I will preface the following with admitting that I occasionally over react - I mean really - check out the name of the blog. That being said, as I was waking up this morning, I heard a hint on the radio that Leader Boner was up to some kind of 'grand bargain'. As soon as I fired up my laptop and perused the innerwebs I found this article talking about him doing just that.
Now admittedly, there is not too much substance to this, beyond the wet dreams of the liberal press cheerleaders (I cannot believe I just mixed that metaphor - sorry!). The meat of it is that it would be just lovely for Boner to combine legislation to raise the debt limit, which must be done in just over a couple of weeks, with the fight over the spending bill that is the cause of all the hoopla.
(begin shiny object divergence)
I just had to look that word up when Google suggested the proper spelling as I was writing the above sentence. Hoopla is a real word. From this site, here are the rules for hoopla:
Normally, a nominal sum is charged for the chance to throw four hoops. As with most traditional fairground games, the standard rules mean that the game is much harder than it looks so that prizes are not won too often. In the case of Hoopla, the rules insist that the hoop comes to rest flat on the table around the Hoopla base - it's not good enough to just encircle the prize. For school fairs and in other situations where the intention is to give out many more prizes, we suggest relaxing the rules so that a prize is given any time the hoop encircles the prize even if it lands on top of the baseAh yes. I remember losing at that game as a kid. In fact, it was instructional in my path to maturity about how to spot a con and life itself really. What I learned from that experience was:
- read the fine print - i.e. the posted rules that say the ring has to circle the base
- If you count on random events or the charity of strangers, you will mostly loose
- Even if you win at that game, the prizes will be crap. Nothing worth having in life is free or easy.
(I just included this because it shows the game - I really can't understand a word she is saying. BTW: While she is a reasonably attractive young lady, what is it about Brits and bad teeth? National Health Care? Remember: Obamacare does not include dental care... which is proper, given the Origin of Dentistry)
(end shiny object divergence)
Let's see - where was I? Oh yes - another Grand Bargain. Let's review what happened at the last grand bargain. As you may recall, it occurred when Congress was attempting to pass a debt ceiling raising authorization back in 2011. Ryan and Boner walked away with a bill which said that if the two houses of congress could not agree on a budget, then 'automatic across the board cuts' would take effect - i.e. Sequester. It is the elephant in the room, lurking in the background of all the drama of the government shutdown.
(another shiny object divergence)
My thought when writing the above was, "Wait a minute, wasn't sequestration supposed to take care of removing the drama from budgeting?"
The following is my best understanding of the situation which I admit may be completely wrong. The fact that this is hard to understand is indicative of a systemic problem - ya think?
As presented back in 2011, I thought that if congress and the president wanted to squabble over budget issues, then both would loose and 'automatic' appropriations would go into effect. That is still true. But since most congress critters are lawyers, and lawyers are a slippery bunch, it's not so black and white. While sequestration says where the money will go, the two houses and president still must agree on a bill each year allowing the money to be spent. If that seems to be a distinction without a difference, well, you are not thinking properly and need to get your mind right.
(end another shiny object divergence)
One could argue that Reid and Obama need to go back and read their Sun Tzu. While crafting the sequestration strategy, they failed to allow the conservatives a way to leave the field of battle. Thus, this 'shutdown' drama was inevitable as they are left to exercise the only control they have left. Conversely, it would be the height of foolishness for the conservatives to relinquish this control without getting some real and tangible concession.
It is probably no great revelation that Boner and Ryan got their clock cleaned by the last grand bargain. I hope they are not foolish enough to attempt the same thing again. Unfortunately, there are enough 'moderate' legislators in the house and senate, that such a 'deal' - which essentially gives Reid and Obama whatever they want - is all but inevitable. I am thinking that it is time for those two to take a walk on the Midway for a refresher course in life lessons from carnies and the intriguing game of hoopla. That way, when they eventually get a negotiating table, the American people won't end up with a stuffed animal, suitable only as chew toy for the dog.