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Just posted: Dionne on Cruz, Boehner & the shutdown

Now on the website: At the end of Day 1 of the government shutdown,  E. J. Dionne Jr. writes on the real goal of the right wing: 

Can anyone now doubt who is responsible for Washington’s dysfunction? The Republican right still does not accept the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency. This is why much of the government shut down.

The issue here is not that Congress failed to reach a “compromise.” The Democrats already have compromised, lopping about $70 billion off their budget proposal, to the dismay of many liberals. That was meaningless to a tea party crowd that seems to care not a whit about the deficit, despite its fulsome talk. It will be satisfied only if Congress denies health care coverage to about 25 million Americans, which is what “repealing Obamacare” really means.

It needs to be said over and over as long as this stupid and artificial crisis brewed by the tea party continues: Financing the government in a normal way and avoiding a shutdown should not be seen as a “concession.” Making sure the government pays its debt is not a “concession.” It’s what we expect from a well-functioning constitutional system. It’s what we expect from decent stewards of our great experiment. The extremists who have taken over the House do not believe in a normal, constitutional system. They believe only in power.

About the Author

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.



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What is telling is that even among "the Five" on Fox News all agree that the Republicans have lost on this issue. Big Time. There is real fear about losing in 2014. The Democrats had their biggest fund raising day ever yesterday. Feebly Republicans are not citing the glitches in signing up for health care and saying that premiums are increased for everyone. Glitches always happen. As far as all the facts on Obamacare, we will eventually be able to understand the costs. 

But as of now Ted Cruz and Co are in big, big trouble.

Anybody who has ever been up 21 hours straight reading Dr. Seuss (what mother with a sick toddler hasn't?) can start thinking up a lot of crazy stuff. The sad thing is that instead of telling Ted Cruz to lie down and take a nice nap, the GOP is following his lead. I've written my elected governmental officials about my outrage and frustration for whatever good that's going to do. The appropriately named Yahoo reports that what's been trending all day today are that viral video of the woman who quit her job, Frito pie, Oscar Pistorius, the bikers who attacked the SUV in Manhattan, and Lily Collins. Government shutdown isn't even on the list. 

Not that I think President Obama and the Democrats have manipulated the situation to their political advantage.

Rather I'm beginning to think that if the "Banana Republicans" stick to their racist inspired ideology and bring down the whole economy, it just may be a big enough political earthquake that could shake the House majority loose from Republican control.

Not minimizing all the pain to millions of people this will cause, maybe we should just keep feed the House Republicans enough rope to hang themselves? 

I'm a Federal employee who's also the primary wage-earner in our (two-income) household.  
I'm locked out of my workplace today because Congress -- specifically, the House of Representatives -- cannot see a way to do its duty under the Constitution to fund the national government appropriately, with no sign of when they intend to resume doing this job.  

But, you know, as I sit here and worry about whether we'll be able to pay our mortgage and make our car payment, pay our daughter's grade school tuition and meet the many other routine, not-by-any-means irresponsible or extravagant financial obligations we have (among them charitable giving to our parish and diocese), I'm starting not to care exactly who in elected office is responsible for the shutdown.  I just want someone to find the spirit and courage to exercise leadership and get the country past this shutdown and out of crisis governing. 

Maybe this one day can be spent pointing fingers and dissecting which faction/individual(s) is/are to blame.  Did the disciples do some of this Good Friday night and into Holy Saturday?  But what I'm looking for is a skip-ahead to Pentecost -- now!  ::  Heather Feeney (15 years in Federal service) 

The Tea Party folks who are primarily responsible for shutting down the government are nothing more than anarchists. They are not patriots in any respect. These rabid screwballs have the same mentality as the radicals who worked to destroy the Union that Abraham Lincoln was trying to preserve. They are doing this because they oppose a law passed by Congress, signed by the President and determined to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. If the Republicans want to repeal the law and deny millions of health care, they can work to gain control of both houses of the U.S. Congress and win the presidency. Until then, they have a law that needs to be honored and not attacked via anarchy and terrorism.

I know that the Tea Party kooks got their entree into the House because of the Republican gerrymandering in so many congressional districts.  What I want to know is how is it possible that a political party can draw the districts so unfairly?  Is it because of the state laws?  If so, doesn't such gerrymandering violate the Constitution somehow?  It certainly waters down some people's votes in national elections, so it would seem that the U.S. Supreme Court should have an interest in this.   It just seems so grossly and patently unfair.

My two cents on how the patently obvious gerrymandering was accomplished.  Understanding begins, I believe, with accepting as largely correcty a quote attributed to the former Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O'Neill: "All politics is local"

At the local level a great deal of, if not most, politicians who rise to the top and stay there do so based on their knowledge of "where the skeletons are buried".  Whether friend or foe is not important.  A friend today may be an foe tomorrow.  The method works.  As they rise from city to county, from county to district, from district to get the picture....they retain the methods that worked for them.  They have little choice.  Their "skeletons" are now in the same "closet".

Is politics the problem? Nope. Politics is just us trying to move towards a common good. It's the clearly identifiable, small band of thugs who make it more than obvious they will do harm if questioned.  Does it have to be this way?  Nope.  I do believe the current Pope is making it more than obvious a good person can change a great deal of how we perceive ourselves and our institutions.  He seems wisely to be leaving the "skeletons" to God.  I also believe President Obama is likewise struggling to make a constructive difference.  Unlike the Pope, Obama is, of course, a politician.  And he seems to accept that reality.  Thank goodness.

Ann:  I suspect that the Democrats are ... and have been ... just as guilty of gerrymandering as is the current coven of Tea Partiers.

The ability to do that is the problem, not necessarily who is doing it.

How to correct it?  Maybe some disinterested party subject to approval by the sitting legislature and, if necessary, ratification by the state judiciary.

As is, gerrymandering is a self-perpetuating system of rule of the many by the select few.

Curial, right?  Oops ... curious.

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