Government Shutdowns

The Government Shutdown - and thus starts the blame-game.

Government Shutdowns
The Government Shutdown – and thus starts the blame-game.

Government Shutdown – November 14, 1995 – December 15, 1995 – CBS Radio – NPR News Morning Edition – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Govt. shutdown – Nov. 14, 1995

Government Shutdown – October 1, 2013 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

It’s happened again, another government shutdown. Another game of tug-of-war and somewhere in the middle of all this are people, just plain folks, regular Americans. People who rely on services, government services that are deemed non-essential. The big lay-off of government employees and those still working under the aegis of IOU’s.

But this is also one of the biggest displays of political wrangling to be seen from Capitol Hill. It’s the classic opportunity to name names and blame blames – usually it’s the Republicans blaming the Democrats or the Democrats blaming the Republicans and we get to see the drama played out on our TV’s and desk-tops. Who needs movies when you have real-life drama to look at?

In 1995 it was the Republican Congress and a Democratic President and the mantra of the Balanced Budget. That fracas was so bad it happened twice in two months and went a whopping 27 days before cooler heads, twisted arms and unholy alliances prevailed. That one a bit nasty – because it really did create some damage, most of it political, come November. President Clinton blamed Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich and the GOP blamed Clinton and the Democrats of purposely arranging the chaos.

In 2013 it was President Obama’s turn – and the GOP Congress hell-bent on destroying The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it was being referred to. The Health Care issue was a hot-button topic and the GOP pledged to dismantle it in any way they could, so a budget showdown was the best place to stage this display of outrage. Once again, the blame-game went into hyper-drive. Democrats accused the Republicans of sabotaging the government and creating chaos because of Healthcare. Republicans accused Democrats of Socialism and trying to foist a healthcare plan on Americans who didn’t really want it. Unfortunately, for all the complaints and threats, the GOP was unable to come up with a better or even more workable solution – and so, what better way to vent frustration than to shut government down?

So here, as a reminder that Government Shutdowns are as American as Apple Pie, are news items from the 1995-1996 shut down and the 2013 shutdown.

Anything sound familiar? It’s just politics, and it really ain’t personal, and the constituents really don’t matter all that much anyway, until November – and then they hope you’ve long forgotten.


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