It’s 7:30 pm and at the moment on the floor of the US Senate, noted assclown Ted Cruz is filibustering. OK…in reality due to Senate rules, it’s not a filibuster…it’s just just Cruz doing what he does best…being a blowhard and making a show for the Tea Party wackos. There’s one thing and one thing only on Cruz’s mind, and it sure as he’ll isn’t Obamacare or what’s good for the country. No, the one thing on Ted Cruz’s mind is the political future of Ted Cruz.
In reality though you could say that’s the problem with every DC politician. In Cruz’s case he’s posturing for 2016, trying to endear himself to the wacko conservative wing of the Republican Party. The next election…that’s the ONLY thing that drives DC politicians. Mitch McConnell has been crapping his pants over this showdown, not wanting to look like an idiot like Cruz, but at the same time not wanting to piss off the Tea Party wackos. John Boehner is in survival mode, KNOWING Republicans are destroying the party in the long term, but going along with the Tea Party wackiness in order to preserve his speakership. One week until a shutdown that looks ever more likely…
Standing on the sidelines…folks like myself. I’m a US Geological Survey scientist who was around for the LAST shutdown in 1995. There were actually 2 shutdowns then, very short one, and then the one over the holidays that lasted many days. At the time, my wife and I were, well, 18 years younger and a LOT poorer. We’d just closed on our first house, and sitting at home instead of working certainly was a stressful time. I can survive a shutdown for a while now, but god knows there are a lot of Federal employees who would suffer a big hardship if they were out of work for a while.
Now I’m a project manager, and what’s the most frustrating about dealing with DC politics is the complete uncertainty and impossibility to ever make long-term plans. It’s not just a shutdown threat, it’s Congressional politics in general. EVERY year at this time, as we approach a new fiscal year, we have to make contingency plans regarding budgets. Will we be on a continuing resolution? (The answer to that is always YES for at least the last decade). What will our funding be for the fiscal year? Will your agency suffer a big budget hit if Congress does ever pass a budget, and if so, how do change course mid year?
I’ve been at USGS EROS for 20 years now. We truly are a world-class science organization, with many well-respected, well published scientists. Thats NOT due to DC politics or political support, it’s in SPITE of the constant roadblocks that we face. I look at our one organization with about 650 employees, and think of our experiences multiplied across all Federal agencies. How much money and time is wasted every year due to DC politics? How many government man hours are spent planning for shutdowns, for maneuvering through continuing resolutions?
To the general public, Federal employees have somehow become synonymous with the assclown politicians in DC. There’s the stereotype of the fat and happy Fed, overpaid and underworked. To that, I say BULLSHIT. I wish the public could separate the politics from the employees and agencies of the Federal government. We’re doing world-class work where I am, with very well-educated professionals who make less than they could in the private sector. We’re hard-working, dedicated workers, serving the American public with pride and responsibility.
Now if only we could disassociate ourselves from the assclown politicians in DC. It’s tiring having DC politics drag down the reputation of Federal workers themselves. It’s tiring when your work itself is negatively impacted by the uncertainty and interference of DC politics.
In the meantime we sit here with less than a week to go, and DC politicians seem more intent on insulting each other than they do in trying to make government WORK. Have a merry shutdown!!