Mark Meadows' Verbal Hash
A nonsensical answer to a simple question reveals the void at the heart of the government shutdown
I wrote the other day about U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows of Jackson County, whom numerous media outlets have identified as a catalyst for the government shutdown. He wrote the letter in August that urged House Speaker John Boehner to use a government shutdown as leverage to defund Obamacare.
By now, it’s occurred to Meadows that the tactic, as suggested, has done precisely the opposite — shut down a whole bunch of things, but not Obamacare — so he’s in the deeply uncomfortable position of having to justify the shutdown despite its irrelevance to what supposedly is the central issue.
Courtesy of Todd Zwillich, the Washington correspondent for Public Radio International’s “The Takeaway,” this is the current state of governance in the United States of America:
Reporter [to Meadows]: So why not just vote on just a full CR [continuing resolution to fund the government] if you don’t care about Obamacare anymore?
Meadows: [long pause] Twofold. One is, is, when you start to look — they say “clean CR,” that translates into truly a blank check, and so Obamacare is an issue for me and my constituents, but what happens is today is, is we’ve got to figure a way to open it back up, and with that, in opening it back up, we start to look at these issues, it is critical that we make the decisions we make to be as least harmful as they possibly can be.
Reporter: So can you explain …
It’s at this point that Meadows, having redefined incoherence, excuses himself.
This is the guy who lit the shutdown fuse — and he hasn’t the slightest idea what he’s doing now that the walls are collapsing around him.
This, I think, is one reason why establishment media are having a hard time grappling with the hard reality of this story. This is not a battle between one governing philosophy, and the policies that serve as that philosophy’s practical expression, versus another.
This is a governing philosophy and accompanying policies versus … nothing. A void. The “replace” box in “repeal and replace” is empty. The wonder is why we expected anything else from a party that for nearly 35 years has told us that government itself is illegitimate.
(And what do you even say to someone who sees a continuing resolution — an agreement to temporarily fund the government at specific, pre-approved levels in the absence of a budget — as “a blank check’?)