An oblique view of the looming US government shutdown points to incompetence in governing

It is 6am in Europe and midnight, Monday 30th September in Washington. A US government shutdown is looming because of disagreement between the President and the Senate on the one hand with the House on the other. The Senate has a Democratic majority while the House has a Republican majority. The two sides cannot agree on budget measures to keep paying for government.

There is much – but very predictable – pointing of fingers.

My view is from another aspect. It is not the role of an opposition to lie down in front of the ruling party. It’s job is to oppose. That is the fundamental of the “check and balance” of a two party system. It is the job of the ruling party to do as little as is necessary in compromising with the opposition to be able to govern – not to blame the opposition. A failure to govern is in itself evidence of an inability to govern. It is evidence of incompetence.

It is the job of the Republican opposition to oppose. It is for the President and the Democxratic majority in the Senate to give in as little as is necessary and as much as is sufficient to be able to govern.

I cannot help but conclude that the President and his Democratic majority have lost sight of the fact that it is their responsibility to make the compromises sufficient and necessary. It is not the role of the Republicans to lie down and be rolled-over. In the hierarchy of things it is for the House to “propose” and the Senate and the president to “dispose”. When whatever comes up from the House is unacceptable and has to be rejected by the Senate or the President it indicates that the President and the Senate are not doing what is sufficient and necessary to get proposals from the House that can be approved.

There is a large element of risk aversion and a fear of “screwing his courage to the sticking place” about President Obama. The Senate Democratic majority is guilty of simple incompetence.

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