Whoo, hey, everybody, government shutdown! Are you psyched?
No? Well, that makes sense. It’ll be expensive and embarrassing for the country, and you’re not crazy. Rightbloggers, on the other hand, see in this mayhem an opportunity, and their hope is that the ensuing catastrophe will make America love them and their psychopathic political avatars. Worth a try, right?
The funny business began last week with Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s long speech, publicizing a plan to get rid of Obamacare as a precondition of funding the Republic. This was advertised as a filibuster, though Democrats said that as it was prearranged by Cruz and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and could have no effect on subsequent voting, it was not really one. (“Harry Reid deal allows racist filibuster record to stand,” nobly spun The Daily Caller.)
If it were to no effect in parliamentary terms, though, the speech appeared to fire the bellies of Cruz’s colleagues: GOP Congressional leaders sent to the Senate a resolution that defunded Obamacare; the Senate bounced that, so the House sent back one merely requiring a one-year Obamacare delay, accompanied by a rightwing wishlist including, as what we assume is some kind of wry acknowledgement that they’ve lost the women’s vote forever, a universal waiver allowing all businesses to refuse to cover their employees’ birth control.
Polls show the American people, leery as they are of Obamacare, nonetheless don’t want Congress to shut the government down over it. Even some conservatives have balked at the berserkers’ course of action, including Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (“we don’t need to turn the tide of public opinion against us”), Charles Krauthammer (“It would be over a cliff for the GOP… utterly impossible in the real world”), Karl Rove (“A shutdown now would have much worse fallout than the one in 1995”), et alia. And big GOP Senators like Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn were sounding nervous about the idea.
So why are the Republicans going for it? For the same reason rightbloggers have: Strategy be damned, it just feels good to stick it to libtards. And if it feels good, it must be good — for America, for the GOP, for everybody! And so for stimulating this full deliberative-body rush, rightbloggers have clasped Ted Cruz to their hearts, likening him to, among other things, Braveheart.
The Ted Braveheart thing actually started months ago, but has been revived for this occasion. “Obviously, Ted Cruz is going to lose his confrontation over Obamacare,” said David Frum at The Daily Beast. “In losing, however, he will taint his possible rivals — including Rand Paul — as pitiful members of the ‘surrender caucus.’ Only he will stand brave and true, like Mel Gibson playing Braveheart.”
At The Federalist, Ben Domenech wondered if Paul wasn’t actually going to be the winner here: “If the defund gambit is indeed Ted Cruz’s Braveheart moment (historical inaccuracies notwithstanding), would you rather be the guy who got disemboweled, or the guy who got the crown?” he asked.
But Net Right Daily’s Rick Manning just went for a wallow: “Republican leaders need to watch Braveheart,” said Manning, and he quoted a bunch of his favorite lines and told us Cruz and his ultra colleagues “are battling both their own leaders (the Scottish noblemen) who fear for their position, as well as Obama and Harry Reid (the English)…” And Manning was the loyal lieutenant who went on to become a famous blogger.
At WorldNetDaily, Bob Unruh didn’t bother to explain what Cruz’s long speech had achieved: He just pointed out that such wingnut bêtes noires as the New York Times, Jon Stewart, and Bette Midler were making fun of Cruz, despite the fact that Obamacare subjects America to “the threat of higher premiums, degraded health care and rationing.” Similarly, Breitbart.com’s Christian Toto attacked the TV show Saturday Night Live for running an Obamacare sketch “ignoring the mountain of frightening headlines associated with the new law until the waning seconds.” Plus they made fun of Ted Cruz. “The modern SNL never lets a chance go by to torment the right,” sniffed Toto. Not like when they had Dennis Miller on!
(On the other hand, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air wrote, “I think the biggest takeaway from this is that the ‘hip’ audience sees ObamaCare as a ripe target for satire, especially its rollout. Needless to say, if the train wreck wasn’t apparent to everyone now, the opening skit last night would have been all Ted Cruz and hysterical Republicans. That may not be a ‘cultural shift,; as some on Twitter surmised, but it’s not a good sign for Democrats who expect pop culture to always have their backs…” No, really, they write whole paragraphs like this.)
“Clearly,” said Joe Newby at Newsbusters, “Cruz has struck a nerve in the Democrat-media complex,” and all because “Cruz has taken a principled stand against Obamacare.” In Newby’s imaginings, “the left — which includes the media” has decided Cruz “must be destroyed by any means necessary.” (Regrettably no one has told us where “the left” meets and decides these things anymore; we wonder if they still serve wine and cheese.)
Others blamed the cowards within the Republican Party and the conservative movement who weren’t clapping loud enough to keep Tinker Bell alive. “I am beginning to wonder if John Cornyn is developing dementia the way he is behaving,” raved Erick Erickson of RedState.
When The Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Henninger advised that, since “only the American people can kill ObamaCare,” Republicans should wait till said people voted in enough Republicans to actually repeal it, John Hayward of Human Events demanded, “is it really conservative or Republican ‘leadership’ to let the American people suffer for years, until they finally rise up and demand reform?” For the American people were suffering, he insisted, and “‘let it burn’ is not easy advice to give to people trapped at the heart of a raging fire.” Wow. If it’s like that now, imagine how it’ll be when Obamacare actually takes effect! Perhaps it will be like a raging flood inside a raging fire, or a sharknado.
Also, said Hayward, “it matters that Republicans can stand up in 2014 or 2016 and invite the public to remember how hard they fought to stop ObamaCare when they had a chance. It’s not their fault that they didn’t have the Senate votes to succeed.” Clearly not; the voters have failed them, and so must be rescued from themselves. And: “By Henninger’s own analysis, the public has come to accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as inevitable facts of life, no matter how poorly they perform… This is due, in part, to years of social engineering perpetrated by such programs, along with other fiscally irresponsible socialist crusades, such as the ‘War On Poverty.’ People don’t even seriously think about alternatives to New Deal and Great Society programs.” Is it only John Hayward who hears the cry for help buried deep in decades-old voting patterns? It very well could be.
Whatever the benefit for Cruz and the Republicans, Robert L. Hale of The Western Center for Journalism explained, he was rooting for the government to shut down because the very existence of government is bad for business.
While government is operational, said Hale, “businesses spend huge amounts of time and money complying with regulations and laws” — for example, safety laws, which Hale found ridiculous, because “sixty years ago… product safety and services were not a serious concern for either businesses or their customers.” And it’s true — if in 1953 your Campbell’s Pork and Beans had poison or razor blades in it, you just laughed it off until the blood filling your throat made laughter impossible. Folks was tougher in those days!
Also, Hale observed that “the number of those who work in America is shrinking.” But don’t go blaming that on the global recession — the real cause, per Hale, is that “those who work and earn are targets” thanks to ObamaHitler’s assault on “the rich,” which people are so afraid to be considered, apparently, that they aren’t even showing up for work anymore. Thus, Hale reasoned, “shutting down the government may be the ONLY way to awaken Americans to the disgusting and intentional fraud the political class is perpetrating against them… Shutting down our dysfunctional government, moving it aside, and rebuilding from the ground up is our only hope.” Helter Skelter, she’s coming down fast!
Anyway, like everything else it was all Obama’s fault, said Doug Powers of the Michelle Malkin site. Obama was going around saying “health care is a right,” which is just asking for trouble. “Isn’t it strange how some of the same people who don’t see the right to bear arms in the Constitution do see a right to health care?” said Powers, whose right to own the arsenal of his choice has not been seriously diminished in the Obama years.
Also, regarding this so-called “right” to health care, Powers put on his pocket protector and pushed his glasses up his nose: “How many ‘rights’ have to be mandated?” riddled he us. “For example, we have the ‘right’ to free speech, but if a law were passed mandating we must speak or face a penalty, it ceases to be a right and comes to resemble something more like tyranny.” Having thus demonstrated the tyranny of a universal health care system, he bid the Muggles adieu.
Some of the brethren thought the switch from a total Obamacare wipeout to a one-year delay was a masterstroke that would win the day for the Republicans.
At Breitbart.com, Joel Pollak called the delay “a reasonable alternative” that would drive the American people into the arms of the Republican Party, citing as evidence “the closest anyone has come to explaining Obamacare” — no, not the Congressional Budget Office report, and certainly not the Department of Health and Human Services report, but “an eleven-page section of the recent issue of Consumer Reports,” which “observes that the law ‘may need to be fixed.'” Pretty convincing, though in fairness the American people have yet to hear from Field & Stream.
(At Bloomberg, Megan McArdle warned us not to trust the CBO reckoning either. Though it estimates that “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the budget deficit by $109 billion over 10 years,” she said, “….that doesn’t mean this is what will actually happen. I mean no disrespect to the CBO, which is my favorite government agency ever. But it is required to assume, when making forecasts, that the things which are written into law actually happen.” Oh, well, to hell with that, then.)
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air brought up several implementation delays the White House had itself called for, and asked, “If [Obamacare] is such a disaster that the White House has to keep issuing delays piecemeal, why not put the whole thing off a year in order to fix all the problems before forcing Americans into the exchanges?” Which is a little like saying, “If doctors keep sticking needles in that baby, why should anyone complain if I stab it in the heart with this knife?”
Well, the hurly-burly’s nearly done. Ted Cruz went on the Sunday talk-shows and told whoever’d listen that Harry Reid was to blame for not accepting the House’s completely reasonable request, and rightblogger outlets like The Daily Caller and the Washington Free Beacon did their bit by taking him seriously. Meanwhile Republicans have shifted attention to the national debt ceiling, which they would also like to tinker with and which could be a real kick in the ass for the economy and we don’t mean that in a good way. But who cares? Since this shutdown business started, Cruz’s Presidential ratings have risen among Republicans, and it’s been a fundraising booster for both parties. Also, let’s face it — the Republicans are bound and determined to destroy the country, so maybe it’s better that we just get it over with, the suspense has begun to wear on us. Plus, if we’re lucky, we’ll survive 10 or 20 years more, and get to see them explain how the Democrats did it.