Let’s try recasting this into older language

What is the shutdown all about?

In a word, money. The US financial year ends at midnight on Monday. Under US law a new bill to approve funding for the next financial year is required, which must have been approved by the House of Representatives, and the Senate, and the president. This has yet to happen.

Why not?

In two words, politics and Obamacare. The core problem is that the Republican party controls the lower house, or House of Representatives, while the Democrats control the Senate.

It’s a bit like the King having to come to Parliament for supply, isn’t it? And he needs the agreement of the Commons. I’m pretty sure lefties regard that as one of the glorious steps to a brighter Whiggish future. Seems odd that it’s not so regarded when the same system reduces the cash they get to play with.

17 thoughts on “Let’s try recasting this into older language”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Lefties were the opposition then. They are the ruling class now. That is why they have no interest in civil liberties at all. And why they are under such threat.

    So the media, which sees itself as part of the ruling class, is shocked that the Republicans could be committing lese majesty.

  2. The only difference is that they voted for the king. To my simple mind that makes a difference.

    Can someone explain why this doesn’t happen more often?

  3. Mardell on the BBC website is having some sort of mental breakdown over this. One of the most biased articles I can ever remember reading on the BBC.

    Laughably he says you wouldn’t run a private business like this – yes, Mark, no private business would survive year after year running up colossal debts! He also puts the word ‘fairness’ in scare quotes when he refers to the Republicans wanting ordinary people to have the same exemptions as big unions and business. Yoiks! Imagine the plebs being treated the same way as Mardell’s power brokers – outrageous!!

  4. Can someone explain why this doesn’t happen more often?

    The US constitution was designed to create a balance of powers between the executive and the legislature. And also a balance of powers in the legislature between the House and the Senate. The thinking, I suppose, was that all sides would behave with restraint, and that if one did not the electorate would sort it out at the next election.

    And so it came to pass that the Republican majority in the House, finding itself unable to accept the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, chose to behave unreasonably, in a manner without precedent. And the electorate, having observed the Republicans’ behaviour, duly voted them out in the 2012 House election.

    However, what the framers of the constitution failed to foresee was the machinations of Elbridge Gerry and his political descendants. Bizarrely, in most states, congressional boundaries are set not by an independent commission but by the state legislature. And the boundaries are redrawn after each decennial census (following a 1962 Supreme Court ruling). The result is that in odd decades, the party which is more successful in the mid-term elections – usually the opposition party at national level – has the power to redraw the boundaries. The Republican party seized on this in 2010 as a matter of electoral strategy, and exercised the power shamelessly. So when the electorate voted in 2012 to deprive the party of its Congressional majority – voting for the Democrats 48.3% to 46.9% – the Republicans nevertheless were awarded 53.8% of the seats. And so the impasse continues.

    In short, the problem is that the Republican Party is batshit insane. And shameless with it.

  5. Thanks (particularly for the link – I vaguely knew about gerrymandering, but had no idea it was so shameless)

  6. “chose to behave unreasonably, in a manner without precedent.” Without precedent? For fuck’s sake don’t be so bloody ignorant.

  7. Not sure if the lefties still feel that way about the questions of the civil war.

    In the intervening years (well really since the French revolution when “left” & “right” were invented) there has been a sort of judo and “left” is now the supporters of majestic state power and “right” of individual freedom from excessive tax and control.

  8. @ PaulB
    “The Republican party seized on this in 2010 as a matter of electoral strategy,”
    I cannot remember a time when the Democrats did not do this as a matter of electoral strategy. Hence the habitual Democrat majority in the House of Representatives (often even when a Republican President was elected with a significant majority of votes). Only in landslides like 1952 did the Republicans win the House. In 1956 Eisenhower won 41 out of 48 states with 57% of the national vote yet the Democrats won a majority of House seats.

  9. dearieme: certainly my ignorance is vast. If you wish to push back its frontiers somewhat, you’d do better to offer facts than to swear at me.

    PST: since I was talking about events before the 2012 elections, I’m sure I didn’t describe the current shutdown as unprecedented.

    john77: in 1956 Eisenhower was much more popular than his party. The Democrats won a majority of the vote in the House election.

  10. Philip Scott Thomas

    PaulB

    since I was talking about events before the 2012 elections, I’m sure I didn’t describe the current shutdown as unprecedented.

    OK. Fair ‘nough.

  11. @ PaulB
    Because there were a lot of seats where no Republican stood but there was still an election with just one candidate or a Democrat and a fringe candidate. Mostly in the Deep South.

  12. @ PaulB
    Your reference is much easier to read than the scanned typewritten report I had seen before,so thanks. Republicans were unopposed in two seats, Democrats in 62. If Republicans had polled just 11% of the votes in those seats they would have had a majority of the popular vote.

  13. PaulB, you do describe the Republicans as behaving unreasonably and in a manner without precedent. You are wrong, to put it baldly, those are just Obama’s talking points. Congress is behaving in a perfectly normal way, Obama is the one acting unreasonably, and using inflammatory rhetoric in partnership with a lapdog media to attempt to frame the argument.

    Drink the Koop-aid all you want, just don’t expect us to pay you any heed.

  14. @Paul B
    The thinking, I suppose, was that all sides would behave with restraint, and that if one did not the electorate would sort it out at the next election.
    You suppose wrong – the Constitution was a rather mucky deal between the federalists and the thirteen states. It was driven by the desire to prevent upsets such as Shays’ Rebellion, and the only assumption all the parties shared was that all sides would be corrupt. And most of the framers distrusted the electorate. I’d recommend Plain, Honest Men as a primer.

  15. dearieme: certainly my ignorance is vast. If you wish to push back its frontiers somewhat, you’d do better to offer facts than to swear at me.

    It looked more like an instruction to me.

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