Oct 10, 2013

Shutting Down Our Government Matters to All of US, but the Republicans Wanted to Negotiate the Ransom.... (after they threw the brick through the window anyway)

What is the role of government? Why should we have government? Can we be better off without government? What is the "mission statement" of the US?  What is a good, just, society? These are some of the questions I ask my Political Science students, to begin the discussion beyond the simplistic labels we often hear and see in politics and media.


Senator Warren (D-MA), in the above video, makes a succinct explanation of the government shutdown by the extortionist Republicans. The funny thing is that there's enough support for a resolution in the House but Speaker Boehner doesn't want to pass a bill without the majority of the majority, and if he did bring such a bill to the floor, the teapartiers would revolt. The GOP is paying the price for the Sarah Palins, M. Bachmanns, Rand/Ron Pauls, etc.

Elections have consequences. In 2010 the GOP managed to capture governorships and state legislatures in a midterm election. The result of the "gerrymandering" has meant that even though Dems got over a million votes for House races, they ended up in the minority. As it is now, the Dems need to score close to 7% more (average in the country) in order to get a slim majority in the House next year. If they manage to blame the GOP for the shutdown and if Dems actually show up at the polls next year, it could very well happen.

There's a very interesting NPR piece [click on the link] on why there's less incentive on the wingnuts to compromise. They come from safe districts. Politicians first think of themselves and their re-election; the party and the country are secondary-tertiary concerns. Another phenomenon is that parts of our country not only are moving at different paces but actually in different directions. Especially the 6 southern states who are becoming more conservative, while the blue states are becoming more liberal. 

To close this post, here's a quote from a favorite of mine, Robert Reich.

"They call themselves conservatives but that’s not it, either. They don’t want to conserve what we now have. They’d rather take the country backwards – before the 1960s and 1970s, and the Environmental Protection Act, Medicare, and Medicaid; before the New Deal, and its provision for Social Security, unemployment insurance, the forty-hour workweek, and official recognition of trade unions; even before the Progressive Era, and the first national income tax, antitrust laws, and Federal Reserve.

They’re not conservatives. They’re regressives. And the America they seek is the one we had in the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century."
Robert Reich