Foreigners and probably, most American women don’t understand American football. And that’s a fair simile for the political football going on in our capital between Congress and the White House, which many don’t understand either. It’s not that it’s so complicated; it’s that the game is played without officials to keep it honest and the sportscasters are almost all on one side.
The players in our game are Donkeys, Elephants and historically but no longer neutral baboons with microphones. Donkeys by another name are asses; elephants are famous for the amount of manure they leave and baboons are famous for being well, baboons. Those comprise the performers we are watching. This will be a close approach to the players’ field, so a clothespin for your nose may be a helpful accessory for those who dislike the aroma of ah, manure.
We need only understand a few simple plays. These include: the Government Shutdown, the Debt Ceiling/Default and Obamacare. The opening play, Sequestration, failed to gain any yardage and is currently being ignored. You will note that the Republicans have the ball but don’t seem to know what to do with it. The Democrats are putting up a weak defense but it is holding thanks to the efforts of the baboons on their behalf. No one has scored on this series of plays but the GOP id using up its downs and the Dems will have the yardage they are losing on penalties, only some of which are fair.
Some rules you need: Only the House may initiate revenue bills per the Constitution. It passes quarterly spending bills to hand President Obama the money he spends running the government. The Senate must approve them. If no spending is approved, the government cannot pay its bills. The National Debt, is money the government has (authorized by Congress) borrowed. The Debt Ceiling is the maximum amount of that debt Congress has approved. Default occurs when the government fails to repay all or part of that debt and/or the interest due, on time. With these tied down, all comes clear if you don’t listen to the baboons too much.
The GOP House wrote a quarterly spending bill to routinely fund the government’s next quarter and it left Obamacare out of the bill, thus defunding it in the near future. The Dem Senate refused to vote on that bill, thus technically setting up the government to run out of money soon. President Obama joined the media calling this “shutting down the government.” He then ordered various government activities halted, amounting to about 17% of the government and emphasizing those most visible to the public. That was political theater as the money fro,m prior spending authorizations was still available.
The media went into hysteria mode, predicting various calamities and inventing convoluted explanations as to why this was the exclusive fault of the GOP first and most especially, of the madfolk called the Tea Party. Added to that is the new ‘Palin-ize Ted Cruz’ campaign intended to destroy the Senator’s rising influence before he becomes unstoppable while demonizing his conservative Tea Party support base. Let’s parse the facts: The Republicans passed the bill to fund the government; they didn’t shut it down. The Democrats refused to pass that bill in the Senate; thus, they refused to fund the government. But the government wasn’t yet out of money; it was President Obama that shut down his showpiece portion.
Who’s at fault? Well, the GOP held out funds for a legally required program; they didn’t do their job. The Senate acted– or refused to act– in a hissy fit over that House lack of action and expressed its mad by adding a lack of bigger action of its own. And the President grandstanded the whole silly, pathetic charade by his token ‘shutdown.’ Seems like enough blame there to cover all the players on both teams, plus the Prez. That’s no way to run a country!
Now the GOP is eliding the Obamacare goal into the debate over the Debt Limit. The Dems and the Prez want to borrow lots more money to keep up their deficit spending on social welfare and foreign interventions. The Republicans, who’ve been authorizing that all along in the House, want to pretend they’re against it by playing ‘Debt Ceiling Roulette; until the last minute, when they will cave and agree to raise the limit while claiming victory on the basis that the increase they agreed to is smaller than the Dems wanted. While this charade is under way, the media predict the horrors of federal default. That seems up to the Prez; he decides what bills to pay with his existing money. And the GOP House has provided the money for all but Obamacare remember; it’s the Dem Senate sitting on it.
These pathetic imitations of governors of the most wealthy and powerful country on earth are an undeniable advertisement of our inability to govern ourselves any longer; the media that used to keep us objectively informed is equally culpable. But we don’t need to let them mislead us with their blame games that are really nothing more than the political version of the old ‘hidden ball’ trick.