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FROM THE EDITOR: GOP speeds toward self-destruction with latest shutdown

Give ‘em hell Harry!

That’s right. That’s what I said, and I mean it.

The suicidal Republicans in the House of Representatives who forced the federal government to close for business on Tuesday deserve every ounce of vitriol they get from this half-baked game of chicken they started with Senate Democrats — a game that to anyone outside of politics is no game at all, with stocks tumbling, programs for the needy going unfunded, even veterans being kicked out of federal war memorials!

Of course, our freedom-loving, flag-waving and considerably armed and deranged local versions of these Tea Party numbnuts believe it’s all Obama’s fault, or that Sen. Harry Reid, senate majority leader, simply refuses to come to the negotiating table.

Utter GOP, talking-point nonsense. But when your empty-but-noisy Fox News sound bytes cater to the dimmer bulbs among us, what do you expect?

This shutdown proves that the extreme wing of the GOP is not fit to govern, not even as a small, angry, extreme minority group within one quarter of one branch of government. Totally unfit to lead.

This is the same group who — though the Affordable Care Act was passed two years ago and even miraculously survived a Supreme Court challenge — has attempted to repeal the law almost 50 separate times. Failing miserably each time, they have now hijacked federal budget legislation funding the government to defund the healthcare program just as it launches.

This created a dire impasse with Senate Democrats, who rightly gave a big fat middle finger to the fascists in the House and refuse to fund anything until the hostage, Obamacare, is freed.

Like it or not, Harry’s got them on the ropes.

What the House Republicans have done is nothing short of a national disgrace. Not to mention it’s a major political fumble. I find it completely laughable that Republicans refused for months to negotiate on the budget with Democrats but now have the gall to put the onus on Democrats, who of course refuse to negotiate with these nutcases now. Corny, dumb, destructive and pure GOP.

In fact it is such a bad strategy that Harry and the rest of them are perfectly right to simply not sit down at all until the House leadership whimpers up to the table, tails between legs, begs for forgiveness, admits this was all a miscalculation and funds Obamacare anyway. (Then they can nitpick the healthcare program to death as it rolls out over the next several months!)

So while family vacations all over the country are ruined — 401 national parks are closed, including our very own moneymaker Death Valley — and 800,000 federal workers are furloughed without pay, and programs like WIC, which provides funding for women and infants, and any number of other much-needed social programs face imminent insolvency, this squabble will continue into the forseeable future.

The Democrats will ultimately win, just ask Sen. John McCain, further marginalizing a GOP that was already choking to death on its own outdated social agenda and morally corrupt practices, like its penchant for glomming onto the rich to the detriment of 99 percent of the rest of us. The real damage to our political system will already be done.

Yep. Say goodbye to your Republican Party. I predict it will not be the same after this one. Speaker of the House John Boehner I believe was already facing down internal threats to his leadership, perhaps that’s why he was forced to play this game in the first place. He’s toast after he loses this charade, which he will.

I’m not the only person watching this unfold who is saying this stuff.

In the National Journal this week, Ron Fournier wrote a column with this catchy title: “The Beginning of the End for Washington: This impasse could be the breaking point for a political system that has gone from dysfunctional to nonfunctioning.”

In his column Fournier suggests that it might not be tomorrow or next month or even next election, but the right wing extremists in the GOP have set a course for their own party’s destruction. He also contends that Democrats will not get out of this current mess unscathed either. He writes that Obama would engage in “political malpractice” if he agreed to GOP demands and gut his own legislation, which would set a bad precedent for future presidents.

That’s not happening. Fournier argues that both sides’ refusal to deal will seriously harm them both and in fact be the final straw for younger generations of voters, millennials in particular, who are so disgusted with the political system that they may in fact destroy it and start anew. Two-party system be damned, since these voters have so little to do with either party.

I’m not sure I agree with all of that. I do wish the country had a government that actually functioned, that didn’t move from crisis to crisis with the grace of an overweight ballerina. I hope for a day when private money is finally sucked out of the political process completely, when term limits end the days of the professional congressman, when lobbyists for billionaires can no longer go from government job into private practice back into government job and back to K Street again without any semblance of a cooling off period.

Maybe then we can elect honest, smart leaders, ones who when they don’t get their way won’t level a sawed-off shotgun at the head of their own countrymen. Maybe then our elected leaders will actually usher in a new era of compromise, because without it, the democratic system simply doesn’t work.

How much more evidence do you need of that? Exhibit 1 is just the latest shutdown.

It hasn’t looked this bad in Washington since before the Civil War and that’s really disturbing.

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