George Graham

Crazies Threaten Government Shutdown. Again.

I don’t often agree with John McCain. But when he calls Ted Cruz and Rand Paul “wacko-birds,” I won’t argue with him. He might have added Utah senator Mike Lee to the flock. And Florida’s Marco Rubio. And all the other crazies in Congress who are threatening to shut down the government.

Once again, for the umpteenth year it seems, the right-wing radicals in Congress are vowing to block the federal budget unless they get their way . This time, their way is the elimination of Obamacare funding.

What is it with these guys? Can’t they read?

Surely, they’ve read the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. It’s legal, the justices said.

That makes it the law of the land.

You will probably hear it’s idealism that drives the threat to sabotage the American economy and ruin the nation’s global credit – not to mention inflicting misery on millions of voters who depend on their government checks.You will hear the Tea Party is resolved to shrink the bloated federal bureaucracy and curb runaway spending – cost it what it may.

But the real architects of this year’s crisis are the Koch Brothers (yes, those Machiavellian manipulators are at it again). The two oil-and-coal barons are dedicating their billions to bringing down the government. They’re “libertarians,” you see (that means they demand the right to pollute the environment without let or hindrance).

They have so much money they don’t know what to do with it – other than to fund right-wing “think tanks” and a gaggle of Tea Party organizations. So it’s no skin off their nose if codgers like me go without our Social Security checks for a spell, and firemen, police and the supposedly beloved “troops” don’t have grocery money for their kids.

The Kochs sure won’t feel our pain.

All they care about is causing trouble. They apparently think they can stir up so much trouble over the implementation of Obamacare, for example, that voters will turn against the president – and the Democrats – next November. A Reuters analysis puts it this way:

FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative issue group financed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, known for funding conservative causes, are planning separate media and grassroots campaigns aimed at adults in their 20s and 30s – the very people Obama needs to have sign up for healthcare coverage in new online insurance exchanges if his reforms are to succeed.

But I don’t see how they expect to win the public’s sympathy by shutting down the government. That tactic has been tried before. Newt Gingrich made a fool of himself with it when he was speaker of the House. Remember? And the last time the Republicans went to the brink on a threatened shutdown, they got blamed for damaging the government’s credit rating and costing taxpayers a bundle in increased interest payments as a result.

The not-so-crazy Republicans can see the shutdown would surely backfire, and they’re trying to find a Plan B before Sept. 30. President Obama, always hopeful, is offering them a “grand bargain” (again). Obama’s deal would avert a shutdown, end the sequestration that’s looming over the economy, boost employment nationwide, and reward the Republicans with a wide range of budget economies to reduce the deficit.

Who knows? He could talk some sense into them this time.

After all, when even John McCain recognizes there are “wacko-birds” among the current GOP stars, the light of reason could be dawning in Congress. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

The way I see it, the only cure for the disease that’s destroying democracy in America is to make sure Svengali types like the Koch Brothers are foiled in their evil schemes. And the way to do it is to reject their political pawns at the ballot box. Again. And again. And again.

Click here or more on the budget impasse.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for