Petty, embarrassing fallout on three fronts from partial shutdown
There is plenty of blame due both major political parties and all the major wings of our federal governing apparatus for the partial shutdown of our government.
But the closing of the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall and the national parks by the Obama administration represents the height of heartless pettiness that can only be laid at the feet of people drunk with power.
For starters, the memorial is an open air facility, so the government is creating work for itself to put up barricades and wire at the memorial.
And many of the national parks are administered privately or by governments of the states in which they are located.
So the no-brainer question is why would some people in the administration want to keep World War II vets from making the visit of their lifetime to the memorial or families from grasping the vision of America that is embodied in Mount Rushmore?
There are only two answers.
The obvious one is that the administration has apparently decided inflicting maximum albeit unnecessary pain on Americans will create added political pressure on Republicans to give in to all its demands.
The second answer is a sad one: These people are so intoxicated with power that they have forgotten how they got into the positions of privilege and power that they are in.
Instead of putting up barricades, they need to be talking to the World War II vets who are visiting the memorial. They could learn a lot about character, courage and duty to country. Removing nearby barriers days later for an immigration rally that included illegal aliens shows that they have lessons to learn.
Another atrocious insult surfaced this past week when death benefits to the families of recently fallen troops were denied and the shutdown was blamed, even though the House had specifically approved the money a month before the shutdown.
Fortunately, a private charitable organization intervened with stopgap funding for the families. Following a national outcry to fund the benefits, shutdown be damned, President Obama signed a bill to pay military death benefits for these families even as Chief White House Spokesman Jay Carney questioned the necessity. Previously, Carney stonewalled a question on when the president first became aware that the families weren’t getting the death benefits.
It was sad. It was embarrassing. And it was disturbing.
Despite President Obama’s daily use of his bully pulpit and a compliant major media to paint the Republican-controlled House as the reason for the partial government shutdown, the fact is the House has been passing daily spending measures 10 at last count geared to keeping most government operations open.
It is the Senate controlled by Nevada Democrat Sen. Harry Reid that has not approved the bills.
The House leaders who met again with the president Thursday have from constituents that the full implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act would be disastrous to the country. They are attempting to hold up just that part of the budget to keep such a disaster from happening.
They certainly haven’t pulled off that strategy correctly every step of the way. But it is the correct response to the American people that was confirmed by none other than President Obama when he gave businesses a one-year delay on the Affordable Care Act two months ago unilateral action, we might add, that may not even be constitutional.
We can agree to disagree on the shutdown, its purpose and its necessity. But let’s at least agree that unnecessary shutdowns of World War II memorials, awkward handling of death benefits to military families and hurtful closings of national parks are beneath what this country is supposed to stand for.