Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the Government Shutdown Football

The congressional budget battle is playing out like a Charlie Brown cartoon.


Remember that wonderful cartoon every year with Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football? She would place it down so nicely, Charlie Brown would run up to kick it and BAM! poor Charlie Brown would land on his backside, Lucy having pulled the football away.

Poor Speaker Boehner--I am not sure if he is Lucy or Charlie Brown. Of course, it was Boehner and the House Republican leaders who first put out the $30 billion in cuts on the table. Now it appears they won’t accept the very numbers they laid out. So, is the speaker pulling the football away? Is he Lucy?

Or, as some would maintain, the Tea Party House members played the roll of Lucy here by putting the speaker in the position of running up to the ball, ready to strike a deal to avoid a government shutdown, and pulling the ball out from underneath him? [See 10 effects of a government shutdown.]

Either way, the speaker understands he and the Republicans are in serious danger if the government shuts down. And it certainly did not help when the prospect of a government shutdown got a standing ovation from the Republican caucus! Having Republican members applaud the notion of denying pay checks to the military, putting workers out the door without pay, halting the economic recovery in its tracks, is not sensible.

A $61 billion cut, as the Tea Party wants, would cost 700,000 to 800,000 jobs. It would slash funding for Head Start, Pell grants for college students, EPA enforcement, clearly way beyond what the public would accept. 

The image of the chaos a government shutdown would create on the evening news, night after night, is not something that Americans want to see. 

The Washington Post poll yesterday shows that although the American people believe that both Democrats and Republicans would share the blame for a shutdown, a large majority believe Republicans are playing politics with the issue.  By 62 to 31 percent they believe Republicans are playing politics rather than honestly trying to solve the budget impasse. Even 40 percent of GOP respondents believe the Republicans are playing politics!

Maybe that is why the speaker believes this would hurt his party. It is time for him to stand up to the Tea Party members and get the job done. Who is running the show up there, anyway? Time is running out.

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