First – let’s be clear on who’s responsible for this debacle:
The truth of what happened Monday night, as almost all political reporters know full well, is that “Republicans staged a series of last-ditch efforts to use a once-routine budget procedure to force Democrats to abandon their efforts to extend U.S. health insurance.” (Thank you, Guardian.)
And holding the entire government hostage while demanding the de facto repeal of a president’s signature legislation and not even bothering to negotiate is by any reasonable standard an extreme political act. It is an attempt to make an end run around the normal legislative process. There is no historical precedent for it. The last shutdowns, in 1995 and 1996, were not the product of unilateral demands to scrap existing law; they took place during a period of give-and-take budget negotiations.
As the rest of the world laughs at the United States:
“The world looked on with a little anxiety and a lot of dismay, and some people had trouble suppressing smirks,” wrote Kevin Sullivan in a piece for Malaysian outlet Awani entitled, “US shutdown leaves the world scratching its head.”
While Russia Today devoted an entire article to U.S. shutdown comedy, featuring noteworthy images and tweets carrying the #govtshutdown hashtag, photojournalist Lynsey Addario tweeted from India that the shutdown was not being taken too seriously.
“I’m in India, and my driver and translator are laughing at U.S. govt shutdown. So much for world’s great superpower. It’s closed,” she said in a Tuesday tweet.
And of course Indiana has to show up as a national embarrassment, courtesy Todd Rokita being a dumbass on television: