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Shutdown 2.0: Congress Learned Nothing, Is Ready to Repeat Past Mistakes


Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe my hopes were tainted by the approach of Thanksgiving.  Whatever my heart was longing for, the reality is, my head has secretly known all along that the ugliness and ineptitude behind October’s debt ceiling/government shutdown debacle was certain to come back again.

And sure enough, it is.  The five week ceasefire in Washington is officially over.

As my co-host Jeff Macke and I discuss in the attached video, whether it’s Tea Party members who want to do it all over again and think their only strategic blunder was “bad messaging,” or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who is about to break 225 years of precedent and change the body’s procedural voting rules by invoking what’s known as “the nuclear option,” rancor is clearly on the rise.

“If your enemy is harming himself,” Macke paraphrases military lore, “don’t interrupt him.”  

The point is, the best thing to happen to the Republicans generally, and the Tea Party specifically, since their failed shutdown negotiations was a gift, not an initiative.  The rocky rollout of Obamacare has done as much to harm the left as it has in unifying the right. 

Of course all of this is happening at a time when three new decision deadlines, born of the last shutdown, are fast approaching.  It is also occurring in spite of polls that show Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the way Congress conducts its business, and are less enamored with the President.

To be sure, every action in Washington is part of a broader strategy to maximize power and party control, and the next big battleground will clearly be the run-up to the mid-term elections a year from now.  While winning that fight is clearly on top of lawmakers’ agendas, average citizens get taken along for a ride whether we like or not. 

“How about a working government that actually stays open and does good things,” Macke offers as an alternative to the status quo of perpetual dysfunction.

Nice idea, but not happening.   The lines are drawn and the fighting has commenced once again.

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