Blaming both sides for the shutdown appeals to people who can’t sort out the political realities


As I’ve argued on several occasions in the past few days, the government shutdown arises from a few incontrovertible facts that many Republicans can’t seem to get through their heads:

In 2008, Barack Obama ran for president on a platform that included health-care reform. He defeated his Republican rival by an electoral-vote margin of 36 percentage points.

The following year, Obamacare was adopted by a majority vote in both houses of Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court later upheld the constitutionality of the measure.

In 2012, Obama’s campaign for a second term as president was based in part on passage of his health-care-reform initiative, while his Republican rival’s campaign was based in part on promising repeal of Obamacare. The president won re-election by an electoral-vote margin of 24 percentage points.

So, the current wave of Republican rhetoric that Obamacare is an unconstitutional scheme that’s been shoved down the throats of the American is totally dishonest. Yet, that rhetoric is the basis for the government shutdown.

But the mainstream media, for the most part, have peddled a meme of false equivalence, blaming “both sides” equally for the shutdown. This kind of nonsense has great appeal to low-information Americans, the folks who have neither the inclination nor the intellect to sort through the political realities of the situation.

Ah, but the editorial board of The Washington Post, an erstwhile leader of the false-equivalence brigade, has finally — albeit gingerly and almost apologetically — broken ranks by offering THIS ARGUMENT:

[T]he Republican leaders of the House of Representatives are failing. They should fulfill their basic duties to the American people or make way for legislators who will.

We don’t come to that view as rabid partisans. On many of the issues stalemating Washington, we find plenty of blame to go around. We’ve criticized President Obama’s reluctance to pursue entitlement reform. The last time the country reached the debt ceiling, we urged both sides to compromise…

This time, fiscal responsibility isn’t even a topic. Instead, Republicans have shut much of the government in what they had to know was a doomed effort to derail the Affordable Care Act. That law, in case you’ve forgotten in the torrent of propaganda, is hardly revolutionary. It is an effort to extend health insurance to some of the 40 million or so people in this country who have none. It acts through the existing private-insurance market. Republicans tried to block its passage and failed; they hoped to have it declared unconstitutional and failed; and they did their best to toss Mr. Obama out of the White House after one term in order to strangle it in its cradle, and they failed again.

They’re entitled to keep trying, of course — though it would be nice if someday they remembered their promise to come up with an alternative proposal. But their methods now are beyond the pale.

After months of refusing to confer with the Senate on a budget proposal, they have demanded a conference committee to keep the government funded for six weeks. They are rejecting a budget extension that includes limits on federal spending — the so-called sequester — that they insisted on and that Democrats oppose.


Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Budget Committee chairman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and their colleagues may be in a difficult political position. Honestly, we don’t much care. They need to reopen the government and let it pay its bills.



  1. thehereandnow1

    Yeah, why can’t Republicans just roll over on their backs and let Obama rub their bellies like most of the press does? I mean seriously, this is the man came close to getting Syria to maybe-possibly-could be giving up (or pretending to) their chemical weapons (he softened them up for ol Vlad to step in and mop up). And look at the other initiatives he’s done which just breathe of success. Solar energy companies like Solyndra are doing bang up business these days thanks to B-to-the-O’s leadership.

    And look at it this way, maybe Obamacare will be as effective as the Chevy Volt. Heck, the government practically pays YOU to take that car, and there are sooooo many of them on the roads today aren’t there?

  2. hereandnow (AKA Possum Jenkins): Isn’t it about time that your attendants in the white coats there at the home take away the computer for the rest of the day?

  3. Neftali

    I’m seeing a lot of hoopla and celebration from the right about how the ObamaCare web site for the exchanges are not working that great, which makes no sense.

    Like most of the Republican strategy I’ve seen lately, this isn’t a good one. The exchanges are a step in the right direction, I have no idea why so many are against them. The various initial bugs will be rectified soon enough. Then what are Republicans supposed to tell their constituents who need health insurance after all this is over? Don’t buy health insurance from those big-ridden exchanges? ugh.

    As far as the shutdown goes, it’s simply awful execution by the GOP. But as Newt Gingrich recently said, “the majority of the population is going to blame the Republicans, they might as well own it now.” I’ve been saying for months this whole defunding and repealing stuff has been a terrible idea. The most recent bill of funding ObamaCare with everything but the Individual mandate is not unreasonable, but by then the damage has already been done.

    Now we’re screwed. >sigh<

  4. thehereandnow1

    Pat Cunningham (AKA Pat Cunningham): If attendants in white coats are the key element here than I should be able to follow in your footsteps and get a blog on this site. Oh, and I like how yet again instead of a decent rebuttal you come away with something like what you wrote.

    Neftali: I’m sure the constituents won’t be asking their Republican representatives questions like that. I’d gather they’d be asking questions more like “Why is it I HAVE to buy insurance or I’ll be fined?” or “Why is it that because my family makes $95,000 a year I receive no subsidy, yet a Democrat congressperson making $200,000 a year gets 75% of their costs covered?”

  5. hereandnow: Why don’t you tell us again what’s wrong with the theory of “survival of the fittest”?

    Your recent explanation of that matter was hilarious. Of course, any blather that extols creationism and dismisses evolution is unavoidably hilarious.

  6. thehereandnow1

    But Pat, didn’t you read my comment in your R-Word post. While I admit it wasn’t applicable to that particular post, I now admit the error of my ways, realizing your brilliance. Please, take a moment and go read it. I’ll wait……….

    Ok, well hopefully by now you’ve read it and are beaming with pride over discovering that you have a new convert. In fact, it is because of your brilliance that I’m going to drive around to various houses of worship (or should they more properly be called houses of LIES), with a chimpanzee in the passenger seat yelling “Me and my long, long, distant evolutionary ancestor mock your religion!” Then I’m gonna pull out my iPhone and say, “Look, I’m texting. Can your so-called ‘god’ do that? Didn’t think so!”

    Thank you for the truth Pat. I’d say god bless you, but since you’ve shown me that that’s just a myth put forth by rich white people, I guess I’ll have to come up with a new phrase.

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