10.01.2013

THE REAL CULPRITS OF THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

congress, government shutdown, healthcare, obamacare
The public is to blame for the inability of Congress to function.

By R James Towe

Last night, my wife and I were watching a certain television show. One of the guests was Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). I wasn't paying too much attention until she was asked about the 2016 presidential election. She mentioned Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as a possibility. But what really got my attention was when the host asked Ms. McCain about her thoughts on the government shutdown.

She went on a mini tirade about how ridiculously Congress was behaving. Their behavior was reminiscent of alpha males asserting their power, the public be damned. That may not have been her suggestion, but that was my observation of her thoughts.

I believe it's important to get through the fog of this government shutdown. 

The mess in which we find ourselves has much more to do with the dysfunction of the American public and far less to do with Congress.

Both parties are displaying 'integrity' by sticking to their ideological guns. The Democrats have dreamed of universal health care since Harry Truman. Dems were elected in 2008, with majorities in both houses of Congress. Another Democrat, Barack Obama, was elected president.  In 2010, the president signed into law the Affordable Care Act. The public had two years before the next presidential election to decide if they felt comfortable with universal healthcare.

In 2012, the centerpiece of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign was a repeal of Obamacare. He made it very clear how he would dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the very day he was inaugurated. Mr. Romney would have granted immediate waivers to all 50 states. He explained, in detail, what the healthcare law would do to the country. The very same issues that are expressed today.

The problem now: the public reelected Barack Obama and a Democratic controlled Senate.

How does one reconcile that a majority of Americans disapprove of the healthcare law (Link), yet reelected the president? The debacle seems to be a major issue; the public appears very concerned about its consequences. Yet, it wasn't important enough to defeat Barack Obama.

So, now we find ourselves in a conundrum. Two very ideological, polarized political parties in the trenches. This was what the public wanted. This is what they voted for in 2008 and 2012.

The presidency in the United States is not a ceremonial position as in countries where there is a prime minister and a parliamentary system. In America, the president matters.

The public has no one to blame but themselves for this shutdown. This is their medicine for being so aloof and uniformed on what the hell goes on in Washington. Maybe someday they'll understand that a vote should should be more thoughtful than the election of the homecoming king.