Welcome to the first day of Shutdown 2013. Senate Democrats are expected promptly this morning to reject the fourth offer in recent days by House Republicans to keep the government open and to add to the list of changes President Obama has already made in Obamacare.
Contrary to the wave of traditional media horror stories about the shutdown's apocalyptic affects, most Americans won't be inconvenienced, at least at the outset. That will change, gradually, if the government remains shuttered for more than a few days.
Yellowstone's bears can sleep in today
National parks closed at 12:01 a.m. Monday night, but uniformed military continue to be paid, as are federal employees performing essential services such as law enforcement, food inspection and public health activities.
Oh yes, so will Obama, his legions of White House aides, Members of Congress and their thousands of congressional staff members.
If that fact seems somehow disturbing, just remember, these officials are both "public servants" and the parties who cannot agree on a plan to keep the government functioning.
What comes next?
The last significant federal shutdown came in 1995 and lasted several weeks. Republicans suffered in public opinion polls as the traditional media -- which enjoyed a pre-Internet status not unlike regulated utility monopolies -- cast them in consistently unfavorable light. (Note: GOP still maintained its Senate and House majorities in the 1996 election, however.)
Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic pantheon in the nation's capital assume the same script will play out in 2013.
They are almost certainly wrong, for two reasons. First, the power of the New York Times/Washington Post/CBS/NBC/ABC news monopoly was long ago broken by the Internet. Americans today have thousands of independent news sources like washingtonexaminer.com.
Obamacare as Achilles Heel
Second, there was no Obamacare around in 1995 to focus public disenchantment with the federal government. Obamacare clearly isn't ready for prime-time, yet Obama demanded that it go forward without delay.
Despite the predictable traditional media attempts to paint Obamacare's launch as merely "troubled," the news narrative for many months ahead will be about online delays, bureaucratic snafus, lost coverage, inability to see doctors, fraud artists ripping off premium subsidies and the hundred other inevitable screwups that attend the socialization of one-sixth of the world's biggest economy.
And, as Obamacare sinks steadily deeper into public opinion infamy, Republicans will simply say: "This is what the Democrats shut down your government to protect."
From today's Washington Examiner:
Richard Pollock: Green groups hide environmental ratings of buildings it certifies
Brian Hughes: Obama to trump launch of Obamcare exchanges
Michal Conger: Critics contend EPA routinely abuses its power
In Other News:
Rush Limbaugh: Shutdown kicks off Democrats' 2014 campaign
The New York Times: Government is shutting down in fiscal impasse
The New York Times: House votes to conference with Senate to avoid shutdown despite Reid rebuff
The Washington Post: Mall visitors will see barricades, not monuments, during shutdown
The Telegraph (UK): Cameron warns on world growth as U.S. shuts down
Wall Street Journal: In government shutdown, few parallels with previous one
Talking Points Memo: Why Democrats rejected the GOP's 11th hour conference bid
Huffington Post: Congressmen still boozing as government shuts down
New Republic: The seven most likely Obamacare glitches
Washington Monthly's Political Animal: They have lost their minds
Weekly Standard: GOP in a good place to block Obamacare
Washington Free Beacon: Ellison's must-read of the day on the shutdown
Front Page: ACORN crooks on the march for Obamacare
The Foundry: What happens in a government shutdown