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Inside the Beltway: Festering anger at the federal government
Question of the Day
Confusion over Obamacare, shutdown hysteria and continued partisan discord have yielded results: Public anger at the federal government is at the highest point on record. So says a Pew Research Center survey gauging the ire and frustration of Americans. Some are angrier than others: “Anger is most palpable among conservative Republicans — 41 percent say they are angry at the federal government, the highest among any partisan group,” the research says.
The number is 26 percent among the general public and 18 percent among liberal Democrats, and 50 percent among Republicans who support the tea party.
No one should be surprised by this reaction, since a concerted effort by the White House, Democratic leadership and a sympathetic liberal media has vilified Republicans. The phrase “reckless and irresponsible” has been repeatedly employed by President Obama and his staff in the past week to describe the GOP. This too has yielded results. Recent polls reveal that Americans have been persuaded to “blame” Republicans for trying to defang the Affordable Care Act, though Republicans argue they are the ones who tried to find a compromise and to protect their fellow citizens both as consumers and as citizens from an unwieldy, unpredictable law.
THE SHUTDOWN MEDIA
Is it a fauxdown or a showdown? Leave it to a crisis, either real or manufactured, to produce its own signature journalism.
Among the most popular one-word descriptions in the press during the last 24 hours before a government shutdown in any form: showdown, staredown, standoff, ping-pong, brinkmanship, blinkmanship, stalemate, cliffhanger, deadlock.
Crisis is in the eye of the beholder. The most popular adjective in news coverage: “looming.” The shutdown has been looming, as far as the press is concerned, for many weeks.
Interpretive headlines of note in the past 24 hours: “Shutdown could be shock therapy” (CNN); “Threat of shutdown is windfall for political fundraisers (the Los Angeles Times); “GOP flunks hostage-taking 101” (The Washington Post); “Boehner won’t blink” (MSNBC); “Reid is rigid” (Fox News); “GOP’s touch-the-stove moment” (Politico); “The suicidal shutdown” (Daily Beast); “National Zoo panda cam would go dark in a shutdown” (ABC News); and “Shutdown or no shutdown, Ted Cruz wins” (Bloomberg).
Democrats and the press have drummed up hysteria over a government shutdown for weeks, though a Justice Department legal analysis has deemed the term “entirely inaccurate,” as the safety of the public and security of the nation will never be compromised. “Such a lapse in funding would be neither catastrophic nor unprecedented. There have been 17 funding gaps just since 1977, ranging in duration from one to 21 days,” says Hans A. von Spakovsky, legal analyst for the Heritage Foundation.
“It is certainly true that ‘nonessential’ federal employees will be furloughed. But so many federal employees are considered ‘essential’ that when President Bill Clinton vetoed a continuing resolution in November 1995 in a dispute with Newt Gingrich over a balanced budget and welfare reform, only about 800,000 out of a total of almost 4.5 million federal employees were furloughed,” Mr. von Spakovsky points out.
“National parks probably will be closed because they are not considered essential, and there is little doubt that President Obama will shut down other highly visible but nonessential government offices in order to annoy as many members of the ordinary public as possible, while shifting the blame for the shutdown to Republicans and away from his unreasonable refusal to negotiate,” the analyst continues.
“The danger doesn’t come from a temporary lapse in government funding. The danger comes from implementing a shoddy, burdensome, expensive program to nationalize health care and refusing to reduce out-of-control spending,” he adds.
“Through hunting and fishing, in traditions handed down from generation to generation, families strengthen their bonds and individuals forge connections with the great outdoors. They rise before dawn to cast a line on a misty stream or wait patiently in a stand as a forest awakes. Parents help toddlers reel in their first catch, and young hunters master the call of a wild turkey. Anglers and hunters have played an integral role, living up to their legacy as some of our nation’s strongest defenders of wild places. In addition to its significance as a time-honored tradition, outdoor recreation supports millions of jobs.”
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