Tea Party shuts down government but fail in blaming democratsBaltimore Post-Examiner

Tea Party succeed in government shutdown, but fail in blaming Democrats

Protesters tear down barricades in Washington, DC over shutdown that closed federal memorials and parks.

An actual Teabaggers protest sign, Photoshopped on to a photo of Nationals Park. (Nationals Park photo by Wiki Commons and protester photo from Imgur.com)

An actual Tea Party protest sign, Photoshopped on to a photo of Nationals Park.
(Nationals Park photo by Wiki Commons and protester photo from Imgur.com)

Here it is, day 16 of the federal government shutdown. In the two weeks the Tea Party circus has been in the capital, the Major League Baseball playoffs got under way. It’s a good thing the Washington Nationals aren’t in it. Could you imagine Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw getting into his windup to throw a pitch across the plate and — “OH DEAR GOD!”, cries Ernie Johnson, the play-by-play guy calling the game for TBS.

Cal Ripken, Jr adds, “I … uh … those s guys are … naked …” “With Confederate flags painted on their bodies …” Ron Darling says, finishing Ripken’s sentence.

Johnson asks, “What does that sign say that they’re carrying, Save … Amerca? Wait, they spelled America wrong — and lynch!”

Then the two naked Tea Party protesters are (reluctantly) tackled by security guards …  It’s just a cautionary tale…

Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford being congratulated by infielder Hanley Ramirez after his lead off homerun to start Game 3 of the Divisional Playoff Series with the Atlanta Braves. (Photo courtesy of Dodgers Facebook Page)

Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford being congratulated by infielder Hanley Ramirez after his lead off homerun to start Game 3 of the Divisional Playoff Series with the Atlanta Braves.
(Photo courtesy of Dodgers Facebook Page)

Anyway, the final four teams vying for that World Series trophy (and rings) are: the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers for the American League; the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League.

My prediction: the World Series will be seven games of intense and exciting baseball, with the Cards representing the N.L. and the Tigers in for the A.L. Yeah, that’s right. I’m picking Detroit over Boston. Take that, Morning Joe.

But, after watching the L.A. Dodgers secure their spot in the National League Championship Series a week ago it occurred to me: “I gotta get busy.”

Not about the Dodgers, although their rise from the basement of the National League West Division in June to the NLCS in October is quite a compelling story. People will be writing about it for a long time, if they win it all. But after the first two games against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, winning it all is a distant dream — a fantasy even.

The Dodgers did win game three in Los Angeles, so what the heck, cue Randy Newman. “I love L.A.!” “We love it!”

As they usually do, the writers of the Daily Show With Jon Stewart came up with the perfect graphic for the shutdown. (screenshot from Comedy Central)

As they usually do, the writers of the Daily Show With Jon Stewart came up with the perfect graphic for the shutdown.
(screenshot from Comedy Central)

No, this isn’t about the Dodgers and their meteoric rise this season; we are still in the grip and ethos of the government shutdown. Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, there haven’t been a whole lot of baseball metaphors used by politicians during their argumentum ad nauseam.

Politicians need to be careful when using sports metaphors. You want to avoid using any one person or team. Like, for instance, a Congressman from Georgia saying, “We’ll hold strong and win like the Braves did tonight!” After the Braves won their only playoff game of 2013. All of a sudden, the National League team with the best regular season record is … irrelevant in the post season. They lost, in other words.

To my knowledge, no politician has used the Atlanta Braves as a metaphor for anything. Not this post season anyway. With the curse of the S.I. cover and all, that could have been embarrassing.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama spans the Alabama River. (Photos courtesy of Wiki Commons)

The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama spans the Alabama River.
(Photos courtesy of Wiki Commons)

Still, another photo of Kate Upton is a good thing, even if it’s with two ball players.

Although, quite frankly, sports and combat metaphors have become so commonplace we hardly notice when they’re used.  When the World War II veterans went around the barricades at their memorial everyone was likening their act of civil disobedience to storming the beaches at Normandy.

Really? Wasn’t it more like the Freedom Marchers marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama than one of the bloodiest days of war?

Actually, it wasn’t really like Selma either. There were no police dogs or fire hoses turned on the veterans as they went around the barricades. The only similarity between the two was that both were acts of civil disobedience.

And believe it or not, two weeks later the Tea Partiers are still milking that moment.

Facebook meme taking advantage of the low Congressional poll numbers and the controversy of the name of the football team.

Facebook meme taking advantage of the low Congressional poll numbers and the controversy of the name of the football team.

Anyway, Republicans and the Tea Party alike say the funniest things; so melodramatic too. Or at least silly, with their childish insults. Like Tea Partier Todd Starnes. When President Obama held a press conference to try and get the GOP-led House of Representatives to pass clean bills to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, Starns put this post on Facebook: “Anybody else watching President Obama’s hissy fit? Hold the line, Republicans. Hold the line.”

Hissy fit? Whatever Starnes. Your attempts to emasculate the president just fail. What is a “hissy fit” anyway? Are you trying to be homophobic or homoerotic?

The reason Starnes is telling the GOP to “hold the line” is because there are a number of Republicans in the House of Representatives who are ready and willing to side with the Democrats and pass that clean CR to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.

Which brings up Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. He was on MSNBC and claimed President Obama was threatening to default on the nation’s debts. Seriously? It’s the responsibility of Congress to create and pass the funding bills. The president just signs them.

At any rate, the president wasn’t threatening to default, it’s the GOP that won’t allow a funding bill to make it to the Oval Office without some amendment to either delay, defund or rescind the Affordable Care Act … and a host of attacks on women’s health.

Steve King, Republican of Iowa, using the World War II monument and veterans as props to protest the closure of federal parks and memorials that he helped create when the GOP voted to shut down the government. (Screen shot from Youtube)

Steve King, Republican of Iowa, using the World War II monument and veterans as props to protest the closure of federal parks and memorials that he helped create when the GOP voted to shut down the government.
(Screen shot from Youtube)

Meanwhile, kids and pregnant women are going hungry and nearly a million federal workers are not working, although Congress was magnanimous enough to pass a bill saying they would get paid for the time off during the shutdown.

It’s still amazing, even five years later. The GOP is so concerned about spending, now that the president is a Democrat; they should be rejoicing. Since Barack Obama became president, the amount of spending has decreased. In fact, the deficit is coming down faster than at any other time in history.

According to Forbes Magazine, you know that upstanding bastion of conservative fiscal thought, President Obama “…has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

Shut up! You Commie effin’ sympathizers!

Republican Senator Ted Cruz using the WWII Memorial and veterans as props to protest the shutdown he lead the charge to make happen. (screen shot from Youtube)

Republican Senator Ted Cruz using the WWII Memorial and veterans as props to protest the shutdown he lead the charge to make happen.
(screen shot from Youtube)

Spending has actually gone down for two of the four years President Obama has presided over the nation and its budget.

Presidents Bush (43) and Reagan are the biggest spenders in the past 30 years. Yep, you know that fiscal conservative: St Ronnie, patron saint of everything Republican, Tea Party and otherwise.

So the GOP demanding more spending cuts, on top of the sequester cuts is bordering on crazy. The obstructionism from the GOP is now so ridiculous the president said the Teabaggers are “out of touch with reality.”

Many Americans have known that for years. Eight days into our government shutdown Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said she and her colleagues couldn’t be happier. It’s what they all wanted!

Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota using the World War II Memorial and veterans as props to to protest the shutdown that makes she and her Teabagging confederates in Congress so happy. (Screen shot from Youtube)

Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota using the World War II Memorial and veterans as props to to protest the shutdown that makes she and her Teabagging confederates in Congress so happy.
(Screen shot from Youtube)

It’s no surprise she said that and it’s true — at least for the Tea Party wing of the GOP. It was their goal in the 2010 elections to shut down the government. For some unexplainable reason they think it is good for the U.S. and the economy.

Well, they got their wish, but now they’re out complaining about the government being shut down. Remember that little game we used to play when we were small children? One of our friends or siblings would call us names or make some accusation and we would reply: “I know you are, but what am I?”

Cute, but it’s the game the GOP is playing. They’ve taken to telling the lie that it’s President Obama and the Democrats who wanted and caused the shutdown, all in the effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. And attack women’s health issues.

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, with the quitter, Sarah Palin, protesting the government shutdown they helped orchestrate. (screen shot from Youtube)

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, with the quitter, Sarah Palin, protesting the government shutdown they helped orchestrate.
(screen shot from Youtube)

No, Senator Toomey, the president isn’t threatening to default on the nation’s debt, that stab at intimidation belongs to you and your party. Yeah, keep milking that episode with the World War II veterans from two weeks ago. That’s really playing well with the American public. The GOP’s popularity is at its lowest point ever. Really, it looks like even some of their moms and spouses have deserted them.

As for the Affordable Care Act: when the exchanges first came online they were so overwhelmed by people looking for health insurance it crashed the system. I blame the government for not being prepared — and the GOP for causing the shutdown when we needed the IT people fixing the problems.

Which brings to mind the two senators from Kentucky: Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. They actually said Kentuckians didn’t want anything to do with “Obamacare.” But when the numbers for the new exchanges were revealed it turned out that Kentuckians are signing up for the Affordable Care Act at about 1,000 people per day.

That’s actually more people per capita than New York, which is interesting because in an op-ed McConnell and Paul wrote for the Cincinnati (and Kentucky) Inquirer, they said, “Obamacare might sell in New York, but Kentuckians aren’t buying it.”

  • The Cincinnati Inquirer and the Kentucky Inquirer are essentially the same newspaper, but have several sections that focus on two different areas: the Cincinnati area and Northern Kentucky. They do share the same website.

Well Senators, it appears Kentuckians are buying it, lock, stock and barrel.

The quitter Sarah Palin with GOP Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz using the WWII Memorial and veterans for their faux protest over the shutdown they instigated. (Photo from Sarah Palin Facebook page)

The quitter Sarah Palin with GOP Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz using the WWII Memorial and veterans for their faux protest over the shutdown they instigated.
(Photo from Sarah Palin Facebook page)

Then there’s Sarah Palin, just this past Sunday, posing in front of the World War II monument, with veterans, accusing the president of using veterans as pawns — because the national parks and monuments are closed.

In case you missed the irony: Palin, the failed governor of Alaska and failed 2008 vice presidential candidate, was using the WWII monument and veterans as props for her photo-op with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, while she claimed the president was using veterans.

Cruz, the main guy leading the charge to shut down the government and thereby shutting down all the parks and monuments, asked, “Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?”

Because you and your confederates forced the federal government to shut down, you idiot.

“I know you are but what am I?”

Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Texas, showed up at the White House to protest with a Marine Corps flag and a Confederate flag. At the home where an African-American family lives. It doesn't get any more ridiculous than that. (screen shot from the Rachel Maddow Show)

Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Texas, showed up at the White House to protest with a Marine Corps flag and a Confederate flag. At the home where an African-American family lives. It doesn’t get any more ridiculous than that.
(screen shot from the Rachel Maddow Show)

Cruz’s fellow Tea Party Senator, Mike Lee of Utah was also at the WWII monument using veterans as props, but he was more like window dressing than anything substantive. He doesn’t really have anything useful to say so he at least has the sense to not say it.

Or maybe no one thinks Lee has anything useful to say so we ignore him.

As if this couldn’t get any more satirical, one Tea Party supporter was protesting with a Confederate flag. Now, Republicans not so publicly simpatico with the Tea Party are trying to explain that this isn’t a pseudo-secessionist movement. Yeah, whatever.

As if to illustrate how schizophrenic he and his fellow protesters are, the guy with the Confederate flag also was holding a Marine Corps flag.

Just a point of reference, an item of historical vagary that historians would find niggling at least, if not downright excruciatingly incongruent: the United States Marine Corps was part of the Union (United States) forces that defeated the Confederacy in the field and at sea — and in the waterways of America.

On the other hand: Semper Fi my fellow Marines.

Ann Coulter sidebar by author, with photo by Gage Skidmore for Wiki Commons.

Ann Coulter sidebar by author, with photo by Gage Skidmore for Wiki Commons.

In the event though that anyone has any question as to whether or not this is a GOP-engineered shutdown of the federal government, consider this: In the final minutes of September 30th, the GOP leadership of the House Rules Committee got together and changed House rules to prevent any members from calling up the Senate resolution for debate. Had a representative — any representative, regardless of party — called up the Senate bill it would have kept the government open. When the GOP leadership realized this they changed the rules so only the Majority Leader of the House (or his designee) could call up the Senate bill.

Rule XXII, Clause 4 reads: “When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged.” In other words, any member of the House of Representatives may call the vote, which in this case would have kept the government open. But, in the dead of night the GOP, with a few Democrats for cover, voted for House Resolution 368, Section 2, which gave that power solely to the House Majority Leader, Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia. It reads: ““Any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to House Joint Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee.”

A rule change specifically for the Senate bill so that the Democrats could not keep,  or re-open, the government.

I’ve been screwing around with this one long enough, but just for the record: I’m really a Milwaukee Brewers fan with a liking for the San Diego Padres. I live here, what can I say? Maybe that’s a metaphor of my life: both of my favorite baseball teams are unblinking losers. Maybe Steely Dan will write a song about me. I want a name when I lose.

Cue Deacon Blues.

 

 

 

 


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.
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