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Grant Bosse

Grant Bosse: The last battle of World War II

They weren’t expecting a contested landing. After all, the World War II veterans disembarking the tour buses had just flown in from across the country to visit the memorial built to remember their service. The government shutdown had closed some federal agencies and forced others to cut back on staff, but the National World War II Memorial was an open plaza on the National Mall. Why would anyone close an outdoor monument?

Unfortunately, the National Park Service has no time for common sense. The federal government was shut down, and it wasn’t going to let a bunch of octogenarian veterans walk all over the World War II Memorial as if it belonged to them.

Having survived Normandy, Anzio, and Guadalcanal, these war heroes weren’t going to be turned aside by petty bureaucrats and temporary barricades. The Battle of the Monuments was the most visible and most ridiculous example of the Obama administration’s attempts to dramatize the impact of the shutdown. To be sure, suspending vital programs is very bad news for a lot of people, but that doesn’t play on television as well as a closed sign outside an iconic landmark.

Shutdown theater

The National Park Service, according to former interior secretary Gale Norton “has a long history of dramatizing budget issues by inconveniencing the public,” but it outdid itself last week, blocking public access to places it doesn’t run. The park service closed the parking lots at privately-funded Mont Vernon, locked the toilets in the White Mountain National Forest and eventually wired shut the barricades at the World War II Memorial to anyone other than Honor Flight veterans. Thankfully, they didn’t have the time to airdrop tarps over Mount Rushmore or fill the Grand Canyon with packing peanuts.

This is the same administration that prodded federal agencies to play up the consequences of the dreaded sequester, which forced the entire federal government to scrap by on barely more money than they received the year before. If the Obama administration paid as much attention to running government as it did to closing it down, we might not owe $17 trillion.

Obama’s attempt to make the public suffer as much as possible for Washington’s failures reminds me of Richard Nixon’s directive to “Make the economy scream” in order to destabilize the government of Salvador Allende in Chile. The devolution of the secretive, paranoid and incompetent Obama administration into Nixon’s third term is almost complete.

A way out

Much like John Kerry stumbling through an exit to the Obama administration’s Syrian chemical weapons fiasco, John House Speaker John Boehner may have accidently fixed the appropriations process. As Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid refused to even consider a series of House bills, even those without the Obamacare defunding provision that sparked the showdown, Boehner starting pushing through a series of “mini-continuing resolutions” that funded popular programs like the Veterans Administration and the National Institutes of Health. Reid rejected these proposals as stunts and insisted on an all-or-nothing bill to reopen the entire American government.

Expect Reid is wrong. Discrete funding for each area of federal government isn’t a stunt. It’s the way it’s supposed to work. Each year, the president is supposed to submit a budget to Congress. The House and Senate then pass a budget authorizing broad limits on spending for each department. Congress then crafts 13 separate appropriations bills that actually spend the money. In the absence of appropriations bills, Congress can pass temporary continuing resolutions to keep the doors open while the final spending bills are approved.

The Obama administration has never submitted its budget on time. Reid went nearly four years without even bringing a budget up for a vote. And Congress has abandoned the traditional appropriations process, funding government through a series of omnibus continuing resolutions.

This perverse process prevents any real debate over budget priorities, forces members of Congress to make an up-or-down vote on all of federal spending and makes budget oversight impossible.

Losers and losers

Obama has publicly declared that he won’t negotiate with House Republican to end the shutdown, and a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal that they didn’t really care how long the shutdown lasted because “we’re winning.”

No one is winning the shutdown. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is leading the parade of losers, having talked a faction of House Republicans into this doomed crusade. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte excoriated Cruz, both in a meeting of the GOP caucus and on the Senate floor. His insistence on tying funding for most federal programs to the defunding of Obamacare shifted the debate in Obama’s favor. Topic A was no longer the despised health care law and its glitchy rollout, but Congress’s failure to fund the government.

But neither Senate Democrats nor the White House are looking much better. The president’s crocodile tears over the shutdown are obvious, and no one is coming out of the fiasco with their approval ratings high.

Walking through the halls of the Senate last week, I felt the weight of frustration and bad faith. The Treasury says we’ll hit the debt limit by Oct. 17. And neither Reid, Obama, nor House Republicans in safe seats have much political incentive to budget.

(Grant Bosse is editor of New Hampshire Watchdog, an independent news site dedicated to New Hampshire public policy and a senior fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.)

Legacy Comments23

Well seems Faux News reported a story that Obama shut down US museums but used his own money to pay to keep some Muslim museum open. Trouble is it came from a satirical web site. So if right wingers want to believe Obama hates WWII vets, who can be surprised. Why anyone would watch that channel and believe they are getting the truth is beyond me.

Well, if it's okay to ignore laws then we should all just throw in the towel now and get it over with. Let's just forget all about our country, and give up. Sell this place to China or whoever pays the most. Jeeez, never in my life have I read such a collection of sophistry from a bunch of spoiled brat citizens as I do on these boards. It's getting to be a lot like a Jerry Springer show around here, no intelligent discussion going on, just twisted logic, lies, innuendo. I am getting bored with you crybaby neocons and am starting to think that moving onward is the best thing to do. Moving onward, something none of you are willing to do. I used to be an independent voter, splitting my votes, but that isn't going to happen again until the day comes that the GOP once again can put forth candidates who have measurable IQs. You Tea Party conservatives are a minority in this country and you have some hard lessons coming your way.

Really, Van? Obama issued an order specifically making a point to lock veterans out of veterans cemeteries? Can you provide us with some sort of proof?

Who else would order it? His golf course is open and the Normandy cemeteries are closed....what more do you need to know?

400,000 non-essential defense contractors who are private consultants and the like were funded but the defense department was told by the White House to furlough them. Obama knew about the vets coming to the WWII monument and the administration would not hear any discussion of keeping it open. Obama is playing games, just because you like and support him does not mean that he is right.

Of course, if the tea party Republicans hadn't shut down the government there would have been no problem. These people must have the lowest IQ and the biggest ego in the US. Watching their antics with doctors' coats and empty chairs is absolutely sickening. What kind of role models are they for the young people of today?

the left's rhetoric is always silenced by FACTS: “There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going -- except for ObamaCare. This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record. As for the House of Representatives' right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity. “ democrats are clearly the ones withholding cancer treatment from children.

The government has shut down 17 times. Obama is the first president to ever issue an order to lock veterans out of military cemeteries. There is absolutely no doubt that the democrats think this is a game. Obama has spent more money erecting barriers around veteran cemeteries and veteran memorials than it would to have people there to watch over them. It is clear that Obama and the democrats think this shutdown is a game and that they are winning if they can inflict as much pain as possible. Unfortunately the Monitor, and the Guardians of Ignorance in the main stream media are not holding Obama and the democrats accountable because you know they certainly would be holding Republicans accountable.

Van, let's face it, progressives loathe this country, our history and our system because they see it as "unfair". The liberals I know today from high school, college and work were always the ones complaining that things were not "fair". Rather than take responsibility for themselves, they have lived life either as a victim or they have taken on a Don Quixote tilting at problems that only exist on the fringes of society. You can't argue with them because the whiny, weak victim is engrained in their DNA. The shutdown at veteran memorials is nothing more than a expression of Obama's true feelings....he has no respect for the people of this country, the veterans and anyone who does not follow his ideology. Progressives are in it to win it, right or wrong, they have to "win" in order to feed their own lack of self esteem and self respect. Every little thing in life that is not exactly equal creates a victim for someone. Life is short, Van, 70-80 years goes fast but never in my lifetime have I felt that trying to stop the enemies among is consuming most of our lives. Our children need to be protected from those who would allow mediocrity and control by government to overshadow the dream that our founders envisioned and the quality of life that hard working, patriotic Americans have built so that progressive polticians and whiners can have their way.

I was about to umbrage at ItsARepublic's diatribe, since I am a liberal Democrat who calls himself a "progressive." But I then realized that not one word of the diatribe was true. Nothing in his rant had any connection with reality. These "progressives" of whom he speaks with such scorn do not exist— and even if they did exist they would be nothing like the good people I work with.

Now that is funny. I forgot to mention that no matter what the progressive handbook states: "deny, deny, deny". I find most progressives to either be over educated, under achievers or often both.

“The progressives have infiltrated every aspect of our lives. It appears we can´t get away from their ideology in our culture, news media, entertainment, education, or government. It so permeates government agencies that doing whatever it takes to advance their agenda is automatic. It is so engrained in their thinking that it is their "go to" response. Everything for the state. The IRS is just the tip of the iceberg. You can follow their agenda right back to Fast &Furious, Benghazi, the AP phone taps, and IRS discrimination. What we see as an affront to liberty and freedom the progressives see as success. We are the only thing standing in the way to their socialist utopia”

I lived "inside the Beltway" for 22 years. During the last shutdown I was at the Vietnam Memorial shoveling snow after we had two feet of snow and the Wall was difficult to get to. I was stopped and told by the Park Police that I had to leave because they thought I would damage the Wall or the walkway. During the shutdown there is no peole there to protect either the Memorials from people wanting to wreck them or people getting hurt there. One summer I was at the FDR Memorial and 4 busses of school kids showed up to go swimming in the water at the memorial. The Park people there had to stop them.

"Amid all the screaming and gnashing of teeth over the supposedly deadly government shutdown I found this an interesting number. 83% of the government is still functioning." BUT.... Obama and the democrats still thought t necessary to close the oceans to fishing. "National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was "closed" due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown."

I found this an interesting number, lets see, how about only 20% on the government is still functioning. You tell me where you got your number and I will tell you where I got mine.

If 20% of the country is still functioning but 80% of the government employees are still working, we have an issue. http://www.businessinsider.com/government-shutdown-80-of-federal-employees-keep-working-2013-10

an answer for tillie - once again. quote [kwoht] Show IPA verb, quot·ed, quot·ing, noun verb (used with object) 1. to repeat (a passage, phrase, etc.) from a book, speech, or the like, as by way of authority, illustration, etc. - in the modern world one can use their google thingy to find the source of a quote.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal quoted a senior administration official who said, "We are winning. ... It doesn't really matter to us" how long the partial shutdown lasts "because what matters is the end result."

Why is the government shutdown to begin with? Why is it that the republicans are interfering with settled law? Why are they putting healthcare insurance profits before the peoples needs? America needs to get insurance companies out of the health insurance business and make it a right of citizenship. People have a right to be seen by doctors who aren't thinking of their size of their personal bank accounts...

"Why is it that the republicans are interfering with settled law? "....when you stop and think about all the settled law this admin didn't enforce, immigration, voter id, Doma, passing budgets, changing the ACA...do you really wonder why...or is it ok to interfere with settled law if you agree with interfering ????

I don't know? Why are Democrats interfering with settled law in the case of Citizens United and the second amendment? The government shutdown has two sides. Obama does not even want to sit down and talk, he is acting like a petulant child. And health care is not a "right" for crying out loud, can progressives and low information voters please learn to take care of themselves and their own needs for a change. Stop worrying about the bank accounts of everyone else and maybe you could grow your own bank account. People are paid by what they contribute. Doctors are worth more from a standpoint of earnings in a society than is a laborer. That is just the way it is. Get over it and grow up a little.

The sole job of government is to be a referee in life ....not .....Not .....NOT ..... a player in the lives of citizens. Something long forgotten by democrats / progressive / liberal / socialists. I am also positive that none of them has ever understood the 10th Amendment." The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people" ....there in lies the cause in this downfall of America

Firemen first rule in effect, federal gov't style. That's what community organizers do...intentionally.

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