Government shutdown a reflection of Republican stubbornness

I’ve reached my breaking point.

I never thought I’d tire of covering the constant stream of drivel, ignorance and borderline racism that comes out of the Republican Party. No other political organization in the world has ever been so unintentionally entertaining as this current crop of conservatives.

Remember when Rick Perry, during a crucial GOP primary debate in 2011, forgot the last of the three cabinet departments he’d eliminate if elected president — and concluded his allotted speaking time with a simple “oops?” Or when Mitt Romney — the owner of an honest-to-God car elevator — told a group of jobless Floridians that he, too, was unemployed?

For a long time, this was humorous. Comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made fruitful careers out of the Republicans’ unending supply of idiotic soundbites.

Now, though, I find myself unable to draw any entertainment value whatsoever from the GOP’s kooky antics.

No longer is Mitch McConnell’s Galapagos-American heritage or Rand Paul’s ridiculously permed hair comical. No longer are Ted Cruz’s unprecedented levels of arrogance and outsized superiority complex chuckle-worthy.

The federal government is now shutdown, its future held hostage by a group of simple-minded reactionaries who just can’t stand the idea of losing.

This is most decidedly an unfunny situation.

No matter how much they hate the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare, aka the Compulsory Grandmother Euthanasia and Job Creator Relocation Act — there is absolutely nothing Republicans can do outside of extortion to prevent the possibility of people getting cheaper, better health care. They know this, of course.

They know that the ACA was passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the president and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. They know that when the American electorate was given a final choice between cheaper, better health care and a rich guy who liked to fire people, they picked cheaper, better health care because they’re not nearly as stupid as the Republicans would like to believe.

Yet, for reasons beyond my comprehension, the furthest-right wing of the GOP still hasn’t come to terms with their undeniable legislative trouncing. They’re going to make sure the government’s ability to function remains crippled, unless, through some implausible act of God, Barack Obama agrees to repeal his signature presidential achievement.

Instead of accepting defeat and making at least a passing attempt at solving our country’s health care crisis, they’re acting like the first grader who gets tagged out on the playground and runs away with the ball rather than sit on the bench. So now the government is, for the first time in 17 years, largely closed for business.

Do not — I repeat, do not — listen to the words of Tea Party hacks like Fox News’ Stuart Varney, who deemed the shutdown to be “not that big a deal.”

Hey, Stuart? Go tell that to the millions of veterans who won’t be seeing their pension checks or disability payments anytime soon if the shutdown continues. Try consoling a low-income single mother of three when she can’t pay for groceries because the USDA’s Women, Infants and Children program doesn’t have the money to give her a much-needed helping hand. If you find yourself unable to do so, just tell her everything will soon be OK, because your party is going to make sure that she can’t be covered under Medicaid either.

Let’s not forget that the shutdown isn’t our lone GOP-instigated crisis. Recall the predicament we found ourselves in two years ago, when Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama and congressional Democrats agreed to draconian budget cuts.

We’re in the same situation again. Congress has nine days — nine days — to perform this once-routine legislative action, or the United States of America will have failed to pay its creditors on time for the first time in the country’s history.

It is impossible to understate how disastrous a default would be. Almost immediately, the value of U.S. treasury bonds — widely considered to be the most stable investment in the world — would take a severe hit, traumatizing an already frail economy and potentially sending us into our second recession in less than a decade.

The Republicans have already guaranteed the inevitability of economic Armageddon if their demands are not met. Speaker Boehner, whose power over his party has been all but usurped by the likes of Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that default is “the path we’re on” if Democrats don’t allow for drastically reduced spending and a delay or repeal of Obamacare.

Normally, this is when I’d call these people crazy. Normally, I’d brush the actions of Cruz and his ilk off as mere folly.

Not this time.

They promise injury to their constituents in the name of ideological purity. They govern not by fact or consensus, but by manufactured crisis after manufactured crisis.

This must be the most obtuse, self-absorbed and uncaring group of politicians in the history of self-governance.

Call your Republican representatives and senators. Email them. Hell, send them a letter, because the Postal Service, luckily enough, is exempt from their shutdown.

Tell them that while they’re busy fiddling a dirge about death panels and socialism and makers and takers, Rome is burning.

Adam is a sophomore in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected]com. Follow him on Twitter @hercules5.