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Shutdown Roundup – Day One

October 1, 2013 by  

All the money and effort that went into the creation of propagandist signs informing visitors to the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, D.C. monuments and other Federal properties that the big, bad government shutdown has crippled the U.S. Parks Service thankfully won’t go to waste.

President Barack Obama quickly rejected a proposal by House Republicans Tuesday that would have included Federal parks, veterans’ programs and Washington, D.C. government services and amenities in the approved list of “essential” services protected from the government shutdown.

“We are asking Democrats to come to the table,” said Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) Instead, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney ridiculed the Republicans’ proposal for its “utter lack of seriousness.”

There’s much for Democrats and the White House to gain from maximizing the pain of a shutdown – just as they had attempted to do over the much-balleyhooed budget sequestration, which they also blamed on the GOP and emphasized with orchestrated photo-op instances of crying and sadness. The White House needs America’s sacred cows to stay defiled, so long as it’s the fault of the Republicans. What great theater.

In a rehash of those same tired methods, Obama himself patronized Federal employees (a.k.a. political pawns for both parties) Tuesday, telling them in a letter they’d been treated like a “punching bag” by the Republican-controlled House even though all 800,000 of the furloughed government workers are “driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans.”

You do all this [work] in a political climate that, too often in recent years, has treated you like a punching bag. You have endured three years of a Federal pay freeze, harmful sequester cuts, and now, a shutdown of our Government. And yet, you persevere, continuing to serve the American people with passion, professionalism, and skill.

None of this is fair to you. And should it continue, it will make it more difficult to keep attracting the kind of driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of self-government demands.

For a minute there, we thought he was describing the Tea Party.

Other lowlights from the first day of the shutdown:

  • Starting this weekend, service academies may not be able to play football. Real shame, y’ know, ‘cuz everyone loves football!
  • The ever-vigilant NSA won’t be able to protect us (though we’re pretty sure they’re still full sail on the domestic spying). “The Intelligence Community’s ability to identify threats and provide information for a broad set of national security decisions will be diminished for the duration,” said Shawn Turner, a spokesman for James Clapper, the always-truthful Director of National Intelligence. “The immediate and significant reduction in employees on the job means that we will assume greater risk and our ability to support emerging intelligence requirements will be curtailed.”
  • Having already squandered on sequestration the poignant spectacle of closing the White House to public tours, the Obama Administration is having to identify new locations where capital city visitors must blame Republicans for not being able to visit. Now it’s the whole National Mall. Wonder if it’s open to liberal rallies, still?
  • A Gallup poll released Tuesday found there really doesn’t seem to be much to be gained or lost by all the political players on either side of the argument. “Gallup’s historical data surrounding a similar 1995/1996 government shutdown reveal that the current battle may have little impact on Americans’ views of today’s political leaders – at least through the next several months,” the poll finds. “Additionally, Americans already view Congress itself – and the Republicans and Democrats who are part of it – very poorly, meaning there is not much room for their perceptions of the legislative branch to worsen further.”
  • As a fare-thee-well, here’s how RTT News reported on the stock market’s first-day reaction to the shutdown:

After moving moderately higher in early trading on Tuesday, stocks have seen some further upside over the course of the trading session. With the gains on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has reached a new thirteen-year high.

The major averages are currently posting strong gains, near their highs for the session. The Dow is up 70.74 points or 0.5 percent at 15,200.41, the Nasdaq is up 39.57 points or 1.1 percent at 3,811.05 and the S&P 500 is up 13.78 points or 0.8 percent at 1,695.33.

The strength on Wall Street comes despite news that lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a temporary spending bill, resulting in a government shutdown.

See you back here Wednesday for Day 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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