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Shutdown showdown
September 27, 2013 11:31 AM   Subscribe

If the Federal Government shuts down on October 1st, the DC city government is supposed to shut down as well. In a bid to keep the city functioning, Mayor Vince Gray has declared all city employees "essential." Non-voting Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton and the DC GOP are also petitioning Congress to keep the city open. The District's budget comes from local taxes, but needs Congressional approval to spend it's own money.
posted by troika (378 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
You can learn everything you need to know about Congress' overall competence and ability to govern wisely simply by looking at how they govern their own city.
posted by mullingitover at 11:36 AM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


It is truly a mark of how pathetic Congress has become that the Mayor of DC can say something like, "Congress can’t even get its own fiscal house in order; they should be taking lessons from us rather than imposing needless suffering on us." and be right.

I've been advocating for a while that D.C. should simply seize its own reins, do what it wants to do and defy Congress to actually do something about it. It looks like they might actually do it this time.
posted by Naberius at 11:38 AM on September 27, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hey -- they care just as much about D.C. as they do about all the other people outside their district and/or life experience!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:39 AM on September 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


One of the guests on Kojo Nnamdi said that DC has a $300M contingency fund that has already been appropriated by Congress (presumably as no-year money) that they intend to use to cover up to 60-days worth of expenses.
posted by grateful at 11:46 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good work, Senator Cruz.
posted by boo_radley at 11:47 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Have we completly ruled out that an adult will intervene at some point?
posted by Artw at 11:47 AM on September 27, 2013 [39 favorites]


From the article:

Food stamps and welfare benefits for more than 47 million low-income Americans would cease during a shutdown, my colleague Niraj Chokshi reports. Food assistance for poorer women and children would be unavailable after Oct. 1.
posted by threeants at 11:50 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else puzzled by the irony of a group calling itself the Tea Party that is AGAINST DC citizens being given equal representation in the House of Representative? I thought that whole tea party thing was ABOUT taxation without representation....!
posted by Jamesonian at 11:52 AM on September 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


That would involve, like, introspection, and intelligence, Jamesonian.
posted by Inkoate at 11:56 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]




Have we completely ruled out that an adult will intervene at some point?

Democracy is supposed to be government by rule of law, depending as little as possible on the luck of having good people in charge at the moment of crisis.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:56 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is anyone else puzzled by the irony of a group calling itself the Tea Party that is AGAINST DC citizens being given equal representation

It's not that puzzling, once you look at the racial demographics of DC.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:59 AM on September 27, 2013 [19 favorites]


"No taxation without representation of white people!"
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:59 AM on September 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


Food stamps and welfare benefits for more than 47 million low-income Americans would cease during a shutdown, my colleague Niraj Chokshi reports. Food assistance for poorer women and children would be unavailable after Oct. 1.

In other words, a shutdown would accomplish a lot of what the idiots in the House want anyway. Brilliant.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:00 PM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is anyone else puzzled by the irony of a group calling itself the Tea Party that is AGAINST DC citizens being given equal representation in the House of Representative? I thought that whole tea party thing was ABOUT taxation without representation....!

I thought the Tea Party was about no taxation ever.
posted by Noms_Tiem at 12:02 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of all the absurd ironies of Republican conduct, the one that never palls for me is the way the most extreme, last-ditch tactics of the hated unions (work slowdowns, shutdowns, lockouts) are their tactics of first choice for pretty much everything, from routine confirmations on up.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:02 PM on September 27, 2013 [35 favorites]


In other words, a shutdown would accomplish a lot of what the idiots in the House want anyway. Brilliant.

Yep, and a debt default would make it much harder for the Treasury to borrow money, which is another thing that a lot of these same idiots want.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:02 PM on September 27, 2013


I want one of these shirts but they're sold out.
posted by exogenous at 12:03 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here are Some of the Apocalyptic Things That Could Happen If the Debt Ceiling Is Breached.

Doesn't matter, this won't happen at all. No fucking chance. The Debt Ceiling gets raised, like what, 3 or 4 times a year?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:06 PM on September 27, 2013


by looking at how they govern their own city.

It's not their city and it's not their money.

Really wish Obama would just mint that trillion dollar coin already (and yes, I know he's already ruled it out - a mistake, imo).
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:11 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gee, I wonder how long until one of the big Republican donors realizes that they are holding a shit ton of treasury bonds and then suddenly the treasury defaults on those bonds, and all their money that was "safe" in the bond market goes tits up while their brokers try to find something more secure that U.S. Government bonds.

Or how long until all the soldiers start to notice that, "hey, I didn't get paid this month."

Or when those contractors who work for the DOD don't get their checks.

Or all the people who have Medicare suddenly find themselves at the doctors office being asked if they have some other form of payment.

Or every person on food assistance suddenly can't eat (3 days, then riots, I'm calling it now).

But, in reality, the government is not going to shut down. The amount of economic activity that is reliant upon the government spending is quite considerable, and there is no amount of private economic activity that can make up for it if the government fails to pay it's bills.

It's like the Tea Party Republicans looked at Detroit and said to themselves "hey, that's a great idea, let's make the whole country like that."

Zealots with no idea of the kind of mess they are going to create if they get their way. I'm almost hoping they do succeed in this (but, that is a fantasy, and I am well aware of it). Sometimes the only way to learn is to get burned for messing with things you don't understand.

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill (not an example of a great statesman, but at least he came up with some funny one liners from time to time)
posted by daq at 12:18 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yep, and a debt default would make it much harder for the Treasury to borrow money, which is another thing that a lot of these same idiots want.

Isn't conspiring to cripple the government of the United States a treasonous act? I'm kind of not snarking here...Ever since the tea-party crowd took over, there has been a steady and seemingly systematic drive to bring the government to a standstill, no matter the cost or fallout. I really find it hard to accept that we've come to this point wholly by happenstance or accident.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:22 PM on September 27, 2013 [17 favorites]


I would like to believe that the Tea Party types would not actually cut off their noses to spite their faces. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.
posted by rtha at 12:23 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Democracy is supposed to be government by rule of law, depending as little as possible on the luck of having good people in charge at the moment of crisis.

I think you've confused Democracy with Hari Seldon's plan.

Have we completly ruled out that an adult will intervene at some point?

Is this why otherwise democratic nations still nominally have a monarch as the head of state? Does the United Kingdom have some arcane legislative mechanism by which the Queen can temporarily call a "what the hell are you guys doing?"-timeout should something like the current budget standoff cripple Parliament?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:24 PM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Does the United Kingdom have some arcane legislative mechanism by which the Queen can temporarily call a "what the hell are you guys doing?"-timeout should something like the current budget standoff cripple Parliament?

Failing to pass a budget generally means that Parliament will be dissolved and an election called. If one party has an outright majority, this basically never happens.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:26 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't mean something specially like the current budget crisis, but rather a general crisis where the normal legislative process is crippled by infighting.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:28 PM on September 27, 2013


Non-American question:
You have a Senate (Democrat majority), HoR (Republican Majority), and an executive (Democrat President), correct?
Why do the Republicans seem to be in charge of the entire affair? Do you really need 3 out of 3 to get anything done?
posted by rocket88 at 12:29 PM on September 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well, if were heading toward this bullshit anyways, lets make the most of it.

1. Shut down the FDA. No inspectors, no meat in the grocery stores. Tailgating with tofu brats is sure to be the cool new thing out here in flyover country.

2. Shut down FEDWIRE. Lets see how long the banksters and their 1% clientele will go without being able to move or access their money.

3. Declare all US military personnel, all Homeland Security, all CIA and NSA employees "essential" and required to report for work/duty without pay. Freedom isn't is Free, Y'all (until further notice).


The idiots who love to repeatedly play chicken with the health of this nation do so because they KNOW, at the end of the day, that they will not have to suffer the consequences of their idiocy in any measurable way. They will continue to play these games until someone calls their bluff and shows them what happens when you actually shoot the hostage you've been threatening for so long.
posted by Chrischris at 12:30 PM on September 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


I've been thinking about the shutdown process in the wake of the DC Mayor's declaration and have come to the sad conclusion that the only way out of this is for shutdown to be more awful, more draconian, more stinky and expensive and inconvenient and generally a right parade of horribles.

It has become clear in recent years that there is a vast divide in this country over the fundamental role of the federal government in our society. If shutting the government down is going to be the only way to try to persuade those who believe that we should abolish it, then, regretfully, I say let's really shut it down right.

The current system classes certain functions as "essential," but I'd posit that many of the "essential" positions are simply those whose absence will be noticed more quickly, while a large number of the "unessential" ones may be just as critical to a functioning society, but it would take us a bit longer to miss them. Why is the guy who fixes jeeps in the motor pool at a military base in Germany more "essential" to the United States next week than the woman filing a lawsuit against someone who dumps toxic waste into a river? Why is the agent checking my passport as I stumble, beery-eyed, off my international flight more "essential" next week than the regulators who are checking to see whether my bank has enough money to cover my withdrawals? Nothing too terrible may happen next week if the toxic sludge keeps pouring or my bank is somewhat under-capitalized, but sooner or later, that stuff catches up with us.

So when (I really want to say "if," but let's be real here) the government shuts down, it should really shut down. No; air traffic controllers shouldn't walk off the job at midnight, leaving the poor pilots of the redeyes to fend for themselves as they work out a landing sequence, but get everyone safely on the ground, keep limited staffing on hand to work emergency law enforcement, aeromedical, and military flights, and send everyone else home. Keep enough border guards on-hand for basic security only, and hang a giant "Closed" sign across the Ambassador Bridge: "America is closed this week ma'am, you can try again once Congress passes a budget and we have a government." Cruise ships and container ships can wait offshore until we have a budget to pay for the customs inspectors. Meat inspectors should be sent off the job, leaving carcasses to rot in the slaughterhouses. Checks can pile up without the Fed to process payments. And we're not even talking about all the money for roads, schools, police, unemployment, social services, etc... that gets run by the states but is paid for out of the federal budget.

Would this suck? You bet. Planes grounded nationwide, untold piles of food imports rotting at ports of entry, billions of dollars of value disappearing from the economy by the minute. Apple Stores sold out of iPhones because imports are shut down (oh the humanity!). But maybe the folks responsible for those industries, the same folks who happen to have the ears of Members of Congress, might have strong objections to this plan? Maybe, just maybe, they could use their influence to push a deal that keeps the government operating? Maybe we'd see that less government isn't always better, that government does a lot of stuff in our daily lives that we take for granted. That's not going to happen if the only people inconvenienced by a shutdown are a gazillion federal workers (who we've already been treating like punching bags for the past few years anyway) and sad looking kids who can't visit the National Zoo. We need to have the conversation, to show how and why government serves a role in our society, and if it takes a shutdown to make that happen, then let's do it.

I'll just make sure I'm standing upwind of the giant pile of rotting meat before it starts though.
posted by zachlipton at 12:31 PM on September 27, 2013 [37 favorites]


Do you really need 3 out of 3 to get anything done?

Basically, yes - we call it "checks and balances". The House and the Senate are two parts of the same branch of government (the legislative branch) and they have to agree on every bill that matters. When it comes to the budget, the House (being nominally the more democratic of the branches) is supposed to be in control of the purse strings. After the House and Senate agree on a bill, the President has to sign it. If he refuses to sign it, a super-majority vote can overrule his veto.

Studying the formation of our current type of government is pretty fascinating - it was seen as a delicate balancing act between an over-powerful congressional body and an over-powerful executive figurehead.
posted by muddgirl at 12:36 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The French used have an aristocracy who'd pull shit like this, and it didnt work out well fir them, just saying'.

(JK, of course. Because anything French is socialist. )
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


rocket88, the issue at hand on today's episode of America is the budget. Budgets come from Congress (the House and the Senate) and are signed by the president. For a while, we've been muddling along on continuing resolutions, a declaration that since Congress can't stop bickering long enough to pass a budget, we'll just keep funding for stuff at the same level that it's been at until we can pass a budget. This time, there isn't a continuing resolution. In the absence of a budget, we can't spend money.

The House wants to pass a budget that does not include money for the Affordable Care Act so they passed a budget to that effect. The Senate put the money back in and sent the budget back to the House for approval. The House will not approve it. To get what they want, the House would have to get the Senate to approve their crazy budget (not going to happen) and the president to sign a budget that would take funding away from his signature legislative achievement (not going to happen).

That's a super abbreviated explanation but I think that's the gist of it. At this point, we're just waiting for the GOP to blink. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of America - the debt ceiling. It already sounds like it's going to be entertaining (or it would be if this wasn't real life).
posted by kat518 at 12:40 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


3. Declare all US military personnel, all Homeland Security, all CIA and NSA employees "essential" and required to report for work/duty without pay. Freedom isn't is Free, Y'all (until further notice).

that one is already in the cards.
posted by smoothvirus at 12:40 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Glen Weldon on Twitter has been describing the likely state of post-shutdown DC:

A scream of outrage dies on Grover Norquist's lips as the walkers begin redistributing his organs.

We huddle as the dawn's first tendrils reach the Capitol dome no hold up those are tentacles run

Sotomayor field strips her AR-15 nightly. She won't go down over a jammed firing pin. Like Scalia.

#duringthegovernmentshutdown2piginthecity
posted by dnash at 12:40 PM on September 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


I would like to believe that the Tea Party types would not actually cut off their noses to spite their faces. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.

I am ok with this, actually. I just wish they wouldn't cut off everyone else's nose in the process. Many of us are fond of our noses, after all and have worked hard for them.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:43 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


The local alt-paper tried to get statements from all of Tennessee's (mainly republication) congressional delegation.

Rep. John Duncan:

"I certainly do not want the government to shut down, but our Nation has never faced a threat like Obamacare, and it is essential to address it.”

Hoo boy.
posted by ghharr at 12:44 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


What is it they think that Obamacare actually does? Turn you Black?
posted by Artw at 12:48 PM on September 27, 2013 [27 favorites]


What is it they think that Obamacare actually does? Turn you Black?

Like Medicaid, it keeps Republican voters alive long enough to vote more Republicans into office. I think we all see how that is a threat.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:49 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The thing that blows my mind about all of this is that we're talking about a law that was signed 3+ years ago. I just want to say to the whole GOP, "Guys. You lost. Can we work on doing something positive now, please?"
posted by kat518 at 12:49 PM on September 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


Jesus healing the poor was the worst threat ever faced by Roman Judea.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:51 PM on September 27, 2013 [19 favorites]


It would be cool if DC declared independence
posted by Renoroc at 12:51 PM on September 27, 2013


Shoulda brought those death panels in on day 1.
posted by Artw at 12:53 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The GOP is into some kind of Zeno's paradox type of situation with doubling down on the anti-ACA bet, at this point. I think if we were on a weekly new cycle instead of a daily one, it would be even more transparently obvious how desperate a move another shutdown is, but the drama of the daily narrative obscures it in a haze of hollow-principled pseudo-heroism. They are beyond completely invested in this and it has clearly constrained their decision making.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:55 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing that blows my mind about all of this is that we're talking about a law that was signed 3+ years ago. I just want to say to the whole GOP, "Guys. You lost. Can we work on doing something positive now, please?"

That's exactly how I feel too. Like... you passed this bill, now you have to pay for it, those are the RULES! Don't like it, pass a bill repealing this one. What's that? Oh you can't? Well... uh... ummmm? Tough shit do your job and pay the bills.
posted by ish__ at 12:57 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


You have a Senate (Democrat majority), HoR (Republican Majority), and an executive (Democrat President), correct?
Why do the Republicans seem to be in charge of the entire affair? Do you really need 3 out of 3 to get anything done?
No, you don't.

In most situations, the House and the Senate are required, but the President is not. Having the President makes things a whole lot easier, though (without the President, you'll need a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate, whereas if you have the President, you'll need a simple majority of each of them).

In other situations, the House is completely irrelevant, but you need both the President and the Senate. An example would be making treaties with other nations.

I'm unaware of any situation in which the Senate is not necessary, except for nitpicky things like:

(1) The House can decide upon its own rules of proceeding (e.g. who gets to talk when), without the consent of the Senate or the President.

(2) Only the House can initiate a revenue bill. This is a nitpick, though, because the Senate still has the power to stop such a bill.

(3) Only the House can impeach someone. This is a nitpick, though, because impeachment is technically just an accusation, and the Senate (not the House) has the sole power to try the impeached person (and to decide upon judgment if they're found guilty).

I'm also unaware of any situation in which all three are needed (although, as mentioned above, the President is definitely good to have even if he or she is not strictly "needed").
posted by Flunkie at 12:59 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


the issue at hand on today's episode of America is the budget . . . In the absence of a budget, we can't spend money.

Actually the issue at hand is an appropriations bill, not a budget. A budget is more of a nonbinding blueprint, while an appropriations bill is what authorizes a certain amount of money to be spent. The CR is an appropriations bill.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:59 PM on September 27, 2013


Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. (That definition from Wikipedia)

How is refusing to fund (in good faith) a legally implemented program not contempt?
posted by COD at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I should be clear that by calling the power to initiate a revenue bill a "nitpick", I mean just from the sense of "Do you need all three". I don't mean it's a minor power. I just mean, yeah, the House can do it alone, and nobody else can do it at all, but the House still needs the Senate's consent if they want anything to come of it.
posted by Flunkie at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust: "I am ok with this, actually. I just wish they wouldn't cut off everyone else's nose in the process. Many of us are fond of our noses, after all and have worked hard for them.
"

How can you call yourself poor and hard up if u still haev a nose??? makes u think...
posted by boo_radley at 1:02 PM on September 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wouldn't it be great if congresscritters who want to cut spending were obliged to start with their own districts? Red states almost as a rule receive more federal funds than they contribute.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:03 PM on September 27, 2013


Oooh, I thought of something where the House doesn't need the Senate: Contempt of Congress. The House can vote to lock you up in a dungeon or whatever.

The Senate can do this too, but neither the House nor the Senate need the other in order to do it.
posted by Flunkie at 1:03 PM on September 27, 2013


Can they do it to each other?

/a mad rush to the phones ensues.
posted by Artw at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yes, the Republicans are being asses, but let's not leave Obama's part out of this. He's just about the worst negotiator we've ever had, I think. From the beginning he's been horrible. It's like he never had any idea whom he's dealing with, and kept trying to win Republicans over, a task utterly impossible. The usual idea is that you start with bigger demands and settle for less. At least if he started with the minimum and tried to hold onto that. But no - he starts negotiations by making gifts to the Republicans, which gifts they gobble up without a blink and that simply whets their appetite for more extreme demands. A case in point were the deficit reduction shenanigans, where even before any talks started, Obama already volunteered federal employees pay freezes for two years. Of course, that bought him absolutely nothing with the Repubs and so on until the mess we are in today.

And how did we get to this point? When the Repubs first decided to use the debt limit in a completely unprecedented way to extort by basically holding the whole economy hostage, is where Obama hurried to validate that insanity by negotiating. Instead, had he pointed out the insanity and unprecedented nature of using routine debt limit lifting as basically a gun to the head of the country, and said simply "no, this is not something that is up for negotiation, never has been, this is about paying bills for stuff that's already been agreed upon, so no - absolutely not", and then allowed the GOP to do their worst, we wouldn't be here today.

Instead, he habituated them to extortion, and in fact emboldened them. Just take a look at the insanely long list of demands the GOP has made for this next debt limit that will hit us with a default on Oct. 17.

He should have said "NO!" the first time around, and allowed nature to take its course. Just as Gingrich lost to Clinton, so would have the GOP lost to Obama.

Instead, we have this bungler bungling us into ever bigger bungles.
posted by VikingSword at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2013 [31 favorites]


The thing that blows my mind about all of this is that we're talking about a law that was signed 3+ years ago. I just want to say to the whole GOP, "Guys. You lost. Can we work on doing something positive now, please?

They also lost in the Supreme Court. 15 months ago.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:06 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tailgating with tofu brats is sure to be the cool new thing out here in flyover country.

I read that as tofu brats (as in children) rather than brats (as in wurst) and thought you were offering a free-range, organic type of modest proposal. Which I'm sure some in the TP would go for, as long as they're actual poor children and not still fetuses.
posted by headnsouth at 1:09 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Only the House can initiate a revenue bill. This is a nitpick, though, because the Senate still has the power to stop such a bill.

Also, the Senate can get around it by taking a tax bill passed by the House, stripping all of the language, and replacing it with new language. This is what they did with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which began life as a bill introduced in the House called the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 1:10 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why do the Republicans seem to be in charge of the entire affair? Do you really need 3 out of 3 to get anything done?

It's more like, if you're having a birthday party with a bunch of kids and a big old balloon, it only takes one kid to pop the balloon no matter how much the other kids liked having it.
posted by Naberius at 1:14 PM on September 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think that Obama was not a great negotiator. The last time the debt ceiling was a legit concern, he sent in Biden who was able to work magic with McConnell because they knew each other well and had worked together for years. Sometimes, experience counts.

That said, I think Obama's negotiating skills have improved. He has already said that the debt ceiling is nonnegotiable. I doubt he'll stick to that but it's an encouraging start on his end.
posted by kat518 at 1:18 PM on September 27, 2013


Negotiating would have been starting with socialized medicine and giving ground until we got single payer or expanded medicare. Instead he gave up all the ground as his starting position.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:21 PM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


He should have said "NO!" the first time around, and allowed nature to take its course. Just as Gingrich lost to Clinton, so would have the GOP lost to Obama.

Instead, we have this bungler bungling us into ever bigger bungles.


I see your point, VikingSword, and while I don't entirely disagree about what Obama should have done in a narrow sense, I think the way you're framing this makes it seem like his actions have a deterministic relationship with what the Republicans do, which ironically is kind of how they frame their actions: they're saying that the ball is in his court, that there is no other option than to take the nation hostage, but that's because they've implicitly taken "responsible governance" off the table from the get-go.

Let's not lose sight of who's arguing in bad faith for the necessity of their actions, here. Whatever Obama's shortcomings as a negotiator are, the Republicans in the Senate are behaving like they and their wealthy patrons are the only ones whose well-being matters in America. To put it more forcefully, they've hijacked the functional mechanisms of our democratic government in order to further their argument that government doesn't work, and if people get hurt and our economic situation suffers, they will just blame Obama for not acceding to their demands.
posted by clockzero at 1:23 PM on September 27, 2013 [21 favorites]


Flunkie: "I should be clear that by calling the power to initiate a revenue bill a "nitpick", I mean just from the sense of "Do you need all three". I don't mean it's a minor power. I just mean, yeah, the House can do it alone, and nobody else can do it at all, but the House still needs the Senate's consent if they want anything to come of it."

The Senate can and does, in a sense, originate revenue bills. They take an unrelated bill sent over by the House that isn't going to pass the Senate anyway and amend it to include appropriations and send it back to the House, hopefully to be passed. As long as the bill originated in the House, it doesn't matter that it wasn't originally a revenue bill.

VikingSword: "Yes, the Republicans are being asses, but let's not leave Obama's part out of this. He's just about the worst negotiator we've ever had, I think. From the beginning he's been horrible."

I don't think he's been horrible. His goal has just been different than the one you have chosen. Obama has chosen the strategy of appearing to give the Republicans everything they want because he knows they won't take it and will thus look like the wild eyed loons they are to the electorate. It has been working to some degree. Generic Republican approval ratings haven't been above 15% in years now. Even red state moderate Republicans are turning on their party at this point.

Same with Obamacare. It is good for him and the Democrats for Republicans to sit there fighting their own damn plan and talking about it like it's the devil incarnate. Tom Coburn was on the radio today advocating for single payer. Yes, Tom Coburn, the arch-conservative Senator from Oklahoma. The entire point is to force the Republicans into ever more deranged rhetoric, and it's working.
posted by wierdo at 1:23 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


I continue to think Obama got more or less what he wanted out of both the health care and the debt limit negotiations, while being able to both point at the Republicans when his more liberal base got upset and ensure that if anything went south, the blame for it would once again fall on the Republicans. (And rightly so, mind you, but I think Obama went out of his way to look conciliatory while knowing it wouldn't change anything.)

or, more or less, what weirdo just said...
posted by Naberius at 1:25 PM on September 27, 2013


Tom Coburn was on the radio today advocating for single payer. Yes, Tom Coburn, the arch-conservative Senator from Oklahoma.

What.

Okay, sometimes that guy isn't actually as bad as ... he is other times, but still, that's surprising. I guess that's good news? Wow.
posted by kat518 at 1:28 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rep. John Duncan:

"I certainly do not want the government to shut down, but our Nation has never faced a threat like Obamacare, and it is essential to address it.”


"I certainly do not want the government to shut down, but our Nation has never faced a threat like a coked up president who manufactured evidence for sending our children to invade a sovereign oil rich country, and it is essential to address it."

I honestly, truly believe they would have thrown Democratic congressional delegates into prison for treason if they'd pulled this shit prior to the Iraq war.

We are talking about providing health care to people who can't afford it, at a cost that is lower to all of us than what we're paying now, all for the price of possibly lowering health insurance company profits temporarily.

2 people. 2 people this week. That's how many I watched die from lack of health care this week in my little neighborhood. Yeah, that's a little more than usual but not unheard of in my clinic. Yeah, I don't love everything about Obamacare, but this is where we could go from where we were and there was literally no serious evidence-based Republican proposal on the table. Health Policy is complex, and nuanced but this is where we are going, like it or not. I'm so tired of fighting over the last step we took when we should be talking about the next steps.

I see this current batch of shitbags and I feel so much more disgust than I have ever felt in my life. Maybe this is the last gasp of a generation self righteous douches, but this week has felt like the low point in a long, long battle that me and thousands like me have been fighting for decades. Anger and disgust, and every year the people at the bottom have less and less to lose. It's how revolutions are born.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:29 PM on September 27, 2013 [51 favorites]


Tom Coburn was on the radio today advocating for single payer. Yes, Tom Coburn, the arch-conservative Senator from Oklahoma.

Wow, it's like he forcing your opponent to move his own goalpost back so far that he goes right round the earth and plants it in your own end zone. Or something.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:34 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nice economy you got there. Shame if something happened to it.
posted by the painkiller at 1:34 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


We got our direction from On High the other day that we will continue working (with pay, presumably) should the government shut down. Since I work at a base that I assume will close if the shutdown occurs (essentially no enlisted, very few officers, mostly government civs and contractors) then I guess I'll be working from home next week.

What happens to any of the programs I'm working on, of course, is anyone's guess. If they all stop work during the shutdown then I'm not going to have a lot to do.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:37 PM on September 27, 2013


I don't know. The 11-dimensional chess mantra has been pretty much debunked by the record. My expectations from Obama were already very low (though he did manage to disappoint even so, with foreign policy and the whole security state fetish). I voted for this guy - twice. If I could go back in time - I would still do the same. He was the best of a bunch of poor alternatives, but boy has he managed to disappoint people. The thing that worries me is that he's managed to turn a lot of young people who truly believed in 'real change' into cynics. Given that the GOP seems only to get worse, what future do we have with young people disengaging. 2014 midterms will be interesting - I hope not worse than 2010. Here's hoping at least the ACA will turn out great, in time, and make all this worth it.
posted by VikingSword at 1:37 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Congress' overall competence and ability to govern wisely simply by looking at how they govern their own city.

I know this has been mentioned before, but as someone who was born and raised* in DC, DC is not Congress's fucking playground. It's despicable and frankly un-American to override local controls on laws and budgets in a city where those citizens with no voting representation in Congress can do nothing to stop them. The Jason E. Chaffetzs and the Cruzs of Congress who willfully damage DC's rights and its economics for their own political vendettas far from their home states disgust me. I have not been overly pleased with Gray, but I'm glad he's fighting this.


*the argument that all 600,000 people should move if they want rights is not one I'm going to entertain
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:39 PM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Tom Coburn was on the radio today advocating for single payer. Yes, Tom Coburn, the arch-conservative Senator from Oklahoma.

What.

Okay, sometimes that guy isn't actually as bad as ... he is other times, but still, that's surprising. I guess that's good news? Wow.


Coburn is a medical doctor, and although he's clearly a social conservative in many ways that I personally find deplorable and indefensible (e.g., advocating for abortion being legal only to save the woman's life), his fiscal conservatism is real and sometimes commendable, and what he isn't is someone lacking in any real intellectual substance like these Tea Party stooges whose interest with government begins and ends in complete deregulation, abolishment of public goods in favor of privatization, and plutocracy.

He has real ideas, like Republicans used to as a matter of course, and some of them are not terrible. When one of the major parties has no coherent ideology that entails benefiting the commonwealth or morally substantial vision of the good whatsoever, there is no potential for negotiation, and then government fails. Coburn, despite his many serious ideological faults, understands and appreciates to a larger degree than his party compatriots that the serious vocation of governance involves both the advocacy for useful, complex ideas about the world and cooperating with your factional opponents. He's actually one of the good Republicans, somewhat unfortunately, and that's about where we are as a country.
posted by clockzero at 1:45 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the DC government shuts down, does that mean that the company that gives parking tickets in the district stop giving tickets? If so, this would be one of the signs of the coming of the apocalypse.

Years ago when I was just out of college, I worked at NIH in a lab doing basic research. It was not long after the previous shutdown and my boss was still fuming from not being allowed into his lab to take care of precious cell lines and experiments. He got us all classified as essential. I can't say that I objected to this.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:46 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Negotiating would have been starting with socialized medicine and giving ground until we got single payer or expanded medicare. Instead he gave up all the ground as his starting position.

You seem to think that Obama and his positions are something they are not.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:47 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, there's that. But negotiating is all about ending up where you want, not starting out there.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:48 PM on September 27, 2013


Besides, it's pretty tough to tell if Obama really didn't want single payer or just thought it was impolitic to say so. There's plenty of evidence for the latter.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:52 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


See, this is the thing that I think of when I think of Tom Coburn. So, yeah.
posted by kat518 at 2:02 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing that blows my mind about all of this is that we're talking about a law that was signed 3+ years ago. I just want to say to the whole GOP, "Guys. You lost. Can we work on doing something positive now, please?"

Part of the Republican Party's problem is that they tried to duplicate their victory over Clinton's health care proposal with lockstep opposition. What they didn't count on is Obama outflanking them by proposing a plan that had been put forth by the Heritage Foundation and implemented by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

So rather than moderating their opposition, they go whipping up Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt by screaming "socialism!" and "tax and spend!" and "death panels" in opposition to a conservative plan, and of course none of those claims are true. Now their problem isn't that Obamacare isn't going to work, but rather that it is -- it'll be a lot harder -- not impossible, mind you, but harder -- to make apocalyptic claims about a functional health care system.

Sure, looking like knaves and fools won't lose them many points among the 27% crazy base, but I'd hope it'd compound their already serious demographic problem by losing them a slice of sane and honest conservatives.

let's not leave Obama's part out of this. He's just about the worst negotiator we've ever had, I think. From the beginning he's been horrible. It's like he never had any idea whom he's dealing with, and kept trying to win Republicans over, a task utterly impossible.

I don't think Obama had much illusion, at least not for long, the Republicans were acting in good faith -- if they were, they wouldn't have treated the Heritage Foundation's health care plan as if it were a combination of Das Kapital and the Koran, see above. I think he did expect to be seen as the guy who was willing to negotiate in good faith (too much so, I agree, to the point where he'd pre-concede too much). What he didn't count on was the so-called "liberal media"'s obsession with the "both sides do it" narrative, and so Obama receives no credit for appearing reasonable.
posted by Gelatin at 2:04 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the DC government shuts down, does that mean that the company that gives parking tickets in the district stop giving tickets?

Yep, a shutdown will probably mean no parking enforcement.

On the other hand, with no trash collection, you may have to compete with piles of garbage for any spots along the curb.
posted by argonauta at 2:18 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's actually one of the good Republicans, somewhat unfortunately, and that's about where we are as a country

Oh, jesus fucking christ. Tom Coburn is one of the "good" ones. I'm not seeing any substantive links between Coburn and single payer and Coburn is just about as fucking Jesus-y, self righteous and insane as anyone in Congress. If we are making apologies for fucking Coburn, then it really is time to give up.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:21 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm reading this book right now, and it's very interesting. In one chapter, it details how Franklin Roosevelt had some interest in reforming healthcare (particularly bringing about universal coverage), but even with huge margins in both the House and the Senate, he felt it politically precarious. I can't decide which is more impressive- that Obama managed to make progress with so much less political support in Congress, or that those opposed to Obama's reforms haven't been able to stop it thus far given how many of them there are, compared to the smaller crowd that held Roosevelt back.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:22 PM on September 27, 2013


This is more than about Obamacare, as much as the GOP (particularly the House GOP) would like to make you think. Consider the fact that, according to Ezra Klein in the Post per the National Review, these are the demands in the GOP's version of the debt ceiling bill (as of yesterday morning).

In return for a one-year suspension of the debt ceiling, House Republicans are demanding a yearlong delay of Obamacare, Rep. Paul Ryan’s tax reform plan, the Keystone XL pipeline, more offshore oil drilling, more drilling on federally protected lands, rewriting of ash coal regulations, a suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions, more power over the regulatory process in general, reform of the federal employee retirement program, an overhaul of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, more power over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget, repeal of the Social Services Block Grant, more means-testing in Medicare, repeal of the Public Health trust fund, and more.

That's basically an attempt to reverse much more than the ACA. This is a power grab, pure and simple and they may have terribly overreached but are so in love with themselves and their self-defined importance that they just can't see it.
posted by tittergrrl at 2:26 PM on September 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


The ACA isn't my dream of a health care system but it's a hell of a lot better than the non-existent universal health care systems that any other president managed to pass. Do you all remember a president named Clinton? Do you remember how his health care proposal went down in flames? His ideas might have been better than Obama's but Obama got his through Congress and Clinton didn't.
posted by octothorpe at 2:28 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh they are asking for the blocking of net neutrality in that bill as well, or were.
posted by tittergrrl at 2:33 PM on September 27, 2013


Speaking of Clinton and healthcare, we should recognize that we now live in an era in which all Michelle Obama has to do to make the republicans shit bricks is to suggest kids eat a vegetable every now and then.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:33 PM on September 27, 2013 [19 favorites]


So, if there's a shutdown, any chance the arrangements for members of the House was listed as nonessential? I mean, clearly the representatives themselves are nonessential or they would fucking do stuff, and their entourages and expenses can hardly be more essential than they are. It would be outrageous if they don't see some massive pay cut, like lose their entire annual salary for letting everything end up here even for one day.
posted by jacalata at 2:36 PM on September 27, 2013


The ACA isn't my dream of a health care system but it's a hell of a lot better than the non-existent universal health care systems that any other president managed to pass.

We had a historic opportunity — a clear mandate from the public — and it was wasted because of sweetheart deal after deal made between the President Obama, his administration and health insurance corporations after his election.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:48 PM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


So, if there's a shutdown, any chance the arrangements for members of the House was listed as nonessential?

You can see the shutdown contingency plans for agencies across the federal government right here. I don't see one listed for Congress.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 2:48 PM on September 27, 2013


Any chance the shutdown would mean the government having to miss a payment on Congress's health insurance premiums?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:54 PM on September 27, 2013


Folks complaining that we don't currently have single payer should really enumerate the 60 senators sitting at the time who would have voted for it. I'd much rather have a small victory than an epic, noble defeat.
posted by Skorgu at 2:59 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah, while I agree that Obama likely did not want to fight for single-payer, I don't think we should ignore the fact that the vast majority of the Democratic party in Congress was also in the pockets of the insurance lobby. As much as I hate to admit it, single-payer was as much of a non-starter as, say, a mass-transit mandate that would completely eliminate automobile use in the US. It seems to me like the only way to single-payer in the US is a very gradual expansion of Medicare and Medicaid programs.
posted by muddgirl at 3:05 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


What I find more depressing than the current looming shutdown is just how frequently we've ended up in this situation in the past few years. So many times that my employer's reaction this week was essentially "Okay everyone, we've all been through this before. You know the drill. Carry on."
posted by C'est la D.C. at 3:24 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Holy shit, reading through those detailed plans (thanks ultraviolet!) is fascinating, like watching someone plan their own car crash.

Paid sick leave creates a debt to the Government that is not authorized by the Act. Therefore, all paid sick leave during a furlough must be canceled and employees must be either (1) at work performing excepted activities or (2) furloughed
....
Exempt employees are required to report for work on time even if, during a lapse in appropriations, OPM announces that “Federal agencies are operating under an unscheduled leave” policy because of emergency weather conditions.


(Followed by an explanation that the supervisor should change the status of an employee who is sick/flooded to 'furloughed', although no matching explanation of how to swap a furloughed colleague in?

And apparently I'm not the only one to think that Congressmen shouldn't be paid during a shutdown: a bill was introduced on Wednesday to say the same thing. (Sponsored by a couple of Republicans, in fact).
posted by jacalata at 3:27 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The GOP asks why Obama will negotiate with Putin and not with them. Here’s why.

"If Putin came to Obama with anything akin to the GOP's position on the debt ceiling, it would be perceived not as an opening for negotiations, but as a prelude to war."
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:41 PM on September 27, 2013 [22 favorites]


Shut down the FDA. No inspectors, no meat in the grocery stores. Tailgating with tofu brats is sure to be the cool new thing out here in flyover country.
Shut down FEDWIRE. Lets see how long the banksters and their 1% clientele will go without being able to move or access their money.

So when (I really want to say "if," but let's be real here) the government shuts down, it should really shut down. No; air traffic controllers shouldn't walk off the job at midnight, leaving the poor pilots of the redeyes to fend for themselves as they work out a landing sequence, but get everyone safely on the ground, keep limited staffing on hand to work emergency law enforcement, aeromedical, and military flights, and send everyone else home. Keep enough border guards on-hand for basic security only, and hang a giant "Closed" sign across the Ambassador Bridge: "America is closed this week ma'am, you can try again once Congress passes a budget and we have a government." Cruise ships and container ships can wait offshore until we have a budget to pay for the customs inspectors. Meat inspectors should be sent off the job, leaving carcasses to rot in the slaughterhouses. Checks can pile up without the Fed to process payments.


Could this even happen? I'm sure it won't, but is it possible?
posted by jeather at 4:01 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure the main source of income for republican congressmen is not their salary.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yea, but we all know that most of them are not really believers in having "enough" money and letting some go.
posted by jacalata at 4:40 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "Obama will negotiate with Putin and Iran but not the GOP" meme is begin taken up like a chant in some spheres. The long answer is "there was a negotiation and ACA was the result; now they're trying to renege."

The short answer is "playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the united states is not negotiation, it's extortion."
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:48 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Putin is vastly more reasonable than the teapublican party.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:34 PM on September 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have reached the point in life where this has been a threat over and over....don't care a whole lot...my husband worked for the government for years and we always planned our vacation for the first week in October. I predict much the same. PS rich people are not in Treasury bonds.
posted by OhSusannah at 5:43 PM on September 27, 2013


So elected representatives from the GOP want to be held to the same standard as someone whose job description just doesn't, well, happen to involve anything about serving the best interests of the American public?
posted by Anything at 5:44 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every time the government has shut down before, the employees eventually got paid in the end. So basically all this stalling accomplishes is giving every federal employee a nice extra paid holiday, coupled with a bit of a deferral in their paycheck. The federal employees I'm friends with are actually all really stressed about it but I'm not sure why.
posted by miyabo at 6:07 PM on September 27, 2013


See, this is the thing that I think of when I think of Tom Coburn. So, yeah.

I think of his intention to remove (already very small) federal funding for research disciplines whose findings he doesn't like. I have no doubt that if he could have his way, the feds would only fund a creationist version of Lysenkoism.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:07 PM on September 27, 2013


Man, I just keep thinking back to the 47 million people whose foodstamp and welfare benefits would cease during a shutdown. In what ways are the administrators of these programs "non-essential"? Do we really care this little about the people we share our communities with?

I'm pretty sure if a major governmental bloc in any other developed nation were using the most basic material needs of 47 million citizens as a bargaining chip, there would be chaos in the streets. I don't blame people here...most of us are getting by precariously enough that direct action feels like just another stressor on top of the teetering pile. Talk about your sick systems.
posted by threeants at 6:08 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The federal employees I'm friends with are actually all really stressed about it but I'm not sure why.

Because even if they'll probably get the back pay eventually, that doesn't help pay bills now.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:08 PM on September 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


We had a historic opportunity — a clear mandate from the public

Mandates don't exist. They're somewhere between fairy tales and crass PR. All elections tell you is which candidate won.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:12 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The federal employees I'm friends with are actually all really stressed about it but I'm not sure why.

Because even if they'll probably get the back pay eventually, that doesn't help pay bills now.


I'm a "non-essential" federal employee, and we're really not expecting back pay this time.

The office is torn between people who think a last ditch effort will succeed in averting a shutdown once again, and others who are reading Greg Sargent and Ezra Klein's increasing hysterical coverage and are convinced this time it's really the big one.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:17 PM on September 27, 2013


I'm not even sure a last minute compromise would be better than a shut down. We keep having last minute/last ditch compromises and all it seems to mean is that our government and public sphere gets dismantled slowly, instead of all at once.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:35 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The office is torn between people who think a last ditch effort will succeed in averting a shutdown once again, and others who are reading Greg Sargent and Ezra Klein's increasing hysterical coverage and are convinced this time it's really the big one.

The GOP is split. They don't have the power to act either way. That is the core of the problem the country is facing. The only way this works is if John Boehner falls on his sword. The GOP Caucus in the House is staring at a precipice and they are being pulled in a dozen different directions.

We're seeing something big here. Very big. This party is attempting to reverse results it already lost multiple times. In another words, they cannot act in concert in a situation which requires action to be fixed. The results will not be pretty.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:49 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


The results will not be pretty.

I agree and am firmly in the "this is the big one" camp. I'm prepared for a month or so, either starting Tuesday or perhaps in two more weeks with the debt ceiling. Longer than that will be difficult, today I clarified the rules on outside employment with my supervisor.

One side will have to break, and it will be Boehner in some fashion, but how long he can hold out, what are the contours of that break, what's left of the GOP afterwards and exactly how much damage they cause in the process are complete unknowns.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:59 PM on September 27, 2013


Folks complaining that we don't currently have single payer should really enumerate the 60 senators sitting at the time who would have voted for it. I'd much rather have a small victory than an epic, noble defeat.

The point here is that votes count. And you have to count them each and every time. If there were 60 votes in the Senate for single payer, we'd have single payer. But there aren't. And when real people's lives are on the line, that's when you have to make the right call.

That's what these months are about. Some people who took a big step to help people, to make their lives better and to see that people get health care. And that's why people who want to see more healthcare for Americans need to call whomever is their Representative and let them know you want this attempt to take health care away to end now.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:01 PM on September 27, 2013


Hopefully the tea party will break off and just call itself the money party
posted by clockzero at 7:02 PM on September 27, 2013


The Tea Party can't really stand on its own, though. Not nationally, anyways.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:12 PM on September 27, 2013


The Republican party can't stand on its own nationally without the most egregious gerrymandering in the history of the country, on top of blatant voter suppression in most Republican controlled states and a rabidly partisan Supreme Court.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:17 PM on September 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Pretty sure the main source of income for republican congressmen is not their salary.
posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on September 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Yea, but we all know that most of them are not really believers in having "enough" money and letting some go.
posted by jacalata at 7:40 PM on September 27 [1 favorite +] [!]


CBS: Addressing an Austin conference via video feed Friday evening, Cruz said he hoped there wouldn't be a government shutdown. He said he hadn't given much thought to what effect it could have on his Senate pay.

But when pressed he said he "had no intention" of giving up his paycheck.

posted by Drinky Die at 8:59 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I literally LOLed
posted by Flunkie at 9:19 PM on September 27, 2013


I'm also in the group that believes this is the big one. The sequestration only served to embolden the extremists, and show them that they can, in fact, force their worldview down the throats of the country. The fact that the sky didn't fall only serves to convince the extremists that they are on the right side of history. But that was akin to an out-of-town preview. The shutdown is going to be opening night on Broadway for these guys. The show is going to be really terrible, but is probably going to, inexplicably, run a long damned time.

The end game, of course, is to cripple the US government. At least its regulatory and social safetynet functions. Unfortunately, I don't see any way past this shutdown without the adults giving-in to the children's demands. The shutdown gives the extremists everything they want. The government comes to a standstill, and everything the extremists hate stops. Mission accomplished. Once the government shuts down, they have no reason to agree to anything to get it running again. They've essentially achieved the goal they were elected to accomplish.

More and more, as this shit just gets impossibly crazier and crazier and more surreal, I keep flashing on this quick line by the Firesign Theater...

In other news, final steps were taken in or near Washington to secure the merger of the U.S. government with TMZ General Corp. This former zinc bushing manufacturer...
posted by Thorzdad at 5:18 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


The show is going to be really terrible, but is probably going to, inexplicably, run a long damned time.

Perfect material for the next Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:21 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was having a bad day the other day and engaged in one my rasher mental health pastimes, 'who would you destroy if you had super powers' and I was like, House Tea Party Republicans. On the one hand, you would have all these grieving kids and partners, and my super hero code requires me to consider all human suffering. But then you would have all those crazy people out of one of the if not the most powerful governments in the world. I decided they would have to go.

*note to NSA: you have those thoughts too so don't you be down on me for having them plus I have no super powers so don't worry*
posted by angrycat at 5:26 AM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I literally LOLed

I rate that one thousand mega-Palins.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on September 28, 2013


Part of the Republican Party's problem is that they tried to duplicate their victory over Clinton's health care proposal with lockstep opposition. What they didn't count on is Obama outflanking them by proposing a plan that had been put forth by the Heritage Foundation and implemented by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

I think analyzing the origin of the AFA is failing to see the forest for the trees. The actual major difference between Clinton's health care plan and Obama's is that the GOP stood in lockstep and opposed Clinton, and stopped the healthcare plan from being enacted. With Obama, they succeeded in crippling a lot of the more progressive and ambitious parts of the law, but the foundation of the law passed.

That is the huge thing that (thankfully) Obama is repeating now and should have been for months already. The bill already passed. It isn't a proposal to negotiate; it is a law that is active and enforced by the government and validated by the Supreme Court.

And that is the hugest element here because it ties in the point Thorzdad also made:

I'm also in the group that believes this is the big one. The sequestration only served to embolden the extremists, and show them that they can, in fact, force their worldview down the throats of the country. The fact that the sky didn't fall only serves to convince the extremists that they are on the right side of history. But that was akin to an out-of-town preview. The shutdown is going to be opening night on Broadway for these guys. The show is going to be really terrible, but is probably going to, inexplicably, run a long damned time.

It is very important, like on a "they should be explaining this to children in schools right now" level, what is happening with the Republicans in congress. Republicans ran in 2012 on a host of platforms, and lost. There are no "negotiations" happening on the AFA and the debt limit. The minority party that lost the last election is quite literally demanding that the results of the democratic process of electoral representation laid out in our country's Constitution be declared invalid. As Matt Yglesias pointed out, it's not that Obama won't negotiate with Congress on the debt limit; he's can't, because to do so is to effectively violate his oath of protecting the Constitution. This is not a "negotiation." Obama isn't providing a list of desires, demands or legislative requests. He is asking Congress to not destroy the national economy to which Republicans are saying they'll only do so if the President agrees to pretend that Mitt Romney won the 2012 election.

The President said it very succinctly in a speech yesterday- raising the debt limit isn't a "concession" to Democrats, nor is it doing the President a favor. It is the job of being a member of the U.S. Congress- to many (self included) it is literally a Constitutional duty of being a Congressperson to uphold the 14th Amendment and its obligation to maintain the validity and integrity of the United States' debt. The Republicans are playing as if this is a parliament, which is ironic, because in a swath of other nations where parliament would deliberately place the economy in a deadlock, the national leader would have the authority to dissolve the parliament, fire them all and announce new elections. Would that we be so lucky.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:31 AM on September 28, 2013 [27 favorites]


It seems to me like the only way to single-payer in the US is a very gradual expansion of Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Or a collective shitfit provoked by the failures of our market-based "health" "care" system.
posted by Rykey at 12:14 PM on September 28, 2013


Harry Reid: The American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists.

Wish they had handled the previous hostage takings like this.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:01 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I literally LOLed

I had a bet with a friend that Jeb Bush would a presidential nominee in 2016. My friend said "I'll take that bet". Then after a few seconds he said firmly, "nominee for the REPUBLICAN party". I laughed and said no bet.
posted by Talez at 2:09 PM on September 28, 2013


I literally do not know what to do with all my rage about this topic. I have settled for the moment on picking fights with Facebook friends-of-friends.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:42 PM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


FWIW, I'm with the bloggers who think that the shutdown is basically a good thing, since it will bring massive public pressure to bear on House GOPers before they get a chance to do any permanent damage in the debt ceiling fight.

My prediction is that we'll have a shutdown, it will last between 1-7 days, and it will end with most House Republicans- plus a bare minimum of Democrats- voting for a continuing resolution that preserves the sequester, plus one or two minor concessions to the GOP on issues other than Obamacare. I think that the majority of the House GOP caucus doesn't want a shutdown or a debt default, and doesn't even want to have a huge fight over those issues. They just need political cover, in the form of massive national outrage, to negotiate with Democrats. Obama, on the other hand, is only interested in preserving Obamacare- he'll happily make lots of other concessions as long as the ACA isn't touched. And the outrage that will manifest once the non-news-junkie segment of the U.S. tunes into this story will be fresh enough when the debt ceiling hits that the GOP will ask for only modest concessions in exchange for the debt ceiling increase, which Obama will happily grant as long as they aren't formally part of the same legislation. And Boehner keeps his job- the majority of his caucus understands his ridiculous position, and won't hold these deals against him.
posted by gsteff at 6:43 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The federal employees I'm friends with are actually all really stressed about it but I'm not sure why.

- Some people can't really afford a delayed paycheck. Some of them have already been furloughed this year.
- There is no guarantee they'll be paid this time.
- Anyone who's a contractor, which may be someone they work next to, probably won't get paid.
- Believe it or not some of them care about their work, and this will be needlessly disruptive even if no shutdown happens.
- Some agencies have clear guidance, some don't.
- The normal end-of-fiscal-year havoc has been happening and this is adding to it.
posted by zennie at 8:35 PM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


My prediction is that we'll have a shutdown, it will last between 1-7 days, and it will end with most House Republicans- plus a bare minimum of Democrats- voting for a continuing resolution that preserves the sequester, plus one or two minor concessions to the GOP on issues other than Obamacare.

Have you seen the laundry list of additional concessions the GOP have been tacking-on? None of them are close to being "minor", in whole or part. The problem, of course, is, at this point, giving the tea-partiers any concession on any topic only serves to give them a victory they can crow about, and does nothing to dissuade them from pulling this very same tactic in 45 days.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:15 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I literally do not know what to do with all my rage about this topic. I have settled for the moment on picking fights with Facebook friends-of-friends.

Contact your member of congress. Let them know what you want. Even if he or she agrees with you 100%.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:04 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Senate has voted to kill the House's bill, 54-46.
posted by troika at 11:22 AM on September 30, 2013


I have, in fact, started channeling my energy towards contacting Congress directly, and it feels good. Apparently fighting on Facebook doesn't really count as political involvement? idk
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:11 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have several former colleagues who are defense contractors (mid-mgmt) and they're on notice that they're to perform "admin" duties this week. Which means come in and watch movies on netflix at work. And get paid for it. On the taxpayers' dime.

This small-government BS is costing us a shit-ton of money.
posted by headnsouth at 12:29 PM on September 30, 2013


I have to say that not all contractors are getting the same deal that headnsouth's friends are. I know a lot of government contractors who will not be working and will not be getting paid during the shutdown. Federal government employees will likely get back pay. Contractors? SOL.
posted by troika at 12:37 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just called my Congressman's office (Mike Fitzpatrick of PA) and urged him to partner up with Charlie Dent to avert a shutdown. I read the lady on the line the whole message he posted on Facebook looking for GOP partners. This district is more moderate Republican than super tea party land so it is my hope Fitzpatrick will be willing to work with a fellow PA Republican trying to avert the shutdown. My hopes for Fitzpatrick usually don't pan out though. :|
posted by Drinky Die at 12:42 PM on September 30, 2013


All of this bullshit has made me wonder how the current situation in America compares with, say, the fall of the Roman Empire or the collapse of the British Empire. Has anyone done any sort of comparison like that?
posted by backseatpilot at 12:49 PM on September 30, 2013


All of this bullshit has made me wonder how the current situation in America compares with, say, the fall of the Roman Empire

I've been thinking a lot about the fall of the Roman republic lately; I'm not incredibly well-informed, but I know enough to feel like parts of the situation seem similar. Although bigger parts don't- if nothing else our military doesn't have the disastrous structure that the army of the late Roman Republic did.

We do share the fact of a governing body full of intransigent conservative assholes with Republican Rome, though.

(edited last sentence for clarity)
posted by COBRA! at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2013


In the Roman Empire, the barbarians weren't in charge of one chamber of the legislature.
posted by exogenous at 1:23 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]




All of this bullshit has made me wonder how the current situation in America compares with, say, the fall of the Roman Empire or the collapse of the British Empire.

thankfully Canada isn't actually producing hordes of barbarians and well-organized troops from the rulers of Mexico, and also we're missing out on the massive religious upheaval that would challenge the divinity of the president along with other changes that would destabilize our entire economic and political spheres over hundreds of years

also, major lack of plagues, which, good job, everyone, top marks on black death avoidance

I mean politics will always have parallels, and I'm all for learning from history, but the decline of the Roman Empire is a really tough subject and, thankfully, we're not quite on their level.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:42 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just called my Congressman's office (Mike Fitzpatrick of PA) and urged him to partner up with Charlie Dent to avert a shutdown. I read the lady on the line the whole message he posted on Facebook looking for GOP partners. This district is more moderate Republican than super tea party land so it is my hope Fitzpatrick will be willing to work with a fellow PA Republican trying to avert the shutdown. My hopes for Fitzpatrick usually don't pan out though. :|

Everyone should do this, even if you don't have a GOP Congressman.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2013


For what it's worth the National Credit Union Administration is an independent, self-funded agency that does not rely on congressional appropriations and will not be affected by a shutdown. In fact, the agency is encouraging credit unions that serve military and furloughed workers to employ special programs that can meet their short-term financial needs. Many CUs already have such programs in place, of course. Credit unions FTW, again.
posted by headnsouth at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


also, major lack of plagues, which, good job, everyone, top marks on black death avoidance

Well...so far. The right combination of defunding, deregulation, privatization, and lack of health care and who knows what we can accomplish?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are there any Shutdown Parties planned?
posted by curious nu at 2:36 PM on September 30, 2013


The Washington Post has a pretty good list of shutdown-related deals.
posted by troika at 2:38 PM on September 30, 2013


curious nu: "Are there any Shutdown Parties planned?"

HA HA, government workers are going to go unpaid! National parks are closing! Veterans won't be able to avail themselves of services they're entitled to under law! What a hoot!

Jesus.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:40 PM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I thought Obama seemed almost sad during those remarks.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:41 PM on September 30, 2013


Are there any Shutdown Parties planned?

I was seriously wondering the same thing. I certainly wouldn't doubt it. Here in Indiana, anti-government, tea-partyism is pretty rampant. I suspect, if you listen closely, you'll hear more than a few champagne corks popping throughout Indianapolis' northern suburbs.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:47 PM on September 30, 2013


If It Happened There ... the Government Shutdown
This is the first installment of “If It Happened There,” a regular feature in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:54 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a hoot!

Or they could be somber drinking-under-the-table affairs. Honestly, I just figured there'd be a lot more chatter in this thread. The media is playing this up as a BIG DEAL, but it's always difficult to know how much to trust that.
posted by curious nu at 2:56 PM on September 30, 2013






If I can't get in to my office tomorrow, my plan is to find a bar with wifi and work from there. Is that a party?

Although, from what I heard on the radio on the way home today, it sounds like DoD employees are going to be going to work without pay instead of being told to stay home. Of course, there hasn't been any official instruction yet so who knows.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:59 PM on September 30, 2013


Fine, here's your shutdown party.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:04 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember when Republicans were worried about ‘economic uncertainty’?

Every single thing they say is a lie, it's bad faith from top to bottom.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:07 PM on September 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


it's bad faith from top to bottom.

So what you're saying is its Mitch McConnell all the way down.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:09 PM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


also, major lack of plagues, which, good job, everyone, top marks on black death avoidance
Well...so far. The right combination of defunding, deregulation, privatization, and lack of health care and who knows what we can accomplish?
And Jenny McCarthy! Don't forget Jenny McCarthy.
posted by Flunkie at 3:15 PM on September 30, 2013


“You guys ever watch 16 Candles?” he asked a small group of reporters. “You guys remember Long Duk Dong at the end? That’s going to be us tomorrow, waking up on the grass, crashed automobile. That’s us.”
posted by madamjujujive at 3:24 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every single thing they say is a lie, it's bad faith from top to bottom.
Oh, I don't know about that. For example, I don't have any real reason to doubt that Congressman Runyan thinks that Dred Scott happened in the past fifteen years or so.
posted by Flunkie at 3:24 PM on September 30, 2013


Flunkie: "Oh, I don't know about that. For example, I don't have any real reason to doubt that Congressman Runyan thinks that Dred Scott happened in the past fifteen years or so."

Jon Runyan... Heath Shuler... Jim Bunning... In the spirit of bipartisan comity, can we all please agree to stop sending former professional athletes to Congress???
posted by tonycpsu at 3:26 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obamacare Hurting Real People Who Have Real Needs - so tragic
posted by madamjujujive at 3:38 PM on September 30, 2013


Or we at least need to elect Michael Strahan to counter anything Runyan tries to accomplish.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:41 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pete King is apparently now considered a "moderate". Pete King. Pete King is apparently now considered a "moderate".
posted by Flunkie at 3:48 PM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ya, he's a regular RINO, that one. It's truly terrifying how far the goalposts have moved.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:51 PM on September 30, 2013


Are there any Shutdown Parties planned?

Does crying into our beer count?
posted by zennie at 3:56 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Although, from what I heard on the radio on the way home today, it sounds like DoD employees are going to be going to work without pay instead of being told to stay home. Of course, there hasn't been any official instruction yet so who knows.

The official instruction is almost certainly going to be "stay home" if they're not being paid, because federal employees can't volunteer to provide service to the gov't without pay.

Wait, is this a law firm using LaTeX? I think I'm in love.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:09 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


In the event of the government shutdown, how does legislative business get done? I mean, even if the legislators salaries continue to be paid, and they continue to work, from my understanding their staff is not getting paid, and can't volunteer. Can the House and Senate operate with no salaried staff showing up for work? Won't everything grind to a halt? And how does it start up again? If the debt limit is not lifted by Oct. 17, we're going into default. If the government does not re-open by then, how are they going to negotiate/debate/vote to even lift the debt limit? Or are the legislators from both houses just going to work with no staff during the shutdown?

On another note, from my understanding, even the regular federal workers are not assured of back pay this time around, so whatever money they lose through this shutdown is not going to be reimbursed - at least that's not clear at this point. While the legislators themselves are on the whole pretty wealthy (and getting paid regardless), many of the staff are not, whether they work for a dem or a repub. I wonder how repub staff will feel about losing money they can ill afford, thanks to their very own guys - I mean, it's gotta sting a little that the boss you're tirelessly working for is putting a dent in your pocketbook to score political points. Your wealthy boss who is not being hurt financially by these actions, and you, who is probably already under financial pressure or even living paycheck to paycheck - how lovely, must make for great working atmosphere going forward... I wonder what the staff equivalent of spitting in the food served would be.
posted by VikingSword at 4:44 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The pay for the legislators themselves is written into permanent law, so they get paid. I think their staff can be classified as essential employees, and so can work. Essential employees will likely not be paid during the shutdown, thus delaying their paychecks, but they will receive retroactive pay once the gov't reopens with a budget. Nonessential employees get furloughed, meaning no work and -- in principle -- no pay. The last time there was a shutdown, the furloughed non-essential employees were compensated retroactively, but there's no reason to expect this and people are understandably pessimistic about it.

More info from the WaPo.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:54 PM on September 30, 2013


Oh, OK. So some staff are "essential" and some not. According to that WaPo link, during the 1995-1996 shutdown, they misclassified 50,000 employees in Social Security Admin. alone as non-essential, and had to recall them to work. I wonder what a mess we'll have this time around.
posted by VikingSword at 5:05 PM on September 30, 2013


Poll roundup (sorry, HuffPo link, but interesting info)

I boggle over the fact that 10% of those polled approve of the job congress is doing - wtf?
posted by madamjujujive at 5:06 PM on September 30, 2013


> I think their staff can be classified as essential employees...

EG, here's the White House shutdown contingency plan. It includes 118 FTEs from OMB (24%) specifically to deal with appropriations stuff during the shutdown.
posted by Westringia F. at 5:08 PM on September 30, 2013


I still really don't get how the Republicans think they'll benefit from this no matter what the outcome. Somehow this is going to get the people who voted against them for this kind of crap last time to change their minds?
posted by jason_steakums at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2013


Cruz, Lee urge House GOP to take a different tack in funding showdown

"President Obama made a statement from the James Brady Briefing Room listing the government services that would be impacted by a government shutdown.

He noted that business owners seeking infrastructure permits or rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy would experience delays raising capital; veterans would find support centers unstaffed; tourists would be unable to visit national parks such as Yosemite and the Statue of Liberty.

Cruz has suggested to House conservatives that most of the government could be funded with three or four bills while leaving ObamaCare unfunded, according to a GOP aide.

“The first tranche could include Department of Defense funding and the military construction and veterans affairs and the Department of Homeland Security,” said the aide. “The second bill could include Commerce Justice, Science, which includes the weather service.”

The conservative senators argue Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set a precedent earlier Monday when he offered a unanimous consent request to approve continuing appropriations for military pay.

“We saw today that a continuing resolution funding the military passed both houses unanimously,” Cruz said on CNN.

Cruz and Lee think Reid and other Democrats would have a tough time blaming Republicans for a government shutdown if they vote against a series of stopgaps emerging from the House."

posted by madamjujujive at 5:22 PM on September 30, 2013


OK, here is how this helps Republicans. Keep in mind I'm sort of an idiot, but this is my understanding.

Republicans and Democrats alike have been engaging in massive gerrymandering in their home states. For the sake of our discussion, the Republican gerrymandering is a bigger deal. By doing this, they help ensure that Republicans keep winning seats because the people in the gerrymandered districts tend to vote Republican with regularity.

On the surface, this seems like a good thing for the Republicans, but by making the districts more "pure," a curious thing has happened. See, the main people who come out to vote in primaries for both parties are the people with the strongest feelings about candidates. To whit, the moderates don't come out to the primaries as much as the crazies do.

Thus, in the last couple of elections, moderate Republicans and many conservative Republicans have been challenged in their gerrymandered districts by Tea Party know-nothings. The Tea Party folks have, more often than you might think, won the primaries over the more rational Republicans.

The people who stand behind the congresspeople in favor this shut down are the same crazy people who would gladly vote an even crazier person in to office if their candidates aren't doing everything in their power to shut down Obamacare. Or the government. As long as they shut down something.

So, if the government shuts down, the crazy primary voters will be all like "Yay our congresspeople are doing something to save us from affordable health care!" Presumably, this translates into electoral wins next time around. For the more moderate Republicans (less conservative Republicans?) there is a very real fear that if they don't bow to the crazies, they will be challenged by a Joker-esque tea party candidate and lose.

So, you might think of it as a nightmare situation where the Nash Equilibrium is spawning a nightmare - by acting in their own individual self-interest, the Republicans are damaging the country and, in fact, their own party.

Anyhow, short of Boehner suddenly chanting "Ph'nglui mglw'nath Cthulhu" as the government shuts down, I will be of the belief that the various Republicans voting for this actually are acting out of enlightened self interest. Gerrymandering, in the big picture, screws the gerrymanderers too. You can't win over moderates if your whole party is focused on courting the harder than hard right.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:30 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that's it, Joey Michaels. Ted Cruz doesn't care about what I think, not *should* he from a narrow self-interested perspective. He cares about what his constituents think. What sensible people have to do is get at the people who fund and/or vote for Ted Cruz and his ilk. What else do *they* care about? I've got to imagine that some of the financial backers of these teabaggers are goin to be hurt by the trickle everywhere effects of a federal government shutdown. DirectTV is going to get less of my money (one federal income household). So will Exxon because we'll be driving less. Certainly not going out to dinner or buying any luxury items for a while. That sort of thing.
posted by semacd at 5:46 PM on September 30, 2013


So, you might think of it as a nightmare situation where the Nash Equilibrium is spawning a nightmare - by acting in their own individual self-interest, the Republicans are damaging the country and, in fact, their own party.

Anyhow, short of Boehner suddenly chanting "Ph'nglui mglw'nath Cthulhu" as the government shuts down, I will be of the belief that the various Republicans voting for this actually are acting out of enlightened self interest. Gerrymandering, in the big picture, screws the gerrymanderers too. You can't win over moderates if your whole party is focused on courting the harder than hard right.


Yeah, that last bit's the part I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around. They really really each want to hold their own seats even if it means writing off moderates completely and losing even more power in Congress as a party. The guys who put business on the highest pedestal can't think long term and weigh risk/reward to save their lives because the "Fuck you, I got mine" streak is just too strong in them. And it serves the GOP right for playing with fire, they made this bed and they have to lie in it.

Remember when the GOP was the party that snapped into formation and advanced on the opposition in lockstep only a few years ago, and how effective that was for them? I can't help but think this will end with a drunken, bearded Boehner on a bridge at night pining over the Bush years and reenacting the "WE HAVE TO GO BACK, KATE!" scene from Lost.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:57 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not so sure that that's the explanation. You don't gerrymander by making your safe districts safer; you gerrymander by making your opponent's safe districts safer, and yours less safe. That is, you trade some of the "purity" of any given district of yours in exchange for increasing the number of districts that you will win.

A simplistic example would be three districts, nine voters total, four would vote for you, and five for your opponent. So you make one district that has three voters who all vote for your opponent, while the other two districts each have two voters for you and one for your opponent. So now you win the majority of districts despite having the minority of voters.

But note that your opponent's district is more "pure", and thus safe. Not yours. Yours are teetering on the edge. That's the tradeoff - you get more districts, but you have to accept that relatively minor changes in public opinion might make you lose them more easily.

Frankly, I think the real explanation is (or at least I am becoming less and less reluctant to resort to this explanation): Republicans are detached from reality.
posted by Flunkie at 6:05 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought I was enraged before, but since I just found out that a shutdown will also affect my hawkwatch gig - we operate under the umbrella of the NPS and are technically NPS volunteers - I've gone incandescent. I know that sounds kind of dumb. But they won't even let us sign waivers absolving the Park Service of any fault if I trip over a rock on my way up to Hawk Hill. Tomorrow is my team's day, but the hawks will go uncounted because Ted Cruz is a whiny bullshit grandstander. Fuck him.
posted by rtha at 6:26 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


You don't gerrymander by making your safe districts safer; you gerrymander by making your opponent's safe districts safer, and yours less safe. That is, you trade some of the "purity" of any given district of yours in exchange for increasing the number of districts that you will win.

Well, as I said, I am sort of an idiot.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:47 PM on September 30, 2013


Don't feel bad, Joey. Because Flunkie isn't right about what has happened to the House. Most house districts have not become less ideologically pure, they have become far more safely Republican.
posted by Justinian at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2013


I think the gerrymandering has the potential to backfire if it turns out that the consequences of this brinksmanship are so bad that it turns the whole thing into an over-reach for the rank and file of the GOP. It's effectively impossible to know if this is the case right now, but I think this opens those previously-pure districts to situation where the extremists will cannibalize one another's votes leaving an opportunity open for a more moderate candidate.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:00 PM on September 30, 2013


Most house districts have not become less ideologically pure, they have become far more safely Republican.
That may be, but it's not necessarily because of gerrymandering; it seems more likely to be in spite of gerrymandering.

In any case, multiple independent studies have been done which have concluded that the effect of gerrymandering was significantly less than widely assumed. About a six seat swing, whereas numbers like dozens were bandied about by various people in the wake of the election. Here's a little article on it.
posted by Flunkie at 7:12 PM on September 30, 2013


Meanwhile in Washington...
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:20 PM on September 30, 2013


They must be pissed that they may have to miss their tee times tomorrow.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:27 PM on September 30, 2013


That may be, but it's not necessarily because of gerrymandering; it seems more likely to be in spite of gerrymandering.

Yes, the demographic shifts in the country have made Republican gerrymandering much easier to accomplish by concentrating democratic votes in dense urban environments. Because of that concentration they can gerrymander while keeping the vast majority of seats very safe.
posted by Justinian at 7:42 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's a look at how house districts have changed over the past 6 presidential elections, from 538. Both Republican and Democratic districts are more ideological while the number of swing districts has dwindled from 103 to 35.
posted by Justinian at 7:46 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm American, living in Canada right now, starting up an academic job search. My girlfriend just asked me how jobs are looking in Canada........ The US continues it's long slide towards utter brokenness.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:47 PM on September 30, 2013


So, are there any last-ditch legislative maneuvering tactics either side can bring to bear, or are all the cards on the table already?
posted by jason_steakums at 7:49 PM on September 30, 2013


The votes to pass a clean resolution are there. No legislative maneuvering is required. Boner is just too cowardly to put forward the resolution.
posted by Justinian at 7:50 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I said it.
posted by Justinian at 7:51 PM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Gerrymandering isn't relevant to how crazy primary voters affect MCs. All you need for them to have an effect is... crazy primary voters. If the primary voters are loopy teahadists, it doesn't matter whether your district is kinda Democratic, moderate, or wacky conservative: you still need to get through the primary to get to the general election. At least in states with sore loser laws. And, unlike Sheriff Bart, the loopy teahadists have demonstrated a few times that they're willing to shoot themselves in the head by going with an unelectable buffoon (I'm not a witch) instead of a nearly sure winner, so the threat is keenly felt.

In the larger context, gerrymandering has little to no effect on political polarization in Congress. Polarization isn't happening because there are lots more ideologically pure districts; it's happening because Republican and Democratic MCs who represent vaguely moderate districts/states have been voting more and more differently.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:54 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kubler-Ross's Five Stages of Grief explain this better than gerrymandering.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:01 PM on September 30, 2013


Prediction: Boehner's speakership has 4 weeks left. GOP will vote a rule and then vote to allow the bills to go to conference which is where the House loses all of its advantages. The government reopens Thursday morning. Boehner tells the troops they will get them on the debt limit.

On the Debt Limit, Boehner falls on his sword, allows a up-or-down vote on a clean debt limit hike, which every single dem and 30 GOPers vote for, then resigns the next day. The clean hike passes the Senate 99-1.

I'll let you guess who is the 1 who votes against a clean debt ceiling hike.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:22 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe two... 'Green Egg' Cruz and Ayn Rand Paul
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:24 PM on September 30, 2013


At this point, I think a better explanation than "just politics" is that the Tea Party Republicans are really the expression of the same forces that gave us the Civil War. They are no longer interested in playing by the rules, or by any long term interest of the country, because they have switched to a position of REJECTIONISM. They are not trying to compromise and politic, however tough. They're outright rejecting any reasonable interaction with their political adversaries. They are rejecting the results of the last election. They will go their own way if they have to, and they will take the country over the cliff. They are issuing ultimatums, and the action of defaulting on our obligations (in case they do not lift the debt limit) is a repudiation of our Republic's full faith and credit - the political equivalent of firing on Fort Sumter.

The Tea Party today is the expression of the same forces, still mostly concentrated in the South. Perhaps, this can be seen as Civil War Part II. The racial component seems clear, a way of life seen as passing away and a determination to defend it at all costs, even and including at the cost of the welfare of the Republic, because they no longer recognize themselves as part of that political landscape. It's going to be a tough ride. Is Obama the equal of Lincoln in this scenario, with equal firmness, fairness and compassion? One can only hope so.
posted by VikingSword at 8:27 PM on September 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I said it.

Don't besmirch Boner's good name.
posted by brina at 8:29 PM on September 30, 2013


Reid: No conference with a gun to my head. He's going to force them to pass a 10-day CR for negotiations. Let's hear it for regular order and no more bullshit blackmail.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:41 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


rtha, I'm sorry. I don't have any direct impact and this enrages me. It should be a thing: people who want to drown government in a bathtub should not be allowed to hold government office.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:00 PM on September 30, 2013


And the clock strikes midni- *clock gets unplugged*
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:01 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


ah my mefite pals, we have witnessed so many depressing political moments together. Another big one tonight.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:04 PM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Well, THAT happened.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:05 PM on September 30, 2013


hey, look, there's a jar of whisky on my desk....
posted by kaibutsu at 9:10 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Happy Obstructober!
posted by oulipian at 9:11 PM on September 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


So now up to 800k federal workers are going to have difficulties paying their bills, just because some asshats in the House decided to act like spoiled little kids. Nice.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:13 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a contractor with an excepted agency, so I'm okay, but my boyfriend and so many of our friends are now effectively unemployed. This being DC, we don't even have a voting representative* to whom to direct our complaints.

*which hasn't stopped me from calling my hometown rep, and I mention that I donated to his reelection efforts, but not being a constituent I don't get very far.
posted by troika at 9:14 PM on September 30, 2013


Just checked Drudge. Nothing on the shutdown drama. Tells you who won immediately.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:15 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: "Just checked Drudge. Nothing on the shutdown drama. Tells you who won immediately."

Drudge is probably coming down from his high over successfully getting the Hillary documentary spiked by CNN and NBC.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:17 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


And the asshat most responsible for the last shutdown has a new gig on CNN's revived "Crossfire". How appropriate.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:18 PM on September 30, 2013


So this is the shutdown thread, really? Quick, someone make a nice meaty post that won't be deleted, so I don't have to click to the second page. My finger is already tired from hitting F5 at the Washington Post.

Seriously though, my sympathies to my Federal brothers and sisters and everyone directly impacted by this. Hope it ends quickly and that the crazy people don't go Thelma and Louise on all of us later in the month when the debt limit comes up.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2013


DCist has a round up of all the free shutdown stuff going on tomorrow.
"Pork Barrel BBQ : "Free pulled pork sandwich for any gov employee if there is a shutdown. 1 per day, must have gov ID & EXCLUDES CONGRESSMEN.""
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2013 [15 favorites]


Google's doodle today is the 123th birthday of Yosemite National Park.

And it's closed.
posted by hellojed at 9:26 PM on September 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


Was that Google Doodle intentional? Cuz... damn.
posted by mostly vowels at 9:27 PM on September 30, 2013


The United States has officially jumped the shark!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:36 PM on September 30, 2013


Google: not evil but dickish in the best possible way (even if unintentional)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:39 PM on September 30, 2013


We jumped the shark years ago, now it's up to this...
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:40 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


The first tranche could include Department of Defense funding and the military construction and veterans affairs and the Department of Homeland Security,” said the aide. “The second bill could include Commerce Justice, Science, which includes the weather service.”

"Hi, I'm a guy who obviously knows nothing about appropriations, but I'm opening my mouth anyway."

The Science appropriations bill? Apparently thinks government is divided up like the fucking Starship Enterprise. First we'll fund the Yellow Shirts, then the Red Shirts, then the Blue Shirts, except for the medical corps.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jose Andres just tweeted that there'll be free sandwiches for the furloughed at his restaurants every day until the shutdown's over.
posted by troika at 9:48 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


For shame. It's too bad the women and children who will be unable to access their WIC benefits can't eat some fucking Republican congresspeople instead.
posted by threeants at 9:51 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


At this point, I think a better explanation than "just politics" is that the Tea Party Republicans are really the expression of the same forces that gave us the Civil War.

Glad someone else pointed this out because it's the example I've been saying for the last few days. The Civil War was literally the last time in our history this many representatives of our own government hated the President and the laws he passed to a level of wanting to disrupt the very government itself.

And we had to have a goddamn war because of it. So... here's to 150 years of progress, I guess.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:52 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


So are they still on the floor debating? C-SPAN's got a live feed and there's still plenty of people in there milling about. But, y'know, everyone else in the world has to pull all-nighters when they blow a deadline so I suspect Congress holds themselves to a different standard.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:55 PM on September 30, 2013


'Panda cam' to go dark in shutdown
posted by tonycpsu at 10:04 PM on September 30, 2013


Hooo nevermind, that's enough C-SPAN. Thanks, caller.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:04 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Congressional Republicans seem not to care that Obamacare enjoys significantly higher approval than they do.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:20 PM on September 30, 2013


Sure, but the same could be said of Nickelback, colonoscopies, and North Korea. Bernie Sanders was on MSNBC tonight and said he was happy to hear Congress got a 10% approval rating, and he was dead serious -- it's up from 8%.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:26 PM on September 30, 2013


I know the House of Representatives removing a sitting Speaker of the House and electing a Speaker pro tempore is kind of a largely theoretical grey area (like, there's not even a provision for it in the rules of the 113th Congress, but it's long been a thing that they can do without clear rules on how), but I wonder how many of the frustrated GOP reps have been kicking around the thought. It doesn't have a hard 2/3rds majority limit like outright explusion, IIRC.

I wouldn't put it past a guy like (for example) Peter King to at least quietly test the waters on building a voting bloc of angry GOP reps to grab himself the pro temp spot if this gets drawn out so he can look like the hero, he's one of the few in the GOP positioned to not really have to worry about the Tea Party and openly criticizing them in the news and it seems like a decent number of GOP reps would welcome an alternative to Boehner right about now.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:53 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Are there any Shutdown Parties planned?"

Yeah, there's a slumber party at Ted Cruz's house. They're gonna eat pizza and watch The Purge.
posted by FJT at 10:59 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a few Libertarian friends on my Facebook feed who are posting thing like "this is the happiest day of my life" and "let's hope it never reopens."
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:06 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


How long do you think they'd last in the Mad Max world they pine for?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:15 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


"this is the happiest day of my life" and "let's hope it never reopens."

Ooh, maybe if we stay quiet they'll think it's permanent and won't vote.
posted by FJT at 11:16 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


"this is the happiest day of my life"

For real though? Love, friendships, accomplishments, every irreplaceable moment of joy in this brief stay on Earth - bah! They pale in comparison to seeing a bump in the road for the federal government!

I can't think of much sadder than someone's political views so consuming their identity that this makes them that happy.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:19 PM on September 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


In regards to how long these particular people would survive in the wild, one is a socially awkward men's rights dude who gets crippling anxiety when he has to speak to women for any reason, one is a tech firm lowbie who lives with his elderly parents and can't cook, and one is a Navy dude who could break me in two with his pinkies. I would say the last guy is the only one who is actually prepared to survive Thunderdome.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:57 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dammit, I assumed that some adult would come and corral the children, but I guess that was too much to hope for.

Still, the GOP knew that if they didn't fuck the government here, no one would believe they'd crater the economy over the debt ceiling.
posted by klangklangston at 12:22 AM on October 1, 2013




Slate describes the government shutdown as if it was happening to another country
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:47 AM on October 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


Well they have done it, they have finally lived up to their name and have teabagged the whole country. Nice.
posted by caddis at 3:57 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where are their corporate handlers - where is the business community on this issue and why are they so silent? Other than the giant evil doers like the Kochs who have a political agenda, this can't be good for business.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:07 AM on October 1, 2013


Where are their corporate handlers - where is the business community on this issue and why are they so silent? Other than the giant evil doers like the Kochs who have a political agenda, this can't be good for business.

For some reason, they apparently don't think the GOP is serious. I imagine that as of midnight, their lobbyists were putting the pressure on.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:12 AM on October 1, 2013


I imagine that as of midnight, their lobbyists were putting the pressure on.

Maybe. However, if, in order to get the government running again, the Dems have to cave on some of the item on the Republicans' laundry list, I can definitely see business lobbyists working to make sure, say, further restrictions on the EPA or OSHA come to pass. I would bet more than a few business types see this moment as a prime opportunity to strike.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:25 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I imagine the debt ceiling vote is the one wherein the Koch brothers will revert to their original form (evil flying monkeys) and eat or somehow otherwise influence the Tea Party nut heads to move.
posted by angrycat at 4:28 AM on October 1, 2013


Slate describes the government shutdown as if it was happening to another country

I love the Freidman-esque quote from a taxi driver.
posted by octothorpe at 4:33 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would bet more than a few business types see this moment as a prime opportunity to strike.

And considering that the leaked GOP demand list for increasing the debt ceiling includes everything from expanding offshore drilling to tort reform to blocking net neutrality, it would seem that either the business community is in on this one, or the Republicans are tossing them a bone to keep quiet during this insanity. I'm guessing it's probably the latter.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:38 AM on October 1, 2013


I admit, I'm a little cheered up by the heavy amounts of West Wing quoting and Panda Cam love in my Facebook feed today, versus angry THNKS OBUMMER or anything else.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:49 AM on October 1, 2013


I guess I don't have to move my car for street cleaning this morning. So, uh, thanks GOP?
posted by inigo2 at 4:53 AM on October 1, 2013


I guess I don't have to move my car for street cleaning this morning. So, uh, thanks GOP?

The federal government cleans your streets?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:56 AM on October 1, 2013


The federal government cleans your streets?

Presuming you're being serious, you should read the main links in the post about Congress fucking over DC residents.
posted by inigo2 at 4:58 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Washington Post has a useful live feed of shutdown impacts in the DC area-- but so far the panda cam is still a valiant beacon of hope online. (Voyager2's twitter feed, however, has gone dark after a "Farewell, humans" message.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:04 AM on October 1, 2013


For now at least, DC city services are operating; I saw trash collectors out this morning. I'd still move your car, just to be safe.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:16 AM on October 1, 2013


What I can't stop thinking about is... if you asked any of the people responsible for this whether they'd support factory workers striking for more/better benefits, they'd all say "hell no." But when it's CUTTING someone ELSE'S benefits, they're totally fine with the concept.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:19 AM on October 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


I work in a profession that has a lot of folks who work for the Feds in DC. Many of my colleagues are now finding out they're furloughed without pay until further notice. I am so angry on their behalf I have no idea what to do (I've already contacted my Congress critter, he's a Democrat so I can't even get the satisfaction of a very self-righteous phone call).

I usually roll in a pretty happy liberal bubble, but hearing that there are people CHEERING this day when my colleagues don't know whether they'll be able to pay their mortgage just fills me with rage.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:40 AM on October 1, 2013


Just saw these Quinnipiac polling figures posted to NR's blog:

American voters oppose 72-22 percent Congress shutting down the federal government to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare … Voters also oppose 64-27 percent blocking an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling as a way to stop Obamacare … American voters are divided on Obamacare, with 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed, but they are opposed 58-34 percent to Congress cutting off funding for the health care law to stop its implementation. Republicans support the federal government shutdown by a narrow 49-44 percent margin, but opposition is 90-6 percent among Democrats and 74-19 percent among independent voters. President Barack Obama gets a negative 45-49 percent overall job approval rating, [statistically unchanged from] 46-48 percent score August 2. American voters disapprove 74-17 percent of the job Republicans in Congress are doing, their lowest score ever, and disapprove 60-32 percent of the job Democrats are doing.
posted by jquinby at 5:43 AM on October 1, 2013


So the postal service, which has another source of revenue (people sending mail) stays open. Parks which have another source of revenue (people buying entrance fees) shut. All legislators continue to work full-time, and a lot of their aides (all of whom will be paid back pay once this ends).

I'm not entirely clear what counts as an essential employee, or how the decision is taken.
posted by jeather at 5:46 AM on October 1, 2013


It looks like DC's contingency reserve fund could keep city services running for about two weeks.
posted by argonauta at 5:47 AM on October 1, 2013


Well, all my government employee coworkers are still on the job and our office is open. I'm hunkering down with my headphones on because I'm sure some of them are cheering on the shutdown and I just don't want to deal with it today.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:49 AM on October 1, 2013


jeather...The Postal Service is a quasi-independent organization. In fact, the USPS has not received any direct taxpayer funding since sometime in the 80's. Being one of the few services explicitly mandated in the Constitution probably helps, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:51 AM on October 1, 2013


What always bugs me about congress is that America seems to hate them so badly, and you'd think that would encourage them to vote in some alternatives, rather than let the republicans retain their insane grip on politics (note, I refer specifically to the republicans in congress, who appear to be insane). Is it just gerrymandering having this effect, or the public's inability to put two and two together?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:54 AM on October 1, 2013


A quick note on the folks saying that the Teahadists are using union tactics. This isn't an analog to a strike or walkout, this is an analog to a management lockout.
posted by dejah420 at 6:00 AM on October 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


Being one of the few services explicitly mandated in the Constitution probably helps, too.
The Constitution says that Congress can establish post offices and post roads, but it does not mandate that Congress do so, nor that Congress must ensure that those offices and such must stay open once established. Also, the Tea Party hates the Post Office, so I don't think they'd care even if it were mandated.
posted by Flunkie at 6:01 AM on October 1, 2013


Well, at least some people are making the best of the situation. (NSFWish Buzzfeed)
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:20 AM on October 1, 2013


What always bugs me about congress is that America seems to hate them so badly, and you'd think that would encourage them to vote in some alternatives, rather than let the republicans retain their insane grip on politics

They hate them quite a bit but only 37.8% of registered voters showed up in 2010. I think many people who don't pay attention to the news assume "both sides do it" and thus stay home in disgust. And then there's regular voters, like many people in my family, who think the Republicans are being ridiculous regarding the shutdown or austerity or giveaways to the rich, but still vote for them because "Both sides are bad but at least the Republicans will let me keep my guns and are doing something to save the babies." And it could be that the voters in a particular district think all Republicans are scum but "my congressman is great. When I had that problem with the thing, he straightened it all out. They're all assholes except for him."

I picked an off-year election as an example because the biggest ticket on the ballot will be the local representatives, unless a particular state had a hotly contested gubernatorial race, and this gauges the public's level of interest in voting for their congress critters. By comparison, 2012 with the presidential race had about participation of around 58% of registered voters.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:21 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


What always bugs me about congress is that America seems to hate them so badly, and you'd think that would encourage them to vote in some alternatives, rather than let the republicans retain their insane grip on politics

The short answer is that most Americans like their own congressman more than they like Congress.

The longer answer is that the primary reason Americans don't like Congress very much is that they don't actually like democracy because it's messy and confusing and there's always somebody saying whatever we're doing is bad. What we mostly really want is to have an empathetic more-or-less-dictator who's vaguely responsive to public opinion. See Hibbings and Thiess-Morse.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:22 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aaron Levie: "You know when America tries to bring stability and order to another country's government? Well, that's awkward."
posted by exogenous at 6:33 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Possibly my favorite offer so far, from DCIST's round-up of deals and free museums for government employees:

Pork Barrel BBQ : "Free pulled pork sandwich for any gov employee if there is a shutdown. 1 per day, must have gov ID & EXCLUDES CONGRESSMEN."

posted by jetlagaddict at 6:36 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


'Panda cam' to go dark in shutdown

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE
posted by elizardbits at 6:47 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


At the risk of asking a very dumb question, as a person whose Congressional representatives all have "D" after their names, what can I do to communicate to the Republican leadership that I find this completely unacceptable?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:55 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]




ROU_Xenophobe: " What we mostly really want is to have an empathetic more-or-less-dictator who's vaguely responsive to public opinion. See Hibbings and Thiess-Morse."

Havelock Vetinari 2014!
posted by dejah420 at 7:00 AM on October 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Reign of Morons is Here
In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress -- or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress -- a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party's 2012 nominee for president of the United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in large measure, closed this morning.

We have elected the people sitting on hold, waiting for their moment on an evening drive-time radio talk show.

We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.

We have elected a national legislature in which Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann have more power than does the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been made a piteous spectacle in the eyes of the country and doesn't seem to mind that at all. We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation's insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up the the Nazis in 1938, to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and to Mel Gibson's account of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 13th Century. We have elected a national legislature that looks into the mirror and sees itself already cast in marble.

We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.

This is what they came to Washington to do -- to break the government of the United States.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:01 AM on October 1, 2013 [35 favorites]


Good news: Diane Rhem is discussing the shutdown this morning.
Bad news: Her guest from the Cato Institute is going on and on, blaming this mess entirely on the Democrats partisanship. Also, privatize everything that gets shut down.

GAH!
posted by Thorzdad at 7:19 AM on October 1, 2013


Trent Lott on Ted Cruz: "Cut His Legs Out From Under Him"
"I'm of two minds," Lott said. "I'd like to be in the arena and help work something out. But it's gotten too nasty and too mean these days. I couldn't work with these guys."

Trent Lott thinks these guys are too mean. *boggles*
posted by madamjujujive at 7:59 AM on October 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Boy I sure miss the reasonable days of opposition like Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott", he said, as Hell freezes over.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:03 AM on October 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


Washington Post liveblog
posted by exogenous at 8:05 AM on October 1, 2013


I am so enraged, and so unhappy. I mean, normally I enjoy some days off, pajama pants, Conan the Barbarian on the TV. But normally, I also enjoy being able to do my work, look after my materials, help my customers, and pay my bills.

I can't even seem to muster the morale to go out and get my pulled pork sandwich. Christ.
posted by theatro at 8:06 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


How The Press Helped Cause The GOP Shutdown
Years Of Bogus 'Both-Sides-To-Blame' Coverage Have Emboldened Radical Republicans

This. So much this.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:13 AM on October 1, 2013 [29 favorites]


Conan the Barbarian on the TV

Look at the bright side-- you have a whole party of Conan the Barbarians on TV now!
posted by Rykey at 8:14 AM on October 1, 2013


Yeah, good point. And hey, if they want to hear the lamentation of the women, they can just poke their heads outside.
posted by theatro at 8:25 AM on October 1, 2013


(I better get started on my petition to forcibly change John Boehner's name to Thulsa Doom.)
posted by theatro at 8:27 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Scenes from the Shutdown
posted by madamjujujive at 8:28 AM on October 1, 2013


I'm pretty sure lamentations are all they want to hear from women.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:29 AM on October 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Years Of Bogus 'Both-Sides-To-Blame' Coverage Have Emboldened Radical Republicans"

A combination of access, class affinity and an effective multi-decade attack from the right on media's "liberal bias" has made it pretty predictable. (Do like calling them the courtier media.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:33 AM on October 1, 2013


At the risk of asking a very dumb question, as a person whose Congressional representatives all have "D" after their names, what can I do to communicate to the Republican leadership that I find this completely unacceptable?

I'm in Texas and my rep is a D, but I gave to Battleground Texas last night to get rid of Ted Cruz (and John Cornyn, who's actually up for re-election).
posted by immlass at 8:35 AM on October 1, 2013


I was given 4 hours today to go into the office and shut down my work station before being placed on full furlough status. During that time I happened to walk past the office candy bowl, which had been replaced by a sign that read: "Due to the lapse in appropriations, the chocolate has been furloughed until further notice!"

This is the worst of all possible tragedies.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:39 AM on October 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


The people remaining in the office that haven't been furloughed have started the "this is Obama's fault!" Fox-News-parroting act. If only he would just give in to Boehner, none of this would have to happen! Why is he being so selfish?

I told my boss I will continue coming to the office until the toilet paper runs out, and then I will work from home. My guess is that happens sooner rather than later.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:44 AM on October 1, 2013


As a DC resident one of my concerns is that over 70% of DCPS students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches (and those are the ones who actually signed up for it -- there are others; I think it's closer to 77%). Many of these kids also get free breakfasts at school. That means that, if the DC government is forced to shut down schools, over two-thirds of the children in this city are going to have trouble getting enough to eat (more trouble than usual, even). Some of these kids have families with no money or who don't really support or supervise them so if they aren't eating at school they basically aren't eating. During summer vacation they still have programs to provide meals to children, but would they now? If DC is basically shut down then we'll have groups of hungry un- or undersupervised children and teenagers roaming around which seems like a bad situation for everyone.

I mean, I guess if you don't even support food stamps you probably don't care that more than two-thirds of the kids in a largely Black city aren't eating, but it still seems like a pretty big problem to me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:45 AM on October 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


Where federal workers live - a US map
posted by madamjujujive at 8:57 AM on October 1, 2013


Confused Libertarian Demands Obama Become Strongman
A couple of points. First, the lack of a conference to negotiate the House and Senate budgets didn’t happen for “all sorts of reasons.” It happened for one reason: Democrats pleaded to hold one and Republicans refused. Senate Democrats have spammed my e-mail in-box pleading for a budget conference on a near-daily basis. House Republicans refused because their strategy is not to negotiate through regular order but to use the threat of a shutdown and debt default to leverage unilateral concessions. This isn’t my partisan accusation. They said this themselves, repeatedly!

Second, blaming the president for failing to “kick the asses” of leaders of the opposing party is a really dumb way to think about government, and especially so for a libertarian. Your analysis is that the president needs to compel the opposing party to accept policies it doesn’t like? That’s a libertarian analysis?

Third, Gillespie’s entire rant is beside the point, because the lack of a negotiated budget is not the cause of a shutdown. Budget conferences are designed to set long-term federal budget policy. Keeping the government open doesn’t require that. You just need to pass a “continuing resolution.” That’s it. Pass the CR, and the government stays open, and then you can either negotiate or not negotiate the federal budget.

It’s continually amazing to me that this publication publishes commentary on public policy by a writer who lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the policy process.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:12 AM on October 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


Democrats Should Reject a "Clean" CR

"But while it's obvious Democrats would have accepted a "clean" Continuing Resolution to keep the government open yesterday, I think they ought to reject one today.

The reason is the much scarier debt ceiling showdown facing us in a couple of weeks. Congress will be doing us no favors if it gets the government back up and running only to plow into a catastrophe in the middle of the month. An agreement on a Continuing Resolution ought to also increase the debt ceiling—or even better, abolish it altogether—to ensure that the federal government is fully authorized to continue operations."
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:19 AM on October 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


This Madness Will Never End
I wish I could write something optimistic as we begin the government shutdown. I wish I could, but I can't. In fact, this morning I can't help but feel something close to despair. It isn't that this shutdown won't be resolved, because it will. It will be resolved in the only way it can: when John Boehner allows a vote on a "clean CR," a continuing resolution that funds the government without attacking the Affordable Care Act. It could happen in a week or two, whenever the political cost of the shutdown becomes high enough for Boehner to finally find the courage to say no to the Tea Partiers in his caucus. That CR will pass with mostly Democratic votes, and maybe the result will be a revolt against Boehner that leads to him losing the speakership (or maybe not; as some have argued, Boehner's job could be safe simply because no one else could possibly want it).

But the reason for my despair isn't about this week or this month. It's the fact that this period in our political history—the period of lurching from absurd crisis to absurd crisis, with no possibility of passing a budget let alone legislation to address any serious problems we face, with a cowardly Republican leadership held hostage by a group of insane political terrorists who think it's a tragedy if a poor person gets health insurance and it's a great day when you kick a kid off food stamps, a period where this collection of extremists and fools, these people who think the likes of Michele Bachmann and Steve King are noble and wise leaders—this awful, horrific period in our history, when these are the people who control the country's fate, looks like it will never end.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:24 AM on October 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


GOP ties funding of government to the repeal of Obamacare, government shuts down.

GOP ties debt ceiling passage to the repeal of Obamacare, economy collapses.

GOP ties funding for weapon to destroy an asteroid that's hurling toward earth to the repeal of Obamacare, humanity is wiped out.
posted by hellojed at 9:25 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just in time for flu season: CDC Shutdown: No In-Depth Investigations of Outbreaks
posted by madamjujujive at 9:28 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


whelp I take that back about the plagues then
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:36 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Democrats Should Reject a "Clean" CR

A government shutdown, as long as it's brief, mostly hurts the little people, so the R's are pretty cool with that. Hell, that's not just a tolerable side effect, hurting the little people is also their hobby. It's even their profession, but only in a form that transfers their property to to the rich, not as an aim in itself, and a shutdown doesn't really further that process.

But a default is a different story: in the near term a few speculators could make money even on that, but they are not representative of the interests of Wall St as a whole.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:37 AM on October 1, 2013




Honor flight veterans knocked down the barricades to visit the World War II Memorial in DC today.

(Official word from Park Police, via: "We're seeking guidance on how to respond." No effort to block any vets. Pic.)
posted by argonauta at 9:41 AM on October 1, 2013


Honor flight veterans knocked down the barricades to visit the World War II Memorial in DC today.

(Official word from Park Police, via: "We're seeking guidance on how to respond." No effort to block any vets. Pic.)


Mississippi congressman stunt.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:57 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]




Mississippi congressman stunt.

Republican, not just Mississippi. Bachmann is there using it as a photo op. You know, rather than work on solving the problem.

Arrest them all, starting with her.
posted by inigo2 at 10:14 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


UGH UGH UGH I JUST UGH

"We’re very excited [about the shutdown]," said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). "It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it."
posted by argonauta at 10:17 AM on October 1, 2013


Right wing nut job reporters trying to save their party.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:21 AM on October 1, 2013


Clearly it's time for a choice. Here's one:

Option 1: "Big Government" annually sends only as much money to each State as it pays in taxes annually.

Option 2: No more shutting down the Federal government. When a State's Representative votes for a Federal shutdown, that State automatically becomes an Option 1 State for at least one year. After that, they remain an Option 1 State until they elect all-new Representatives.
posted by Twang at 10:22 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.

This is, sadly, another US trend that has migrated north to Canada.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:24 AM on October 1, 2013


Can someone offer up an explanation/link to an explanation of a realistic worst case scenario for this whole debacle? I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the real consequences of prolonged shutdown.
posted by Tevin at 10:25 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


text and links from a deleted post:
As Republicans act like a wrecking ball on the American economy and FOX News pretends nothing is happening in the House of Turds, Slate considers how the US government shutdown would be reported if it was occurring in another country
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:35 AM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


FOX News pretends nothing is happening

Whereas Rush Limbaugh can see exactly what's happening. The shutdown is what the Democrats have wanted all along.

They're just phoning in the talking points these days, aren't they?
posted by Rykey at 10:55 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're just phoning in the talking points these days, aren't they?

They pretty much don't have to do much more than phone it in. A depressingly large chunk of the country believes everything they say.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:58 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


White House presser about to begin.
posted by jquinby at 10:58 AM on October 1, 2013


FOX News pretends nothing is happening

I turned on FOX News this morning and they were teasing a video of some tuba players falling down. Even CNN, which is hardly a masterclass in journalistic excellence, was actually covering the effects of the damn shutdown.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:01 AM on October 1, 2013


White House presser about to begin.

Ha, "Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, the information on this web site may not be up to date. Some submissions may not be processed, and we may not be able to respond to your inquiries."
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:02 AM on October 1, 2013


Maybe we will get some change out of this. Just saw what looked like a campaign ad being filmed on Freedom Plaza (on Pennsylvania Ave, great view of the Capitol). Didn't catch the guy's name but he was talking about his opponent Dennis Ross being unwilling to compromise and in the pockets of insurance companies.
posted by troika at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2013


Charles Pierce: Government Shutdown - The Reign Of Morons Is Here
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


Watching the presser and Carney really needs to be hammering home the fact that a clean bill would pass with plenty of votes if Boehner wasn't blocking it. He keeps reiterating how unscrupulous these tactics are but the thing that keeps. getting. overlooked. in all the coverage of this is the fact that there have been more than enough Republican votes to keep the shutdown from happening this whole time.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:20 AM on October 1, 2013


If the Republicans want to feel good about that maybe they need to be the ones pointing it out? Otherwise it's irrelevant.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on October 1, 2013


The White House press corps refuses to admit that the US House is failing to discharge their Constitutional duty, so it will take a Herculean effort for them to even dip their toe into parliamentary back-and-forth.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:25 AM on October 1, 2013


If only there were news organizations looking at this kind of thing 24 hours a day who could dig into such issues.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


If only there were news organizations looking at this kind of thing 24 hours a day who could dig into such issues.

There are, it's just that 99% of them aren't American.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:31 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the Republicans want to feel good about that maybe they need to be the ones pointing it out? Otherwise it's irrelevant.

Woah no, nothing to do with them feeling good. Everything to do with making the reality of the situation clear, that this isn't a "debate", it's Boehner blocking the House from even voting on a bill that would pass easily because he's a selfish prick. It's a shitty but entirely predictable thing for the news networks to keep mum about this, I just don't get why the administration is making the moral argument of "you're governing in bad faith, you shouldn't use the budget as leverage" and doing ...whatever they're doing with the press events with people affected by the shutdown, which is a plea for sympathy that wouldn't affect the obstructionists anyways... instead of simply highlighting the messed-up reality that there's already a majority vote ready to fix this in an instant and there has been the whole time, and one guy is responsible for blocking it.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:36 AM on October 1, 2013


It would be fun to see CNN or one of the others go crazy and do a story along the lines of "MAYBE THE GOP ARE A BUNCH OF SABOTEURS BACKED BY MONEYED INTERESTS?" or something. Never going to happen of course, but it must be getting harder for them.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


MAYBE THE GOP ATE A BUNCH OF SABOTEURS BACKED BY MONEYED INTERESTS?

I know this is a typo, but it's a wonderful typo.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:42 AM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not really the way the eating goes though.
posted by Artw at 11:47 AM on October 1, 2013


The funny thing to me about CNN is that they weren't doing the GOVT SHUTDOWN SKY IS FALLING AAAHH LOOK AT OUR DOOM CLOCK GRAPHIC 24/7 thing today like I expected them to, so I was all "Oh hey, CNN, good job not being all CNN-y for once" and then our cable company cut them off the air completely due to rate negotiations with Turner. price is right losing horn dot em pee three
posted by jason_steakums at 11:48 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


My partner once had a snake that was eaten from inside by the mouse he fed it.

That somehow seems relevant to this typo discussion.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:49 AM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Honor flight veterans knocked down the barricades to visit the World War II Memorial in DC today.

So let me get this straight. A couple of people who rely on the government for their paychecks skipped out on work to go break the law and have their pictures taken, all on the taxpayers' dime.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:55 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


What the fuck are you on about? They were WII veterans. Hopefully, they aren't working.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:10 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "breaking down barricades" thing is actually more like "Steve King, Michelle Bachmann and other Congressional Republicans arranged to have the vets let in with Parks Service people who weren't really interested in keeping them out anyways and just had barricades up because that's their damn job when closing things" and the whole thing is just a complete pile of shit PR move by some of the people who forced the shutdown of the memorial in the first place.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:12 PM on October 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I dunno if I feel good about being more cynical than someone named MisantropicPainforest, but the WWII vet story had me all "awh, go grandpa!" until I read that it was spearheaded by the very Teahadists that shut down the government in the first place, then I was all "Oh, fuck all y'all, then."
posted by dejah420 at 12:13 PM on October 1, 2013


What the fuck are you on about? They were WII veterans. Hopefully, they aren't working.

I'm referring to Reps King and Bachmann.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:13 PM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]




Can someone explain how the WWII memorial thing is a useful press opp for King and Bachmann? They were in favor of the shutdown, right? So how does this make any sense?
posted by freecellwizard at 12:38 PM on October 1, 2013


"Standin' up for vets!" is a pretty reliable first-blush impression to run with, basically. Folks who are gonna peel back the onion layers on it a bit won't find the whole thing all that laudable, but that thumbnail sketch version that a lot of people might get a glance of has good optics.
posted by cortex at 12:40 PM on October 1, 2013


They were in favor of the shutdown, right? So how does this make any sense?

It doesn't, except to their support base, for whom "Patriot hugging WWII vets" is a favorable image that requires no context.
posted by Rykey at 12:42 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems they're confused on their talking points, to say the least:
“Well, Democrat leaders in Congress finally have their prize — a government shutdown that no one seems to want but them,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader. “House Republicans worked late into the night this weekend to keep the government open. And Senate Democrats dragged their feet.” via
and
While much of official Washington on Saturday somberly faced the likelihood of a government shutdown, the most conservative members of the House sported a different expression.

They were smiling.

“We’re very excited,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). “It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.” via
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:42 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


And for King, some of the vets are from Iowa. That's why Harkin made a big blustery deal out of it, too. Bachmann and King are basically the Hardy Boys of upper midwestern Tea Party bluster, joined at the hip bouncing from adventure to adventure. It's an orchestrated PR move all the way down, the real story is basically "Some WWII vets had a hiccup in their vacation plans like everyone else going to a national park or monument today, and some legislators pulled strings for brownie points" but it's being reported as "THEY STORMED THE BARRICADES" everywhere (which is pretty demeaning for people who, y'know, actually fought in a war where storming barricades got you dead).
posted by jason_steakums at 12:49 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fox is now referring to it not as a "shutdown", but as a "slimdown".
posted by Flunkie at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain how the WWII memorial thing is a useful press opp for King and Bachmann? They were in favor of the shutdown, right? So how does this make any sense?

Based the reactions I've seen elsewhere, I think it would be a mistake to presume that everyone watching/reading actually knows or understands that (a) congresspeople were even involved, or (b) that those congresspeople were in part responsible for the shutdown. A lot of places are reporting as 'patriotic veterans don't let big government get in their way,' which reinforces the rhetoric supporting the shutdown in the first place -- that government isn't important, and that it's really exception individuals that matter. See, the shutdown doesn't really change anything! These veterans could still visit the memorial! And if the shutdown isn't really doing any harm, so why should we compromise to end it?

If you look at how the Republicans were talking about the sequester right after it happened, there was a similar vein of 'is this really even a bad thing anyway?' to much of their framing; this is the same thing, repackaged.
posted by cjelli at 12:57 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ok, I get it now. They're hoping people are too dumb or uninformed to figure out that they are storming barricades that they created themselves.

I feel like the sort of rational thinking that has helped my succeed in my career has made it so I can't understand the way Republican leaders think. It makes me sad that people follow them. I mean, regardless of where you stand on issues personally, they are just objectively crazy assholes. There's no possible universe in which what they are doing is helpful to anyone.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:01 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's no possible universe in which what they are doing is helpful to anyone.
That's not true. It's helpful to them. They get fame and fortune and clothes purchased on the party dime without permission, which the party subsequently has to dispatch a lawyer to reclaim.
posted by Flunkie at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's amazing to me that 400+ Representatives would vote for a clean CR if it made it to the House floor. Is Boehner doing this because he's worried about holding on to his Speakership? Isn't he jeopardizing it even more right now? What does he want?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2013


I think that a lot of these PR gimmicks, and maybe the whole GOP strategy, such as it is, assumes a sort of similarity in the next midterm to the Democrat campaigns of the Bush years, where candidates basically refused to call out their opponents despite having gold mines of statements to challenge. What's changed is that since then, a lot of new Democrats have taken office by running campaigns that aggressively challenge their opponent's record and statements.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2013


Can someone explain how the WWII memorial thing is a useful press opp for King and Bachmann? They were in favor of the shutdown, right? So how does this make any sense?

Well, at least thus far they seem to be ignoring whatever impacts of the shutdown that they feel like, which is infuriating to me. The monument should've stayed closed -- MAKE PEOPLE REALIZE THIS HAS AN IMPACT.
posted by inigo2 at 1:18 PM on October 1, 2013


Well, I just got my official Stop Work Order. I was told not to go to the base tomorrow and instead head to our main offices so that I can... sit in a conference room with a thumb up my butt, presumably.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:18 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's changed is that since then, a lot of new Democrats have taken office by running campaigns that aggressively challenge their opponent's record and statements.

Which is great but faces considerable challenge given the fact-free direction the right has been pulling the political dialogue (with no little help from the media): What Epic Propaganda Looks Like: Obamacare And Permanent Right-Wing Misinformation.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:19 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


We must strike a balance between facts and making shit up...
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on October 1, 2013


Is Boehner doing this because he's worried about holding on to his Speakership? Isn't he jeopardizing it even more right now?
Due to gerrymandering, many Republican representatives are in districts that would never elect a Democrat in the general election. Therefore their only worry is being defeated by a primary opponent who is even more extreme.
posted by dfan at 1:26 PM on October 1, 2013


Digby: With the exception of some chump change from millionaires in the last round, the Democrats have been losing on policy every step of the way since these budget battles began, even as they seem to be winning the politics. What could be more telling than the fact that the numbers in Paul Ryan's budget are now considered the starting point in any new negotiations to end the shutdown.

Who's being played here?

posted by Drinky Die at 1:27 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Due to gerrymandering, many Republican representatives are in districts that would never elect a Democrat in the general election. Therefore their only worry is being defeated by a primary opponent who is even more extreme.

Um??

I'm talking about the dynamic of the competing Republican factions in the House. Boehner seems to be appeasing about 30 or so of the most conservative Representatives -- many, many more Republicans want this to end and are willing to vote for a CR. So, what the hell is he doing? This seems to be putting his Speakership in jeopardy, I must be missing the eight-dimensional chess he's playing here.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:30 PM on October 1, 2013


I think dfan may have been suggesting Boehner is worried about a primary opponent. Perhaps this is the case, and in a day or two he'll allow a clean CR, let his moderates vote for it and say "I did my best" to the radicals in 2014.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:33 PM on October 1, 2013


Jeez, that Digby link that Drinky Die just shared is disheartening.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:35 PM on October 1, 2013


WaPo: According to local reports, two more Philadelphia-area members of Congress have said they would vote for a clean CR.

“Enough is enough. Put a clean (continuing resolution) on the floor and let’s gets on with the business we were sent to do,” Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) said, according to the Burlington County Times.

And according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) is also on board.


I'm gonna go ahead and take credit for Fitzpatrick. ;)
posted by Drinky Die at 1:38 PM on October 1, 2013


Um??

I'm talking about the dynamic of the competing Republican factions in the House.
Aha. I thought you were talking about his attempt to be reelected next term.
posted by dfan at 1:39 PM on October 1, 2013


Tea Party 2: Raging Fear Boehner
posted by jason_steakums at 1:39 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here is some more information on Boehner's dilemma: Why Boehner doesn’t just ditch the hard right
posted by dfan at 1:46 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think dfan may have been suggesting Boehner is worried about a primary opponent. Perhaps this is the case

I think Boehner as usual is being dragged behind the careening Tea Party vehicle and trying to pretend he is driving it. He knows if he actually acts like the reasonable person he'd like to be, he won't be Speaker. They'd replace him in a minute with someone who actually thinks like them.

I don't know what is worse -- people who know better going along with this craziness, or the crazies holding important offices because they won a poor turnout primary in which most participating voters skewed well to the right.
posted by bearwife at 1:48 PM on October 1, 2013


If I were a furloughed Federal employee right now, I'd be protesting in front of one of these obstructionist congresscritter's offices instead of sitting on a couch. Which probably explains why I'm not a federal employee.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:58 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]




The Saddest Paragraph You'll Read About the Government Shutdown Today

At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:04 PM on October 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


or the crazies holding important offices because they won a poor turnout primary in which most participating voters skewed well to the right.

Maybe political parties should be held to some sort of turnout threshold during their primaries otherwise their nominee doesn't automatically get a spot on the ballot.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:06 PM on October 1, 2013


I mentioned my Libertarian friends' jot upthread, but a dear conservative Republican friend (who lobbies for the conservative side of the health care industry) was furloughed today and all of her FB posts have been tearing into the Tea Party. She's been getting some flack for that from her Tea Party friends, but she's knocking their points aside with links, facts and righteous anger. I've never quite seen anything like this before from her except when she's defending gay rights (she's a big ally in the local push for gay marriage) and I hope there are other Republicans tuned in enough to the facts of all this to do some good.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:07 PM on October 1, 2013 [10 favorites]




Reporting on government shutdown has failed democracy
Even with a story as straightforward as the government shutdown, splitting the difference remains the method of choice for the political reporters and editors in Washington's most influential news bureaus. Even when they surely know better. Even when many Republican elected officials have criticized their own leaders for being too beholden to the more radical right wing.

Media critics — and members of the public — have long decried this kind of "he-said-she-said" reporting. The Atlantic's James Fallows, one of the most consistent chroniclers and decriers of false equivalence, describes it as the "strong tendency to give equal time and credence to varying 'sides' of a story, even if one of the sides is objectively true and the other is just made up."

New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen argues that truth-telling has been surpassed as a newsroom priority by a neither-nor impartiality he calls the "View from Nowhere."

Blaming everyone — "Congress," "both sides," "Washington" — is simply the path of least resistance for today's political reporters. It's a way of avoiding conflict rather than taking the risk that the public — or their editors — will accuse them of being unprofessionally partisan.

But making a political judgment through triangulation — trying to stake out a safe middle ground between the two political parties — is still making a political judgment. It is often just not a very good one. And in this case, as in many others, it is doing the country a grave disservice.

So no, the shutdown is not generalized dysfunction, or gridlock or stalemate. It is aberrational behavior by a political party that is willing to take extreme and potentially damaging action to get its way. And by not calling it what it is, the political press is enabling it.

We need a more fearless media.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:26 PM on October 1, 2013 [20 favorites]


Slate considers how the US government shutdown would be reported if it was occurring in another country

zombieflanders' AlJazeera link-and-quote is exactly it. I'n going to give my Cabal Cable Company a couple more months to add AlJazeera America to its channel lineup before cutting it off at the knees.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:40 PM on October 1, 2013


I would think what is happening today would push wall street and big business clearly over to the Democratic side (not that this would be such a great thing). They don't want to see the GOP destroy the country because it would cut into their profits, as does a shrinking middle class. I hope we start to see more money from wall street flowing to "mainstream" republicans and against the tea party in the republican primaries.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:58 PM on October 1, 2013


Bit the bullet on a new thread now that the shutdown's actually happened (and Obamacare is online). Don't miss the Consumer Reports stuff in the [more inside]; I read the print version recently and found it highly useful.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:09 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would think what is happening today would push wall street and big business clearly over to the Democratic side

All of the financial indices were up today.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:15 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


That probably just means they don't expect a government default. If the GOP does default on our debt, I would be shocked if the financial markets respond positively.
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:21 PM on October 1, 2013


I would think what is happening today would push wall street and big business clearly over to the Democratic side

My understanding is that much of Wall Street is pissed off at Obama for trying to push more regulation on them after they collapsed the economy.
posted by drezdn at 4:38 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


That probably just means they don't expect a government default. If the GOP does default on our debt, I would be shocked if the financial markets respond positively.

Well, a global financial catastrophe like the US defaulting makes the crashes of 2007-8 look like child's play, so I would guess financial markets would not see that as a plus.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:44 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Tea Party folks apparently feel that those what say defaulting would result in a global economic catastrophe are bluffing to keep them from getting what they want. So, the only way to prove to them that this is really a problem is to have a global economic catastrophe.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:46 PM on October 1, 2013


Market sentiment appears to be that the shutdown will be short and default will be avoided. I think if the general feeling changes from that the markets would/will drop sharply. Prices now are assuming no default (which I think is probably correct, but we'll see).
posted by wildcrdj at 4:55 PM on October 1, 2013


The markets are so far from rational at this point, it is amazing. None of the market fundamental rules of yore are true any more. Madness rules the day.
posted by dejah420 at 5:09 PM on October 1, 2013


I would think what is happening today would push wall street and big business clearly over to the Democratic side
All of the financial indices were up today.
Thus proving the free market loves Obamacare!
posted by Flunkie at 6:55 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know, I am often an idiot*, but I am so fucking tired of stupid people fucking shit up.

I have a friend who, just don't get him started, because he'll start railing about how the members of the Tea Party wing are mentally ill and then go on and on and on with his armchair diagnosis.

But when I hear about this shutting down WIC and everything else, and hear elected representatives describe health care as a bad thing -- I mean, they say health care like *coming to your house to smother your child*

And I'm like it's fucking health care it keeps you fucking alive is that not important to you beings who are alive if nothing else, and I think about how close to the edge we are in terms the harms of climate change, and I am just fucking tired of fucking stupid people.

*Last week, I locked myself out of my apartment. I ordered 20 lbs of paper I didn't intend to order the next day. Luckily, I do not assume that I am qualified to hold elected office.
posted by angrycat at 3:50 AM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am hearing the term "insurrectionists" and "neo-confederate party" used more often - that about sums up my thinking.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:41 AM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


ach, two threads in my "recent activity" now... guess I will move over to the new one...
posted by madamjujujive at 4:44 AM on October 2, 2013


I'd take the opposite approach in Mayor Gray's shoes, shut down all services, especially law enforcement. Yeah, all the representatives might live outside DC but they've offices, staff, etc. There is likely good money to be made breaking into K street offices, stealing hard drives, and hunting for blackmail material.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:35 AM on October 2, 2013


Dude, suggesting an an entire city of 620k people willfully give up to looting and a lack of emergency services is not even entertaining as a rhetorical point about K St.*


*side note, weirdly I always think of doctors and not lobbyists-- most of the buildings, especially close to GW, are mainly just medical offices
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:46 AM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


GOP LOBBYISTS PASS CONTROVERSIAL "FOR THE NEXT 25 HOURS ALL CRIME IS LEGAL" ACT.
posted by Artw at 5:51 AM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, how I wish America could solve this problem the way Australia did back in 1975: The Governor General fired the head of one the parties that was deadlocking the congress. 15 minutes later he appointed a new head to pass the budget. An hour or so later, all hell broke loose after about an hour. 3 hours or so after that, the Governor General fired them too. A month later, new elections were held.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:56 AM on October 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Umm, folks won't revert to violence simply because the police stay home, especially with today's camera phones, security cameras, etc. I'd agree with keeping the emergency services of course, well people get sick all the time.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:30 AM on October 2, 2013


(it was supposed to be only white collar crime, but there was a mistake in the language of the bill.)
posted by Artw at 6:32 AM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most disgusting thing I've seen on facebook for a good long time:
Someone who got excepted from the furlough complaining that those that did get furloughed might get back pay. "You could say that the people who are getting screwed are those of us going in to work"

Fucking people, man.
posted by ctmf at 9:02 AM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


And "fuck you, I got mine" shall be the law of the land...
posted by Artw at 9:06 AM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, how I wish America could solve this problem the way Australia did back in 1975: The Governor General fired the head of one the parties that was deadlocking the congress. 15 minutes later he appointed a new head to pass the budget. An hour or so later, all hell broke loose after about an hour. 3 hours or so after that, the Governor General fired them too. A month later, new elections were held.

I realise this is an old thread, but as an Australian political scientist brought up on tales of 1975 I felt I should comment on this. The Australian situation was that the elected Labor government's supply bill was being blocked by a Senate controlled by the opposition, who had already pulled the same stunt on the same government 18 months earlier. In 1974 this forced the prime minister to call an early election for both houses of parliament; the government won the House of Representatives but not outright control of the Senate. By late 1975 the opposition (thanks to the death of a senator) had gained the numbers to once again block supply, but the PM held firm rather than allow the opposition to force another election. After a few weeks of crisis (but a few weeks before the money would have run out), the Governor General intervened to sack the prime minister, appointing the opposition leader as caretaker PM. The caretaker PM then got the supply bills passed before all the Labor MPs knew what had happened, and the governor general then called elections for both houses, which the caretaker PM and his party won by a landslide.

It isn't straightforward to draw direct analogies with the current US situation, because Obama as head of state fills the equivalent role of governor-general but also the "leader of the government" role of prime minister. But in rough terms, it's as if the solution to the current shutdown and house stand-off was for an outside party to intervene, sack Obama, dissolve Congress and force elections for Congress and for a new president, and for an undiscriminating American public who figures "it's all the fault of those damned Democrats" to return Republican majorities in both houses along with a Republican president.

You don't want that.
posted by rory at 4:17 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


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