Wednesday December 11, 2013
September 26th, 2013
If you fell asleep 30 years ago, woke up last week and quickly scanned the headlines in Iran and Egypt, you could be excused for saying, "I didn't miss a thing." The military and the Muslim Brotherhood are still slugging it out along the Nile, and Iranian pragmatists and ideologues are still locked in a duel for control of their Islamic Revolution.
When you're trapped in a city with House Republican gargoyles who don't understand math or history, much less reality, sometimes you crave a dose of grandfatherly wisdom.
Speaker John Boehner, trapped under the thumb of Tea Party anarchists, called Friday's vote to defund Obamacare and invite a government shutdown "a victory for common sense."
More like a triumph of nonsense.
Republicans in the House are like a bunch of 3-year-olds playing with matches. Their hapless leaders don't have the sense to scold them and send them to their rooms -- which means President Obama has to be the disciplinarian in this dysfunctional family.
I know you're worried about the government shutting down on Oct. 1. Who wouldn't be? Services suspended, the nation's credibility damaged in the eyes of the rest of the world. What serious person would want to let that happen?
The better to plan your watchful worry, here's a tentative schedule of events:
Delay and defund. And default.
That is the House Republicans' brilliant plan in their last-ditch effort to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It is a plan that threatens to grind the government to a halt and wreak havoc on the economy.
If they can't take over Washington, they'll shut it down. It's their way or no way. All or nothing.
While President Obama focuses on pulling a rabbit out of a hat in his zigzag route toward chemical-weapons disarmament in Syria, the challenge of disarming "ordinary" weapons of human destruction at home continues to be brushed aside.
The latest domestic shootout, this time between an apparently mentally disturbed Navy veteran and combined local and federal police forces at Washington's well-fortified Navy Yard, has been greeted by the usual laments and empty responses.
If the House Republicans were children, they'd surely be getting a "timeout."
Are they really going to close down the government in a futile attempt to undo Obamacare? Are they really willing to risk the full faith and credit of the United States to score political points?
It was the last thing the Rev. Tim Ahrens expected to do during a chat in his book-lined office at the historic First Congregational Church here: He expressed admiration for Gov. John Kasich.
Be very, very afraid.
This is my chilling, and surprising, takeaway from numerous conversations with administration officials and members of Congress over the last several days about the looming need to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling.