Sound and Fury

Most Americans would be fine during an extended government shutdown and the longer it goes the more people will realize it. Our national defense is not shut down, the mail is being delivered, and Social Security checks will arrive.

Some Americans will be be inconvenienced, but opponents of Obamacare are not apt to give up because they cannot visit the Statue of Liberty. You can, of course, still see it, and that is the main thing: like most things French it is better viewed from afar than up close.

No Christian is happy that any American is dependent on government service, but cutting off the program immediately is no way to liberate from dependency. It is too harsh.  Fellow Americans in this tough spot will have to depend on private charity and other organizations, religious and social, to make up the difference. A large number will be able to do this, but a few will not.

That is a cost of the shutdown that nobody takes lightly. There is also the chance that a delay in some government project will put off amazing cures, lead to a decrease in public health, or some missed opportunity in space exploration, though there is also good odds that delay will prevent waste, pressure folks to innovate, and allow the private sector relief from the government agencies “here to help.”

If, and this is a big if, Obamacare, a program that a majority of Americans do not want, were to be stopped, then the money and liberty saved for millions of Americans, for all of us, makes the risk worthwhile.

The argument that it is “embarrassing” that the “greatest nation on Earth” is partially shut down deserves scorn. Tyrants command, but our divided government is designed to be slow, to give even a minority the chance to slow down the plans of the most powerful man on the planet. The Speaker of the House is the third in line for the Presidency in a crisis: he is no Duma representative voting the will of the Kremlin Brownshirts.

I glory in our messy liberty, our political fights.

If the House holds firm and keeps offering to fund those areas where harm is being done (as they are), then after the initial hit, the White House and Democrats in the Senate may find themselves in a bind. Many Americans will learn how little they use the federal government. The “terror” of a partial government shutdown will no longer terrify, the formally “unprecedented” will have precedent.

We will remember the dread days in  October 2013 and realize we had little to fear, but fear itself.

Every moment that passes with the government partially shut down that brings no greater problems than being forced to hear Harry Reid in apoplectic apocalyptic rants will cause more Americans to turn to other matters: the baseball playoffs, why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D hired actors who can’t, and leaf raking.

Meanwhile the House can pass a bill every day funding the parts of the government we actually miss and every day Obama and Reid will explain why they will not pass those bills. Americans will begin to suspect the reason: neither the House nor the Senate would pass Obamacare today in its present form. If they open up a discussion of the plan, it will be modified heavily. Some parts are good, those will stay. Other parts were unread, ill considered,  transgressive on religious liberty, and indigestable by business: those parts an unfettered Congress would change.

That is the fear in the White House: the one Great Society program they passed may never be implemented. They will fight to the end, but the President is a lame duck with no political future. Will every Senator keep defunding Vets in order to save this President’s legacy?

The House leadership is making bold sounds, but the McCains will totter out to forge compromises that will make the hit they have already taken useless. In the past, the House has buckled, but they know their voters are sick of direct mail appeals to “stop Obamacare” that lead only to bloviating.

Reid cries doom and Cruz shouts enough: the rest of us suspect that a deal is already cut that will placate true believers in both parties while giving graft to the pols.

There is sound and fury and only the future will tell us if it meant anything.


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