Well, unless some unexpected change of heart takes place, it appears that Republicans in Washington, D.C., will have their way tonight in temporarily shutting down the U.S. government, just as they did back in 1995--and again for reasons that have little to do with the budget, and everything to do with culture-war issues.
Democrats and President Obama have gone out of their way to reach a spending compromise to avert what could be another setback for a slowly but surely improving national economy. Yet that’s not good enough for the GOP’s deluded political extremists. They want to load up the spending legislation with “riders” that would, for instance, defund Planned Parenthood, which operates hundreds of community health centers across the nation. They insist that “90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are for abortion”--even though that’s not close to being accurate, and the organization is already forbidden by law to use public funds for abortions.
When voters, frustrated with the sluggish pace of economic recovery, tipped the U.S. House of Representatives to Republican control in last year’s elections, I doubt they expected the result would be budgetary gridlock brought on by issues, such as abortion rights, that have nothing to do with the federal budget. It’s a sad state of affairs.
LISTEN UP: “Newstalgia: Headin’ for a Showdown in 1995,” by Gordonskene (Crooks & Liars).