The current government shutdown/debt ceiling crisis has been called many nasty things: a tantrum, a hostage-taking, extortion. But the most biting catchphrase I’ve been hearing is the “Seinfeld shutdown”: the shutdown about nothing.
Really, what’s it about? First it was a desperate push to defund Obamacare. Then House Republicans muddied the water by adding other things to their list of demands: the Keystone pipeline, malpractice reform, tax reform, rollback of Dodd-Frank, even (of course) abortion restrictions. And it’s always about spending and debt – even though the Democrats agreed in mid-summer to Boehner’s keep-the-sequester spending levels.
Now the Republicans are desperately seeking anything they can pretend is an accomplishment. But it’s going to have to be pretty amazing for most voters to conclude it was worth it.
What is this crisis about? It’s about a loud, intimidating minority – 20 percent of the population – and their wealthy supporters, who are very very angry that they lost the last election and are unwilling to wait until the next one.