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With thick smoke clouds billowing out of the Capitol it’s hard to see who’s winning the latest war in Washington – plus, it isn’t a simple us versus them war: It’s a three tribe melee (with two camps of Republicans fighting Obama and each other at the same time).
At first, a couple of weeks ago, it looked like Chief Boehner of the largest Republican tribe was about to work out a deal with Obama to fund Obamacare and avoid a government shutdown – but then the second Republican camp (a small but fearless tribe of conservatives) threw a monkey wrench into the works.
The Republican Chief then reversed course which, of course, didn’t sit well with the President – who, it turns out, is a match for both the conservatives in fearlessness and Boehner in cunning.
Suddenly, the Republican Chief found himself under attack from both sides. He’d send a trial balloon floating over toward the Obama camp which the President would shoot down, saying, I’m not budging; then the Chief would try his hand in his own Republican Caucus, explaining, Look, Obama’s not going to give an inch. He knows if the government shuts down we’ll be blamed.
That homily fell on deaf ears, too – showing Boehner little more empathy than Obama had, the conservatives more or less said nobody had ever won a fight by running away.
Now, all that said, right in the middle of this melee, there is one thing all the tribes agree on: A government shutdown is not a good idea. After all, it means Senators and Congressmen won’t get paid. And all three camps also agree paying soldiers and sailors makes sense – so, while a sergeant’s fighting in Afghanistan, back home his wife isn’t wondering how she’s going to make ends meet at the end of the month.
It’s not hard to understand a conservative saying, As a matter of conscience I can’t vote to fund Obamacare.
Or to understand Obama saying, And as a matter of conscience I can’t let you not fund Obamacare.
But it’s hard to see either saying, I can’t agree to pay soldiers and policemen and to care for the infirmed.
So why isn’t someone – anyone – in Washington saying, Let’s fund the things we agree on (which amount to trillions of dollars) then fight it out later over the rest.
It’s one of those odd mysteries.


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3 comments on “A Three-Tribe War

  1. Choo says:

    One side doesn’t have to negotiate, they own the officials. Seems that side can strike out 3 times in a row and still win. That side doesn’t even have to come to the plate, they are just pronounced winners by the officials. Must be fun being the side that can’t lose. Sure wish my side owned the officials.

  2. Reaganite says:

    You had better check your polls, Carter. Polling does NOT show that Republicans would get most of the blame for a government shutdown. That is just the bleating of the surrender sheeple among the GOP establishment, who are essentially craven cowards.

    One has to remember that is was going to the barricades and then climbing down that got Republicans in trouble with the last government shutdown. At that time, spineless wimp Bob Dole caved to Clinton without even telling Gingrich that he was going to do so. After Clinton went out of office, one of his top aides revealed that Clinton himself had been on the verge of caving when Dole did so out of the blue and saved Clinton’s bacon. Surrender monkey Bob Dole snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. That round strikes terror into the hearts of the weaklings we now have as leaders – McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, etc. They are just more Bob Doles. Maybe they all need a variety of viagra that works on the backbone.

  3. jack-of-all-thumbs says:

    Oh my. I have known of Carter Wrenn since I campaigned for Jesse Helms’ opponent in 1972. I never expected to agree with him as much as I have lately, and I don’t think it’s due to a change in my politics. I’m impressed to hear him say: “the President….is a match for both the conservatives in fearlessness and Boehner in cunning.” Oh my.

    And then there’s: “why isn’t someone – anyone – in Washington saying, Let’s fund the things we agree on (like paying soldiers and policemen and caring for the infirm), which amount to trillions of dollars) then fight it out later over the rest.”

    The answer to why we can agree on some things; while disagreeing on others?

    Because, like his mentor of forty years ago, Carter Wrenn is a rational conservative. Something in short supply in the Tea Party of 2013.

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