Durst: Showdown, shutdown, shakedown
October 6, 2013
Government's closed, everybody! Go home. Except Congress, that is, whose members are still getting paid, classified as "essential workers." Although right now, neither one of those words seems very apt or ept. Unapt and inept is more like it. Inapt? Unept?
A minority of the majority of one house of Congress continues to hold the country hostage. "Down on the floor, America, and hands behind your back. Anybody moves, shoot 'em." And if we don't agree to their demented demands, we'll never see our families or Panda Cam again.
To say that the Tea Party really, really doesn't like the Affordable Care Act is like intimating spotted brown bananas make for substandard grouting material. That Mel Gibson is unlikely to receive a plethora of invitations to speak at JDL benefits. That the prognosis for a patient whose spleen transplant was performed with rusty garden tools … is not good.
The fraying tassels on the GOP fringe appear to be willing to sacrifice everything to deny their constituents access to health care coverage. Two lambs. The recovery. Their reputation. The harvest. Nation's credit rating. A virgin. John Boehner's tan.
What they should be looking for is a time machine, because this issue has already been settled. By the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government. Which, according to all those Schoolhouse Rock videos, is pretty much all of them. Three out of three. Slam dunk. Total sweep. Full boat. Get a hammer and some planks to build a shelf for the freaking trophy, dude.
And if memory serves correctly, wasn't last year's presidential election a referendum on Obamacare? Every single Republican offered up as an alternative commander in chief railed against it with vein – popping intensity. And none won. Not to mention this same crew of Cruz's crazies having made over 40 attempts to sink health care reform. All for naught. How many bites at the apple do you get before there is no apple?
So the government has totally ground to a halt, paralyzed by petty partisan squabbling. Or as they say inside the Beltway these days: a typical Thursday. Republicans complain Obama is not negotiating. Garnering their begrudging respect for following Reagan's unbreakable dictum to refuse to negotiate with terrorists.
Besides, bills are negotiated, not settled law. If the Kamikaze Caucus gets their way on this, what's next? Another showdown, shutdown, shakedown demanding Democrats dismantle NPR? A single representative from Oklahoma threatening to hold his breath until he turns blue if an oil derrick doesn't replace George Washington on the $1 bill? Preschool intimidation to spur the repeal of the laws of gravity?
The extreme right wing of the party of the right is obviously convinced the public will regard this as one of those "a pox on both of their houses" deals. And they may be right. If Congress' approval rating goes any lower, they'll be able to look up to snake bellies. Losing ground on poisonous ticks. Pillow thorns.
And for a group ostensibly consumed with the deficit, these cry-cry-crybabies don't seem too upset by the $300 million the shutdown is costing every day. Because, hey! $300 million here. $300 million there. As Everett Dirksen is said to have pointed out, pretty soon you're talking real money.
Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. Email Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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