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Lots of people lost but did anyone win in the government shutdown?

By DOUG THOMPSON - A Capitol Hill Blue Commentary
October 17, 2013

The Capitol:  Also known as the dark side of the moon.

The Capitol: Also known as the dark side of the moon.

With most of the government workforce back on the job and Uncle Sam able to borrow what it needs to pay bills for the next three months, the question everyone is asking is:  “Did anyone win?”

The simple answer, of course, is “no.”  Dysfunctional conditions that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years and an unnecessary close call to debt default seldom result in winners.  This case was hardly an exception.

Among the losers, the loud and shrill right wing of the Republican Party is, of course, screaming the loudest and promising retribution for any Republican who dared do something right — like vote for the deal that solved things for now.

President Barack Obama came out better than the right wing wanted.  Effects of the budget deal on Obamacare are minor and nowhere as catastrophic as they wanted.  But the right lost more because their concentration on gutting the President’s signature health care bill denied them a chance to capitalize on the catastrophic debut of the health care exchanges where computer glitches ruled the day…and week.

And the President knows all too well that the whole mess could be repeated in January and February of next year with an outcome that is neither certain nor desirable.

The nation’s economy lost big time with estimates topping $26 billion in negative impact.  Tourism-related industries lost as well, especially those connected with the shuttered national parks and other government-related attractions.

If polls are correct, Republicans lost more than Democrats, particularly in public approval, and more Americans blamed the party of the elephant than anyone else.

But anyone connected with Congress or the White House lost as well.  Americans are fed up with the shenanigans in Washington and many say those in office will pay come Election Day next year.

Most Americans blame the tea party and the members of Congress that sham organization supports and, in this case, the blame is well placed.  Voter anger may die down before the elections next year but those on the right have another chance to screw up again and create even more voter anger if a more permanent budget deal is not reached by January 15, 2014, and the debt limit is not extended on a longer basis by February 7.

Did the tea party learn its lesson in the debacle that technically ended last night with votes in the Senate and House?  Based on public statements by the hard-core TP types who genuflect to falsely-claimed values, the answer is “no way” and the group has shown little ability to learn from its many past mistakes.

But when all is said and done, the biggest loser was America itself and those who call this nation home.

America has become, by an large, a laughing stock on the world stage and a nation that is pitied more than admired.

After each of the public spectacles like the one just ended, anyone who calls themselves Americans have fewer reasons to feel proud of their heritage or the nation that once fostered pride and fearless devotion.

America the beautiful has, in too many ways, become an ugly place where partisanship supplants patriotism.  The land of the free, sadly, no longer exists for many Americans and it is more a home of the grave.

The real losers are any of us who try to think of America first and choose not to suffer under the labels of political party or philosophy.

If America is lost, the fault ultimately will be ours because the ability to save American exists with us and us alone.

If we’re up to the task.

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3 Responses to Lots of people lost but did anyone win in the government shutdown?

  1. Carl Nemo **==

    October 18, 2013 at 3:57 am

    “Did anyone win?” …extract from editorial

    What’s tragic in these seeming end times for the Republic is that serious discussion along with constructive compromise for the good of the nation and not the ‘party’ should be paramount to our elected leaders. Winning anything connotes a competition and if we are to survive, then this evil, pervasive competitiveness needs to be put aside for the good of the people and the nation as a whole.

    Rest assured there’s a goodly portion of reps on both sides of the aisle that only vote along party lines, never hesitating as to whether a bill or its implementation is best for our national best interests and the citizens such legislation should serve. Their actions boil down to whether its good for the party’s image, public consequence be damned. To them, it’s a competition between parties.

    Obamacare didn’t need to be scrapped, but it’s seriously flawed and wreaking havoc among citizens from outright job loss, hourly cutbacks to loss of their extant policies to be replaced by much more expensive, onerous ones with very large deductibles; but seemingly no one cares except for a few that these problems need to be addressed before full implementation can be had. Allegedly 625 million dollars were spent to create the program that serves enrollment and has been met with derision and scorn on the part of competent s-ware developers. Utilizing potential national insolvency as a club to implement these changes represents gross incompetence and should have been seriously addressed prior to the October 1 launch date. Beta testing indicated that the implementation would be a bust along with organic problems in terms of efficacious coverage for people that need such under the “Affordable Healthcare Act”. Seemingly the word “affordable” has turned out to be cruel joke on prospective insureds.

    These debt ceiling, budget crisis issues are going to continue into the future, creating unsurety in the capital markets and so too damaging our image as a nation that should have its financial house in order. I hate to sound negative, but I see a meltdown on the horizon with grave consequences to our citizens and the mechanism for an effective government that’s supposed to serve its taxpaying citizens in a competent fashion.

    Our Congress has sown the wind and will reap the whirlwind from their continuing, rabid, competitive antics. Their chronic ‘kicking the can’ down the road is going to be our collective undoing.

    We’re in the sweephand mode to the midnight of our financial destruction as a nation. Believe it…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Sandy Price

    October 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I absolutely believe it Carl!

    I was able to locate and read a number of essays and books that were made available during the Perot campaign that came directly from a new group taking control of the Republican National Committee. This huge new plan from the RNC was planned when Clinton’s plans were just surfacing.

    Many Christian leaders were disappointed in the GOP ignoring the promotion of the Christian agenda. President Bush 41 overlooked his promise to work something out. I guess he thought he had another term… This whole mixup came from the Birch Society but fizzled out. The impeachment of President Clinton started up with the same agenda that we know as the Tea Party today.

    Now the new party agenda was formed and ready to go and thought they had the perfect leader in President Bush 43. He let them down and all hell broke loose in D.C.

    The GOP had accepted a new platform that seemed to grow worse every two years. My small district on the coast of California literally lost their numbers including their Congressman north of us. Seeing the danger of this horror, we all reregistered as LP or Democrats.

    Many of us feel guilty for running but the GOP had become a monster trying to sell their terrible lack of trust in the voters. They would never trust a voter of color, homosexual, women, welfare recipients and, of course, American Christians would be promoted.

    When it came to our borders; they would be closed to all undesirables. It turned me into a raging bitch.

    How could American voters stand for these changes? Over the years, only CHB seemed to want to rant over these changes. It broke my heart.

  3. Danny Adams

    October 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    “America has become, by an large, a laughing stock on the world stage and a nation that is pitied more than admired.”

    Everything I read in the world media would back this up. Most overseas papers blamed the Republicans for the shutdown but then often asked something boiling down to, “Can’t Obama handle these people? Shouldn’t he be a leader?”

    I also half-joked a few days ago that I was grateful to BBC News for not being “All Shutdown All The Time” like so many American media outlets seemed to be. When they did finally get to the shutdown during their nightly news broadcasts it almost felt like a reluctant afterthought along the lines of “Oh yeah, and here’s some more about this thing in America”.