under Pres. Obama, Republicans have no room for maneuver. The political dominance for which they worked and cheated so assiduously is theirs, at least until next year. They thought they'd be able to get to Washington, undo Obamacare, give a windfall to the rich, and call it a day. They didn't realize that they'd have to do the drudgery of actual governance. As GOP statehouses across the country attest, they're rubbish at that.

Republicans get tumescent at the thought of kicking poors into the gutters, or taking away health care, or showering the already rich with even more riches. But ask them to perform the most basic functions of a governing party, and they suddenly become the Keystone Kops, unable to do anything right. It doesn't help that as a leader they have a blowhard reality show host who has never had to negotiate in any meaningful way with anyone, who has never had to compromise to get what he wants. He has no knowledge of how the legislative process works, and neither does his chief of staff, who is more used to the military command structure.

So, yes, we're looking at the ridiculous scenario where the Republicans, who have majorities in both Houses and currently inhabit the presidency, are steering us to a government shutdown.

But, as always, both sides are to blame, amirite?



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