Post of the Day — Oct. 3, 2013
Note from Dan: Blog regular J.M. White explains the federal government shutdown in a few nutshells.
To anyone complaining about the access difficulties of information/sign-up to the Affordable Care Act:
Believe it or not, there aren’t many websites that can handle 100 million users trying to access them. This is especially true when one of the results of the shutdown is to furlough “non-essential” government employees. To oversimplify it a bit, it’s a matter of server load and pipeline traffic. Just how many IT people do you think the government considers “essential”? You can set up the infrastructure to handle it, but once input/output starts climbing and there’s no one there to address emerging bottlenecks, what do you think will happen?
Do we expect retail stores to be deserted on Black Friday just because we want to shop on that particular day? That’s not how it works.
To think that these ACA information access problems weren’t a well foreseen and planned aspect of this shutdown is to be more than a bit naive. Not that any of the spineless cowards on Capitol Hill would admit to such a thing. This entire debacle is a diabolically planned political maneuver and anyone not seeing it as such is blind.
The House wanted to stall implementation of the ACA for a year so it would be a fresh and convenient tool in the fall of next year to use to mobilize their voter base. It could be used to divide even further an already divided populous.
The last thing that the GOP wants is to give the ACA a full year to play out. They have continually had to scale back the dire predictions they’ve made about it. In the last two years, we’ve gone from the whole of the GOP saying that this will bankrupt and destroy the US, to only the shrillest of alarmists saying it.
Right now, the GOP’s biggest fear is that a year from now, all of this sky-is-falling panic will be exposed as what it really is – paranoid propaganda. This will leave them with major egg on their faces, expose them as fools fanatically protecting a known folly and will virtually ensure their exile into the political wilderness.
It boils down to simple political logic. If the ACA is as truly apocalyptic as the GOP says it is, why not just let it happen, but be vocal about your opposition to it? This would leave you in a beautiful political position to make huge gains in the 2014 midterms and carry that into 2016… but only if you’re right.
If you’re wrong, though, you’ll lose big time because your doomsayers will have been exposed as nothing more than a pack of inept, incompetent Chicken Little clones. This means that the GOP may not see a majority of any tangible kind until 2024 or later (depending on future unknown factors, of course). Still, that’s not a chance that people who like and want the power they have now are going to take.
As attempt after attempt to repeal the ACA failed and the implementation deadline loomed, the GOP’s back was truly against the wall and a new plan had to be hatched.
Enter the shutdown. The delay of ACA was intertwined with the shutdown threat because it was the last desperate stand before the lies get exposed and your base turns on you. If the Democrats give in to the demands, the GOP wins because they can bank that lingering uncertainty about the ACA’s viability into votes in the midterms in 2014. If the Democrats don’t give in, the GOP can play the “unwilling to compromise” angle and as an added bonus, the shutdown helps ensure that many of the government employees that would be used to help with implementation of the ACA will be furloughed.
The GOP knows the shutdown is untenable. They just want to keep up the charade long enough to throw their final wrenches into the works. This is a move of desperation, not a move of principles. To say that this is anything other than hostage taking is to be either egregiously dishonest or laughably naive.
That is one horrendously flawed game plan, folks – bank the whole season on the ignorance, naivety and pliability of your constituents. This will be a backfire that gets written in the record books. Count on it.