Hard Knuckles Civic Lessons
Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, was in his youth a boxer. From events unfolding in Washington now, it appears that Reid still thinks of himself as a fighter. Will he go too far?
Republicans initiated what only can be described as a “bone-headed” tactic linking a continuing resolution on the budget to repeal or delay of the Affordable Care Act. The need for the CR resulted in the Senate and House not being able to agree on a budget (not the ACA) even though they have had plenty of time. The Senate bill (read Democrat’s view) was unacceptable to the House. The House bill (read Republican proposals) was a non-started with the Senate. Why Republicans did not go along with a “clean” CR and use the 2014 elections as a mandate for budget changes, is simply unfathomable.
Public opinion polls have registered Americans disgust with the GOP position. At first, voters did not understand what was happening. Soon, however, there were things citizens wanted to do… like visit a National Park, get a passport, or if you were a business person, continue to see the flow of greenbacks as government workers frequented your establishment… all this stopped. When Americans asked the simple question, why was this necessary, commonsense could not support the shutdown.
Soon the GOP light bulb went on. ACA demands was a loser. Out the window went ACA demands. But Republicans still wanted some face saving tidbit in return for passing a CR and increasing the debt limit. The question was what concessions should Democrats grant?
Harry Reid had a different idea. If Republicans sought concessions, he would raise his bet and demand a relaxation to the “sequestration” limits, in effect increasing the budget, to be part of any CR.
In the political world, this is what one should do as part of a negotiating process.
Knock, knock, Harry. It is too late for this type of horse trading. Knock, Knock Republicans, there’s no basis for any concessions. The object for both Democrats and Republicans, now, must be to open government and avoid any default situation on the debt.
Once those hurdles are passed, then provisions of ACA (like the tax on medical equipment) or sequestration limit relief are again negotiable points.
The lesson Americans need to be seeing played out is not boxing but basic civics. Americans need to see responsible governance. Sadly this has been missing when it counts.