Thanks to the shutdown, the press and the public can’t stand the GOP. But, Peter Beinart argues, Republican ideological influence is increasing.
The news from Washington is all about President Obama’s impending triumph in the government shutdown/debt ceiling standoff. “Boehner Blinks,” declared a recent headline in The Washington Post. “Republicans,” explained ABC’s Jonathan Karl, “are working out the terms of their surrender.”
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
If this is Republican surrender, I hope I never see Republican victory.
To understand how upside down the current media analysis is, you need to go back a couple of years. In 2011, with Republicans threatening to provoke a debt default, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which cut government spending by $917 billion over 10 years. The agreement also created a congressional “supercommittee” charged with finding additional cuts. If the committee failed to do so, cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over ten years would kick in automatically at the end of 2012, via a process called “sequestration.”
Solving the debt crisis would be simple if the government would use the same conflict resolution tactic as the business sector, argues one of the nation’s top CEOs.
While the government rolls towards its next toxic deadline—authorizing a new debt ceiling limit—the policy stalemate seems to be deepening. We are surely a nation divided when it comes to government spending. But we aren’t a nation divided when it comes to shutdowns and defaults. Polls show most Americans believe the battle has gone too far. So as we lurch toward the next “fail-safe” milestone, there must be a way out for both sides.
The shutdown according to everyone else.
Looking back at some of the mutually destructive conflicts between labor unions and companies, there are cases like International Harvester’s 1979-1980 strike, in which opposing positions became so publicly entrenched that neither side could negotiate effectively. More recently, we recall Hostess Brands’ strike which ended the company altogether. Recalling these now makes the situation in DC feel so eerie—so many people wanting the two sides to resolve the conflict, yet so little progress has been made and so little hope that the situation will improve.
In response to the great labor disputes, binding arbitration came into favor as a concept to get working Americans back to work and to resolve seemingly unresolvable conflict while minimizing collateral damage. It has since emerged as the most effective way to resolve even the most contentious conflicts. So what can we learn from binding arbitration and how can we apply it to the Congressional gridlock?
Reid and McConnell fail to reach a deal.
Shocking no one, the Senate came out of talks about how to end the shutdown Sunday... no closer to ending it. The phone call, between Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was "cordial" but—owing to conflicting demands from both parties—fruitless. The failure to reach a deal leaves the Senate only three days to negotiate a way to lift the debt ceiling ahead of the Thursday deadline. While Washington tries to remain optimistic, many around the world are sounding the alarm of a catastrophic debt default—including International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.
Million Vet March stopped at the White House.
They might be 50 years too young for a World War II veterans rally, but that didn’t stop Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin. The Tea Party darlings spoke Sunday at a Washington D.C. rally to reopen the World War II memorial, calling on Congress and the president to not politicize a memorial—atlhough they were the people who brought up politics. The protest originally had been organized by the Million Vet March, who claimed the memorial is being used as “political pawns in the ongoing government shutdown and budget crisis.” The protesters were stopped at the White House gates by Secret Service and U.S. Park Police—but no word if anyone realized the irony.
Inside the right-wing conclave, the train wreck’s drivers, from Ted Cruz to Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, were celebrated—and completely unchallenged. By Jamelle Bouie.
It didn’t take long at the Values Voter Summit to see why House Republicans feel empowered to drive the country off the cliff if they don’t get their demands.
A boy holds an United States flag during the singing of the national anthem at the beginning of the 2013 Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council, on October 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Andrew Burton/Getty)
The four lawmakers who inaugurated the day’s events—Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida—are all on the Tea Party vanguard of the Republican Party. And Cruz is the pied piper who has used his considerable intellectual gifts to corral conservatives into a suicide run against the Affordable Care Act.
But if the crowd at Values Voter was any indication, they were willing participants. Indeed, if the right wing of the right wing needs a motto, “You only live once” fits the bill. At each point, the audience was eager to punctuate his rhetoric with cheers and applause. “I’m going to suggest a model for how we turn this country around in the next couple of years,” he said, turning the speech—which Cruz gave away from the podium, pacing the stage like a motivational speaker—toward events in Washington, “And it is the model that we have been following together for the last couple of months to stop that train wreck, that disaster, that nightmare that is ‘Obamacare.’”
One mom’s all-out fight for an experimental gene therapy to save her child was about to reach a critical government approval. Now, it’s an agonizing wait. By Michael Daly.
Until the government shutdown, it seemed nothing could block an upstate New York woman’s five-year struggle to give her daughter a fighting chance to survive an exceedingly rare and presently incurable illness.
“They call us fighting moms,” says the mother, Lori Sames.
Back in 2008 when her 4-year-old daughter, Hannah, was first diagnosed with giant axonal neuropathy, the doctors said that it was essentially a death sentence. The genetic disorder that was initially manifesting itself as a difficulty in walking could be expected to extend through Hannah’s central nervous system to where she would be left a paraplegic, dependent on a feeding tube and a respirator, but conscious and excruciatingly aware until the inexorable end.
There was said to be no treatment at all.
President Obama could overrule one obscure opinion from Jimmy Carter’s attorney general—and reopen the government himself. Ben Jacobs explains.
The government shutdown has had drastic effects across America. But there is no federal law mandating that it should be so severe. Instead, much of the shutdown’s impact is a direct consequence of a nonbinding legal opinion issued by Jimmy Carter’s attorney general, which could be easily be revoked by Eric Holder and the Obama administration. All they’d have to do is write a new opinion... and override 30 years of precedent.
The shutdown according to everyone else.
Between 1974—when the modern era of budgeting started on Capitol Hill—and 1980, there were several government shutdowns. There was a period of 10 days during the Ford administration and then several shutdowns totaling 57 days during Carter’s term—but there were no catastrophic consequences. Affected employees weren’t paid and many programs suffered for lack of funding, but everyone kept on showing up for work and national parks and government offices stayed open for business. It was considered more of a “funding gap” than a full-scale shutdown.
This was perfectly acceptable. Just because Congress couldn’t agree on a budget or an appropriations bill didn’t mean that it wanted to shut down the government. Instead, it was a hiccup in the legislative process, not a catastrophe. That all changed in 1980, when President Carter asked his attorney general, Ben Civiletti, for a legal opinion on what the federal government could do during a shutdown. Civiletti’s position made all future shutdowns far more disruptive.
The holiday shopping season is around the corner. But if the government doesn’t reopen for business soon, it’s going to be a very un-merry Christmas, writes Daniel Gross.
Black Friday is only seven weeks away. And the government shutdown, now in its second week, is already casting a pall over the holiday shopping season.
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
You can ridicule, dump on, or boycott, the Christmas shopping season, but you can’t deny its importance. The fourth quarter is simply a huge one for the consumer economy. Advertising budgets are ramped up. Stores of all types stock up in anticipation of a massive rush of demand. The last several weeks can make or break the year for many large retailers.
So if you throw a wet blanket over the consumer economy at the beginning of the fourth quarter – like, say, shutting down the government, furloughing hundreds of thousands of workers, and threatening to default on the nation’s debt – you can do some damage. Especially if the holiday shopping season is front-loaded because Hanukkah falls in November rather than December.
Winning a vote is not the same as winning the support of the majority of the people. Stuart Stevens on the Affordable Care Act’s original sin—a party-line approval.
Call it The Guns of August moment in October.
Republican Senators speak out against the Affordable Care Act. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
In 1962, Barbara Tuchman published a brilliant narrative, The Guns of August, which told the disastrous story of how the world was swept into World War I, a conflict no one really wanted and few anticipated. The tragically comic entry into war—an obscure duke shot in an obscure place for obscure reasons—was quickly forgotten amid years of trench war and recriminations.
Tuchman was often criticized by academicians for being a self-taught historian with only a BA. But what she grasped better than so many Ph.D.s was the role that emotion and human frailties played in the sweep of history. Those confusing days leading up to World War I were dominated by a near total inability of the different parties to understand either the mind or the heart of opposing parties. It wasn’t just that each side thought they were justified in their opinions; they lacked the ability to fathom how reason would allow for the possibility of a different opinion.
Ted Cruz may be trying to spin it otherwise, but the numbers show the GOP is even losing the support of Republican voters. By Kirsten Powers.
Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. It’s now an official wing of the Republican Party.
Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to reporters. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
As poll after poll after poll shows Americans angry with the GOP over the government shutdown, Tea Party Republicans are still trying to spin this disaster as a win for the GOP. This epic denial brings back memories of Election 2012, when Republicans believed right up to the last minute that the reelection of Barack Obama was a scientific impossibility.
Not surprisingly, the chief purveyor of the latest fairy tale is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who spun it for his GOP colleagues at a Wednesday luncheon. Here is his argument, which has worked its way into Tea Party talking points: In November 1995, 51 percent of voters blamed Republicans for the shutdown; a mere 28 percent blamed then-President Clinton. Every poll shows that the GOP is being blamed for the shutdown this time as well. But it’s by a smaller margin than in 1995. Break out the Champagne.
Meet Betty Reid Soskin, the nonagenarian ranger at the Rosie the Riveter monument. She's out on furlough and has a message for Congress: "Let me get back to work!"
On October 1, Betty Reid Soskin was told to go home. She was furloughed. The 92-year-old, the oldest full-time ranger in the National Park Service, collected her things, put an “on vacation” message on her phone and left the office.
First she went to the bank to switch her small savings account to her checking account and went home to wait and to “match missing socks.”
Soskin is still there, hoping for the call that will bring her back to her job as a guide at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California.
It is a park without boundaries within an urban area and honors not only the famous Rosie but also tells the story of the home front during WWII. The spunky nonagenarian splits her time between three days a week as a tour guide and two days in the administrative office. She is considered a living legend, the go-to source for wartime memories.
He’s not going to wait for the shutdown to end. The New York real estate mogul's family foundation is paying the death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers.
Arnold Fisher is outraged.
The New York real estate mogul and philanthropist's family foundation, The Fisher House Foundation is paying the death benefits to the families of soldiers who have died on duty since the government shutdown began on midnight on October 1.
In an interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz as part of The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit, Fisher talked about his decision to step up for military families, asking elected officials, “Where are you? Shame on you?”
Condemning the government shutdown, Arnold Fisher said, "This is not my America!"
The House speaker is trying to steer Republicans away from Obamacare, but Michael Needham, the young CEO of Heritage Action, is giving no ground. Eleanor Clift on his drive to reshape the party.
After the 2012 election, when other conservatives were licking their wounds, Michael Needham narrated a Heritage Action video declaring, “We are in a war,” a call to action for conservatives. Defunding Obamacare became the holy grail, with a passion that catapulted House Republicans into a government shutdown that Needham says he didn’t want. But in war, there’s always collateral damage. “Over the course of the next week, President Obama will feel the pain,” he says confidently. “We will win the debate.”
Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action. (YouTube)
Needham says everything with great confidence. The 31-year-old is the CEO of Heritage Action, the political advocacy group that is giving House Speaker John Boehner fits. As Boehner and others try to steer Republicans away from Obamacare to more achievable economic concessions, Needham doesn’t give ground. “Any CR [continuing resolution to fund the government] of any length that doesn’t address Obamacare is not acceptable,” he told reporters at a breakfast Wednesday sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
He calls the idea being floated that repealing a tax on medical devices might placate conservatives “laughable.” He stops short of attaching conditions for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, explaining that Heritage Action has made a tactical decision to focus on the shutdown. But he echoes what many conservatives are saying, that default on the debt will never happen, that Obama and the Democrats are “fear-mongering.”
We know you're out there. David Frum calls upon the GOP's rational caucus to step up before it's too late.
Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce declared in favor of a clean, unconditional vote to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government. The Chamber pledged to support with campaign donations any Republican member of Congress who faced a primary challenge after casting such a vote. The Chamber's decision is not a turn of the tide, but it is a shift in the wind.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) leaves a meeting of the House Republican caucus at the U.S. Capitol October 8, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty)
I wrote recently about the bad habits among Republicans that have enabled this week's debt crisis, the latest in a long series of crises since 2009. All these crises have had the same fundamental cause: many Republicans have become so radicalized in the Obama years that they are willing to jettison the accustomed rules and norms of politics. Many—but not all.
There has always been a pool of Republicans who have doubted the party's radical turn. Until now, however, these Republicans have been quiet and passive. They came out to vote in 2010, but they did not join Tea Party rallies. They supported Mitt Romney in the primaries because he looked like a potential president, but they did not object when Romney fastened his campaign to the deadweight anchor of the Ryan plan. They look to Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell to fend off the crazies in the caucus, but they did not understand that those leaders' strategy for "fending off" the crazies consisted of abject appeasement of the crazies.
Former Disney chairman Michael Eisner said if the government shutdown was ‘The Godfather,’ House Speaker John Boehner would be the spineless black sheep of the family. Lloyd Grove on the eyebrow-raising analogy.
Really? Is House Speaker John Boehner just like Fredo, the Corleone family’s weak-minded, spineless yet wildly ambitious black-sheep brother in The Godfather movies?
That was the argument advanced by former Disney chairman Michael Eisner, a generous donor to Democratic candidates, during Wednesday morning’sSquawk Box on CNBC.
Illustration by The Daily Beast; Photos: Getty
“You have a character like Fredo in The Godfather who’s too weak to go against his own minority, let’s say, and do the right thing,” said Eisner, chairman of Tornante, a media and entertainment investment company, assessing the government shutdown and debt ceiling battle. “I don’t think the president has a great bunch of opportunities because he doesn’t want to be the first president that actually, in advance, knowingly puts the country in default. At the same time, if he folds to this kind of threat, he is a weak man.”
The U.S. Government shutdown has ended and the debt ceiling crisis has been averted for now. Americans feel relieved, but how does the rest of the world feel about it?
With the U.S. Navy heading to the Indian Ocean to look for the missing Malaysian jet, Clive Irving explains the difficulty of searching an area that's 'not covered by radar.'
Jerry Boykin, a retired Lieutenant General and rightwinger, spouted anti-Semitic “jokes” and accused Obama of supporting al-Qaeda at a conservative Christian conference.