By: Joe Suszczynski
Congress thankfully opened the government back up by voting to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, which did not let the country go into default. However this averted crisis should only get so much praise as funding for the government is only extended to January 15, 2014 along with the debt ceiling being extended to February, 7, 2014. The government is essentially doing what college student normally does when writing a term paper: puts it off and keeps procrastinating on when to start and complete it.
The insane part about all of this is that this whole government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis could have been avoided. Yes, the crisis was averted, which is great and I’m happy that we did not default, but that it is not the point. America did not need to be subjected to a government shutdown costing thousands of jobs for honest hardworking people along with coming down to the wire when making an agreement on the debt ceiling. Congress needs to get its head straight, because it’s currently in an orifice where it doesn’t belong.
Republicans should take a lot of the blame for this crisis. Although, it should be noted that 87 Republicans in the House and 27 Republicans in the Senate voted for the deal. They should get some credit because they played ball and put the country ahead of their politics. However 18 senators and 144 members of congress voted against the bill, all of whom are of the Republican Party. There was not one Democrat, in either house, who voted against this bill. Counting both houses 162 Republicans would have rather have the country default than voting yes on the bill.
That is an utterly despicable and unpatriotic thing to do. It is unpatriotic to let your country be financially destroyed because of your own personal politics being clouded of what needs to be done for the sake of the people you represent.
The problem with the Republican Party is a small sect within the party itself, the Tea Party, is causing all the issues in both Houses. You’d think that a small part of a bigger party would not be a problem, but it is.
After his 21 hour charade of a filibuster Senator Ted Cruz, a prominent member of the Tea Party Republicans, is still out to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. According to an aide, Cruz does not rule out another chance of a government shutdown in the future. I hope that he isn’t serious about not ruling out another government shutdown. The government shutdown cost America billions of dollars so what would possess the senator to do something like this again when it could create more resentment within Americans?
It is completely asinine to the point where even members of his own party are speaking out against him. Arizona Senator John McCain called Cruz a “wacko-bird.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker criticized Cruz’s filibuster and has said, “I’m just asking the question, is it more important to the senator from Texas and the senator from Utah (Mike Lee) that the people around the country watch this vote, or is it more important that we have a good policy outcome from our standpoint?”
Cruz really needs to dial it back now that the government is back open for business and the popularity of Republicans have been going down. Pew Research Center currently has Republican disapproval rating at 72%. That isn’t very reassuring when nearly three quarters of Americans disapprove of the Republicans in congress.
It is time for the Republicans to stop obstructing the government and start working with it because if they don’t and keep staying the course then their popularity will go down and will potentially cost them seats in the House and Senate in future elections.
The modern Republican Party has been around over 150 years now and has boasted some great presidents like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, but as of today they are beginning to show some signs of instability. The Tea Party has been driving the Republican base more and more to the right where even moderate Republicans cannot get elected. The moderates have either been thrown out of office or forced to keep moving right on the issues at hand.
The fringe elements of a political party should not be the place to set up the base of the party because it is so extreme there would not be any room for any type of compromise, which is essential to running a multi-party government. Republicans need to start moving and advocating more centrist or center-right positions in order to gain any favorability with the American people.
If the Republicans keep moving too far to the right, they just might fall off the cliff and the party will be no more.