If Congress does not pass a stopgap funding bill today, the federal government will shut down at midnight tonight. Conventional wisdom says that will probably happen. Once Ted Cruz (R–TX) finally stopped talking, the Senate rejected a House bill that funded the government but also defunded Obamacare, returning instead a “clean” continuing resolution with no Obamacare amendments. Beaten but unbowed, the House plans to pass another funding bill that keeps the government open but repeals the medical device tax and delays implementation of Obamacare for one year. The Senate will not pass that. As of this writing, it looks like the federal government will shut down.
I like democracy the way Tila Tequila likes MySpace: generally and in principle, but almost never when it appears in individual manifestations. Winston Churchill, who is fortunately dead and unable to see himself name-checked immediately after Tila Tequila, remarked that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Now that the internet has threatened to turn our mediated discourse into a 24-hour conversation with the average voter, we are better equipped than ever to answer the fundamental question of American democracy: are we fucking stupid or what? The results of the most recent Newsweek/Daily Beast poll may surprise you. As usual, “surprise” means “grimly confirm.”