Someone get in touch with that Yugoslav ski jumper, Vinko Bogotaj, and tell him he’s off the hook. The new face of “The Agony Of Defeat” is United States Speaker of the House John Boehner and his Republican political party.
The beginning of the beginning of the start of the end to both the shutdown and the financial doomsday scenario of raising the debt ceiling on October 17th is underway inside White House meeting rooms. Late last night, a twenty person panel of Republican strategists including Boehner and former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan as well as President Barack Obama and his negotiators are ironing out a deal proposal from the GOP that would extend the debt ceiling deadline six weeks, until November 22nd, and allow them to work on the a budget and a permanent debt ceiling plan. There’s been no mention of ending the shutdown or touching the Affordable Care Act. But that’s political face saving for Republicans that’ll come later. Many Washington insiders and political experts think an announcement on reopening the government could come by Monday. In other words? The Republicans are caving like a toddler’s sand castle in the rain
What happened? If you read #tcot on The Twitter (Top Conservatives On Twitter), watched Fox News, listened to talk radio, watched Ted Cruz’s lips move, or read your high school friends Facebook posts, you’d swear the Republicans were standing strong and doing the “will of the American people”. Well they were flat wrong, total liars, and yesterday they got polled; long, hard, and all night long.
Hart Research through Gallup, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released the most extensive political polling done on the shutdown, debt ceiling crisis, and the state of the union. The numbers are shocking, and not good for anybody involved including the President, Democrats, Republicans or your friend from college who’s organizing a boycott on Jay Z records. Everyone hates everybody. Numbers tend to make people sleepy and stabby so click the link and see that almost three quarters of the country (about 70 percent) think the Republicans are to blame for the shutdown, looming debt disaster, and partisan politics getting in the way of doing their job. The negative poll number of the Republican Party overall (53 percent) is the lowest in the history of political polling, including the period after the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the resignation of Richard Nixon. I’m not kidding and neither is the poll.
What happened? The answer is simple and it’s part of my own spiking of the football, attempt at a touchdown dance, while I thrust my pelvis and shout “I TOLD YOU SO!”
Republicans’ stupid strategy tied to a ten-month-old Tea Party Caucus plan to shut down the government as an attempt to defund the Affordable Health Care Act took the focus off the President’s problems – arrogance, partisanship, and difficult glitch-filled roll out of the ACA – and focused the negative attention on the shutdown. For the past eleven days they could have controlled the message that the ACA wasn’t working but instead all anyone’s worried about is the shutdown and our impending doom of our debt default. It’s the worst political performance for the Republicans since their last two Presidential candidates. Now, the case can be made that everything they’ve done since the President was elected the first time, in 2008, is dumb and wrong. Because it ushered in the most incompetent set of boobs since Pam Anderson, The Tea Party.
Let’s be clear and fair. The Republicans, the moderate, reasonable, competent ones, have valid points. We’re spending way too much money. We owe more than our economy is worth and that has to be reformed. There are problems with the ACA from a logistics standpoint and that will cost more money to fix. It’s hard to look bad on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart if you’re a Democrat but Kathleen Sebelius bombed harder than Larry The Cable Guy Live At The Apollo.
But instead of owning the moral high ground on these issues, and having any leverage against the President and the Democratic-controlled Senate to fix them, the Republicans allowed their crazy people to deliver their message by shutting down the government and now no one wants to listen to any of them, moderates or whack jobs.
As it turns out, despite the blistering protest songs of Rage Against The Machine in our ear buds while we’re on the gym treadmill, we actually need government. Government, through the National Institute Of Health, gets medicine, testing, and care to kids with cancer of other diseases. Government runs the national parks, monuments, memorials and other services we enjoy while on vacation. Government helps those who can’t help themselves through health services, food stamps, WIC, and urgent care for the elderly. Government delivers the death benefits and funeral services for fallen soldiers and their grieving families. Government inspects our food and drugs to make sure they are safe. Government provides protection from people who hate them and some of us.
What the bungling of the shutdown exposed was the abject failure of the Tea Party and their message of fear, loathing, and tear the whole mother down instead of making government better. The car salesmen, funeral directors, landscapers, communication executives, and shady businessmen who infested the political bodies of the House and Senate in 2010 and 2012 showed that we need our best and brightest representing our republic to make America rise, rather than sink.
This can never happen again.
By next week, the government should open, the debt ceiling will no longer hover, and the Republicans, the smart ones, not the ones with Tea Bags on their face, will play damage control. With mid-term elections a year away, they may witness a political butt kicking unseen in modern history.
Relax Vinko Bogotaj, and enjoy your retirement. The new global faces of The Agony Of Defeat are John Boehner, Ted Cruz, and the modern Republican Party.
Lance Burson is a writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three daughters. He’s the published author of two books, The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body, both available on amazon.com for kindle and in paperback from Lulu.com. He’s only been ski jumping once, He totally busted his butt.