If the government shutdown in Washington, D.C., has come to an end between the time this was written and now, gentle reader, feel free to move on. That said, in the likely event the impasse continues, there is plenty of bipartisan blame to go around. For one, the Republicans in the U.S. House who hope to use the need to pass a federal budget and address the debt ceiling to defund the Affordable Care Act or delay its implementation have little hope of succeeding. If an article in the Oct. 6 edition of The New York Times is correct, they spend a long time formulating this strategy, which is all the more depressing. Back in the early 1990s, this space advised the Republicans upset about the early, left-of-center, agenda of the Clinton administration to stop whining and win control of Congress if they wanted to chart a different course. In 1994 they pulled it off. We would tell any Republicans who want to reverse the Affordable Care Act they will need to keep control of the House, elect a GOP president and win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. As for President Barack Obama, he needs to get over the idea that winning re-election in conferred on him the divine right of kings and he doesn’t need to deal with Republicans in the House and other critics of his health care law.
Perhaps everyone in Washington should read “Tip and the Gipper,” the newly published book from MSNBC host Chris Matthews about the way President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill worked together despite the great partisan gulf between them.