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Shutdown Roundup – Day Four

October 4, 2013 by  

If you’re still alive and carrying on as you were before, congratulations on living through an entire workweek of government shutdown.

Both sides in the shutdown fight dug in today, with the only real sign of capitulation being Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) non-apology for talking nasty about Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“I’ll work harder and I hope my senators will work to their best to maintain these habits of civility and decorum,” Reid said Friday from the Senate floor.

Elsewhere, though, the shrill tone President Barack Obama’s Administration established Thursday, with bogus park closures and disingenuous threats against retirees, only grew more piercing. The Daily Caller got its hands on an email circulating within the Social Security Administration Friday, in which employees are specifically instructed to scare people who call with questions about how the coming debt ceiling deadline could affect their monthly Social Security checks. An excerpt from the actual email:

If a member of the public asks whether their Social Security payment will be affected if the federal debt ceiling is not raised, you may give the following response:

‘Unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk.’

Direct all program–related and technical questions to your supervisor.

You mean, this whole time, all these beneficiaries were thinking they were simply drawing money out of a system they’d already paid into? Guess again – turns out that debt’s got everything to do with it.

On the park side of things, the Obama Administration, through the White House Office of Management and Budget, continues its punitive and irrelevant campaign to ensure the pain from the “shutdown” itself is visible from sea to shining sea.

It’s an antiquated strategy in this Internet era. Thirty years ago, media was a one-way sieve of information that could convey tear-jerking images of people not getting to tour the Statue of Liberty or Mt. Vernon (privately owned, remember?) into American homes – without having to worry that viewers could connect the dots on blogs, social media sites and by consuming alternative reports that would tell them the rest of the story.

Today, the Obama Administration is happy to blame the Tea Party – his political nemesis uber alles—for polarizing Americans on topics from Obamacare to the shutdown to immigration to gun control. But the President is sorely underestimating the Tea Party if he continues to fail to consider how accurate a barometer it is of what a great many Americans think of his policies in real time. The fact that the White House website is soliciting shutdown sob stories (here’s one: my grandpa can’t tour all the monuments you’ve arbitrarily shut down and he’s pretty pissed at you) indicates the President still thinks that community organizing on the Internet is a one-way street.

To marginalize conservatism when its influence and popularity are evident in the world that exists outside Obama’s sphere of mainstream media control is to play a defeatist political game. Tea Party conservatives don’t represent a clear majority in grass-roots American political culture – but right now, neither does anyone else. The chorus of conservative voices isn’t weak, nor is it small. If it were, Harry Reid and Barack Obama would be railing against some other political force by name. But they’re not. They’re trying to kick this bothersome eruption of true conservatism all the way back into the George W. Bush era.

Congressional RINOs are already learning this the hard way. Will Obama show any sign of playing catch-up in Week Two?

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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