Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Strange Case of Déjà Vu

Today is a day for new things. If you're here then you know that Lefty's 2.0 has launched, and we are bigger, badder, and bolder than ever before. What you might not realize is that I too am returning from some time away. Two years ago, I left Notre Dame, because I needed some time to clear my head. This year I've also returned, stronger, wiser, and more mature. So why does this post give me such a sense of Déjà Vu?

Because as much as Notre Dame, Lefty's and myself can change, Congress, and Congressional Republicans remain the same.

Two and a half years ago, I wrote this post about the case for government shutdown. I even included the following West Wing clip, which I will reproduce every single time that Republican Congressmen decide to act like terrorists taking hostages.

And once again we face the imminent prospect of a government shutdown. Barring some miraculous last minute deal, the shutdown will begin this Tuesday, October 1st.

But something is different this time. Somehow this has now become an acceptable recurring strategy for Republicans. No longer does it feel necessary for me to bother debating the merits of their goals. At some point the means are so terrible that the ends simply aren't worth discussing.

If you gain your political victory, by furloughing hundreds of thousands of government employees, suspending pay to the members of our military who are bravely serving their country, closing down our national parks, zoos, museums, and monuments, delaying applications for passports and gun permits, and generally making everyone's lives more difficult, would you really be proud of yourself?

And if any Republican should try to convince themselves that these are somehow short term costs, with no lasting effects, I'd like to remind every one about our credit rating. Today the United States has a AA-plus credit rating, when we used to have a AAA. The only reason for this is that Republicans used the debt limit as a bargaining chip in another act of political hostage taking. Time has not yet healed or rectified this complete lapse in judgement.

At the end of the day, this is simply irresponsible governing. It is one thing to have different opinions, and to try to turn those opinions into legislation through the difficult work of compromise and deal making; that is a Congressman's job. It's another thing to take us to the brink of crisis and beyond in the name of your strict ideological principles.

When babies and little children don't get what they want, they throw a temper tantrum. They yell and scream, hoping vainly that they can get what they want by making everyone else miserable. When adults don't get what they want, they deal with it, put their nose back to the grindstone, and work harder. They know that life isn't fair, and sometimes you just have to keep going when things suck. The GOP considers itself the party of personal responsibility and hard work. Maybe when they stop acting like babies, we can start taking them seriously.

1 comment:

Will McBurney said...

My belief on the matter is that a short term government shutdown now would be preferable to a failure to raise the debt ceiling later.

Chris Hayes explains the reasoning better than I can in a short space.