With very little time remaining until the U.S. government technically goes into default on its debt, Senate Republicans and Democrats struggle to reach a short-term solution that would end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. Of course, both parties say they are fighting for the American people, yet the American people are the biggest losers no matter the outcome of this latest skirmish.
How ridiculous was it that Texas Senator Ted Cruz decided to lead an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in exchange for keeping the government open and raising the debt ceiling? Senator Cruz knew full well that the Senate would not take the matter up, and the president would not go along with overturning his signature achievement. Even leading Republicans in both houses acknowledge it was the wrong strategy.
Now, in the height of hypocrisy, Senator Cruz joined his close friend, Utah Senator Mike Lee, and several Republicans Sunday to protest the government closing of the World War II Memorial in Washington. A small crowd gathered at the barriers chanted, "Tear down these walls." Senator Cruz said that the Obama administration was using veterans as pawns. What phony outrage! Cruz and Lee are the architects of the shutdown.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 53 percent of the public blames Republicans, while 31 percent blame President Barack Obama. The poll shows that Republicans are getting more blame this year than they did when the government last shutdown in 1995-96. And the poll shows Cruz with a 14 percent favorable, 28 percent unfavorable rating. Surprisingly, the poll shows that while the government debate has gone on, Obamacare has gotten more popular, although it is still under water overall.
Utah's Senator Mike Lee has been a loyal and ardent supporter of his close friend Ted Cruz. He has received warm praise from his colleague for being a great leader and public servant. Lee even helped fill in during Cruz's fake filibuster on the Senate floor last month. But even Lee should be privately asking himself, what hath Cruz wrought?
Senator Lee's favorable/unfavorable rating has taken a big hit according to a Brigham University state poll released last week. A majority of the respondents now view Lee unfavorably, a 20-point swing since June. And a poll from Utah's Deseret News revealed that most of the state's voters don't believe that interrupting government functions to stop Obamacare is a good idea.
A recent report estimates that the shutdown is hurting Utah 14th worst when compared to the other states and the District of Columbia. In fact, the report, by WalletHub, found, "States won by the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential election could be hit disproportionately hard by a prolonged government shutdown, as 15 such Red States ranked in the top 25 in the study's overall 'at-risk' rankings."
So it is no wonder Lee is losing support. Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, told Time magazine, "Utahans expect effectiveness and efficiency and results out of their government, not ideological tantrums." But Washington has devolved into nothing but ideological tantrums and trust in government is at an all-time low.
From its very inception the Tea Party's goal has been to blow the federal government up. Close the place down. Default on the debt. Whatever it takes to get federal deficits under control, including "starving the beast." Tea Party congressmen are all from gerrymandered districts that are 100 percent safe. They do not have to worry about what is best for America, and most Americans. Meanwhile, the House leadership fears the Tea Party.
Only in Washington would the very people who caused the government shutdown, and possibly a catastrophic government default, demonstrate against the shutdown. Confused? Well there is no better practitioner of perception deception than Senator Ted Cruz.
One citizen at the WWII Memorial perhaps spoke for most Americans, "This is ridiculous. This is not just and fair. It's just not fair."