by Benn Ray
When talking about the current Republican shutdown of our government, it's helpful to take a look at the last time we had a government shutdown (again, by Republicans).
Back in 1995, then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich cited being snubbed on a plane by President Clinton as a main reason for the shutdown.
"This is petty. You've been on the plane for 25 hours and nobody has talked to you and they ask you to get off the plane by the back ramp. ... You just wonder, where is their sense of manners? Where is their sense of courtesy?"
"I think that's part of why you ended up with us sending down a tougher ... resolution. This is petty, but I think it's human."
Republicans got their feelings hurt and so the government was shut down.
This time around, Marlin Stutzman, the Republican congressman from Indiana, explains this new Republican shutdown of government:
"We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
So once again, Republicans have their feelings hurt and they shut down the government.
Republicans claim they want to negotiate with Democrats over the Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government.
See, Republicans want to destroy the Affordable Health Care Act - a law passed by congress, signed by the President (who ran on it and was re-elected) and was found constitutional by a conservative Supreme Court. They're afraid that it will be as successful and popular as Social Security, and they'll never be able to kill it.
So they want to hold the funding of the government hostage until they can damage (if not destroy) affordable health care for Americans.
But here's the thing, the CR, which is budget funding, is already operating under the draconian Sequester. Which means the budget is much closer to the proposed Paul Ryan (Republican) budget than it is to the proposed President Obama budget.
So, if Republicans really want to negotiate, Democrats should come to the table with a demand for Republicans to end the Sequester and fully fund the government in accord with the proposed Obama budget instead of negotiating from a position where Republicans have already won.
One must also keep in mind that should Democrats actually negotiate on the CR (which would be a huge mistake), they are setting a precedent that this sort of hostage taking is now an acceptable tactic. And Republicans will do well to remember that if they are actually ever able to reclaim the Executive Branch of government.
But the real problem we are now facing is that the Republican Party has become a radical, extremist party bent on ideology instead of pragmatism. And these radicals like the Sequester. They like shutting down the government. This is actually the end goal for many of them, and it's what they ran on to get elected in their districts.
They quote Ronald Reagan, saying over and over, "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is our problem."
When you elect representatives to government who don't believe in government, government will fail.