Government shutdowns are nothing new. This is America's third such shutdown since the mid-1990s, when the GOP, led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, forced a shutdown. (Matt Rourke / AP)
In Washington, shutdowns happen
Joseph A. Morris in The Washington Post : One party controls the White House and the Senate by less than the margin needed to end a filibuster, and the other party controls the House by a wide margin. A fundamental conflict over government spending is at the heart of an impasse that leads to a shutdown of the federal government.
The year is not 2013 but 1981 ... and 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1987. That’s right, the Reagan years, when President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill would work things out and avoid having to close the Washington Monument. With all due respect to Chris Matthews and other purveyors of this narrative popular in today’s Washington, the reality was quite different.
I joined the staff of the Office of Personnel Management in 1981. Soon after, several decisive actions by the president demonstrated his determination to show that lines had been crossed. One came in August with the firing of striking air traffic controllers. Another came Nov. 20, when Reagan vetoed an appropriations bill that did not achieve at least half of his proposed reduction of $8.4 billion in domestic spending. In the absence of appropriations, the administration shut down the government for four days.
That shutdown ended with the passage of a “clean” continuing resolution that provided appropriations through Dec. 15, during which time a deal was negotiated for funding the remainder of the fiscal year. But on Oct. 1, 1982, a battle over spending levels again resulted in a shutdown. After two days, Congress passed a short continuing resolution. When that expired Dec. 17, another shutdown ensued, lasting five days. It ended with an agreement in which Democrats dropped their demand for a hugely expensive “jobs bill” and Reagan gave up funding for the MX missile program.
A GOP response to Obamacare
Cal Thomas on Townhall.com : If Republicans were smart (I know, but stay with me) their focus during the Obamacare debate should have been less on blocking its implementation and more on a page they might have taken from the Democrat’s playbook, which is to rally the country to its side by use of sentimentality and the threat of impending doom. The good news for Republicans is that there’s still time.
It’s a sure bet Democrats are right now writing sob stories of tearful children barred from the Lincoln Memorial because of the government “shutdown.” The National Zoo in Washington inexplicably turned off its unmanned Panda Cam, which showed video of the newborn panda cub on the Internet. Boohoo.
A recent CBS News poll found that 54 percent of Americans disapprove of Obamacare. Republicans should respond with a campaign to encourage citizen outrage.
The Republican Party might create a series of TV and radio ads to run in states where Democrats are vulnerable in next year’s Senate and House races. Here are a few suggestions as to what these ads might highlight: Doctors who have quit their practices because they can no longer make a living under the voluminous federal requirements and rising costs of the new health care law would tell their stories. Similarly, because with Obamacare you may not be able to keep your old doctor, depending on the network you choose, show people lamenting this loss.
Yes, the Democrats could counter with ads showing people who say they had no insurance before Obamacare and they can now have their chronic diseases treated. Republicans might respond by saying the insurance “cure” may be worse than the disease and could ultimately reduce the quality and affordability of treatment for many others.
Black Hawk Down, 20 years later
Dustin Walker on Real Clear Politics : Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of a tragic episode in American military history popularly known as “Black Hawk Down.” Twenty years later, a small mission to capture two lieutenants of an obscure warlord in a little-known desert capital has become one of the most famous battles in American history, immortalized by author Mark Bowden and filmmaker Ridley Scott.
On Oct. 3, 1993, 160 U.S. Army Rangers and other special operators in Task Force Ranger launched a raid into the heart of Mogadishu’s Bakaara Market to capture two subordinates of the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. A routine mission was transformed into a desperate search and rescue attempt as an angry mob composed of thousands of heavily armed militiamen tried to swallow up the remains of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters shot down providing air support. American troops, who had not seen this kind of fierce urban combat in more than a generation, battled through the night to save their brothers.
Some 20 later, America remembers 18 brave soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Mogadishu.
We recall with horror the human capacity for barbarism and violence as the bodies of slain soldiers were mutilated and dragged through the streets for the entire world to see.
But more than that, we remember the triumph of courage and selflessness embodied by heroes like Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart. When Black Hawk helicopter Super 6-4 was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed, pilot Michael Durant was trapped in the cockpit with two broken femurs, a broken back, and three other wounded personnel.
Twenty years later, the lessons of Mogadishu offer important lessons that are still relevant for protecting Americans when they are sent into battle. Here’s hoping we learn them.