Letter to the Editor

Posted on Oct 23 2013 - 7:00am by Peter Frost



Trenton Winford’s suggestion that it is the Democrats who are to blame for the recent shut down ignores some very basic points.

First off, the Democratic position was that if the GOP dominated House would meet its constitutional obligation to pay the government bills, President Obama would agree to serious negotiations on government spending — albeit without GOP restrictions on discussing closing tax loopholes or raising revenue. Given both that the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) has been passed by Congress, approved (with modifications) by the Supreme Court and ratified both by the Democratic majority in the Senate and by President Obama’s re-election, withholding funding of the act as the price for reopening the government strikes me as unreasonable. Senior GOP figures, such as Senator John McCain, agree that the House maneuvers were foolish.

Second, the reason the crisis went on so long that that House Speaker John Boehner initially refused to bring the Senate bill to a vote. Despite his denial, he surely knew that enough moderate Republicans would join Democrats (as they eventually did when a vote was allowed) in re-opening the government, raising the debt ceiling and starting negotiations. In my book, the House of Representative’s alleged right to withhold funding for the government does not include the right of the Speaker to deny a vote on the issue.

Finally, I am tired of conservatives blaming the media for their unpopularity and their electoral defeats. I personally carefully read the “liberal” New York Times. There, every issue Mr. Winford brings up was fully and fairly discussed.


Peter Frost

Visiting Professor, Croft Institute