No, both parties aren’t to blame for this shutdown or the impending default. The pundits have taken a liking to this narrative, and it only gets worse as default nears and their general panic causes them to turn to Democrats expecting the grown ups to fix everything for them, even as they continue to pretend that Republicans are a functioning party that stands for fiscal conservatism. Not all efforts at false equivalency are this egregious, but they are dangerous in their capacity to spread delusion.
Democrats haven’t asked for anything in order to fund the government or avoid default. Democrats have been willing to sign both a clean CR (continuing resolution to fund the government) and a clean DL (debt limit increase to raise the debt ceiling, which represents money Congress has already spent).
If Democrats had been shut out of the White House and Senate and then as retaliation, shutdown the government with a list of very liberal demands, you would know it because it would look like this:
They would demand not one more moment of drilling, an immediate end to fracking, not one more tree cut down, no harming animals, no starving children, safe gun policies, equal pay for women, and employers be free to refuse to pay for health insurance that covers male impotence because their far left, atheist beliefs are offended by impotence, which they view as a mainly a red state problem. (OK, this last analogy is really quite bad, but then liberals don’t base policy on religion or fear an entire sex because of their nether regions, so we have to take a leap in order to illustrate the utterly medieval madness of the modern day GOP and the surreal fact that they are actually using the government shutdown and debt ceiling as leverage to impose their religious beliefs on the country.)
Then at the very same time, Democrats would refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless Republicans raised taxes to 95% on the rich and corporations because our deficit, you see. We need revenue and the children are hungry. It’s an EMERGENCY and it can’t wait. Also, the jobs bill will have to be passed.
Then, when things got down to the wire, and default was looming and the press was asking why Republicans wouldn’t just give Democrats what they wanted because of the country, the poor country, Democrats would offer a new bill from the House that demanded Citizens United be dismantled. No more personhood for corporations. When Republicans refused and the pundits blamed both sides, Democrats would snicker in the corner at the genius of their evil plan. Set the GOP up for failure on their watch, and get the press to assist? Done!
Oh, and Democrats would be planning to do this again around Christmas — even as the current destruction was killing corporations and the rich — in order to get more Democratic policies enacted. See, they know Christmas is important to retailers and thus the economy, and it’s also a way to be super petty, ruining any joy Republicans might be feeling in case things are improving for their base (corporations) during the holiday season. (Yes, Republicans keep “offering” to redo this right before Christmas, for real.)
Both sides are not to blame for this. In fact, in this specific case, Democrats are acting in the best interests of the country and the Constitution. When pundits are panicking over the markets and the global economy, they need to take the next step and ask themselves not just how to we end the bleeding now, but additionally, how do we keep this from happening again? The answer is to do what the Democrats are doing. We can’t reward this kind of dangerous hostage taking from any party, chamber, or branch of government.
Yes, it hurts. But those issues should be addressed with the responsible party, for Democrats do not control Republicans. To kick Democrats for Republican misdeeds is a waste of energy and only belies a lack of courage to call out the facts. And haven’t we seen enough cowardice to last us quite a while?
And by the way, since some of the above policies are what Democrats ran on and yet can’t enact because Republicans are blocking all legislation, wouldn’t it make more sense if Democrats were the folks threatening a jihad on the country? Instead, it’s the losing party — the folks who do not have the will of the people behind them.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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