Seinfeld Shutdown — Locating The Correct Analogy

Marc Thiessen’s shutdown about nothing meme has invaded Washington like a hapless Godzilla on steroids. But like many a monster, it may have its fatal weaknesses and might be taken down by another monster–or another monster episode of Seinfeld.

I wonder if Thiessen is really the master of his domain… Fellow editorialists at the Post may have spiked his drinking water with liberal Kool-Aid and other known aphrodisiacs. Soon he may find himself in a friendly game of Twister with E. J. Dionne Jr. (Right foot blue?)

Maybe this is a “Seinfeld shutdown,” but it’s not about nothing. I’ll explain…

Back in 1967, Janis Ian wrote a song called “Janey’s Blues” about an unwanted child who was a “fatal mistake on the day after Lent.” House Republicans got used to spending like drunken sailors without condoms under George W. Bush, nor are they any strangers to corruption and influence-peddling. They’ve been figuratively “tapping their shoe” in every stall or tepee that lobbyists could erect. From Larry Craig to Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay to Ralph Reed, their antics are synonymous with wretched excess.

But suddenly under a Democratic president, House Republicans have gotten true religion and are undergoing an extended Lenten period in which not they themselves but the American people must be deprived of luxuries like child nutrition, disease control, and death benefits for military families. It’s not about nothing, it’s about ideological purity. It’s a one-off contest of denial in which the American people must suffer so that Republicans can look like they’re the masters of their domain (which they’re not). That’s the more apt Seinfeld analogy.

Let’s face it: Republican House members are some of the worst financial onanists on the planet, and the government shutdown is actually being milked for all it’s worth as a right-wing fundraising totem pole. If true Lent is marked by prayer, fasting and almsgiving, this feigned Republican austerity is marked by lying, drinking, and scheming to diddle the poor out of affordable health care.

It’s the American people who should be “hitting the ceiling” when they realize they’re being asked to atone for the sins of corrupt politicians who won’t themselves do without. Day six of the government shutdown, and the Republican circle jerk continues apace, lubricated by right-wing media figures who (paradoxically) have their heads stuck in the sand.

When will John Boehner go all Kramerish and realize it’s time for the contest to end? Put your money down, boy!

Does Boehner possess the zen mind of a martial arts master, like Pat Morita played in The Karate Kid? Can he gently impart the teaching of wax on, wax off to rowdy Teabaggers, or do they only know how to perform the latter function? Time will tell.

In the meantime, Cry… cry for Janey

(There’s also a Star Trek plot in here somewhere. Like The Gamesters of Triskelion, Repubs are ready to wager five thousand quatloos that the children will not survive the austerity measures and will have to be destroyed.)

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