“What we have here is a failure to communicate,” Cool Hand Luke once said and if he were in Washington today he’d probably be saying the exact same thing.
The U. S. Government is shut down again. This is the eighteenth time this has happened. The first shutdown came in 1976 under President Gerald Ford and it was largely over funding for two departments – Labor and Heath, Education and Welfare. The Democratically controlled Congress eventually overrode Ford’s veto. It took 12 days.
President Jimmy Carter was involved in 4 shut downs of the U.S. government. Issues included Medicaid, abortion and funding for public works and military projects.
President Reagan is the “Shutdown King” having been involved in 7 such events. The issues ran accross the board with everything from MX missiles to abortion. Reading about the Reagan shutdowns one has to be impressed with how they were resolved.
Here is an example: In 1987 the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. They opposed funding for the Nicaraguan Contras but desired the FCC to start reinforcing the “Fairness Doctrine.” The D’s yielded on Fairness Doctrine in exchange for non-lethal aid for the Contras.
Do you see my point?
They “yielded.” There was a compromise. Reagan worked with his political opponents in an amazing manner.
President George H.W. Bush and Congress worked out a deal in 1990. President Bill Clinton and Congress twice agreed to compromises in order to end shutdowns!
Amazingly President George W. Bush never had to deal with a shutdown.
So what about today?
For starters the fragmentation in the political parties, especially within the GOP, is greater than ever before. Leaders don’t have anywhere near the clout they did a few years ago. Pork Barrel deals and political money are not available to be spread around to help legislators change their minds.
No doubt the Republicans holding Obamacare hostage will get much of the blame, but President Obama better watch out because eventually a floundering economy will land on his lap.
Don’t look for much but rhetoric for a few weeks, but on October 24th bond payments will be due and the rubber will start to hit the road. Stay tuned.
I’m Steve Sauder and there’s something to think about.