President Obama and congressional Democrats have attempted to manipulate the government shutdown in their political favor. However, Democrats’ unwillingness to compromise and using the shutdown to hurt veterans and children, combined with historical precedent, leaves prospects bleak for the Democratic establishment.
When going to the United States Amber Alert website, an error message appears: "Due to the lapse in federal funding, this Office of Justice Programs (OJP) website is unavailable." Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama’s "Let’s Move" website is still up. It seems as though the Obama administration is purposely hurting missing children in order to exaggerate the effects of the shutdown.
Additionally, Democrats have intentionally disenfranchised veterans who traveled to D.C. to visit their memorial, courtesy of Honor Flight. The National Parks Service shut down the WWII Memorial, with penalty of arrest for trespassers. Democrats claimed this was due to government’s inability to afford to maintain the park, due to the government shutdown. However, the government miraculously had enough money to post rangers at the memorial to prevent veterans from entering.
One Park Service Ranger said, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” This further implicates the Obama administration’s role in selectively shutting down federal government services in order to annoy Americans so that they will blame Republicans.
Republicans control more than half of the House and Democrats control more than half of Senate. This means both parties need to compromise in order to pass legislation.
Unfortunately, congressional Democrats refuse any attempt at bipartisanship and expect Republicans to comply amicably. The House passed a continuing resolution to fund government, with an amendment to defund Obamacare. Senate Democrats refused to negotiate and stripped the amendment. The bill went back to the house, and the process repeated. Each time, Republicans compromised more and Democrats made no concessions.
The next time, Republicans proposed delaying Obamacare for one year. Senate Democrats, including Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) who recently said he would vote for such an amendment, voted against it.
Republicans then tried to delay the individual mandate, as Obama had already (and possibly illegally) delayed the mandate for big businesses. Republicans argue that if Obamacare is not ready for big businesses, something Democrats have indicated and solved by delaying the mandate for big businesses, it is not ready for Americans.
Republicans’ attempt to achieve fairness and equality failed in Senate, leaving Americans to wonder why Democrats will delay Obamacare for big business, but force it on Americans, without negotiation.
Finally, the House requested a conference with the Senate in order to compromise on legislation. Senate Democrats refused any negotiation, which precipitated the shutdown.
President Obama blasted Republicans, failing to mention Democrats refuse any negotiation, while absurdly demanding total legislative authority. Democrats prefer shutting down government to negotiating with Republicans.
Obamacare’s favoritism towards Congress has been a point of contention for Republicans. Congressmen can only purchase the best plan. Rep. Andy Harris explains that Congressmen “have to … get the gold policy … from the exchange. That's the only one we can get." He goes on to deplore Obamacare’s dual rules for Congressmen and Americans. "You see, bronze and silver's only good enough for everyone else in the country. For members of Congress … it's gold or nothing."
Although Democrats are working tirelessly to frame the government shutdown as the fault of Republicans, this has potential to fare very poorly for Democrats. Americans cannot understand why big business is exempt from a law which is supposedly great, Congressmen are only allowed to purchase the best plan and can receive subsidies that similarly situated Americans cannot, and Democrats will not elaborate on the favoritism of the elite.
Democrats should remember that previous government shutdowns have had minimal impact on approval ratings. Their actions are likely not hurting Republicans long-term, but only negatively impacting Americans, missing children, and veterans. Their histrionic actions do, however, have potential to hurt Democrats.