Jonah Goldberg

The National Park Service, which has somehow become the unofficial goon squad of American liberalism, reversed course and let American World War II vets visit the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. This is obviously good news. (I was waiting to see if Steven Spielberg would come out with a new Obama-friendly director's cut of "Saving Private Ryan" in which the old guy at the end is dragged off in cuffs before he can reach Tom Hanks' grave.)

Still, it cost the government more money to try to keep WWII vets out of an open-air memorial than it would have to just leave it be. In Virginia, the NPS ordered the Claude Moore Colonial Farm to shut down, even though it's privately funded.

Far worse, Obama told CNBC's John Harwood that Wall Street should be far more panicky about Republican efforts to use the debt ceiling to win concessions from the White House. I don't blame Obama for being annoyed with Republicans for trying to use the debt ceiling the exact same way he did when he was a senator. But normally the president doesn't try to talk down the economy just to win a political point.

Whenever the Bush administration issued terror warnings, Democrats insinuated that it was all a cynical political stunt. But this week, the White House sent out National Intelligence Director James Clapper to whip up fears that national security would be imperiled by a shutdown less than 48 hours old.

When Republicans vote to fund essential or popular parts of the government, the response from Democrats is, in effect, "How dare they?" Nancy Pelosi calls the tactic "releasing one hostage at a time" -- as if negotiators normally refuse to have hostages released unless it's all at once.

In the 17 previous government shutdowns since 1977, presidents have worked to avoid them or lessen their impact. Obama has made no such effort out of an ideological yearning to punish his enemies, regardless of the collateral damage.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.