October 17, 2013

Goose egg, nothing, we got nothing,” said Representative Thomas H. Massie, Republican of Kentucky, as the GOP accept defeat over the government shutdown that brought the economy near catastrophe. Other Senators like Richard Burr of North Carolina blamed fellow Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah for linking the budget crisis and government funding to the Affordable Care Act.

“Let’s just say sometimes learning what can’t be accomplished is an important long-term thing,” said Senator Burr,” “and hopefully for some of the members they’ve learned it is impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government.” This is the tone shared by outraged Republicans who feel the 16-day shutdown has done great damage to the Right’s establishment.

Rather than do the good envisioned by its members when Ted Cruz championed the move to defund Obamacare, GOP lawmakers, walked away in defeat as they failed to carry out the goal of extreme budget cut and defunding Obamacare, a signature campaign promise of the President. In the 16-day shutdown, the U.S. government lost roughly $24 billion in revenue, nearly 9 thousand jobs were lost and thousands of federal workers got furlough, when basic government programs were shutdown.

If anything at all the GOP achieved in a final deal with Democrats that ended the shutdown, it was an agreement to tighten the income requirement for those seeking government subsidy under the Affordable Care Act, making one wonder whether the fight is worth putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk. With the government now back to business, it is unlikely the American people will forget the experience of a near economic breakdown and those responsible for lack of unity between Democrats and Republicans in both Houses.

“We’ve got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis,” Obama said, as he urged Congress to continue with the process of budget negotiations and immigration reform that became halted while Congress debated the debt ceiling and funding Obamacare. Though, most House Republicans opposed the bill that ended the shutdown, 87 voted to support it as some in the GOP establishment are beginning to see the need to breakaway from the Tea Party and its narrative of extreme conservatism.

Many in the Republican Party now wonder whether aggressive fiscal policy like one championed by Paul Ryan, serve a good purpose for the Party’s reputation. One good that came from the recent shutdown is that people got a first hand experience of how important government programs such as social security, death benefits to soldiers’ families, state Parks and Medicare are to the American people. These are the same programs GOP lawmakers including Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz, are calling to do away with in the interest of a smaller government.

Less than two weeks after the shutdown, the nation began to feel the effect as families of fallen heroes were denied death benefits. Veterans could not gain access to the World War II Memorial Park in Washington as well as other federal parks that serve the nation including tourists. Ironically, the protests that followed saw Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz at the forefront calling for government to reopen. The same Ted Cruz who was the author, of a 17-hour rant responsible for the government breakdown, suddenly became a crusader for its reopening a move that can only be called political hypocrisy, trying to attach credit where it does not belong.

The government shutdown and its outcome, is nothing but a political Catastrophe for the Republican Party. With the likes of Ted Cruz and his far right conservative ideology, backed by the Tea Party Movement, the house the GOP built for decades is fast crumbling. Political extremism and far right ideology of the Tea Party will harm the GOP, unless, the party begins to show a sense of pragmatism and accommodation of some key liberal issues, in the way it does business.

Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of  ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.


Categories: Politics, U.S. Economy and Policies

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