No real winners in shutdown debacle

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 19, 2013

A shutdown that should never have been allowed to happen ended late Wednesday night with the president taking a victory lap and the Republicans wearing looks of the defeated.
No one emerged victorious, however, in the gridlock that appears to be further evidence the ideals of democracy upon which this country was founded and for which blood was shed are in danger of being trumped by the new world of partisan dogma.
If lawmakers had acted in a reasonable and mature fashion several weeks ago, nearly 800,000 government workers would have been spared the anxiety of walking the furlough plank, government services would not have been suspended, and the fiscal tightrope Wall Street was forced to walk could have been averted. Instead, financial tension gripped Americans as the debt ceiling deadline approached.
In the final tally, many Republicans voted for some of the same issues they appeared to be so unrelenting on early in negotiations, so one is left to wonder what was the point.
It’s easy to understand President Obama’s glee, considering the final compromise included all of his budget demands. The bill included is the immediate reopening of the government, raising the debt ceiling, at least temporarily and no dismantling of Obamacare.
House Speaker John Boehner issued what was essentially a concession speech, saying, “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.”
The Congressional armistice will likely last only through the holiday season, however. Sometime after Christmas, when king cakes return to south Louisiana, government funding and the debt ceiling will once again be the timbers that ignite another political firestorm. The compromise only funds the federal government through Jan. 15 and the authority to borrow money extended through Feb. 7. Then, it’s possible we could have Government Shutdown: The Sequel.
We must demand of our elected officials stop partisan posturing, waiting to see who blinks first. They must be reminded the game they seem so intent on playing has a dramatic effect on the lives of all citizens.
Families, most of who live paycheck to paycheck, suffer the most. When their paychecks are threatened so is the ability to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
As a new round of negotiations is launched, members of Congress must somehow find a way to weave ideologies into what is best for the entire country and not just what is best for a singular group of party supporters.
For now, the administration can claim victory, with the GOP sent back to review what went wrong. Realistically though, all of America lost because of Congress’ inability to reach a compromise, watching it instead effectively punt on fourth-and-long to avoid additional carnage. Even more frightening,  Round 2 is less than four months away.