Monday, October 07, 2013

Travels and Shutdown thoughts...

Well , I made it back to London yesterday  after  two weeks in the U.S.   I spent a week in New York City,  then managed to get back to San Francisco and see family and friends  for a couple days, before heading down to  Los Angeles  for  a week of meetings there.  It was nice  to get back to the U.S but it was a long two weeks, and I am glad to be home.

It is always  interesting to get back to the States these days.   Even more so  the past two weeks, because of  the current  political standoff  between President Obama along with Congressional Democrats, and the  House Republicans along with  the Junior Teapublican Senator from Texas,  Ted Cruz.

For my friends on this side of the Atlantic  who  are wondering what all the drama is about,  it boils down to this:   The  United States Government is required to have a budget by a certain date each year.   The Congress and the President rarely, if ever manage to agree on one in time to make that deadline.  So  the Congress has to pass a series of  "continuing resolutions".  These are mini-funding bills that  allow the Government to keep operating  while a budget is  worked out.     The use of CR's  to keep the Government up and running is not new,  but the frequency of the need to pass them is what has sharply increased over the last  decade.

In the past a Government Shutdown resulted when the President and the Congress  couldn't reach agreement on either an overall budget or a continuing resolution to keep the Federal Government up and running.    The last time  this happened was in 1995 when President Clinton and the Republican controlled Congress, led by  then-Speaker Newt Gingrich  failed to reach agreement on a budget or passing a CR to keep the Government running.

So what  brought us to this point  this time around?   Well that is where  things get interesting.   The issue at the center of  contention in 2013  was not  proposed spending  but rather a Republican obsession  with an existing law.    The  Affordable Care Act,  aka - "ObamaCare".     The far right wing of the  Republican Party (the "Tea Party" wing), led by  Senator Ted Cruz of Texas,  is obsessed  with destroying  what is seen as President Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, and have shown they will stop at nothing, even shutting down the entire Federal Government  to undo it.

This obsession with repealing  the ACA is not because these Conservatives  have philosophical differences on Heath Reform,  but simply because  the  far right wing of the GOP cannot accept  that  they lost  the last two  Presidential Elections.

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What we are seeing play out in the United States this week,  is the political and legislative equivalent of a temper tantrum thrown by a childish cabal of sore losers.

The sad fact is, this is a tantrum that is not even driven by political ideology, but rather by a nonsensical hatred of this President.  The core tenants of the  Affordable Care Act are in fact,  Republican ideas.  Ideas that were enacted by their recent Presidential  nominee Mitt Romney,  when he was Governor of Massachusetts.    The obsession by the Tea Party Republicans with  repealing  the ACA is not Political,  it is not even Philosophical,  it is Pathological.  It is  driven by a deep seeded  hatred of  President Obama that has no basis in facts or reality.

What we are witnessing  is nothing short of the death knell of the  Republican Party, as it  self destructs from within, and tries desperately to drag  the rest of America down with it.

1 comment:

iamhonko said...

Sounds like you had a great 2 week visit. Traveling can be so exhausting and arriving home is such a relief after a long trip.

If the Republican party wants to self implode thats their business, but leave the country standing on your way out. To me tis nothing but pure racism that causes them to thwart President Obama at every single turn. They need to wake up before they knock the entire world into a downward financial depression and possibly spark yet another world war.