Chris Graham: The dumbest thing about the government shutdown

chris-graham-links3Here’s what makes no sense about the government shutdown: We all know how this is going to end. Republicans are going to capitulate. They always do.

And they’re going to come out worse for the wear. That always happens with these things, too.

It’s as if you could raise the captain of the Titanic from the depths of the North Atlantic, and then put him back in command of another oversized boat, and he’d ram into another iceberg.

Republicans shut down government in 1995 over … not sure what that one was about, exactly, it was so long ago, not to mention so petty. (Wasn’t there something to do with Newt Gingrich being relegated to the back of Air Force One, or something that childish?)

Republicans eventually gave in, and what happened politically as a result of the 1995 shutdown was that Bill Clinton easily won re-election in 1996.

Republicans overplayed their hand again in 2011 with the debt ceiling nonsense that roiled the markets, pushed our bond rating to the brink … and ended with a tailwind pushing Barack Obama into a 2012 re-election win.

So now Republicans are pushing Democrats over the Affordable Care Act passed and signed into law in 2010, litigated thoroughly in the 2012 election cycle as a linchpin issue for voters to base their presidential decisions on, now being re-litigated because losing the first two times (three, if you count the loss in the Supreme Court, which we should) wasn’t enough.

Where does this go from here? People are now signing up for the health exchanges. The toothpaste is out of the tube. There’s no turning back.

For the third (fourth!) time, Obama has outmaneuvered the GOP on ACA.

Republicans could have much better played their hand by pushing (beginning back in 2011, if you ask me) for improvements to ObamaCare, reforms to the reform, if you want to call it that. They could have developed a detailed counterplan of their own and presented that to the American people. That could have made the 2012 election cycle interesting.

Defund ObamaCare is a rallying slogan; it’s not a plan of action. It’s political theatre, not policy debate.

The 40 percent of Americans who think President Obama was born in Kenya are surely going to be fired up by the shutdown that has ensued. The rest of us, Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans, are left scratching our heads at the nonsense that rules the day in the House GOP Caucus these days.

Fast forward to the end of this already. Pray that the nonsense doesn’t do damage to our economy.


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