Federal shutdown
7:00 am
Thu October 3, 2013

House Republicans Mirror Stengel's Mets

Credit Tom Chalkley

House Republicans Mirror Stengel's Mets

At the hilarious worst, when they had Casey Stengel as manager, the New York Mets couldn’t get out of their own way.

“Can Anybody Here Play This Game?” – Stengel’s question – became short hand for anything or anybody that seemed basically hopeless.

Can anyone think of an organization of whom this question could be asked today? Of course you can.

Republicans in the House of Representatives may be in danger of losing the “representative” part of their title. Who wants to claim them? Not many of us. A recent poll showed them, once again, with ratings near the single digits.

They may be worse than the Mets. The Mets knew what they were supposed know. They didn’t try to change the rules in the middle of the game. They were at least, some of the time, lovable losers.

This crowd in Washington has now painted itself into a corner. It wants to “negotiate.” It thinks the American people will believe that President Obama is behind the shutdown.  Not that he or his Democratic allies have helped as much as they should have with Obamacare.

Even the Democrats’ decision to call it Obamacare was a mistake: made it partisan – instead of something done to expand medical insurance coverage and start to get a handle on costs.  Labels matter.

And now, it seems, the House needs a way to end all this.  They want a fig leaf victory, something to hide the fact that no, they can’t play this game.

The Mets and Casey had way more class. They knew they couldn’t play – and they could laugh at themselves. They weren’t threatening a fragile economic recovery – or taking bread off the table in 800,000 homes.

Your comments are welcome at fsmith@wypr.org.