Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Obama Drama
The drama’s laws, the drama’s patrons give,
For we that live to please, must please to live.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), At opening of Drury Lane Theatre
Budget drama unfolds again, with Obama at center stage.
Susan Page, USA Today,  September 22, 2013
The Obamacare budget is becoming sheer political theatre as two deadlines approach.
 The first deadline  is October 1 when the government will shut down if Congress can’t agree on a stopgap spending limit.
The second deadline occurs in mid-October when the government hits its borrowing limit.
The GOP set the stage for the drama with two bills:  1. Passing a bill funding government but defunding Obamacare; 2. Proposing to delay ObamaCare  implementation for one year in exchange for a one year extension  of budget limit.
Here is what the theatre playbill’s main actors have to say before the curtain opens.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, "Our message to the United States Senate is real simple: The American people don't want the government shut down, and they don't want Obamacare."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "So in case there's any shred of doubt in the minds of our House counterparts, I want to be absolutely crystal clear: Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead, dead."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking on "I think Senate Republicans are going to stand side by side with Speaker Boehner and House Republicans, listening to the people and stopping this train wreck that is Obamacare."

President Obama, "Let me say as clearly as I can: It is not going to happen. ... We're not going to allow anyone to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people just to make an ideological point."

President Obama, the play’s chief producer, director, and promoter,  holds the keys to the play’s success or failure.   By refusing to negotiate with the theatre guild, and threatening to veto any budget that doesn’t fit his personal script,  he is putting the country at risk  of a government shutdown.

President Obama  sees the play as all about him, not his policies or governance style, but about personal vendettas.  It is not about the play being jammed through without being read by others. It is not about its economic impacts, about people losing their jobs, or insurance, or doctors, or being shifted to part-time work, or damage to the economy, or  impending and predictable software failures, or  widespread fraud because of not documenting eligibility, or being deeply unpopular with out-of-town audiences in its trial runs.  It’s about Republicans “messing with me.”

The President might  be better off compromising, negotiating, collaborating, or  delaying implementation rather than running the risk of a shutdown before the main performance even begins or a collapse down the line requiring multiple rewrites.

Tweet:  ObamaCare drama over a government shutdown  moves center stage in October  with the President sayings he refuses to negotiate or compromise.

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