When I consider the behavior of the right over the past 48 hours, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
First, they force the shutdown. And try to blame Democrats.
When that doesn't work, they say that the shutdown is no big deal, because – hey, there are still air traffic controllers and all. They say this despite the fact that, only a few weeks ago, they were outraged ("think of the children!") when Obama closed White House tours.
Then suddenly some WWII vets arrive in D.C. and want to visit the WWII memorial, which is closed because all national parks are closed.
And so outraged Republicans makes sure those vets get to see the memorial. Hmmm. I guess government shutdowns do affect people.
But here's the saddest thing you'll read about the whole drama unfolding:
At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said.
This isn't about WWII vets. And the Republican party has no proirities.
Anyway, as we enter Day 2, Ezra Klein sums it up nicely:
The top story all day was that Republicans had shut down the federal government because President Obama wouldn't defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. The other major story was that the government's servers were crashing because so many people were trying to see if they could get insurance through Obamacare.
So on the one hand, Washington was shut down because Republicans don't want Obamacare. On the other hand, Obamacare was nearly shut down because so many Americans wanted Obamacare….
It was strange and slightly perverse to watch Obamacare open and be flooded with people desperate to sign up for health insurance even as the government closed because Republicans wanted the law ripped out, or at least delayed. In some quarters, Republicans mocked Obamacare's technical problems, but the jokes were wan: Overwhelming demand for the law is not a boon to the GOP's position.
This is, of course, precisely what Republicans were scared of: That a law they loathe would end up being enthusiastically embraced by millions of Americans — and thus proving permanent. It's Obamacare's possible success, not its promised failures, that unnerve the GOP.