Should the government shutdown strike at the stroke of midnight, a new poll shows that Americans know exactly which side of the political aisle bears the greater share of the blame. In a new CNN poll, 69 percent of Americans — including 52 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters — believe that Congressional Republicans are “acting like spoiled children.” As a result, 46 percent say they would blame GOP members of the House for a shutdown. Additionally, 68 percent say a shutdown of a few days would be a bad thing for the country. That figure rises to nearly 80 percent when asked what if the government shutdown lasted a few weeks.
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As it relates to what’s driving the cause of the now likely government shut down, Republican’s lingering yearning to repeal Obamacare, 60 percent say it is more important for Congress to avoid a shutdown than to make major changes to the new healthcare law.
In other words, after a vote in Congress, a presidential election tied around said law passed by Congress, and a Supreme Court decision backing up the legality of the Affordable Health Care Act, most Americans think the GOP needs to focus on doing their job versus fighting a war that’s already over.
That said, there is a new Pew poll that shows the blame is a bit more even-leveled between Obama and the House Republicans, but those people polled must be Fox News bots sent to destroy reasoned thinking.
I choose to ignore that poll and stick with CNN’s poll along with the latest CBS/New York Times poll that finds that only 23 percent think House Republicans are trying to work with the President.
It’s a shame that the majority of the public has a better grasp of reality and responsibility than the people they’ve elected. The government could avoid a shutdown if the sanity-enhanced members of Congress push Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH, pictured) to stand up to the nut cases he’s presently pandering to at everyone else’s expense.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) was recently quoted as saying, “Listen, I’m not going to let the government shut down. I don’t want to be undercutting Boehner, but put it this way: I will not let the government shut down.”
Likewise, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla) deputy whip of the House, acknowledges that Boehner could still pass a clean continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown if he wanted to. On that novel idea, Cole noted, “He didn’t mention it, but I’m sure he could if he wanted to.”
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Boehner will have his chance to not be utterly useless and I strongly suggest he seize the moment. Later in the afternoon, the Senate will vote to strip the GOP’s extraneous riders from the CR – i.e. that whole defund Obamacare gag – and then send the clean bill back to the House. Once they do, Speaker Boehner will effectively decide to shut the government down or bring the Senate passed CR for a simple up-or-down vote. Boehner will only need just a few sensible Republicans who still understand how government works to vote alongside Democrats to prevent a shutdown.
I’m praying to Beyoncé that he chooses to do the right thing and prevent a shutdown. I’m not holding my breath, though. The worst part is even if it the government does avoid a shutdown or even shutdown for a few days, we all still have to watch the GOP implode over another debt ceiling fight. A shutdown would hurt Americans, but not to the degree a default would.
Keep the blame game going, but we also need to be certain that we punish them at the polls accordingly.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick
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