There is a tendency in the American media, whenever something goes wrong with government, to report that both sides are equally to blame. Nope, not this time. The United States government will shut down in about half an hour, and this one falls squarely on the backs of the Republicans.
There is a frustrating tendency in American political reporting to adopt a position of “both sides-ism” – as in, “both sides” are equally to blame for the nation’s chronic political dysfunction. Sometimes, it must be said, this assessment is correct. After all, the US political system was practically designed to breed legislative gridlock.
Not this time, however.
There is one party that is solely to blame for the first government shutdown in 17 years. And it’s the Republican party.
Indeed, the debate happening in Washington right now is not even between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not even about the deficit, or the budget, or government spending priorities. Rather, it is one strictly occurring between Republicans who are trying to find some magic bullet to destroy “Obamacare” – the country’s fiscal health be damned.
In the House of Representatives, bills that would allow the government to continue to operate were amended with provisions defunding or delaying Obamacare. This is, for Democrats, a nonstarter. The reason is obvious: the Affordable Care Act is the president’s signature achievement and he is not going to sign a bill that undoes or even delays it.
Nor should he. Obamacare is the law of the land. It was passed by Congress, signed by the president, upheld by the US supreme court, and it is already going into effect. There is no reason for President Obama to be cowed by such legislative extortion.
Yet, rather than accept the reality of Obamacare, Republicans are using the prospect of a government shutdown and/or a default on the nation’s debt to try to stop it.
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