Tonight House Republicans offered a series of measures to restore funding to the national parks, District of Columbia operations and veterans’ services. But House Democrats voted against all three measures, sending them down to defeat. So the Democrats’ hypocrisy is revealed: they wring their hands over those poor Americans who want to visit the parks, but when they have the opportunity to fund the parks, they turn it down.
Of course, the Republicans could have passed these measures without any Democratic votes, but they followed a procedure that required a two-thirds majority, hoping either to pressure Democrats into voting for the bills, or embarrass them if they didn’t. So the whole thing was political theater.
The Democrats say they won’t pick and choose; either the whole government is funded, or none of it. They evidently don’t see any political risk from keeping popular government services shut down, and they are probably right. The whole shutdown dance is, if not a disaster, then certainly a setback for the Republican Party. Whose idea was it, anyway? Today’s headlines should have been all about the countless problems that attended the launch of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, but instead, that story was mostly lost in the shuffle. Moreover, Syria has been forgotten and Iran is off the radar screen; the Republicans’ effort to defund or delay Obamacare, which was doomed from the start, has sucked the oxygen out of every other story. It would have been hard to come up with a strategy that more effectively took Democrats off the hook.
Politics is a game played by politicians–a game with very high stakes–and it helps if your side’s politicians are good at it.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt takes a more sanguine view of the political state of play than I do.