“I strongly suspect the ongoing GOP victory dance will be short lived.”
It’s been, what? Four months?
Today, unless reason prevails among House Republicans, at midnight tonight the Department of Homeland Security will be forced to shut down, at least partially.
After months of chest beating, dick waggling, Bibi leg humping, and bellicose statements of liquid courage, the Senate predictably caved in this morning and passed a "clean" DHS funding bill when it became obvious the president was not going to back down.
Obama already vetoed Republicans once this week, sure as hell he’ll do it again.
And Republicans know it.
So the Senate bowed to the inevitable and passed a clean bill.
The legislation was sent to the House where it will likely die, strangled by capering madmen so out of touch with reality that they make The Joker from Batman seem sane and rational in comparison.
And then the agency charged with protecting the United States from terrorism, among many other essential things, will go into partial shutdown.
All "non-essential" employees will be sent home without pay, "furloughed" in government parlance - which is a fancy word for "how the fuck am I supposed to pay my rent this month?" because "non-essential" typically means you're not real high on the totem-pole and you don't make a lot of money. By definition, those people who make major bank and can afford a couple weeks off without pay, are "essential" and generally never have to worry about it.
That is to say, congressional Republicans are determined to make their political point by sticking it to secretaries, janitors, and the people who can least afford it.
And really, you can’t fault their logic.
If you’re going to screw people over, better the peons than the Koch Brothers, right?
Also, many contractors will be sent home because if the government offices they work in are shut and locked, there's no place for them to go. However, that's not always the case. Speaking as a former contractor, I was once required to sit in the empty parking lot of my government building during a shutdown - because my contract specified that I show up, no matter what, even if I couldn't get into the building. So, the US taxpayer paid for me to sit in my truck in the parking lot, listening to the radio, and dicking around on Facebook via my phone and thank you for that. Whether or not a contractor gets paid during a shutdown depends on the contract, their employer, and a magical matrix of arbitrary bullshit dreamed up by people who never have to wonder how they're going to pay the rent. And why do you care about greedy government contractors? Well, because they're your fellow citizens and you're not a complete self-involved jackass for one thing, but more importantly because government contractors do a very large share of the work. Congress sets limits on the number of government employees, and then leverages a workload which requires three times as many people - not to mention skillsets the General Services schedule doesn't include. So, the only way that works is if you hire contractors, because nobody else, by law, can do the work.
And finally, those folks deemed "essential" like the folks checking to make sure the bags going on the airplanes aren't full of thermite and blasting caps and that the nice gentleman seated next to you, the one quoting Ted Nugent and who smells like suicidal fanaticism and cat piss, isn't planning on taking you to meet his God at 35,000 feet, yeah, those people? They get to work without pay. The people guarding the borders? No pay. The ones guarding the president (and Congress, just saying)? No pay. The big shots in the front office? They don't have to sweat it, but the people on the front lines, the ones who already get paid shit? They're screwed. They either show up and work without pay, or they get canned - and they can actually be prosecuted for not showing up if the government wants to be an even bigger dick about it than they already are. After the shutdown is over, maybe those folks get back pay and maybe they don't. That requires yet another vote in congress. Now, you may hate the folks at TSA, but if you think that's fair or moral or anything other than complete bullshit, you should have to spend the next week standing 8 hour security shifts at the airport, or inspecting cargo at the Port of Los Angeles, or patrolling the Arizona desert while wondering how you're going to feed your fucking kids next week.
You should get three things from this:
1) Republicans have made a hell of a lot of political hay by calling the president weak.
But they can't stand up to him.
They have caved every time, sooner or later.
2) Republicans have made a hell of a lot of political hay about national security. About terrorism. About the border.
But they are perfectly willing to risk national security, terrorism, and the borders in a quixotic attempt to score political points.
Hell, a significant fraction of the most outspoken Republicans when it comes to these very subjects are at CPAC today instead on the House floor - with less than 8 hours to go before the pending shutdown. Obviously they don’t think it’s all that important, outside of using it to beat Obama about the head and shoulders and to keep their base quaking in fear.
3) Republicans took the Senate and increased their majority in the House. They got rid of the reviled Harry Reid and handed Mitch McConnell the gavel. They told us the gridlock was over, now they'd get things done. You remember this, right?
But, as always, conservatives can't even agree on the things they agree on.
They can’t even achieve compromise within their own caucus when the security of the nation, supposedly their top priority, is on the the line.
Now, ask yourself something, if Republicans can’t even agree among themselves on something they already agree on, how then is their inability to compromise with the executive Obama’s fault?
The simple truth of the matter is that these intractable sons of bitches can’t govern themselves, let alone the rest of the country. It’s no wonder whatsoever why they can’t sway Democrats to their side in enough numbers to override a veto or to unite the nation, they can’t even convince themselves.
You heard me say this before, political office is an amplifier and when you elect extremists, no matter how small or how slight, you get extremism.
Every. Single. Time.
It’s only a matter of time before they self-destruct and they are perfectly willing to take the rest of us with them when they go. These people are not the loyal opposition, they are unhinged fanatics and the only thing that matters to them is “beating” Barack Obama. They are obsessed with it and they are perfectly willing to risk the security of the nation and the livelihoods of American citizens to achieve a pyrrhic victory at any cost.
When the extremists win, America loses.