I read a very interesting piece from the journalist/historian/author Max Hastings over the weekend, which sort of explained the situation to me....I think.
Most Brits don't really understand the finer points to all this stupidity, but I like Max's writings and he usually puts it plain enough so that even little old me can understand.
The picture he paints isn't a good one, and I wonder if anyone would care to comment as to whether he has actually put it across accurately.
Here's a snippet......
".....Washington this week has basked in autumnal sunshine and bitter hatred. Like players in one of those Hollywood movies about a divided hick town with lynch mobs baying, the legislators of the greatest nation on earth trade insults about blame for the government shutdown, resulting from the stand-off on the U.S. budget.
‘These people are Neanderthals,’ thundered a Democratic congressman. The Senate’s chaplain, Barry Black, rolled his eyes skywards and said: ‘Save us from this madness.’
The ‘madness’ is, of course, the insistence of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that they will vote to enable the federal government to pay its bills only if the White House agrees to suspend or scrap its national health scheme, which they loathe to the point of obsession.
Obamacare (properly known as ACA, the Affordable Care Act) is the greatest — cynics say the only major — achievement of this disappointing presidency. It provides subsidies and new regulatory procedures to bring health insurance within reach of the poorest Americans. Long-term, it is intended to lower the horrific costs of public healthcare.
Republicans hate the scheme because they claim that it will make medical care more costly for middle America, and extend the reach of the hated federal government.
Yet it is still an extraordinary step to attempt to blackmail the Democratic administration into dropping a measure that became law in 2010.
As a host of commentators point out, if Obama gave way on this issue — as assuredly he will not — the road would be open for his congressional enemies to pull the same stunt about any other law they dislike.
They could defy the intentions of the Founding Fathers of the constitution as flagrantly as the gun nuts who exploit the 1776 provision for militias to bear arms, to enable modern mass murderers to equip themselves with machine-guns. But the Republicans are seized with a self-righteousness which is impervious to reason.
.All week, a procession of fat, solemn, smug legislators has filled the country’s television screens, blaming the current farce on Barack Obama.
‘The President is using his enormous powers against the American people,’ said Utah Senator Mike Lee, ‘by refusing to recognise the enormous harm Obamacare is doing.’
One of the foremost advocates of the shutdown, Texan Congressman Randy Neugebauer, had the brass neck publicly to berate a Washington park ranger who had to explain to a couple of veterans they could not visit the World War II Memorial which — like all museums and monuments — has been forced to close to the public.
Bobby Jindal, Republican Governor of Louisiana, accuses the President of ‘obstinacy’, while another congressman charges Obama with ‘shamelessly pursuing his own political interests at the expense of the American people’.
This is serpent-speak, of course. But seldom, if ever, has the chasm between the sophistication of America’s East Coast and the primitive passions and thought processes of middle American lawmakers yawned wider.
At dinner parties in the capital this week, I have listened to government officials and academics venting fury about the irresponsibility of the Republicans.
‘Their behaviour is holding America up to ridicule,’ said my neighbour on Tuesday night. A State Department official said crossly: ‘We’re still working in my department for the next couple of weeks at least, but we can’t spend any money. This is a huge embarrassment......"
Whole article here.....