Hey, y’all, I’m back! And finally, after a long 16 days, it seems as if Congress has somewhat gotten their act together. As Speaker of the House John Boehner said yesterday, “We fought the good fight, we just didn’t win.” I don’t agree much with the first half of that clause, but I sure do agree with the latter. In most cases of bipartisan politics, it is semi-rude to speak of winners and losers in relation to legislature. In this instance, however, I believe it is quite safe to say that the House Republicans did very little other than discredit themselves and damage the perception of their party as a whole.
Early yesterday morning my phone was buzzing off the hook, alerting me of each news update on the Senate proposal to end the shutdown. “Malarky!” I thought, “There’s no way that those toddlers in the Capitol will back down now! Not after all of the shenanigans they’ve been pulling for the past two weeks!” Luckily, I was mistaken. Republican Senator Ted Cruz surprised me — positively, for once — in saying that he would not block a final vote to move toward raising the debt ceiling and reopening the government.
What didn’t surprise me, though, was his pouty response to the Grand Old Party’s defeat: “Unfortunately, the Washington establishment is failing to listen to the American people.” Or maybe they finally are listening to them, Teddy, considering Congress’ approval rating dropped to a dismal five percent during the shutdown …
The great thing about the GOP’s reaction to the end of the shutdown is that Republicans, such as Senator Johnny Isakson, keep saying things like, “This will probably never happen again.” Oh, boys. When will you realize that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it? The circumstances surrounding the 1995 Clinton administration shutdown were totally different from the events leading up to this one (although, in some respects, also eerily similar…), yet they both ended with the Republicans realizing that they were losing the public’s approval, and then scurrying to reach a compromise. That wasn’t all that long ago … I mean, if I was alive, all of these Congressmen must have been, too, right?
Regardless, this hole has been temporarily patched up — hallelujah! And it all began with an astonishing vote in the Senate of 81-18. Take a look at those numbers again; although it seems like an overpowering victory, this means that 18 senators still voted against the bill. I repeat, an unbelievable 18 percent of the United States Senate voted to keep the government shut down and risk causing the first default in American history to occur. Awesome.
In the end, House Republicans achieved nothing near the original dreams they’d had of tearing up the pages of Obamacare and riding into the sunset with the thanks of the country for saving them from “tragedy.” Instead, as Republican Senator Mitch McConnell explained, they got “far less than many hoped for, quite frankly,” with the only provision in the bill regarding healthcare being one minor note that confirms the eligibility of those receiving federal subsidies. Hopefully the next time that the House Republicans mount an attack against the Affordable Care Act, they’ll remember the words of Richard Burr, quoted yesterday as saying, “It’s impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government.”
If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ve only been quoting Republican politicians, something that seems pretty out of character for me. But these past two weeks we have seen such idiocy that I don’t even need to look to the Democrats for reprimands of the Republican Party; I can go straight to the party members themselves. Like Senator John McCain — who has argued against the shutdown for the entirety of this process — said, “Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.” I never imagined I could be so turned on by such an old, saggy, Republican senator …
So now it’s over. The shutdown has ended and all will go back to normal: children can visit Lady Liberty, the homeless in D.C. can go back into their parks and we can get back to gearing up for the 2016 presidential election, which, hot damn, am I stoked on. I wonder how much the Republican candidates are going to try to scapegoat their fellow presidential nominees for this failure of their entire party. I am so going to sit back and enjoy the soap opera that these primaries are sure to be … I have a feeling I’m gonna need a whole lot of popcorn for this one.
I know this has gotten a little lengthy, so I’ll just sum it up with a quote from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one that just makes me smile from ear to ear: “This has been a really bad two weeks for the Republican Party.” You don’t say, Lindsey … you don’t say.
Mckinley Krongaus can not wait to get back on her panda cam grind now that the government is back in business … that shit is adorable. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, we’ve missed you.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.’
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, October 17, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.