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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


The US Government remains shutdown and it is looking like it will remain in that condition for the time being.

This madness can end if the House passes a clean Continuing Resolution. All it takes is a simple majority as explained by this video here:

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But the one person who could allow this vote won't because it would cause him to lose his office.

That person is the Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R, OH-8).

I'd like to believe that John Boehner is a guy who is willing to find consensus when it comes to governing. The only reason why he is the Speaker is because of the Tea Party. Republicans rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 where they turned the House upside down from Democratic control with 256 seats to Republican control with 242 seats. In 2012, Republicans kept control of the House (234-201) even though Democrats won a plurality of votes (60.3 million to 58.5 million, 48.3%-46.9%) and among the two-party vote Democrats received 50.6% of the vote.

But we aren't a parliamentary system where the most votes yield the most seats. It is what it is for now. Let's focus on the issue at hand which is the government shutdown.

Boehner is only going along because if he allows a vote on a clean continuing resolution it could trigger a revolt within House Republicans that would further fracture his party and lead to him losing his speakership.

The Republicans shutdown the government because of their continued efforts to repeal "ObamaCare." Again, we know how this became law: both chambers of Congress passed it and the President signed it in March 2010, the Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional in June 2012, and the American people voted for President Obama in November 2012.

Since "ObamaCare" repeal is off the table, what is the House GOP looking to achieve with this shutdown? I do not think they know exactly what they want because all they have stipulated is "Repeal ObamaCare" over 40 times. Well, the law still took effect last week.

So it appears that Plan B is.... We're playing this by ear.

That is not exactly a winning strategy.

Meanwhile, House Republicans believe that by adding things like allowing employees to deny contraception coverage to their female employees, approval of the Keystone Pipeline, and other items included in the proposed budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) that it will force the Democrats hand.

No it won't. If the American people wanted the Ryan budget, then we would have voted for Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.

And therein lies the problem: The Republican Party is paralyzed by the Tea Party wing which represents a small minority of voters. These Tea Party supported congress members come from districts where they won their congressional election with little to no organized Democratic opposition and where President Obama did very poorly in their congressional district. Barack Obama won re-election by both a convincing margin in the electoral college and with greater than 50% in the popular vote nationally, but to these people reality doesn't matter. They are inside the bubble of their district insulated by the conservative media complex and funding machinery that tells them that 2012 really didn't happen.

Boehner is afraid to stand up to these people. If he was a competent speaker, he would have called for a vote of the clean continuing resolution and told the Tea Party to take a hike. If they want to remove the Speaker's Gavel from his hands, then bring it. Sadly Boehner is not that person.

Speaker Boehner has to put the best interest of the country ahead of his own. The government shutdown cannot continue on with federal employees furloughed and government services closed. This could be further complicated if the debt ceiling is breached in one week.

Speaker Boehner has one option: end this madness.

Boehner must call for a vote of the clean continuing resolution. Once it passes Congress and is signed by the President, immediately resign as Speaker of the House.

In one of his first speeches as House Speaker, Boehner proclaimed the House to be The People's House. The people made their voices heard in the last election, loudly.

It is time to do the people's business and open up the government.

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