Once again, Henny Penny is running around to warn us that the sky is falling. A government shutdown is only [fill in the blank] days, [fill in the blank] hours and [fill in the blank] minutes away. The countdown clock shows the seconds ticking by. The end is near.
Well, maybe that’s true. Maybe the government is going to shut down. The national parks will close. You won’t be able to renew your passport, making it impossible for you to flee to some enlightened land where the government is still open and operating normally. You’ll have to re-schedule your visit to the Washington Monument. (Actually, it is closed for repairs anyway, so don’t blame the shutdown, if there is one.)
Or maybe all of the coverage is just a wee bit exaggerated and premature. Maybe the government won’t shut down at all.
Pardon my blasé attitude about it all, but I’ve seen this movie before, and unless they changed the ending — and it certainly is possible they did — I’m not getting too excited yet.
Here is what I wrote in this space on Dec. 3, 2012, during the media’s panic coverage of the approaching fiscal cliff:
"What we are witnessing now is very similar to what we saw during the summer of 2011, when Democrats and Republicans waited until the last minute — indeed only hours before an August 'deadline' — to raise the debt ceiling.
As I noted in a column two and a half months before that debt ceiling deadline, both parties had a strong incentive to wait until the very last minute before agreeing on a compromise. The situation is no different now, even after the 2012 elections.
Arriving at a compromise 'too early' gives ideologues within each party an opportunity to complain that their side 'caved' prematurely and could have gotten more if their political leaders had simply acted tougher, demanded more and waited."
I’m tired of all the drama – from everyone from Ted Cruz and the folks at MSNBC to real journalists, who might want to put things into perspective rather than buy into the hype.
I am interested. I’ll watch, but with the volume turned down. And tomorrow will be another day.