Once more unto the breach...”
Before the Democrats in Washington set out to celebrate the defeat of their Republican brethren in this month’s partisan massacre, otherwise known as the “government shutdown,” they should take a moment to consider that everyone is watching.
Instead of slaying the wounded and stripping the corpses, they should pause for a moment and consider how we got here.
Let’s make one thing clear: The shutdown belongs squarely in the lap of the GOP.
They chose to suit up and mount an assault on Fortress Obamacare as a grand political adventure – one which just about everyone on Earth told them was doomed from the outset.
Undaunted by that reality, or their previous 40 or so failed attacks, our Republican heroes, led by the brave Tea Party shock troops, hurled themselves at the citadel once again.
It seems that General Boehner’s strategy was simple – demand surrender or else. The problem was the “or else” part turned out to be shooting themselves in the feet, repeatedly.
President Obama and the Democrats didn’t have to do anything except sit comfortably behind the palisade and watch the carnage. When it was clear to the Republicans that they had run out of both bullets and feet, they capitulated to the President’s terms – go away and don’t come back unless you bring gifts.
It would have been political comedy if it weren’t so painful. By some estimates, the adventure inflicted about $24 billion in damage to our economy.
The casualty list is still incomplete. No one knows how it may affect the political fortunes of GOP candidates next fall, but there appears to be a number of wounded still limping off the battlefield.
Now the stage is set for more maneuvering. The Democrats have gained an advantage, so let’s see what they do with it.
Will they rush out to take the ground their opponents have ceded? Will they reinforce their castle walls and wait for the next siege?
Will the Republicans rearm and mount another vainglorious charge?
We’ve grown to always expect the worst from our leaders in Washington and to have those expectations met on almost every occasion. Both sides have dug in on the safe ground where their political bases feed them a ready supply of ammunition. No one is willing to venture out into the no-man’s land of compromise. The lobbyists have laid their mines there and the sideline pundits wait patiently for a clean shot on anyone who raises their head.
Whatever happens next, one thing is for sure, the American people are fed up with Washington’s version of trench warfare. We are tired of a country where “victory” is declared when the government is simply allowed to function. This has to end. We don’t need any more noble failures and lost causes. We don’t need fallen heroes.
It’s time to lay down our arms and pick up a few shovels and hammers, and to begin the work of repairing our nation and getting a few things done for a change.
What we need are a few reasonable people who are willing to work together. That would be truly heroic.