Coffee House

How is Obama escaping blame for the government shutdown?

1 October 2013

1:06 PM

1 October 2013

1:06 PM

Barack Obama may not be a great president, but he is a wizard at the blame game. He has fought ‘fiscal brinkmanship’ battles throughout his presidency, and he tends to come out on top. America’s federal government is today closing down, and most pundits refuse to say it’s in any way the president’s fault. Instead, they accuse his opponents of wrecking the political system.

If you read most newspapers, or watch the BBC, you would think that wicked Republicans — ‘in hock’ to their extremist tea party division —  are shutting down the federal government out of little more than a fit of pique. The Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Patty Murray all said the Grand Old Party had a ‘gun to our head’.


But look closer and the picture is not so black and white. Republicans oppose Obamacare for ideological reasons, yes, but also because health is just about the one domestic issue on which they have the support of most Americans. The Affordable Health Care Act is unpopular, so it’s hardly undemocratic to push for its repeal, even if pundits scoff at the crazy number of times House Republicans have tried (41 and counting).

Twice last week, in fact, Republicans voted to fund the federal government. Where they baulked is over the Obamacare clauses of the federal budget. This may not be a sensible (even sane) strategy. But the Democrats are also refusing to budge, and very few journalists (especially on this side of the pond) have accused them of intransigence. As Pat Buchanan puts it:

‘A majority of Americans oppose a government shutdown. And a majority oppose Obamacare. Who, then, is preventing the government from being funded? Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Neither will accept any continuing resolution that does not contain Obamacare. Both will shut down this city rather than accept any such [compromise].’

The truth about ‘Washington dysfunction’ and today’s crisis is complex. It’s far easier to pretend a bunch of right-wing nutters are destroying America.

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Show comments
  • John Smith

    Obama is simply another talking head, with no leadership skills at all

  • lojolondon

    Chris Lancashire seems to have read the left-wing MSM / Biased BBC/Guardian on this subject, and not absorbed a single word from this article.
    The Republicans are doing what the British Parliament has not done for 15 years, until one month ago when they voted against action in Syria – they voted in a way that represents their constituents, and ignored the President’s threats. Good for them, that is proper democracy.
    PS, the departments that will be unpaid are : the Smithsonian (Museums), the Department of the Environment and Department of Energy, etc. You could shut them down for 10 years and make no difference whatsoever to the Average American’s life.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The Smithsonian is valuable, although not an absolute essential. The Department of Energy is useless, and can be dissolved and the (very few) useful parts of it can be picked up in other departments. The Department of the Environment should exist as a green eye shade administrative agency, devoid of policymaking powers, which they inevitably abuse.

      • lojolondon

        Exactly, which is why the threat of shutting down the government is exposed when you see the details, and realise the useless bunch that are getting fired. If we had a proper Conservative government in Britain they would shut those similar organisations down permanently as a matter of course.

  • allymax bruce

    Bush got his two illegal & wasteful wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, so why can’t Obama get his good Health Care for the poor!
    The Republicans, when they were in the Whitehouse, ran-up a debt of $10 Trillion!
    The Democrats, as well as the people of the United States, now suffer more Republican horror, of Republican self-interested policies of shutting down the US government, for personal, spiteful, and ugly reasons; to stop the poor people in USA getting some kind of Health Care!
    I also notice an AIPAC self-interest theme going on too; Republican-self-interested lobbies, like the Industrial military complex, didn’t get to bomb Syria back to the stone-age, so now Republicans are harming the people of the US by forcing the shutdown of US government, trying to spite Obama, for not forcing war on the poor poor people of Syria! Dontcha just luv the ugly, crooked, spiteful, self-interested Republicans?

  • Jon Newman

    So unpopular that Americans voted in Obama for the second time?

  • Bonkim

    US medical care system is a rip-off from their doctors and hospitals to drug manufacturers. For the have nots without savings or insurance – it is little better than living in many third world countries.

  • kats blues

    As an American that has lost everything I worked all my life for, why you ask? My husband got cancer. And over the three years he lived since he was diagnosed, the medical bills were over a half a million dollars. And that was with our “premium” health insurance. I had to sell our home, cars, bonds and anything that would bring in cash. I am now sick myself and homeless. I worked as a welder since 1979, over 30 years and now all the savings for retirement is gone. In the UK how many people do you know that loose everything because of medical bills? Our social systems here suck, and when you really look at the poles taken on Obama care almost 60% of Americans want the affordable care program to work. I wish you could try living here and see how bad health care here is. I live in the SF bay area, I volunteer at a State Park and I try to live on less than a $1000 a month. Rents here are $700 a month to rent a room. I pay $130 a month just for Medicare, and the only doctors that take it is county health services. And I’m considered lucky because at least I have some kind of healthcare.

    • Curnonsky

      If you make less than $1,000 per month and are homeless you would qualify for Medical (the California state low-income healthcare system). And anyone facing the sort of medical bills you claim to have had (with premium health insurance??) would have filed for bankruptcy and kept your house and most of your assets.

      In other words your sob story sounds like complete fiction, another Obamacare fable.

    • kats blues

      My husband died in 1994, since then I have been fighting to get back on my feet, are you so unfeeling that you can’t understand what losing your mate and then lose your home, kids college funds… everything! In 2000 I was diagnosed with NF2, yes I get medical and medicare, but no doctors will take it because the pay is so low. Our whole lives fell apart, not just for me but my kids. Did you know that when your are working and get sick you lose your health benefits? In 1992 our Cobra payments were $800 a month then. My brother in law had a stroke in 2007, his cobra payments were $1300 a month for just him. His SS disablity was $1379 a month. Did you know that Medicare will not kick in for 2 years. Are you that uninformed that you don’t really get that there are thousands of people that lose everything because of illness or major injuries. We took out insurance to cover expenses in case of sickness, but when Rod got sick they cancelled or would not cover his medical needs. I pray to God, you never have to find out the hard way how bad the US laws are. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

  • Elliott Mcgillis

    When everyone in America has to pay the extra $200 to a $1000 a month, hitting home what’s really the fight is about. Obama and Democrats telling 300 million people there’s nothing you can do about it “Obama’s words”. Basically told all American people f u all, spoken like a true dictator.

  • stickytape

    The answer is black and white, Obama will always have the support of right thinking, right on, journalists from everywhere, because he isn’t white.

  • Mickey Kovars

    Fact is, we don’t have a president, we have an agitator. As Chris Christie has said, a real president would put all the players in a room and bang their heads together until they resolve it.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Christie is a fat blowhard, and not much different than Obama.

  • Daidragon

    He isn’t being blamed because it isn’t his fault. It’s just the usual Tea Party nutcases trying to fight the same ideological battles. They don’t care about democracy, just wrecking something they don’t like. On the bright side this will help Obamas Democratic successor (Hilary) to paint them as irresponsible loons and win the next Presidential election.

  • Mike Barnes

    How has he escaped blame, simply because it’s not his fault.

    He won 2 elections.
    It’s gone through the Supreme Court.
    Obama-care is the law of the land.

    He doesn’t have to negotiate, he won. You don’t win then negotiate with the losers, you don’t give in to extortion and blackmail from a party that cannot accept reality.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You’re right, he doesn’t have to negotiate. He can climb down in the bunker and the budget can get passed despite him, and without funding for ObamaCare. That would be “reality”, lad.

  • Fraser

    Just because it’s unpopular doesn’t make it wrong.

    • Curnonsky

      Indeed, since it is both wrong and unpopular.

  • colliemum

    It’s very polite of you not to mention that one of the reasons the House is not funding Obamacare in its present form is that Obama and Sen Harry Reid, majority leader of the senate, have exempted Congress from the duty of enrolling, i.a.w. they need not comply with what the Democrats and the US MSM howl is ‘the law of the land’.
    Similarly exempt, through waivers explicitly provided by Obama, are some Unions and some Big Businesses – those who’ve paid mightily into his coffers.

    Now how can something be ‘the law of the land’ when certain, well-connected groups are exempt?

  • Colin Forbes

    This is as nothing compared to what will happen – both domestically and internationally – when the US hits the debt ceiling, which the Democrats will want to raise and which the GOP will oppose tooth and claw. the two effects combine in a perfect storm. Not in living memory (well, mine at least!) has Congress been as polarised as it is now, nor as divided on partisan and ideological lines. Taking the budget issue as a strong indicator, it looks pretty certain that America is headed for a default – or a fudge that puts the issue off for a while, the latter probably being more likely . This has happened before. It’s an object lesson of the difficulties encountered when government spending – are you listening Mr Osborne? – gets out of control and stays that way over a long period of time.

  • Seth_the_pig_farmer

    They say on the radio that 700,000 employees have been sent on unpaid leave. I would suggest that means that they taxpayers are saving more than $10m a day in wages.

    Every little helps!

    • anyfool

      They will not get paid because the ones sent home also do the payroll, they will get paid in full later on, as has happened in the past.

  • anyfool

    Saying the President is not getting the blame does not make it so.
    His poll ratings are as low as any in the last 40 years, less than Bush even at times.
    So Mr Grey where are you copying your post from, the Guardian or the BBC website.

  • Smithersjones2013

    and he tends to come out on top. America’s federal government is today
    closing down, and most pundits refuse to say it’s in any way the
    president’s fault. Instead, they accuse his opponents of wrecking the
    political system.

    So America’s political and media classes are as venally dishonest and out of touch as our own underclasses. Go figure…….

  • Colonel Mustard

    All lefties escape the blame for what they do and don’t do. Because the slime say they mean well all is forgiven.

  • William Haworth

    “…shut down this city…” Even Pat Buchanan can’t tell the difference between Washington and America. Sad.

    • HookesLaw

      By ‘this city’ he means the federal government which resides there. Whose sad?

  • Ian H

    Your article misses the point. The point is that the
    (supposedly Constitution worshipping) GOP have no right to disrupt the
    Constitutionally-mandated process of funding laws which were passed. Your theory about Obamacare being unpopular nationally overall is irrelevant, but it’s also highly dubious.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You’re confused. The Constitution does not “mandate” funding, certainly not of some politicians’ handmaiden.

      ObamaCare’s unpopularity is quite relevant, and it isn’t anything close to dubious.

      • Ian H

        It is a law on the statute books. It was passed by both houses with integral commitments to its funding.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Laws can be passed until the cows come home. That doesn’t imply there exists any obligation to fund them, certainly not any obligation based in The Constitution, as per your above confusion.

          • Ian H

            It’s not explicitly codified in the Consitution that laws passed must be funded but that is the gist of the document. I doubt the framers could have envisaged a situation like this. The closest parallel I think is Presidential impoundment which has been so difficult as to be practially impossible since the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              No, it is not the “gist” of the document. You can doubt and fantasize whatever you want about what “the framers could have envisaged”, but I can assure you that they envisaged precisely the situation we’re witnessing today, that either branch of Congress would decline to fund anything they chose, at their discretion. And the framers specifically codified that spending bills must arise in the House, as we also see being played out.

        • David McNeilage

          Copying and pasting Wikipedia is truly lazy research . You are also wrong, Congress is under no obligation to fund laws.

      • Daidragon

        Obamacare care is so unpopular he won the last election.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          ObamaCare is unpopular. Let’s keep it simple.

          • Daidragon

            Obamacare is the law. Congress hasn’t got a leg to stand on. They are a disgrace to democracy.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Actually, the Congress has The Constitution to “stand on”, and is doing so.

              • Geoff

                Well, no, because the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, and nowhere in the Constitution does it mention the unique ability of the house to challenge the (more representational) mandate of the President through abuse of the power of the purse…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, yes, because similar to the presidency, the Supreme Court is not Constitutionally empowered to mandate funding.

                  You’ve strangely attributed some non-existent governmental powers to them, but I can assure they do not exist in the Constitution. What the US House of Representatives is doing DOES exist, and is SPECIFICALLY mentioned in that document.

                • Geoff

                  I haven’t attributed any legislative power, only mentioned that the Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the law.

                  Certainly if one takes an absolutely rigid reading of the Constitution, word for word, then perhaps your point would be valid. However, in reality, it is ridiculous. Representatives in the house are elected overwhelmingly on LOCAL mandates – bringing government funding into the district etc. For this reason, the rate of re-election in the house has never fallen below 85% in the last half century – in presidential years (where turnout is more representative), the figure is 80%. The house, therefore, does not, and can not have a national policy mandate, especially without a single ‘GOP’ or ‘Democratic’ manifesto.

                  The President, however, rather than the system of indirect election specified in the Constitution, is directly elected. Furthermore, in the most recent election, which was fought explicitly over healthcare, with two clear sides, President Obama won the popular vote: a clear mandate for a signature, some would say the signature policy of his presidency. If the American system is ever to move out of this current stalemate, governors must be allowed to govern, and legislators must learn to compromise, rather than play a tiresome game of brinkmanship.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Sorry, laddie, but I stopped after your “ridiculous” comment at the top of your post. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and protracted discussion with the ignorant has little value.

                  Just be assured that what you are witnessing today is common occurrence in US history. It is the long established process in that constitutional republic, has happened before and will happen again.

                • Geoff

                  Ah – so not listening makes the problems go away! What a brilliant idea – someone should try that on a cable news channel…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Not listening to the ignorant often makes them go away, yes. That would be you, lad.

                • Geoff

                  So, if I am the ignoramus, then answer the point: show it, rather than just shirk and change the subject.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The point is made above, lad. Read it again at your leisure.

                  What you mean to say is that you don’t like it, and are whining about it.

                • Geoff

                  Yes, there have been stalemates, of course. But never have the two parties been so polarised: never has the House been so ideologically divided. My argument was not that deadlock has never happened before; my argument was that there is no mandate for this deadlock. Only 50% of REPUBLICANS approve of the shutdown.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  That’s just whining, and of little interest. It’s good that you’re starting to back off your previous assertions though. They are ahistorical, and make you look foolish.

                  You’ll need to make the final step, and cease whining about the settled order of business in the constitutional republic. It’s been happening for centuries, and will likely continue in the same fashion, your whining notwithstanding.

                • Geoff

                  I’m puzzled – what assertion did you think I was making? And please: this childish rudeness is a bit boring.

                  Republics are supposed to promote discussion, compromise, and resolution. In the past, although there have been bumps, yet lack of a strong party whip has ensured a level of compromise. Today that is lacking.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Your assertions are littered in your above posts, lad. Go back and review them at your leisure. And if my posts are too childish and rude for you, you should cease responding to them.

                  Again, there is nothing occurring today that hasn’t occurred repeatedly and often throughout the history of this constitutional republic. Your whining about it doesn’t change that settled history. It has occurred, it is occurring and it will occur again. Stop whining about it. It makes you look childish.

    • Curnonsky

      Actually the Constitution mandates that spending bills originate in the House, so the GOP is well within their rights here. The whole process was set up to provide a check on presidential power – which is of course what infuriates an authoritarian like Obama.

      And every poll has shown the American people do not want Obamacare and do not trust the government to make their healthcare decisions for them. Why should the people’s voice not be heard?

  • Hello

    Let’s also bear in mind that the US decided to have a debt ceiling, presumably for two reasons:

    1. That it would come into effect in certain situations, otherwise there would be no point in having it.

    2. That the president of the day would take note of the ceiling and manage the finances more prudently.

    Obama is just as much to blame for this — probably even more to blame for this, because he knows the Republicans will fold before pushing the country under, and he is looking to extract political gains by refusing to negotiate. He is, in effect, invalidating one of the rules that is supposed to keep the presidency in check.

    • HookesLaw

      The budget has to be passed by Congress. It gets stuffed with pork and the representatives and senators horse trade over cuts which affect their states.

      Its for reasons like this that US spending grows like topsey.

      The President is broadly iompotent on a wide range of issues, especially if he does not command majorities in both Houses. And the individual representatives and senators all have their own careers and have little thought to being part of the govt as we have over here.

      Not long agao the kipper crowd were saying MPS should vote the way they want and not follow the party line. When this happens in America and it turns into a shambles they rationalise their stupid idea by blaming the president.

  • Austin Barry

    Like all good socialists, the swaggering, self-regarding Obama hates his own country. What’s new.

  • HookesLaw

    If he is escaping blame it is because it is in essence not his responsibility.
    Don’t you understand how America is governed?
    Its constitution is specifically designed not to give power to the President.
    It is divided 3 ways

    Supreme Court.

    The biggest power the President has is to appoint Supreme Court Justices.

    • Curnonsky

      No, the President nominates the Supreme Court justices but they must then be confirmed by Congress. And don’t forget has also has the power to veto legislation which can only be overridden by a two-thirds majority of both the House and Senate. Add that to his executive authority and you will find the President is very powerful indeed which makes Obama’s absence of leadership all the more shameful.

  • Chris lancashire

    It would appear that the USA has got itself an even worse bunch of politicians than we have. The whole rotten lot of them are a disgrace to government and to decent American people.

    • HookesLaw

      Correct they are ferrets fighting in a sack over their own pet prejudices whilst their economy or at least their government suffers.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        So the government is suffering? The poor dears, they should do something for them, to give them some relief. Can’t we get some bands together and have a concert or something, to help these poor, underprivileged grifters in Washington?

        • HookesLaw

          the government of the country suffers you dope.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, and as I say, we need to do something for the poor governmental dears that you’re so concerned about.

            • HookesLaw

              Dope – its the public who suffer if the government seizes up.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                How’s that? Nobody’s suffering. They’re merely shutting down non-essential government. It’s good practice for them, because at some point it’s what will be happening permanently. Looming bankruptcy will ensure that.

                • cbinTH

                  How can people have voted up a comment as stupid as yours?

                  The only answer can be that they are fools and arseholes, all in one.

                  If the government delays payments, that has obvious knock-on effects for business’ that deal with them. If the government ceases to function, that has obvious negative effects for everyone who needs them to work to provide forms, licenses, etc. if the government can’t pay employees, that has obvious potential for severe consequences for those people. If the National Parks have to close, that means that my scheduled visit to Washington will be a waste of time. That one-off life opportunity, perhaps, is gone.

                  And all to protect a wicked and immoral health care non-system that prevents poor children receiving treatment, and grossly overcharges everyone else. You could treat everyone, and still save money as a nation, but, no, you have to screw it up – presumably because you’re in the pockets of vested interests, and because of a crazy intolerant and economically illiterate, and utterly unconservative, fundamentalist free market ideology, promoted by a weird right wing club (which seem to have access to the Spectator in the UK) who have introduced Tea Party supporters to an alternative reality, where President Obama is a communist Muslim traitor, where compromise (which is necessary for the US system to work) must be avoided at all costs, and where the choice made by Congress to both reject all compromise and to stop the government, is in effect a choice made by Obama.

                  This has to stop. America is a wonderful country, but its politics are poisonous, and the poison is concentrated almost entirely on the Right.

                  The question is, what are the root causes. The two most compelling explanations I’ve read are, firstly, the jerrymandering of electoral districts, so that most Congressmen (especially Republicans) are in ‘safe’ majority constituencies. This means that, instead of competing for votes from the middle ground, as most politicians would have to do if voters were randomly allocated, their only potential challengers come from their own ranks. This tends to make politicians more extreme, as they have an incentive to prove to their party that they are more Republican or Democrat than the next guy, but they have no incentive to prove that they represent the more moderate views of normal people. The second proposed reason is the fragmentation of the collective media experience: rather than get their news from a shared main stream media, people increasingly get their views from news sources, on the Internet or cable tv (or radio) which narrowly represent the views with which they, as consumers, are more comfortable. This tends to create a closed environment full of like minded souls, whose views remain unchallenged, and who become more extreme with time; it also renders them prey to unchallenged ideologues. Thus, the public themselves become radicalised. At the moment, this is particularly the case on the Right as a higher proportion of their supporters have abandoned the mainstream media, which is relatively moderate in its bias (despite the hysterical denunciations of people at the extremes).

                  These two factors have contributed to the growth of a third, which is a vibrant right wing ideology, with theories about how the world functions that are every bit as unworldly and absolute as those of communists, and which bases itself, ultimately, on radical moral beliefs quite distinct from mere conservatism: these people really believe, as an absolute, that it is better for an undeserving person to die or otherwise suffer, than for a deserving person to pay tax, and they appeal to people who haven’t consciously accepted this ideology by claiming a utilitarian justification (ie. that pure capitalism is best for all in the end). The utilitarian justification is simplistic and often incorrect, and quite Panglossian in the way it works, but the ideologues don’t care, because ultimately they are admirers of Ayn Rand and her offshoots, and aren’t truly thinking in utilitarian terms, but in terms of moral absolutes for individuals.

                  This ideology, with its absolute beliefs, has led to people like “the Viceroy’s Gin”, above, who actually don’t care about a government shutdown, because they are inclined to believe that all government is bad anyway. They are happy to see the government cease to function, even when it offers no savings to the taxpayer. They are, effectively, insane, because they have been brainwashed to act and speak and believe and vote as if they are insane.

                  To oppose such people within the Republican Party is to risk one’s career or reelection, and so, of course, most don’t dare do it. Consequently, you get extreme behaviour like that we see in the news this week. And, indeed, every week.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …did you think anybody was going to read through that long, whining, leftist diatribe, lad?

                • cbinTH

                  Well, not you, no.

                  But actually I tried to cut it down to size, as is my habit, after I’d written it, but my I-Pad wouldn’t let me type, delete, or in any way edit the text, for some reason. It does this occasionally.

                  To summarise, then, a shutdown of government services is a bad thing, and the fact it occurred is a symptom of an increasingly dysfunctional political environment, which itself in turn has various underlying causes, two possible of which are, the growth of one-party constituencies, and the end of a shared media environment. If you are a Democrat Congresssman whose electorate are mostly poor black people, you have no chance of being rejected by right wing or moderate voters – but you might be toppled by a more ‘authentic’ or left wing Democrat, – and so you would tend to become a radical leftist. The same if you are a Republican and your constituency is dominated by natural Republican voters. Since politicians ‘gerrymander’ to create for themselves ‘safe’ constituencies, as time goes on they will tend to tack away from the centre, politically.

                  As to a shared media environment, today we all have the option of multiple news providers, and we tend to choose ones that don’t infuriate us with their alternative outlook. Consequently we are exposed to only one narrative and become more set in our ways, and less probe to support political compromise.

                  I happen to think that at the moment, in the US at any rate, these problems are more acute on the Right than on the Left.

                  I also think these problems, these factors, have led to a growth in an anti-moderation ideology on the Right which is outwardly shallow and ultimately based on an immoral premise. I think such thinking leads to functionally (not clinically) insane beliefs and behaviour.

                  Whether you read that or not, Is up to you.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, it is up to me, for now that is, until such time as you authoritarians make it mandatory. For now, I’ll ignore your empty hysterics.

                  You leftists need to stop your shrieking and whining, if you want to be taken seriously.

                • cbinTH

                  But I was careful not to shriek, this time. Also, I’m not a leftist. I’m a proper, a real, conservative. I love my country and my Queen and the history of which I’m an inheritor. i think you are more Roundhead, than Cavalier. Part of conservatism has always been a healthy distrust of ideological theory and intolerant absolutists. I favour practical, cautious, change, if change happens to be necessary and not too risky. I favour capitalism, but primarily for utilitarian reasons, and not, like the 19th century Liberals so memorably satirised as Scrooge in ‘A Christmas Carol’, for narrow ideological reasons.

                  I am a conservative. I’m not quite sure what you are. You can’t be a nineteenth century liberal, like Scrooge, because they were devoted to reason and to rationality.

                  As to being taken seriously, I only take you seriously in the sense that you are a part of a larger negative phenomenon, like one of the hoard of zombies in a George Romero film, not in the sense that I think you are well informed or insightful.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, you are not a conservative.

                  You are an economical read, though. You can be ignored at the first or second sentence, as your thoughts have little value, certainly none to we conservatives.

                  Shorten up your posts, lad. Say something of interest or value. Only then will you be taken seriously.

                • cbinTH

                  Why, then, am I not a conservative?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  For starters, your very first statements above clearly identify you as not one of us.

                  But let’s not play 20 questions, lad. You’re not a conservative. You may be a lot of things, but you’re not one of us.

                • cbinTH

                  You say “one of us”, but perhaps it is YOU that is not the conservative? According to my (more historically accurate) understanding of the conservative mindset, you, and the groups you hang out with, are not conservative at all.

                  What has, I think, obviously happened is, that in order to counter progressive ideologies, conservatives (in some circles) have created counter-ideologies, or promoted them, but these ideologies are not themselves authentically conservative. Yet since they have proven useful in combating more obviously ‘progressive’ idea’s, they have been accepted by many conservatives without question. Consequently, supposedly conservative people actually think in a very unconservative fashion.

                  Conservatism is about scepticism, common sense, and a preference for tradition and received values.

                  The Tea Party, deep down, is antithetical to all of these.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, I’m a conservative alright. You’re not, and your disparagement of the Tea Party would be another indicator of that.

                  It’s good that you’ve constructed your post so that one only need read the first and last sentences, though. It might facilitate you communicating with people. Absent that, you’ll be ignored, I fear.

                • cbinTH

                  If you don’t listen to people who prove you wrong, then you will never learn the error of your ways.

                  So be it.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I listen to everyone who isn’t hysterical, lad. You failed that simple test and got yourself into the ignore category. I accept your decision, as it’s what you yourself chose. You’d understand all this, if you were a conservative

                • cbinTH

                  I’ll be in Washington DC this weekend. What, in your view, can I do there? What is worth visiting that will still be accessable?

                  There, that was short.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  There are plenty of tour services available for you, lad. If you were a conservative, you wouldn’t be throwing out blind questions to strangers on the internet, you’d seek out proven information and data on the matter.

                  But I’d assume you’re just being argumentative and whining, here.

                • cbinTH

                  I fail to see how asking for your advice labelled me a non-conservative, unless you think that conservatives should have no sense of community, and you would be mistaken about that.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  We conservatives are sensible and efficient, and economical. You wouldn’t understand that, lad, because you’re not a conservative.

                  We conservatives don’t throw out distracting and argumentative questions, either.

                • cbinTH

                  Not all conservatives have been sensible, efficient, and economical. In fact, in British history, it was the progressives, the Liberals, who were associated with staid, boring, economies and efficiency.

                  I think that the word ‘conservative’, which once pretty neatly described the predecessors to the camps to which you belong, no longer apply, at least to you. Conservatives have a tendency to, well, “conserve” things. Not wreck them, because their existence contradicts their ideological agenda.

                  That is what your crowd have done; absorb an ideology and then continue to call yourselves “conservative.” But you’re not. Not any more.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  That’s too long to read again, lad. You’re wasting a bunch of words to describe conservatism, but you’re not a conservative as demonstrated above, so there’s no need to bother reading them, as it’s an uneconomical waste of time. .

                  See how this works? We conservatives really do mean it and live it, lad.

                • cbinTH

                  Three paragraphs are too long to read? What do you need, bullet points?
                  * Conservatives are those who are inclined to be sceptical about unnecessary change – but the Tea Party has an outlook which is not about an authentic return to previous values or practices, and is thus only very superficially conservative.
                  * Conservatives favour common sense and received wisdom over ideology, but the libertarians, evangelical Christians, and Randians, are a coalition of ideologues.


                  Shutting down the government (even in this partial way) is a bad thing and an inconvenience for a very great number of people, and historically unusual. So your comment stating that it was a good thing was a frustratingly stupid one

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re not a conservative, so your nonsense doesn’t get read, lad, because your wittering about conservative thought has no value to a conservative.

                  You want things to be what you want them to be, not what they are, which is another in the long list of things you’ve blathered that clearly identify you as apart from we conservatives.

                  Again, see how this works, lad? We really do mean it, we conservatives. You don’t and likely won’t ever understand that, but we really mean it. Seriously. No joke.

    • monty61

      Indeed. Though both US and UK politicians look quite Churchillian if you look what’s happening in Taiwan right now.

      • Chris lancashire

        I must admit, you have the advantage on me there.

    • dalai guevara

      No they have not. What the US need to deal with is in essence a Greek scenario, and now guess who – which an 18 month delay – will join the party?