On Wednesday, Congress finally agreed to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling. Many House Republicans yielded and joined with Democrats to end Washington’s latest stalemate. Yet TV showed House Speaker John Boehner fist pumping. “We fought the good fight,” Boehner said. “We just didn’t win.” He seemed to suggest that Republicans really didn’t lose, either. That left me curious about the political outcome.
Yesterday, The New York Times saw definite losers. “Republicans Lose a Lot to Get Little” headlined a story by Jeremy Peters. A Times editorial addressed “The Republican Surrender.” Its lead: “The Republican Party slunk away on Wednesday from its failed, ruinous strategy to get its way through the use of havoc.” But The Times represents only one voice in the United States. A brief survey of other newspapers and related websites revealed a variety of opinions—and non-opinions.
Closest to home, the San Francisco Chronicle headlined, “End of shutdown boosts Democrats.” Of course, this is Nancy Pelosi country. So I went online to get the word from between the coasts.
Dallasnews.com (The Dallas Morning News) simply stated, “Federal employees get back to work after 16-day shutdown.” No winners and losers here. Still, an editorial offered, “Budget deal is reached, but internal split is harming GOP.” Orlandosentinel.com (The Orlando Sentinel) led with, “Lock your car while pumping gas, cops warn.” I had to scroll down to find, “Post-crisis, Obama tells Congress to get to work.” Is the State of Florida in a state of denial?
Kansascity.com (The Kansas City Star) showcased a sex assault case. But an editorial—if you looked for it—asserted, “GOP political tantrum has damaged America.” Ajc.com (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) stayed with the story: “Obama: ‘American people are completely fed up.’” Columnist Jay Bookman offered the moral: “Excessive certitude proves to be a damn poor substitute for intelligence.” Memphisdailynews.com (The Daily News) led with Shelby County foreclosures dropping 10 percent in the last quarter. Again, I had to scroll for news of the agreement. Commercialappeal.com (the Memphis Commercial Appeal) didn’t run a story at all.
Only a TV news clip—from St. Louis yet—was available at cincinnati.com (The Cincinnati Enquirer). On the other hand, azcentral.com/arizonarepublic (The Arizona Republic) led with: “Obama signs bill averting default on debt, ending shutdown.” Neutral stuff. The site also ran an Associated Press report by Donna Cassata noting, “To Senate Republicans, Cruz and [Sen. Mike] Lee [Rep.–Utah] are near pariahs” but that “Among ‘tea party’ Republicans, Cruz’s popularity has climbed, from a 47 percent favorability rating in July to 74 percent, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.” A presidential run gaining steam? The top story at deseretnews.com (Utah’s Desert News) concerned football changing the life of a teen with Asperger’s Syndrome.
After all this, I’m thinking that winning and losing is a matter of perspective. But two things seem certain. The sound we heard coming out of Washington wasn’t cheering but the clink of the can again being kicked down the road. And if anyone got the short end of the stick, it wasn’t the Republican Party—it was the American people.
In a previous version of this post, I referred to Ted Cruz as a Republican senator from Florida. Cruz represents Texas. I must have confused him with Marco Rubio. Now how could that happen?
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Read the first three chapters of SAN CAFÉ and of SLICK!, named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the 25 Best Indie Novels of 2012, at davidperlstein.com. Order at iUniverse.com, Amazon.com or bn.com.