When you have a problem and don’t know how to solve it, should you give up? Giving up seldom fails to bring failure but it works in Washington, where crisis government seems to be the only kind we have and the best we’re going to get.
When your business is government, faking a crisis has its advantages. Crisis government can make giving up seem unavoidable and even forgivable. It covers up for failure and refuses to hold anyone accountable. Best of all, both sides can claim to have the best interests of the country at heart.
A government crisis where no one is wrong?
Harry Reid said of the newest budget stalemate:
We have things we can be doing. We have important legislation we could be working on. But instead, the Republican Leader continues to bring bills to the Senate floor that have no chance of passing. 1
Reid is right about bills that won’t pass. Democrats do the same thing and then accuse Republicans of extremism, a charge an uncharacteristically clever Mitch McConnell turned around:
We can feel momentum for life on the rise just as we see extremism on the other side increasing.
By placing their allegiance with the Far Left instead of women, Democrats are making a losing bet they will come to regret over the long term.2
The result? A new December 11, 2015 budget deadline, just in time for the annual pre-Christmas government funding crisis that will either hand taxpayers a failed compromise or another few months’ reprieve from a shutdown.
This is what we’ll miss about Boehner
John Boehner’s departure has been hailed as the beginning of progress for a more conservative House. The opposite is more likely. Like it or not, his failure to push a far right agenda is one of the only reasons anything has been accomplished in the House and between the House and the Senate.
Does it even matter if the new speaker decides to follow in Boehner’s moderate footsteps, or whether McConnell hangs onto his post in the Senate? No matter what happens, we can rely on these twelve reasons to explain why crisis government is what we can expect. They will still lurk in the Capitol Hill mindset years from now, shaping the absence of policy decisions over the same problems we aren’t solving now.
1. Crisis government is great publicity.
You know it’s true. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Just ask Donald Trump. The most important thing is being in everyone’s face 24/7. Crisis government can do that for you, especially when you use the dreaded “S” word during 11th hour budget negotiations. How else can you get people to pay attention to what you have to say at a press conference in the middle of the night?
2. If you are a failure, you can hide behind crisis government.
If you can’t do anything you’re best off not letting everyone know about it, so a good option is to do nothing. Crisis government can help you do that. It helps do-nothing lawmakers drag things out ad infinitum.
3. Lawmaking is hard. Don’t do it.
It doesn’t matter what’s in all those contentious bill drafts if you know they are never going anywhere. Worthless bills are a sneaky way crisis government helps both parties waste time and still get the word out about what their fringes would do if they ever get a chance.
4. Procrastination can look like hard work. It isn’t.
Budgets are deadly boring, time consuming, and hard to hammer out. It is much more exciting to hold angry hearings and make threats to do something like chop the legs off of Planned Parenthood. This ploy bring heaps of media coverage regardless of which side you are on. More often than not, once the excitement dies down nothing happens. That’s how the game is played.
5. Crisis government covers up the big problems that you created.
We should either be rolling on the floor in laughter or choking on our sobs when anyone in Congress talks about the budget. There is a reason we have a crisis every time there has to be a decision about America’s finances. Both parties spend too much, justify why they do it, and don’t plan on stopping.
6. If you are a Republican, you can use a government crisis to convince people not to vote for anyone in your party.
If the GOP learned to limit its taunts and backstabbing to Democrats we might take the party seriously, or at least learn to like it.
7. If you are a Democrat, a crisis allows you to keep a straight face while demanding that we do stupid things.
Stupid things include budgeting more money that we don’t have. When you are finished, you can blame Republicans for obstructing your scheme and stick to your story about how spending millions and even billions doesn’t cost a cent because it’s already paid for.
8. Crisis government gives you a chance to show the people who is boss.
No, this isn’t about We the People or the Constitution. It’s about we the Congress and to hell with America if the people don’t like it.
9. If you force a half-baked compromise, you can forget your principles.
This assumes that you actually have principles. When a decision is forced it means a bad result, but it also means the GOP can spend on things we don’t want and Democrats can sell out their favorite special interests. Everyone wins doing things they promised not to do.
10. Fighting is easier and more fun than governing.
Governing is hard. Even worse, it’s work. Fighting is easy, fun, and predictable. Best of all, the kick the can approach to budgeting means no one wins more than a temporary victory and you can come back and fight again in a few months.
11. Crisis government helps Obama show the world we deserve to be laughed at.
If we needed more proof, now Putin is deciding the fate of Syria and making us look like stooges. It’s probably more amusing if you are not an American.
12. You don’t have to worry about what the people think.
No need for Congress to fret. We know that what we want doesn’t matter and besides, the people gave up long ago.