The concept behind negotiation is trying to reach an agreement or compromise on a particular issue by discussion with others, and under normal conditions each side is aware of the topic at hand and makes offers of concession to expedite the negotiations to fruition. Over the past two days Republicans claimed Democrats and President Obama were unwilling to negotiate on spending levels to keep the government running for fiscal year 2014, so they shut down the government for the second time in seventeen years because a Democrat was in the White House. However, what Republicans are not telling the American people is that Senate Democrats and the President already compromised with Republican demands that spending levels be kept at austerity levels including their precious sequestration cuts despite they are killing jobs and hurting Americans.
The media has been remiss to report that Senate Democrats caved and gave Republicans the spending levels they demanded because it made better copy to cover extraneous conditions categorically unrelated to federal government spending levels. Indeed, Republicans demanded eliminating, defunding and then delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a conscience clause for inhumane Christian medical providers, and an exemption that gave fanatical Christian employers religious liberty to demand their employees subject themselves to the employer’s biblical prohibitions on contraception. The theocratic gifts to extremist Christians, and ideological gift to the Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation, and teabaggers are unrelated to funding the federal government for the next year, but the media and Republicans still report they had to shut down the government because of Democrats “failure to compromise.”
Unlike Republicans, Senate Democrats desperately wanted to keep the government operating and made an “enormous compromise” to avoid the Republican shutdown. The Democratic-controlled Senate agreed to funding levels that are much closer to the Republican-controlled House budget plan than they are to the Senate’s 2014 budget proposal, and it is the latest in a long line of Democratic compromises over the past several years. The Senate’s continuing resolution to keep the government operating set relevant funding levels at an annualized total of $986 billion that is dramatically less than the budget plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. Ryan lusted for spending levels of $1.095 trillion for fiscal year 2014 that means the Democratic Senate’s compromise is 10% less than the levels in the original Ryan budget. Still, it was not enough of a concession for Republicans who assert Democrats are guilty of “failing to compromise,” or negotiating extraneous issues in funding the government.
America has a longstanding policy of not negotiating with terrorists and hostage takers, and Senate Democrats and President Obama followed the nation’s policy to the letter prompting criminal Republicans to “shoot the hostage;” which in this case is withholding funding to keep the federal government open. Republicans followed typical criminal behavior in extracting spending levels they demanded and then feeling empowered demanded “extra concessions” to satisfy their funding machine and evangelical voting bloc. The problem Republicans now have to face is that although they were successful and likely ecstatic they put 800,000 federal employees out of work, closed down regulatory agencies that protect American consumers, and adversely impacted the economy, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land and the American people are livid Republicans cannot accept that simple fact.
According to a Quinnipiac and PPP poll released yesterday, Americans were against a government shutdown as a way to stop the health care law from taking effect by a margin of nearly three-to one (72-22%). They are also against Republican plans to block an increase in the nation’s debt limit as a way to eliminate the health law by a margin of 64-27%, and 74% disapprove of Republican terror tactics to kill the three year old healthcare law. Voters are also opposed 58-34% to Congress cutting off funding for the health care law to stop its implementation and it leads one to question why Republicans persist in claiming the American people are behind their terrorism, and why they included extraneous issues in a bill to fund the government.
President Obama did what the mainstream media has failed to do throughout the government funding crisis and said “They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.” The Republican terrorists did not shut down the government over spending levels because Democrats and the President already conceded Republican austerity for the sole purpose of averting another GOP-caused crisis. The shutdown is about harming the economy and making the people suffer. The President also said “Republicans don’t get to hold the economy hostage over ideological demands,” but on that one point the President is wrong; Republicans are holding the economy hostage over ideology that drove their shutdown mindset. In fact, Republicans were predisposed and intent on shutting down the government or they would not have passed legislation to pay military personnel “when” they shut down the government two days before the deadline.
Despite what Republicans or the media say, the shutdown is not about Democrats’ “failure to compromise” or “unwillingness to negotiate,” it is about terrorizing the American people. Even the man who most wants the government “drowned in a bathtub,” Grover Norquist, complained that the President would not negotiate with Republican terrorists even though he knew well that Democrats made a supreme compromise by acquiescing to Republican funding levels to spare the people the devastation of a shutdown.
This Republican shutdown is a portent of the approaching debt limit increase meant to instill terror in the population that unless their ransom demands are met, they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling and plunge the nation, and the world’s economy into a financial crisis if their demands are not met. There is no limit to the damage Republicans will inflict on the nation, its economy, and its people over ideology founded on Republicans’ belief that if they cannot rule America, they will take the country down. Republicans could stop the shutdown immediately with a clean continuing resolution, but they will not for two simple reasons; the extremists will not allow it, and Republicans enjoy hurting the people.
Republicans and their teabagger cohort may hate the Affordable Care Act, but they hate the American people more and if it is not the Affordable Care Act, it will be something else because whatever Republicans are, they are America-hating terrorists first. After four-and-a-half years of covering their hate campaign against Americans, it is high time the media stops reporting Democrats won’t compromise and Obama will not negotiate because every person in America knows, you cannot negotiate with terrorists whether they are teabaggers or Republicans.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.