And we're back! Late September formally brings us academic classes in full swing and autumnal glory where all college campuses look like they do in the brochures. Crunchy leaves, sweater-wearing students, cheerful football games and underage drinking. Ah, September. On a personal note, my students this semester are fabulous! They totally make up for the feces-fest unraveling now on Capitol Hill, because watching that is enough to discourage even a stalwart, system-adoring political scientist. Here's to a new generation!
But first, let's look at the current state of affairs.
This September brings us another perennial nugget of joy: the threat of a government shutdown. Unless you have been completely distracted by the WORLD'S BEST COMMERCIAL (as, I confess, I have been at times where distraction is necessary), you know about the looming crisis and the resulting rift in the Republican Party. If not, please let this terrific article explain for you the coming week (courtesy of my friend and fellow blogger, Lonce). And sorry for stealing this, Lonce. You an also check out this good one from Politico (like they do anything badly?).
Since this entire kerfuffle is political theater, you just know there has to be Invisible Primary drama behind the scenes and so we begin with the thespianism on the floor of the US Senate right this minute! Quick! To C-SPAN 2 (the Deuce)! Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) launched an old-fashioned filibuster (ala Mr. Smith) against Obamacare and vouched to speak "until I am no longer able to stand." Good on you, sir, and this comes after a bruising little amount of press that called you a bunch of names and also questioned your popularity. It's good to stand for something, especially when you actually have to stand in order to stand for it.
But the possible shutdown tactic is splitting the GOP which is never good, unless you are a Democrat. Specifically, the 2016 IP contenders have to weigh in on this and thus far the results are mixed. Republican Governors Chris Christie (NJ) and Scott Walker (WI) both begrudgingly said that they would not want to shut the government down, as did former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. On the other side are the aforementioned Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, and sorta kinda Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who seems to want it both ways by saying that "The American people support defunding Obamacare and oppose shutting down the government." OK! Not sure how that works out, but here is PolitiFact's take on Rubio's press statement.
So how is it going to end? Good Lord, who knows? I do know that Veep Biden schlepped out to flood-devastated Colorado and promised that regardless of any shutdown, FEMA would provide assistance to those in need which was both reassuring and tactically savvy, all at the same time. Last week, Biden was in Iowa at the Tom Harkin steak fry, which fueled speculation that he was, in fact, running. At the fry, he swapped hats with an Iowan for a photo-op, which only fueled my motherly instinct to yell "DON'T DO THAT!" as a preventative measure against head lice. Joe, don't say I didn't warn you. And don't share your comb or barrettes either.
Wrapping up this week in the Invisible Primary, last night former President Bill Clinton was on David Letterman, who was fishing for Hillary 2016 scoop. Letterman said: “If she is running to your knowledge, blink twice.” Bill denied all knowledge of his wife's intentions, which did not seem to surprise me in the least. Fair turnabout, don't you think?
That's all from the cheap seats. if the government shuts down, I tell my students, the price of pizza is going to sky rocket and beer will be banned in all 50 states. They don't believe me. See? What a smart, terrific group I've got! Hooray for September. And Happy Fall everyone!