The shutdown ended. But the root cause remains.
And thatís not a rogue group of Republicans who place ideology over practical governing, as President Barack Obama and his media chorus would have us believe.
At the core of the two-week partial closure is the five-year failure of Congress to produce an annual budget. Thatís an appalling abdication by our political leaders of their basic responsibility.
The easy explanation, and the one preferred by Obamaís apologists in the punditry, is that the tea party has hijacked the Republican Party and will not allow the House to make reasonable compromises with the president.
But Obama isnít the first president to face an entrenched opposition. Republicans hated Bill Clinton so much they even tried to impeach him. But budgets got passed when he was president.
Democrats despised and disrespected George W. Bush, who, in his final two years was declared irrelevant by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But budgets got passed.
Whatís different today isnít the level of obstructionism by the opposition, but the lack of leadership by the executive. Comfort yourself in believing that nasty Republicans are the problem. But that doesnít jibe with the reality that even in the two years when Obama had a Democratic majority in Congress so large the GOP couldnít block anything ó witness Obamacare ó he still didnít get a budget done.
Obama wonít engage in the earnest negotiations required to reach compromise, so nothing happens until the bomb is ready to explode. Even the small spending cuts gained in the sequestration ó the ones producing the deficit reduction Obama brags about while trying to repeal them ó came as the clock ticked toward default.
The House has passed a budget each year, as required by the Constitution. The Senate is supposed to respond with its version of the budget, and the horse-trading commences.
It isnít happening because the president has found it more politically profitable to enable the dysfunction and count on the media to slather the blame on Republicans. So the tea party gets tagged as extremists for not climbing aboard a fiscal train wreck, and Obama gets to keep pretending he canít do anything as long as the GOP holds any power in Washington.
Having pummeled the GOP this time, Obama will be emboldened to hold to his no-compromise stance. Why do I think the next crisis will look exactly like the last one?