Gary Wisenbaker Blog
Gary Wisenbaker
The Great Shutdown, Part II

Principled extremism or extremist principles?

The Press and ignoring the obvious

It’s time for a rational fact check about the recent interruption of federal government operations.

First, there was no “government shutdown”.  Approximately 18% of government operations were affected for twelve (12) business days.  Of the 800,000 employees reportedly furloughed, nearly half were called back within two days of the partial closure.

Second, it is highly unlikely that the 96 hours of work time missed by federal bureaucrats will affect, one way or the other, the economy and its non-recovery recovery.  The day after the interruption, the stock market went up.  The day after that it went down. And it continued its customary see-saw until it was announced that an agreement was at hand when it rose 200+ points.  The day the president signed the stop gap measures, the market lost points, and did again the following day.  After all, this is October, a typically volatile month for the market.

CNBC tried its best to link the market’s performance to the Great DC Spat.  It was obvious, however, that the early afternoon show, “Street Signs” it’s called, was forcing square pegs into round holes.  Normally informative and unusually nonpartisan (for an NBC production, anyway), the show gave way to touting the Obama/Reid line early and often:  anyone that disagreed with the majority leader and president were nothing short of “extremists”. 

How fighting against federal control of one sixth of the US economy and working to rein in a $17 trillion national debt constituted an “extremist” position was never—nor could it be—explained. These eager beavers, though, were right on top of insinuating that the economy would falter because “these extremists” took these positions. 

One might have thought that a show dedicated to “the business of business” would have pointed out that something had to be done since the national debt now exceeds the total US GDP of $16.62 trillion.  Nary a word.  Perhaps they figured the remaining 450,000 furloughees wouldn’t consume during their unexpected vacation and, therefore, our 71% consumer driven economy would falter. 
Finally, one couldn’t help but note the spillage over to MSNBC’s host Joe Scarborough.  He recently opined that the conservative movement is as good as lost should the GOP continue to work for a smaller, less intrusive federal government.  Come again?

A movement is based on principles and only moves because people believe in (and fight for) its principles.  No movement can win elections if it abandons its beliefs.  The Republican Party has held to its principles and has controlled the House of Representatives for 14 of the past 18 years. Not too shabby for a rag tag bunch of extremists.

No, Joe, it’s not the principles.  Thomas Jefferson said that a revolution every now and again was a healthy thing.  And so it may be for political parties as well. Regardless of the hyperventilating hopes and aspirations of the CNBC and MSNBC editorialists and talk show hosts, the GOP will not become irrelevant nor obscure anytime soon.
Maybe Joe Scarborough needs a different blend of joe.


© 2013 Gary M. Wisenbaker.  All rights reserved.
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