Washington’s waiting game

As Americans look for a solution to Washington’s economic impasse, John Boehner employs an unusual political strategy.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, is a key player in the current political impasse [EPA]

So we wait.

This, while according to a New York Times article this past weekend, pumpkin-pie-coloured, merlot-swilling Speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, “began a closed-door meeting of House Republicans on Friday morning with a recitation of letters from local schoolchildren on how they deal with stress [emphasis mine]. A shower helps, one child counselled. So does a nap.”

No tummy rub? How about a trophy?

This can’t be serious, can it? Is this really the way the most powerful country in the world is being governed at the present moment, with 50 percent of one of our three co-equal branches of government playing Twister and sharing red velvet cupcakes to decide their next move? 

If only this were all a joke. 

Yet, it would seem the ranking member of the lower chamber of the US legislature actually read children’s letters to his caucus–presumably to deal with any unresolved issues with their mothers. Because this not exactly what comes to mind as a winning solution for a group of ghouls who’ve shut down the federal government over nothing. 

Meanwhile, as they are most certainly soothed by Goodnight Moon, they are personally stealing employment from 800,000 to 2.1 m American families and punishing children. Yet, they have the gall to keep the House gym open, because priorities folks!

Clearly Congressman Paul Ryan’s progress on his next P90X cycle is more “essential” than keeping fully staffed at the Centres for Disease Control, tracking outbreaks of potential global pandemics.

Now it’s true that politics in Washington has never been what you’d call neat and tidy. The scene from The Shawshank Redemption, when the wrongly imprisoned Andy Dufresne has to crawl through “500 yards” of sewage to reach freedom (and one hopes a really long bubble bath) comes to mind.

So we wait. But whether or not this stalemate is over by the time this is published, the Lord of the Flies mentality governing the unrestrained Id of today’s GOP shows no signs of abating. In fact, it actually seems to be reproducing at a fairly significant rate (asexually of course, these are Republicans).

The culprit: Preening, parochial lawmakers such as Ted Cruz and his adherents in the lower chamber, who’ve turned the House floor into a bizarro world devoid of fact and replete with neo-Confederate charm

So “The Party of Lincoln,” or the President who famously held the United States together by fighting the ancestors of this mob of the dispossessed, has become a deeply anti-Democratic, anti-government, Southern-fried entity. This certainly has to qualify for some sort of historical irony award.

This time it isn’t slavery, however. It’s the soul-crushing, life threatening, Hitler-resurrecting effort to provide affordable healthcare to people who lack it—a plan developed originally at a right-wing think tank—which has led Republicans to whine about being “disrespected” and “bullied.”

Which is of course is what happens when the President proposes legislation, Congress votes for it, the Supreme Court says it passes Constitutional muster and the President wins reelection running on it. Because a group of guys are mad that their otherwise Fantasy Island-like lives are being disturbed by the “shucking and jiving” President providing healthcare to other people.

Hell, they’d probably fire on Fort Sumter like their forefathers did to start the US Civil War, if they could only find it on a map. 

So we wait. While the Republican House Caucus talks to itself and refuses to vote for a “clean” continuing resolution, as it’s known in Capitol Hill speak, one with no attachments to defund healthcare or whatever Boehner’s demands are that day.

The government has been shutdown for over a week, and now Republicans are talking about refusing to raise the debt ceiling, a 1917 creation of Congress that is actually an executive function. If you read that Constitution, which every Tea-Party candidate claims to carry in their undergarments along with their gun.

This, of course, could create an economic domino effect as the world would tend to react not so kindly to the United States refusing to pay its bills. I certainly remember how well it went when I neglected to pay the utilities in college.

This is how a once great democracy is being destroyed by a group of radicals (in the derogatory sense) in the 21st Century, embarrassed in front of the world and perhaps willingly charging into an entirely unnecessary economic catastrophe. And of course now they are going back to their old standby, asking for cuts to Social Security that are hugely unpopular, will thrust more people into poverty and have been thoroughly discredited outside the purview of a lonely group of Washington losers who think it sounds cool and “reasonable” to be wiling to hurt elderly people.

If the Democrats (I’m looking at you President Obama) fall for this sophistry, I suspect Republicans won’t be the only ones hearing from the American people in November, 2014.

So we wait.

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter