Congress managed at the last minute on Friday night to avert a partial shuttering of the Department of Homeland Security, passing a one-week funding measure for the agency. President Obama signed it shortly before the midnight deadline.
The deal came together after a whirlwind day of negotiations in which the House Republican leadership suffered a humiliating defeat when its 20-day funding bill was rejected. The arrangement is expected to prolong talks about longer-term DHS funding until at least early next week.All this really did was push the argument down the road for another week. The same problem is there, and the same roadblocks by the extremists are still up.
What did you expect when you put in power a political party whose ideology is that government is either dysfunctional or deserving of shutdown?
When you hire a plumber who believes the piping in your house is the wrong material, what do you expect when that plumber refuses to fix it and allows the house to collapse when the pipes break? When you call Animal Control about the bear in your kitchen, and the Animal Control guy claims the bear is not real because the last reported bear sighting was 12 years ago and besides we're better off leveling the forest next month to make sure there aren't any bears by then, what did you expect when your house got vandalized by that bear and your property value was decimated when the surrounding neighborhood got napalmed? What did you expect when you vote in a politician who believes government is a problem, and then refuses to do the job just to prove that belief?
I'm reminded of what Andrew Sullivan wrote before the 2010 midterms when the GOP threatened to reclaim the House, where he argued that being in a position of authority would force the increasingly partisan Republican Party to pull back and govern responsibly: "If they win back the House, as it seems inevitable they will, they will have to offer something at last instead of criticizing everything in comically tired tropes..." That never happened: the GOP got worse because their own echo chamber convinced them they won power on merit rather than false advertising. Even Sullivan realized that the month after those midterms.
The results of 2014 proved the same: they barely governed - fewest bills passed in ages - and consistently behaved incompetent, ignorant, and obstructionist, leading up the Long October of a government shutdown that many Americans blamed them for creating. Even in the face of all that, the Republicans profited from terrible voter turnout and even more partisan campaigning and won control of both houses of Congress as well as more state offices.
Republicans are not learning any lessons of accountability because they're never held accountable at all. They were blamed for the Long October shutdown: They won more seats and power that following election. Negative Reinforcement of the worst kind. Every electoral win convinces them that their "message" is right and true and accepted by all even when polling shows majorities of Americans disagreeing with Republicans on things like taxing the rich and gay marriage, even when a majority of Americans hate the job they're doing, or back Obama's agenda on immigration. Because they've rigged elections with gerrymandering and purposeful voter suppression, and pretend otherwise.
The Republicans ideology is that "government is bad", full stop. This defines their push to cut taxes and cut social welfare programs and cut nearly everything that makes the government function to serve the needs of the people. This defines their push to deregulate and privatize everything on the assumption that the private sector can self-regulate and provide effective services, even though centuries of public sector work and centuries of private-sector graft and corruption have proven otherwise.
This threat of Homeland Security shutdown is all happening as a backdrop to the CPAC gathering, where Presidential wannabes pander to the wingnut factions to curry early momentum. None of the potential candidates have called on the failures of the Congressional GOP. None of them are honestly advocating for good governance.
They are all campaigning on killing schools, killing the social safety nets, killing worker rights, killing foreigners, and killing civil liberties. The final, purest expression of the social conservatism of the Southern Strategy. The southern conservatives that drove the horrors of human history of the 19th century and perpetuated that horror in the shadows of the 20th century will achieve their victory in the 21st century: a federal government in ruins, the poor shackled and sick, injustice for many except the elite.
This is what you keep voting for, Americans, especially when you refuse to show up and vote for saner alternatives. This is what you get when you hire people whose pre-ordained mythology drives them to destroy the very institutions you've allowed them to take control of.
And like suckers buying toxic snake-oil, you're going to keep buying this swill until everyone is poisoned, and everything truly collapses. And by then it will all be over but the tears.