Oct 22, 2013


I don't know about you but the recent government shutdown really got me riled up.  The first three days I was completely obsessed, glued to the TV.  I wanted to know the play-by-play as each occurred and not wait for the evening news.  I only did chores and tasks that allowed for watching the news at the same time: ironing, cooking, paying bills, pretending to clean.  If I couldn't simultaneously watch our national monuments and parks being cordoned off or listen to the pundits speculate on how long the strong-arming would last, that chore had to wait until my own personal shutdown was over.

Of course, after a couple of days it was necessary to go out into the world again to buy provisions but those first three days were solid shutdown.  Then it stretched on and on. And on. The fun parts were soon over, like when Michelle Bachman, who had just voted for the shutdown, thrust herself into the war memorial demonstration and declared, "You can't close America!" Or when Michelle Bachman stretched the skin wide around her eyes and declared, "We're not blinking." Or when Michelle Bachman...hey, wait a minute; I sense a pattern.

Now the shutdown is over and our budget is passed for the super long, super secure and reassuring period of roughly three months.  What then?  In the post-Christmas credit-maxed period for middle income and low income Americans, Tea Party Republicans may again decide to hold the government hostage and cause billions of dollars of loss, putting people out of work and causing ripples of lost income and commerce to large swaths of the economy yet again.  Maybe they got enough of a whooping in the polls to prevent another shutdown but we'll see. Ted Cruz's numbers went up in his bid for president, so he came out ahead. 

I don't think I'll ever understand the concept of the antigovernment government rep. It's like a frog complaining about the size of the pond just before he leaps in and starts swimming.  It's like a carpet salesman decrying the loss of hardwood floors.  It's like a queen complaining about the cost of supporting the royal family.  I can't tell if the antigovernment folks are disingenuous or if they really don't understand what government does.  A lot of them seemed genuinely shocked that the federal government runs national parks.  Sort of like those Obamacare protesters with the "Government keep your hands off my Medicare" signs.

I'm glad the president hung tough.   At the beginning of the shutdown, I heard Chris Matthews say on The Colbert Report that no one fears Obama and not being intimidating is a problem for any president.  I think Matthews was right at the time...there were several points in his first term when he seemed to be the caver in chief.  But Obama's refusal to deal with extremists holding the government hostage put a healthy fear in those who want to do him and his agenda harm.  He's not perfect but he sure played it right this time.