The current Washington shutdown standoff reveals an illuminating clash of worldviews.Risibly, the aha moment for me came Wednesday while dozing off to a Tonight Show conversation between Jay Leno and his “guest,” Newt Gingrich. Leno challenged the former Republican Speaker of the House with, “Here’s the part I don’t understand with the Affordable Care Act; Why should Obama negotiate? First it came out, it passed both houses.The Supreme Court said, ‘Yes, this is legitimate.’… It’s already a law.If you don’t like it, you wait four years, you vote the guy out.”
Jay Leno’s statement exhibits the statist worldview of defending a Democratic Party oligarchy.The facet ignored by Leno is that the Peoples’ House is also elected by the citizens as a conscience to the ambitions of the executive branch.
A quick review of recent history: On the same night when Barack Obama was first elected to the presidency, the 111th Congress was also elected with a strong majority of 255 Democrats in the House of Representatives over a minority of 179 Republicans.At the same time, 57 Democrats plus their 2 simpatico Independent members held control of the Senate over 41 Republicans.In March of 2010, that same 111th Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.Every Congressional Republican voted against the passage of Obamacare.
Just eight months later the people voiced their concordance with the Republican objection to Obamacare by electing the 112th Congress, giving the Republicans control of the House with 242 members versus 193 Democratic members.In the Senate, voters reduced the number of Democrats to 51 and increased the number of Republicans to 47.In the current 113th Congress, Republicans continue to hold a 232 to 200 majority in the House, while the Democrats hold a Senate majority of 51 (plus 2 simpatico Independents) to 46 Republicans. Projections show a possible Republican majority takeover of the Senate in 2014.
Fox News sponsored an independent research poll in July that included the question, “If you were given the opportunity to vote only on whether to keep the 2010 healthcare law known as Obamacare in place or repeal it, how would you vote?”Of the responders, 53% said that they would repeal the law, 40% would keep the law in place and 6% did not know.So, while President Obama was elected and re-elected, Congress is responding to the concerns of a majority of citizens who oppose such an enormous imposition of force in their intimate lives.
So while Jay Leno sympathizes with statists Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that Barack Obama should have his way with us because he is the president, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee along with Speaker John Boehner are leveraging their positions to defend the wishes of the citizens.The Founding Fathers gave us this separation of authorities to address exactly this kind of national disparity.
The federal government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30.And the United States Constitution determines that, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”The first spending bill sent to the Senate by the House this year included no funding for Obamacare.Of course, the Democratically controlled Senate rejected that notion.At this point, the House is withholding a spending bill until the Senate and President agree to extending the same Obamacare sign-up delay for individuals as are already granted by the White House for businesses.They also want to eliminate the exemptions from Obamacare for members of Congress.Because we are now into the new fiscal year, which began October 1, the government will operate in “shutdown” mode until the two Houses of Congress come to an agreement.
The shutdown has created a tremendous impact on those who work directly and indirectly for the government.But most Americans are only aware of the lockout because it dominates the talk of radio & TV.Otherwise, we barely notice any disturbance in the force.And nothing irritates a statist more than indifference to their eminence.
So since the President gets to decide what defines a government shutdown, the Administration is asserting those closures that will most effectively help Americans to understand just how crucial the federal government is.So, along with the obvious measure of imposing a furlough for all non-essential employees, the White House is taking deliberate actions to irritate the common folk.
The most arrogant motion is the closure of National Park facilities.While I appreciate the role of park rangers, I feel no particular need to enjoy the company of federal employees while visiting Yellowstone Park.So, rather than posting armed guards at locked gates during the shutdown, why not leave them wide open?It’s our park.So goes for the other 400 battlefields, monuments and parks that have been closed.
The Obama Adminstration even locked out visitors to Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s home.It is not owned nor operated with federal money nor staffed by federal employees.But the White House took advantage of federal ownership of the land on which the parking lot is located.We can’t use a parking lot without the oversight of government employees?What pompousness.
Of course, nothing has been a louder statement than the Obamas living it up in our White House while locking out veterans from experiencing the World War II memorial, just one mile away. I love every one of those veterans who stormed the gates in their wheelchairs.That memorial was paid for by private funds, and far more importantly, was paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of our heroes.
President Obama, you didn’t build that.