Don't Worry: It's Only a Chemically-Induced Coma
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)
Except, unfortunately, the chemical used in this case was alcohol.
Perhaps nothing more indelibly delineates the sheer moral turpitude of the right wing than doing a Google search using only the keywords "Congress" and "booze" and coming up with nearly two and a half million hits. Yet now our federal legislative body and alcohol are forever inextricably entwined as if they should be. And even as the Republicans commit DWL (Drunk White Legislating), no doubt people such as David Brooks and other wouldbe centrists are already lining up their arguments such as, "But, but... the Democrat Party drinks on the job, too!" (And even if they were, who could blame them?)
These would be the same low-information cretins who would actually try to look for the penny in the corner of a round room (which is what the GOP has been doing to them since the Southern Strategy, when they successfully convinced these goobers that conservatism was the way to go since everything the lib'rals want is evil, eviiiiil, neatly explaining why red states are the biggest recipients of welfare, food stamps and pink slips!): That the neverending temper tantrum put on by the GOP since ObamaCare was in its earliest stages is going to be the President's fault.
And, while it is not, it seems like a suspicious coincidence that the government that will go into this alcohol-induced coma will do so at midnight, which is the same exact moment registration for ObamaCare will commence. And, make no mistake about it, comrades, the Republican Party isn't nearly as opposed to the Romney and Heritage Foundation-inspired Affordable Care Act as they are to ObamaCare. Republicans are very sensitive to the difference and have drawn a line in the sand infinitely wider than the Mason-Dixon line.
Republicans are obviously strenuously ignorant of the history of consequences that came with shutting down the government. The last time they did so was in 1995 and again in 1996. Nate Silver reminds us a pre-Monica Bill Clinton saw his approval rating shoot up to 53%. As a guarantor that history will once again repeat itself, the right wing-leaning Rasmussen's latest poll shows President Obama's own approval rating at a respectable 51%.
And as in 1995-6, those in Congress didn't suffer, their paychecks were still handed out in time, their health care benefits continued uninterruptedly while millions dependent on certain government programs needlessly suffered the most. Fast forward 17 years later, the GOP is openly soliciting with gleeful abandon shutting down the government they profess to hate so much while nonetheless gobbling up its largesse in high salaries, earmarks, pork barrel subsidies, franking and staff funding, junkets, disaster relief, grants, etc. For the first time ever, this nearly inevitable shutdown will force us to default on our debts and downgrade our credit rating since a national credit rating was first instituted.
And it will all be the fault of the President for letting the GOP shoot the hostage so they can say, "See what you made me do?" It'll be the President's fault for finally growing a set after nearly five years and getting sick and tired of the backstabbing and face-slapping to which he's been subjected by a rabidly racist GOP.
It will be Mr. Obama's fault for refusing to delay the implementation of ObamaCare because he's more than smart enough to know if he caves in (yet again) to the GOP here, they will be back like 282 herpes sores a year later and demand ObamaCare be shelved for another year and another until he's a lame duck.
It will be the President's fault that the Tea Bagger faction of the GOP is squandering more of our national treasure crafting legislation they know damned good and well will not fly in the Senate, will never be reconciled according to their demands and certainly will never be signed into law by the President who has no reason and no inclination to defund or delay his most notable and signature piece of domestic legislation. The President vetoing such a bill will be catastrophic but not nearly as catastrophic as it would be for those with pre-existing conditions to have to wait another year for the ACA's protective clause. Some of them, obviously, would not live through that extra year.
But there's a crucial difference between the President and most Republicans: he's not up for re-election next year. Or ever. All 435 House seats will be up for grabs next year and dozens more in the Senate. And if the Republicans force him into a corner, he can always blame the GOP for ruining our credit rating just as they're trying to blame him. Except the President's waggling finger will have infallible aim.
The Republican Party is like a frenzied hostage taker on PCP who really wants to commit suicide-by-cop, in this case the cop being the American people. They really don't want to own a government shutdown any more than a hostage taker wants to feed, clothe and otherwise care for an extended period their own hostage. But they can't stop hearing those voices in their heads, in this case those of the Koch Brothers, HMO lobbyists, 527's and other special interest groups, voices that coo in their ears, "Go ahead, shoot the cunt. You never liked her anyway. Let the voters give you the sweet, sweeeeeeet release of death."
So let them rip open their dress shirts like so many Supermen gone to seed, let them expose those explosives strapped to their chests, let them thumb the detonator button. The country will circle the porcelain bowl a few more times, people on both sides of the political spectrum will suffer and #44 will emerge from this smelling like a rose as did #42. Let them belly up to the trough and pig out on the buffet. In 13 months, they will be handed a massive bill, courtesy of the American voter.
As we stagger and lurch our way into yet another Republican-engineered shutdown, let us never cease making this crucial distinction from now to Super Tuesday 2014 between al Qaeda terrorists and the Republican Party:
Al Qaeda never takes hostages.