Diana West

Post-shutdown, I'm still mulling two things: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn't seem to know what the House of Representatives is supposed to do, and President Obama doesn't seem to know the way "checks and balances" are supposed to work. Either way, We the People are in danger until more leaders with an affinity for the U.S. Constitution are elected.

Reid first. Throughout the shutdown, House Republicans passed "mini" spending bills to fund key government functions, each of which Reid blocked from coming to a Senate vote.

This was the Democrats' "all or nothing" strategy. They kept "all" of the government closed so that "nothing" (Obamacare) would be subject to compromise. In other words, no matter what those talking heads, headlines and microwaves targeting your brain tell you, the Democrats were the Mr. No's of this shutdown.

Rankled by House votes to open parts of the government, Reid asked: "What right do they have to pick and choose what part of government gets funded?"

What right? The answer is "they" -- House members -- have every right; in fact, it's their job! Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution says: "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills." Of course, we never think of Congress "raising revenue" to spend as they go, item by item. They just seem to fund everything.

But not this time, not for 16 days. House Republicans, who were returned in the majority in 2012 to defund Obamacare, tried, along with their conservative counterparts in the Senate, to hold the line for their constituents.

It didn't work. There are still too many tax-and-spend liberals in Republicans' clothing in Washington: GOP legislators who have less in common with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) than with Harry Reid, not to mention Barack Obama. Washington's crocodile tears over the "cost" of the shutdown (the figure $24 billion is flying around) shouldn't fool anyone -- not when the Congressional Budget Office projection for Obamacare's first decade is $1.8 trillion, and this same establishment doesn't bat an eye. And what about that "debt ceiling" they refuse to bring any closer to earth?

It's not the economy and fiscal responsibility so much that concerns the winners of this round of the budget battle; it's the government -- namely, the continued expansion of the government.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).