In a repeat performance of Radical Republican Brinkmanship, the House refused to pass a budget by midnight, October 1, 2013, and so the process of shutting down most of the U.S. federal government began. Allegedly, Republican House leaders and other radical Republican factions claimed that they were standing fast against ObamaCare, claiming that the American people did not want it, and it was being forced upon them. The House Republicans demanded a one-year delay of implementation of the Affordable Care Act in return for passing a budget. The Senate and President Obama said no. Instead, the Senate passed their own version of the House budget legislation and sent it back to the House.
President Obama gave a lengthy statement from the Press Room at 5:00 PM Monday, speaking in a very calm and undramatic manner, laying out the plain facts as he saw them. While I have not often been pleased about how President Obama has addressed various issues or with the high tone of many of his major speeches, I made a point to watch the video of his statement and I believe he hit all of the major issues and did it in a manner of calmness that lent an air of competence, clear understanding and determination.
I immediately noted one significant point the president made clear almost at the very beginning of his statement: “With regard to operations that will continue: If you’re on Social Security, you will keep receiving your checks. If you’re on Medicare, your doctor will still see you. Everyone’s mail will still be delivered. And government operations related to national security or public safety will go on.”
These issues have always seemed to find their way into some obscure part of newspaper articles whenever these federal budget shutdown issues are pending. It’s as if the major media somehow insist that the complexity of the political drama be given first billing and the needs of the People can be discussed later or somewhere else.
So, I was particularly interested to see how President Obama would manage this issue of the People’s needs, and I believe he responded immediately and with simple clarity.
Now, today, October 2, 2013, the president has called the leaders of Congress to a meeting at the White House in an attempt to resolve the budget crisis.
In other words, the members of the Washington Establishment are preparing for the next act of Kabuki drama.
I suggest that it may be important to note that any president still retaining his faculties would know, given the history of the last few years, that a budget crisis was indeed looming on the great stage of Washington, and as a responsible leader he would need to make sure that he could be seen preparing–if not the very first act–an early and significant act in the requisite Kabuki.
This may have begun on September 15, 2013, as reported in the New York Times, An Unusual Public Battle Over an Energy Nomination, by Matthew L. Wald. The Senate Energy Committee was planning a hearing on Tuesday regarding the president’s nomination of Ronald J. Binz to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This was the kind of action which immediately calls forth a whole trainload of coal industry objections and they were true to form. Why the Times thought to headline this event with the word unusual must be some form of intended irony. No?
Soon after, articles began appearing in the Times announcing U.S. Revives Aid Program for Clean Energy, Administration Presses Ahead With Limits on Emissions From Power Plants, and Administration to Press Ahead With Carbon Limits.
Timing is essential in all human endeavors and even more so when much is at stake.
So, now the stage is set. Has the administration laid forth some tasty bait for bargaining to throw into this most necessary Great Sausage of a Deal? Will there be some announcement of changes in the expected new Limits on Emissions From Power Plants?
We can only wait and see, but anyone who reads anything about our Best-Government-That-Money-Can-Buy (and damn the general Welfare in our Constitution’s Preamble) must surely be prepared for some tasty deal to be delivered on a silver tray, fresh from the West Wing and halls of our Capitol.