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Republicans looking for supporters of their shutdown strategy will have to look somewhere other than the country's biggest newspapers.
Of the ten most widely-read papers in America, not a single title's editorial board seemed to think that the House GOP caucus was going about things the right way. To be sure, most of those papers lean Democratic, but even the avowedly conservative titles, like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, had little love for John Boehner and his colleagues.
Below are excerpts from the papers' editorials on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal:
We support the Republican effort to get the best deal they can, especially in the face of Mr. Obama's cynicism. But sooner or later the GOP will have to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling that expires two weeks from now. Republicans will have made their point about fighting hard on principle while noting that to achieve more on ObamaCare they'll need more Senate Republicans after 2014 and a GOP President after 2016. Unlike much of what you hear these days out of Washington, this has the added advantage of being true.
In this case, however, the "they're all bums" reaction is off-base. This shutdown, the first in 17 years, isn't the result of two parties acting equally irresponsibly. It is the product of an increasingly radicalized Republican Party, controlled by a disaffected base that demands legislative hostage-taking in an effort to get what it has not been able to attain by the usual means: winning elections.
New York Times:
By Tuesday morning, the leadership failure of Speaker John Boehner was complete. In encouraging the impossible quest of House Republicans to dismantle health care reform, he pushed the country into a government shutdown that will now begin to take a grievous economic toll.
Americans' respect for their Congress has, sad to say, diminished in recent years. But citizens still expect a minimal level of competence and responsibility: Pay the bills and try not to embarrass us in front of the world.
By those minimal standards, this Congress is failing. More specifically, the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives are failing. They should fulfill their basic duties to the American people or make way for legislators who will.
We're debt hawks. The unconscionable failure of Democrats and Republicans to deal with the growth of entitlement spending that has fueled the nearly $17 trillion in federal debt creates its own economic peril. The most frustrating thing is that a resolution of this impasse almost certainly won't deal with that entitlement crisis.
The GOP's clear objective is to dismantle the act, not to improve it � and the single-minded focus on that goal is what has led to the partial government shutdown that began Tuesday. Democrats can hardly be blamed for refusing to bargain over how to sabotage the law before it fully takes effect.
The federal government is partially shut down because an extreme faction of House Republicans is using its leverage to try to derail the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
New York Daily News:
The elderly veterans who stormed the closed World War II Memorial in Washington on Tuesday showed more class, sense and spine than all of the Republicans who led Congress into shutting down the federal government.
New York Post:
Today the ObamaCare health exchanges go up. Meanwhile, the federal government appears to be shutting down. Once again, Washington�s got it completely backward.
We�ve long been skeptical of the defunding strategy, for one reason: Republicans don�t have the votes in the Senate.
Incredibly, Republican hard-liners have triggered a shutdown in pursuit of a hopeless quest to delay or even defund the Affordable Care Act.
This is a battle Republicans cannot win.