Government Shutdown Day 10: I hope you enjoy getting these daily laptops…because I think they’re going to be coming to you for a while.
This whole dispute has reached a new phase. First of all, we are now past just dealing with “Shutdown/ObamaCare” and are into “Debt Limit/Entitlement Reform” territory, as well. One is unlikely to be resolved on a long-term basis without also dealing with the other. Secondly, the rhetoric has stalled. The Democrats have been repeating the same messages for days now, as have Republicans. Thirdly, Washington is settling in to this debate, and both the House and the Senate are beginning to talk about doing a few things that are not directly related to the Shutdown/Debt Limit, such as the Farm Bill. .
But, political bodies do not stay stationary for long. So, there are a number of factors that may start to move things a little here. First of all, of course, is the looming Debt Limit. As you know, I don’t think that the well-publicized October 17th date (that the federal government is “supposed” to run out cash) has much meaning. But, by November 1st, the Treasury will likely be very close to running out of cash with no ability to legally borrow more. You have heard and will continue to hear all kinds of talking heads saying they know exactly what will happen then. But, it is new territory and no one really knows for sure. And, no one really wants to find out. President Obama and the Treasury have some options, but I’m not sure even they know which, if any, they will choose to exercise.
Secondly, there is a reason the rhetoric has stalled. The president’s refusal to negotiate or compromise is not a position that can hold up with the public. The president wants us to capitulate, but I think it’s becoming clearer and clearer that that will not happen. Eventually, there will be negotiations. The Democrats and their support group, known as the mainstream media, have been pounding out messages howling about the “Republican Shutdown” and “Republican division” and condemning the pain caused by Republicans and advocating for “clean CR this” and “clean Debt Limit that” until they are running out of ink. But, Harry Reid’s and the president’s continued mantra of we will not negotiate does not sit well with people. And, they have used over-the-top rhetoric (terrorists, jihadists, etc.) which has received no criticism from the media, but which the public just doesn’t like. So, there’s not much more that Reid and the president can throw at us. And, the request to negotiate is eminently reasonable and the only thing that will actually break the stalemate. So, we will not come off that position.
Thirdly, the president’s scare tactics are not working……once again. Remember, back in March when the Sequester kicked in? The White House ordered up all kinds of nasty things to try and make the public feel tremendous pain from any reduction in government spending so that you would all plead to have your taxes raised and spending increased. It didn’t work. It was obvious that they were cutting the most visible services on purpose and shielding the worthless part of government from any reductions. They had to back off. Now, 7 months later, most Americans outside of Washington have forgotten that there is a Sequester and their lives are not diminished by it in any way. The president did the same thing this time around with the parks and other things he can control. But, it is not working again. They have had to back off on a few things like turning off the Amber Alert system, which they were only able to shut down for a few hours before a huge outcry about letting child abductors get away. (By the way, having the ability to turn it off and immediately turn it back on shows that turning it off was a choice, and not a requirement.) They have continued their war on Americans at the national parks, but it’s blatantly obvious that they are spending more money to close parks than it would cost to leave them open. With each passing day of the Shutdown, Americans outside of Washington will see that maybe they don’t miss all those federal bureaucrats as much as they had been led to believe. So, the shelf-life of this strategy chosen by Reid and Obama is rapidly diminishing.
As a fourth point, we all watch polling. And, yes, Congress’ approval ratings are abysmal. This is not a surprise. I would not approve of the job that Congress is doing if I were asked. The Reid-led Senate is a disaster and I could go on and on about other problems. But, no one in Congress runs as Congress. They run for re-election as one individual against another. Congress never has good approval ratings. But, individual congressmen within their own districts do. The president’s approval rating, however, in yesterday’s AP poll is down to 37%. He is not running again, but lingering long in that range will render any president ineffective and unable to move issues. No one is “winning” in this battle, as President Obama’s press secretary suggested. At some point, the White House will want to stop the bleeding.
So, things in Washington are stalled right now. But, the type and level of activity is likely to transition in the next few days. In my opinion, it feels like the rhetoric may soon ramp down and proposals involving the debt limit may ramp up.
But, your faithful servant here will stand guard against the forces that would erode our freedom and will continue to keep you informed.