‘Make it painful’ is petty strategy

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Today’s Sentinel editorial (“’Make it painful’ is petty strategy”) was itself profoundly “petty” (ala FoxNoise) – if not journalistically dishonest as to the true implications of the government “shutdown” and “debt ceiling” crises.

If the Sentinel honestly believes that “House Republicans’ attempt to force defunding of Obamacare by shutting down the government is a strategic and political mistake”, then it should also conclude that the “Tea Party” strategy to “make it painful” for millions of Americans (if not the world economy) goes beyond “petty” – it is political extortion.

Thus, to imply a false equivalency between Repugnicans’ overt threats to refuse raising the debt ceiling and anecdotal evidence of foreseeable “shutdown” inconveniences is irresponsible.  If she was quoted accurately, Judge Krieger’s use of the term “tragic” to describe her ruling was just as inapt as some rightly-exasperated (of unknown partisan persuasion) mid-level federal bureaucrat’s alleged instructions to “make it painful”.

Guidance for conducting an orderly shutdown of the government is provided in Office of Management & Budget (“OMB”) Circular No. A-11 (last revised in August 2011), which requires every federal agency to have a detailed “shutdown plan” posted on the Internet. 

Thus, the real questions to be answered by the Sentinel’s reporters and/or by any hearings before the House’s Natural Resources Committee is whether the reported Forest Service incidents really occurred as described, and whether the agency’s action was consistent with its posted plan – as Judge Krieger apparently found was indeed the case with the BLM’s withdrawal of approval for CMU’s collegiate bike race. 

To imply a White House strategy to “make it painful” is preposterous.  Given previous episodes, the likely findings will be no more “scandalous” than Darrell Issa’s futile “witch hunts” over “Fast and Furious”, Benghazi “talking points”, and Sentinel-swallowed bogus allegations that the IRS had “targeted” conservative political groups.



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