A Curious Bystander

Megan Chrisler, Features Editor

Congress finally reached a deal roughly two hours before the Oct. 17 deadline was reached for the debt ceiling. It included proving income for health insurance customers and the continuation of the medical device tax; in other words, nothing worth shutting the government down over (much less potentially causing an economic collapse). Republicans have won nothing over the fiscal fight, but some are still going to combat the evil health care law, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Most people from both sides of the party, however, seem pretty neutral.

We have to get out of the habit of governing by crisis,” President Barack Obama said.

We fought the good fight, we just didn’t win,” House Speaker John Boehner said.

Where was this compromising tone two weeks ago? And if Boehner is admitting defeat, why are Republicans still talking about ways of crushing legislation that is apparently uncrushable?

This should be a warning bell to a repeat: the law requires some deal-making before February, when it expires. NPR’s Eyder Peralta reports, “[The law] leaves intact all the contentious issues. The deal makes virtually no concessions to Republicans and just sets up the possibility for another showdown like this when the debt ceiling expires in February and the continuing resolution expires in January.”

The partisan impasse that we’ve seen is going nowhere, although it’s nice to know that Congress isn’t willing to go that far in a fight. Even so, the government shutdown still affected many Americans, and just the fact that the fight went down to the wire goes to show how extremist our politics have become. Many have listed the winners and losers of the fight, but in reality, nobody’s winning and the public is the biggest loser. And we will continue to lose unless we get more moderates in Congress.

But we won’t any time soon; at least not in enough time to come up with a better solution next year. I said that the Republicans were in no position to be playing this game, and they lost. As for the Democrats, most Americans realize that they contributed to the mess as well. Voting for a third party has always been said to be useless, but will it be any more useless than voting for useless politicians? There’s only one way to find out.