The shutdown of the federal government shouldn't be dismissed in the cliched terms of "those people in Washington." Some of those people live right here. They are our members in the dysfunctional House of Representatives who have now exported their dysfunction to the nation.
Republican Reps. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley, Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair, Mike Kelly of Butler and Bill Shuster of Blair County -- we're talking about you.
Do you think of yourselves as extremists? No? Then what are you doing siding with Tea Party radicals who have dragged the Republican Party to one extreme -- shutting down the federal government -- and who may embrace the ultimate craziness, default on the federal debt later this month?
Let's not kid ourselves. It's bad enough that the House has body-slammed the fragile economy by precipitating an artificial crisis that has furloughed 800,000 federal employees.
If this madness continues and the United States defaults, then it will be turning its back on its sacred obligations. This will risk not only plunging the nation back into recession but also wrecking the whole world. Pull that thread and the fabric of the economic system may unravel. And for what?
To delay a new health care system that doesn't resemble the socialistic caricature that you have conjured up, a system that will cover millions of Americans whose lack of insurance has been the nation's shame. More remarkable yet, this is an issue that the American people pronounced upon when they emphatically re-elected President Barack Obama just 11 months ago, preferring him to Mitt Romney, who promised to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office.
But you say, citing public opinion polls, that a majority of Americans don't like Obamacare and that is true, although it may not be true when its benefits become well-known now that its main features and benefits are coming into force. The people don't want it to be repealed but reformed. In fact, a new Quinnipiac Poll says Americans oppose shutting down the government to stall Obamacare, 72 percent to 22 percent.
Mr. Rothfus, your irresponsible reaction is typical of most: "Sen. [Harry] Reid's refusal to discuss, negotiate or work with the House on a solution resulted in the shutdown of the federal government. This is an unacceptable and unfortunate result -- the American people expect and deserve better."
This is the same as putting a gun to someone's head and blaming the victim for refusing to follow demands. No president -- Democrat or Republican -- should negotiate in this situation. To agree to this is to guarantee a path to unceasing future chaos.
No, gentlemen, this is on you. If you truly are reasonable, then join other sensible Republicans in pressuring Speaker John Boehner to defy the radical Tea Party minority. Be leaders, not lemmings dragging the country in a leap off the cliff. The American people do expect and deserve better -- and this isn't it.