This week’s sessions of Congress have basically been about Republicans trying to restore piece-by-piece the government they closed, and Democrats refusing to restore piece-by-piece the government they want open.
But the polls show most of the blame is going to the Republicans. Partly because they’re the ones refusing to vote on the budget resolution already approved by the Senate.
But also, I think, because they’re the party that’s argued for years that the federal government is way too big and intrusive.
They’ve argued at various times that National Parks should be sold off. That medical research should be privatized. That food stamps encourage laziness.
Republicans support the military – they helped those veterans storm the barricades of the WWII memorial – but since the federal government gives employment preference to veterans, veterans make up a disproportionate number of the employees affected by the shutdown.
And it’s only going to get worse as small businesses, another big Republican cause, and one who also get a federal preference when it comes to government contracts, have to lay off their employees. And at the same time it’s clear that the online Obamacare exchanges which Republicans were trying to protect us from – are jammed with unprotected applicants.
But I have a way out. Republicans could argue that when they started this, they never thought the President would so shamelessly lay off workers who actually were essential, and therefore to rescue the nation from his capriciousness, they will pass the resolution that’s been on their desk all week, reopen the government immediately, and claim victory.