Hey, Republican friend.
Yeah, I’m writing to you. Not to the pundits or the politicians (not that they’d read this anyway), but you: the everyday Joe (or Jane) that considers themselves a Republican, who reads these headlines about the government shutting down and wonders how it got here and whether or not the people you most agree with are actually at fault here. This post is a long one, but hopefully it’s a helpful one.
But first let me say that, on a grand scale, I’m with you politically. I consider myself a center-right pragmatist. I think the government should be dedicated to very few things, the private sector should be utilized whenever possible, and that States–rather than the federal government–are the greatest laboratories for democracy and the greatest vehicles of government to their people.
But there’s a bigger context to this showdown that I fear is getting lost in all the noise. Everyone seems to be focusing on a series of events in the past month or so that led to this, but it actually goes back a little further than that.
A client quote I heard yesterday:
“When I was homeless, I felt like an animal, stuck in a concrete jungle. I only came out to eat and survive. Now that I have housing, though, I feel like a human again. It feels good to be human.”
And here’s the client quote I posted last week:
“I haven’t been homeless my whole life, but I’ve always been a human being.”
Below is a letter sent to our Governor from Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of HUD, about how the sequestration cuts will affect most of the programs that our clients depend on for housing (and, of far lesser importance, what I depend on for my job). Ladies and gentlemen, your representatives!
(You can read the original letter at the Housing Alliance of PA.) Continue reading
Earlier this week, the House Oversight committee voted to recommend (more here)that Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured) be held in contempt for not turning over documents pertaining to a botched (and idiotic) mission that led to a U.S. Border Patrol agent being killed by U.S.-supplied guns. The contempt vote fell on strict party lines. Next week, the House will take up that vote.
The documents speak to how the Department of Justice (and the White House, it seems) discussed how to communicate this matter to Congress. I think the assumption/concern/fear is that Holder (or perhaps Obama) instructed (or was instructed) to lie to Congress about any knowledge of the mission.
To protect Holder, Obama (in unprecedented fashion) asserted executive privilege over the documents on behalf of the Attorney General.
It is very, very clear, in my (and others‘) estimation, that this is politically-motivated. I have no doubt that if there were a Republican in office, none of this would be happening. Heck, they had two terms of a President wielding precisely these same powers and pulling these same tricks without them nary saying a word. (In fact, most all of our Americans dying in Afghanistan are being killed with weapons that were given to them by the Americans years ago to try and fight the Russians. Oh irony.)