Category Archives: 2013 shutdown/default impasse

Great Shutdown/Debt Ceiling Analogies and Expert Opinions


Peter Beinart writing in The Daily Beast gives us this very appropriate analogy. He has some interesting things to say too. If you want to see what they are use the link.

But that’s like saying that the neighborhood bully has caved because after demanding your shoes and bike, he’s once again willing to accept merely your lunch money.


Here’s another one from The Daily Beast this morning. This one is a bit scarier. Follow the line to check out the article which is entitled “The GOP’s Backdoor Impeachment Scheme”.

In Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close boiled a bunny because Michael Douglas disrespected her. Now, instead of sticking a rabbit in the pot, a congressional minority now feels that it is time to microwave the entire country—respectfully, of course.

Summing up the confused messages we are getting from Republicans, this article also makes the following points:

Regardless, in a multi-polarized society, with lots of potential pluralities, but no path to grow, tried and true ideologies—especially those evoking bygone eras—must evolve or die.

And right now, the Republicans don’t know which way to turn or whom to cannibalize next.  Having failed to bring Obama to his knees, the House GOP is now clamoring for “entitlement reform,” which in simple English translates as sticking it to the elderly. But for the Republicans, that’s a problem.

The elderly and the white working class comprise the party’s core, and the elderly and the white working class are hostile to linking entitlements to the resolution of the current impasse. According to a recent National Journal poll, 70 percent of whites without college degrees, and more than four-in-five white seniors say any debt deal should not deal with Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

And so, it has come down to this, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) engaging in tense last-minute negotiations with an eye toward passing a compromise that the House would enact, all before the debt ceiling is breached.  

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told the press, “We have to get something out of this,” even as he acknowledged, “I don’t know what that even is.” Regardless, Stutzman made clear that “we’re not going to be disrespected.”


Paul Krugman, the much touted and much maligned economist who has a column in The New York Times gives us another good analogy in this morning’s article.

So you have this neighbor who has been making your life hell. First he tied you up with a spurious lawsuit; you’re both suffering from huge legal bills. Then he threatened bodily harm to your family. Now, however, he says he’s willing to compromise: He’ll call off the lawsuit, which is to his advantage as well as yours. But in return you must give him your car. Oh, and he’ll stop threatening your family — but only for a week, after which the threats will resume.

Not much of an offer, is it? But here’s the kicker: Your neighbor’s relatives, who have been egging him on, are furious that he didn’t also demand that you kill your dog.

His article is also well worth reading if you care to follow the link. Here’s how he sums it up.

Does this mean that we’re going to hit the debt ceiling? Quite possibly; nobody really knows, but careful observers are giving no better than even odds that any kind of deal will be reached before the money runs out. Beyond that, however, our current state of dysfunction looks like a chronic condition, not a one-time event. Even if the debt ceiling is raised enough to avoid immediate default, even if the government shutdown is somehow brought to an end, it will only be a temporary reprieve. Conservative activists are simply not willing to give up on the idea of ruling through extortion, and the Obama administration has decided, wisely, that it will not give in to extortion.


Here’s the story on that rule that came out of the House Rules Committee (Surprise!), that rule named HR 368, which says no one can bring a vote on the shutdown to the floor of the House except the Speaker or his designee. Shocking! There’s a link at the end to the article and the You Tube video of this incident in the House.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), presiding over the chamber, told Van Hollen that the rule he was asking to use had been “altered” and he did not have the privilege of bringing that vote to the floor. In the ensuing back and forth, Chaffetz said the recently passed House Resolution 368 trumped the standing rules. Where any member of the House previously could have brought the clean resolution to the floor under House Rule 22, House Resolution 368 — passed on the eve of the shutdown — gave that right exclusively to the House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia.

“The Rules Committee, under the rules of the House, changed the standing rules of the House to take away the right of any member to move to vote to open the government, and gave that right exclusively to the Republican Leader,” said Van Hollen. “Is that right?”

“The House adopted that resolution,” replied Chaffetz.

“I make my motion, Mr. Speaker,” said Van Hollen. “I renew my motion that under the regular standing rules of the House… that the house take up the Senate amendments and open the government now.”

“Under section 2 of H.R. 368, that motion may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee,” Chaffetz said.

“Mr. Speaker, why were the rules rigged to keep the government shut down?” Van Hollen asked.

“The gentleman will suspend,” Chaffetz interjected.

“Democracy has been suspended, Mr. Speaker.”

Here’s my analogy, which I stole from The Good Wife last night:

Client:  They lost, right?

Lawyer:  Yes

Client: Then what are they doing?

Lawyer: Now they are scorching the earth and poisoning the wells.

I’m sure you can see the parallels.

We want a clean CR and the Debt Ceiling resolved until the elections in November, 2014; both clean with nothing attached. This is a budget issue and the Democrats have notbeen the ones with the obstructionist tactics. We must assume that if Democrats agree to work on the budget until the next time we hit these two goalposts that they will get no cooperation from the Republicans. The GOPers have never kept their word to this President and they won’t now. They are stalling until they get total control in Washington. Don’t let that happen. Vote for Democrats in 2014.


This is the view from the cheap seats.

This blog post is also available at