On Oct. 8, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News broke the story that the families of 17 fallen soldiers would not be receiving their $100,000 death benefits because of the government shutdown. Now, of course, Scott Tipton and his other Tea Party "patriots" are scrambling to limit the damage caused by their stupidity.
I would hope that Representative Tipton and his 40 or so buddies are calling each of those families today and saying something like this:
"I'm sorry that I screwed up. I'm sure you understand that I am a busy guy and I can't read or understand all of the legislation upon which I vote. My staff and party caucus tell me how I should vote. Because of this, I don't have a clue to a bill's consequences. This inability to pay your death benefits is a perfect example. We're going to pass a mini-CR (mini continuing resolution) to make sure that this mistake will be fixed. We just did the same for something like 400,000 furloughed workers who are not on the job, but our mini-CR will pay them anyways — sort of a paid vacation for them.
"I'm sure you understand that we've forced this shutdown because I'm obsessed by the Affordable Healthcare Act - Obamacare. This shutdown is because I feel that Obamacare is so terrible that we've got to hold the entire government hostage in order to try and change it. We can't change it the normal way. We don't have the votes. We've tried that over 40 times and failed. So, you see, we had no other choice but to shut down the government and hurt a lot of folks along the way — you included. Over the past few days, we finally realized that we aren't going to be able to de-fund, gut, eliminate or postpone Obamacare, so now we're going after spending and the debt. Can't do it through the normal budget process. Several years ago we voted not to go to a conference committee to work out a budget deal between the Senate and the House versions so we have to continue these crazy temporary CRs. Keeps me pretty busy. In this next spending/debt battle we'll probably be using the same blackmail/hostage-taking strategy.
"Again, I'm sorry for your loss and our error. I want to assure you that I feel your pain — the House barbershop had to close down because of the shutdown.
"Normally, anyone who caused such a colossal bunch of errors and caused so much pain would be fired or at least suffer a reprimand. But, hey, I'm part of Congress! Don't worry about me. I'm still getting my $174,000 a year. Still receiving my perks and benefits, except for the barbershop. But, I'm trying to get along as best I can.
"Remember, I'm working hard for you. I'd appreciate your support and vote in the next election."
Think it'll happen?