Regarding the shutdown, this needs to be said: there is no moral equivalency here.
The president and the Congress are not equally to blame.
The Republicans and the Democrats are not equally to blame.
This is all on the Republican right wing -- the Tea Party and their hostages.
The speaker of the House is the No. 1 hostage.
The governor of Ohio is another hostage.
This is an act of political terror by an extremist group of people who have only one goal: Destroy.
Destroy the president. Destroy the safety net. Destroy the New Deal!
There is no second or lesser bad guy here.
And there is no legislative or higher political point.
An additional footnote: These are not the Republicans of old. These folks are completely foreign to Eisenhower, Romney (I or II), Scranton, Rhodes, even Reagan. They are delusional radicals and they
have taken our government hostage.
It's a tragedy for the country to toy with the full faith and credit of the United States.
It's a tragedy to lose the Republican Party of old. We need, at least two parties. We need a party that says: “What will this cost? There are limits. Maybe we can't do everything.”
A final note: I
hear some of my fellow grumpy old men at my gym saying: "Ah,
keep the government closed. Who needs it?" First of all, some of
these are the same guys who don't flush the toilets. But more to the
point: They'd be the first to scream bloody murder if they didn't get
their Social Security checks.
Who needs a functional government? They do. The Tea Party does. (Much of the movement would be eating dog food were it not for SSI.) We all do.
I once told Marcy Kaptur that those of us outside "The Beltway" think Congress is like a bad high school production of West Side Story.
I would like to apologize for that remark.
It's more like a bad third grade production of West Side Story.
Sharks and Jets? Republicans and Democrats? It's all the same.
Tony and Maria get knocked off. Serves them right for being moderates in a highly partisan world.
My hope is that all this acrimony is going to lead to the birth of a truly independent movement. Not an Independent Party, but people who running for office who are not tied to the stale politics of the past. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have become so marginalized, that there are a huge number of voters who no longer identify with either one of them.
In Toledo, we have two independents running for mayor and several City Council independents who did very well in the primary. Maybe it's a sign that people are rejecting politics as usual. One can only hope.
The second thing that really blows my mind about the crazy lady who caused terror at the Capitol this week, and almost killed her daughter, is that the Capitol police did their duty that day without pay. Imagine that. It's disgraceful.
Say what you want about Toledo government. We don't shut it down for no reason or for political blackmail. And we don't ask cops to risk their lives without pay.
THE LAST WORD: Goes again to Pope Francis I, who, in addition to other surprises, is a Wagner fan. His recent interview with the Jesuits changes direction as well as tone: Less doctrine; more soup kitchens.