It would appear that the inmates who run Congress, that magical asylum where spite meets stupidity, are at it again.
Thus, we see on MSNBC that we're again facing the prospect of a government shutdown -- just in time for Christmas. Or, as I was telling my wife earlier today, "The Democrats and the Republicans are going to fight to our death."
The holiday spirit seems nowhere near the Capitol Hill this Wednesday evening, with Democrats and Republicans far apart on a deal to fund the government, and extend an expiring payroll tax cut and lapsed unemployment benefits.ALL DAY, I've been thinking of that original Star Trek episode where these two aliens -- mirror images of one another -- from the same war-torn planet carried on a personal, and mutual, vendetta that mirrored the fatal conflict on their home world.
Lawmakers were no closer to a deal by the end of the day following a meeting between President Obama and Senate Democratic Leaders at the White House to discuss their strategy going forward. And there was no comment after an early evening meeting between House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Capitol.
Separately, Boehner huddled with his members for more than two hours to plot their options. House Republicans are awaiting action in the Senate on the payroll tax cut bill they passed last night. According to GOP aides, House Republicans weighed whether to move ahead without Democrats on their own, different bill to fund the government after it runs out of money on Friday.
Boehner asserted that the White House and Senate Democrats had made an agreement to fund the government until Democrats reneged.
The White House had decided to link the payroll tax cut to the extension of government funding so as to maintain leverage over Republicans, who could theoretically adjourn the House, and force the Senate, along with the Obama administration, to accept or reject the House-passed legislation.
"It's pretty clear to all of us that President Obama and Senator Reid want to threaten a government shutdown so that they can get leverage on a jobs bill," Boehner told reporters early this evening, accusing Democrats of playing politics on the issue.
Back in the mid-1960s, this was a science-fiction allegory to earthly racism and hatred of the Other. Now, to me at least, it looks like a nice summation of the political fix we Americans are in.
We hate us . . . we really hate us.
All the Republicans and all the Democrats, and all the tea partiers and all the "progressive" true believers are hell-bent on fighting to the political death. Hell, maybe the literal one, too.
Unfortunately, it will be our death in a faltering empire lurching from conflict to disaster to catastrophe to ruin.
"To the last, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!"THAT'S from Star Trek, too -- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan was quoting from Moby Dick. Somehow, it seems appropriate.