Just realized I have a tag for #Is It August Yet, so apparently I've mused about this time of year before.
For myself, this is part of the year at the library I work - and have been so at other libraries throughout my career - that things slow down a little. The summer reading programs for kids finish in July, families get ready for school starting up just before September, the snow birds have yet to return from up north back to the Florida neighborhoods where libraries wait for their arrival. In the real world, calling August the Dog Days - the time to nap long in hot weather, cope with the stretches of time - of the year has always been an apt thing to do.
In the political world, this time of year is where the Congressional fights flare up between the long vacation break and the upcoming conflicts of settling annual budgets and omnibus bills due by October. As such, we're getting talk about another round of shutdowns, this time over Planned Parenthood. The need to appeal to the Far Right has kicked up this year due to the now-packed and fully-crazed primary season, and going after Planned Parenthood for their abortion services and other women's health care providing is red-meat material for the likes of Ted Cruz (via Simon Malloy):
...This is now a familiar dynamic of the relationship between Republicans in Congress and activist conservatives. When it comes time to make new appropriations and keep the government’s lights on, hard-line conservatives in the media and elsewhere insist that Republicans go nuclear and threaten a government shutdown in pursuit of their preferred policy outcome, whether it be defunding Obamacare, defunding President Obama’s executive actions on deportations, or stripping Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. And they make these demands even though the chances winning these fights are slim to nonexistent – Democrats still retain filibuster authority in the Senate, and even if legislation were to get through, Obama would veto it...
...But once again the Republicans in Congress find themselves in a position in which the simple act of governing is made difficult by the extreme positions of their influential hard-right flank. The Republican leadership opposes abortions rights and does not support Planned Parenthood, but if they’re not willing to drive off the edge of the political cliff to cut funding to the group, then in the eyes of people like Erick Erickson they’re no better than pro-choice Democrats. “Friends,” he writes, “if Republicans in Congress will not stop giving tax payer dollars to the American Joseph Mengele, we should show the party violence in the polling booth.” Reactions like these scare Republicans in Congress. The question is whether they will (once again) be pressured into another shutdown fight they won’t win.
It's because Congress can't win these fights. The ones who DO win these fights are the agitators on the outside, the caustic critics on the sidelines and the media channels who profit from shilling their books and motivational appearances at the cost of competent governance. It'll cost Boehner and McConnell political points and maybe even their seats sooner rather than later, but it'll cost Erickson nothing and in fact he'll probably get more invites to the Sunday talk shows because of it. It won't cost Ted Cruz or any of the other Presidential candidates either, especially as they struggle to impress the Far Right voters they need to win the early-month Primaries next year.
In the midst of all this, we are facing the first round of a rather early series of debates for the 2016 Presidential campaigns. The circus of campaigning has gone from a 4-year cycle to a full-time gig (half of the jokers on the right we have debating have been campaigning for this moment ever since 2011 when you think about it). And where the Fox Not-News people are setting the debate table for a chaotic affair, the powers-that-be running the back-rooms of the Republicans are hosting their own private summit to narrow down their personal favorites to a banner-carrier despite the voters' preferences.
August is not a time to relax when it comes to politics.
It is apparently a time to drink. Drink early, drink heavily. Especially if you're Rinse, uh Reince Prebius, or the RNC Chair Formerly Known as Prince, however he wants to be known. Because that Debate Drinking Game blog post I wrote a week ago has been blowing up my stats chart... No seriously my stats chart has been spiking all day because of that, I mean I F-CKING LOVE YOU GUYS for visiting it...